Tag Archives: better flights

Squeezing an extra seat into economy?

Some cheeky airlines have started improving business class quality and getting rid of economy quality at the same time.

Here is a gallery of Economy Class, and how airline economy class is getting worse by the minute.

cathay new economy

So what’s here? This is Cathay Pacific’s new Boeing 777-300ER economy class, which has economy seats 18.5 in wide (and a seat pitch of 32 in).

emirates economy

How it compares when it comes to Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER. As a luxury airline, these offer really good meals and service. However it really gets a little below-par when it comes to the width. Emirates offers the “high-density” layout that Boeing suggests, the 3-4-3 LCC-normed layout. If you’re sitting next to a person over 17in wide, don’t show him anything, but just feel sorry for yourself.

The Boeing 777, with such its big seats, has been a target of flexibility, with Boeing suggesting 4-6 abreast in First (what were they thinking?), 6-8 abreast in Business (guess they’ve never taken an airline’s first class service before), 8-9 in Premium Economy (better) and 9-10 in Economy. They point at the 10 abreast and say, “that’s high density”.

So is this jumbo jet the only target for squishing an extra seat into the den? Not really.

Thomas Cook Airlines and AirAsia X have come with a solution with an A330 too. Here’s Cathay’s (new) version of the A330:

cathay new a330

(We know it’s an A330 because of the two screens on the bulkhead of the left patch of seats.)

These seats are an ample 18.1in wide, which is more than acceptable for Economy. That’s why AK (and MT and Mexicana etc.) do this:

airasia x

16.7 in wide, these are really below par, even for cattle class.

Boeing 787s are also additionally refitting 3-3-3 layouts as opposed to Japan Airlines’ lone 2-4-2 layout in the aviation industry. (ANA went for 3-3-3 very recently because of a 2-3-2 premium economy cabin.)

Airbus A380-800/900 is also suggesting a 3-5-3 layout in Economy (or a 4-3-4 layout in that matter) with 17in wide seats – at 16.8″ width per seat. We’re suggesting low cost carriers (Ryanair) do that, but for legacy carriers like Emirates? Keep the 3-4-3 layout.

Let’s see when they start squeezing in 4-3 in A320s and 737s…


To San Francisco: Which are the best products and flights? – Business Class

There are 4 daily flights to San Francisco. Each one has ups and downs. We’ve listed them here:

1. CX 872 00:30 – 22:10 B777-300ER

 Cathay New Business

These new Business Class seats are wide and ergonomic, and these are the pick for flights to San Francisco. Timing is a problem though. These seats may be the best, but they are only featured on the latest flight to San Francisco. (Which makes sense, because these products are great for sleepy travelers.)

2. SQ 002 22:45 – 20:40 B777-300ER

Singapore Airlines

These seats are also ergonomic and comfortable, but there are three big downsides. The first one is that the seats don’t recline into a flat bed; they flip into one. The seat thus has to angle slightly head-towards-earth because of the airplane’s nose angle. Second, you have to stick your feet in the cubbyhole which is kind of small. Third, this is also a night flight. It’s not really nice arriving at a cool destination after the day is over.

3. CX 870 14:10 – 11:40 B747-400

These are the old Cathay “coffin” seats that still are fully flat and offer direct aisle access, so it really isn’t that bad after all. However, it is still one to avoid unless the timing is good (which is the case for Hong Kong travellers here, it departs a couple of hours after noon and arrives right before noon the same day in San Francisco.

4. UA 862 12:30 – 08:20 B747-400

These are the worst seats in the SFO business class category. Even though they have a truly unique forwards-backwards design, they are quite narrow (2-4-2) and don’t offer direct aisle access. At least the screens are wide and it actually reclines into a bed, but don’t expect to have a view or extra privacy  and be able to run off to the toilet immediately when you realise your bladder is about to burst.

  • CX 872 goes back to HKG as CX 873 (01:00 – 06:15)
  • SQ 002 goes back to HKG as SQ 001 (01:15 – 06:35)
  • CX 870 goes back to HKG as CX 879 (13:40 – 19:00)
  • UA 862 goes back to HKG as UA 869 (13:00 – 18:15)

So which do you prefer? We prefer CX 870/3 as our travel itinerary, but it’s up to you! What do you think?

Hong Kong to Brisbane: QF or CX?

Hong Kong and Brisbane have equally comfortable seats on their A330 aircraft. Which should you choose?

  • Business Class: Cathay. Cathay has its new wide product with direct aisle access and fully flat beds. Qantas will have a comparable, but not better product by early 2015.
  • Economy Class: Cathay (again). The problem with Qantas, which will exceed Cathay by 2015 in the new A330 configuration, is that they use an old product across to Hong Kong. Brisbane, unlike Sydney, sees a QF A330.

Hong Kong to Narita on CX: Preferred Routes

On Cathay Pacific, there are four direct flights from HKG to NRT that all operate daily, and all of them operate on different aircraft. Some of them even operate on different days. Here’s a nutshell of which flights are best for each day:


  1. CX 524 (01:00 – 06:10) A330-300 This has a very comfortable product and has Premium Economy and Cirrus Business Class.
  2. CX 504 (09:10 – 14:40) B777-300 This has the old shell Economy Class, but has a brand new Business Class refit.
  3. CX 500 (15:10 – 20:30) B777-300 This has the same product as CX 504. However that is left with one major problem: this flight leaves quite early for Japanese passengers and arrives very late for Hong Kong passengers. Time is important too…
  4. CX 520 (10:35 – 15:55) A330-300 This has the shell Economy product as well, but the older Business product that is not idyllic for most business travellers.


All the routes have the same products except:

  1. CX 500 (15:10 – 20:30) B777-200 Very old products. Hope this aircraft type will be eliminated from CX fleet or changed soon with new (no shell) products. Last place for now.


  1. CX 524 (01:00 – 06:10) A330-300 Very consistent product eh? Awesome product.
  2. CX 504 (09:10 – 14:40) B777-300 Very consistent product as well.
  3. CX 520 (10:35 – 15:55) B777-200 Again, the ancient product.
  4. CX 500 (15:10 – 20:30) B777-200 Same as CX 520


  1. CX 520 (10:35 – 15:55) B777-300ER This is one of the flights you should make a grab for. It has a daytime service with a wide business class and premium economy, and should be traveller grab (unless you are a business traveller, in that case take CX 524)…
  2. CX 524 (01:00 – 06:10) A330-300 Same as its normal product.
  3. CX 504 (09:05 – 14:40) B777-300 Once again, welcome regional perfection.
  4. CX 500 (15:10 – 20:30) B777-300 Same as CX 504 once again.


Same as Tuesday.


Same as Friday except CX 500 (15:10 – 20:30) runs on an A330.


Same as Thursday (grab CX 520 if you can) except CX 500 (15:10 – 20:30) runs on a B777-200 (one to avoid).