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Cathay reveals new premium economy seats

The battle of the premium economy cabins continues apace as Cathay Pacific becomes the latest airline to announce upgrades, reports Carolynne Dear

Cathay reveals new premium economy seats

Cathay has unveiled new premium seats

Premium economy has become something of a sweet spot for both passengers and airlines alike in recent years. It offers enough perks to soften the blow of a long-haul flight if you can’t afford business prices, particularly if you’re flying as a family, and for airlines premium economy can work out to be around 40% more profitable than business. 

Cathay hasn’t touched its premium offering since before the pandemic and compared to sleek, freshly launched premium cabins from airlines such as Emirates, the Cathay offering is starting to look a little tired. One of the biggest bugbears for passengers is the poorly designed cabin; loos are located on one side of the cabin and almost impossible to reach if you’re seated on the far side of the aircraft.

Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airways and Lufthansa have all announced upgrades to their premium product. Singapore Airlines recently revealed a raft of improvements to its dining service in premium, including a glass of champagne after take-off. Emirates launched its premium product only recently but has been rolling out the service apace on an increasing number of routes. A lot of care and attention has gone into the Emirates product, with an almost business class level of dining service and roomy, leather seats. Flying between London and Dubai last autumn, I was impressed by both service levels and comfort.

Cathay reveals new premium economy seats

Upgrades include privacy wings and a reading light on headrests

The new Cathay cabins will offer seats at the same dimensions as before, namely 40 inches of legroom and 20 inches of width. And again, they will recline by eight inches; nowhere near a business flat bed but enough to make the journey significantly more comfortable than economy. Improvements will include a leather headrest with privacy wings and a reading light next to the headrest. Seats will have more comfortable padding. The airline has also introduced much larger screens - at 15.6 inches they are among the most generous to be offered by any airline - with 4K on demand and Bluetooth audio streaming. Mood lighting has also been introduced to the cabin.

Back to the loos, there will be toilets on each side of the cabin with touch-free features for minimal contact, which should make for a more pleasant experience.

The new premium cabins will be coming to all retrofitted Boeing 777-300ER aircraft this year. 

Cathay will also be launching new Aria Suites in business later this summer, with sliding privacy doors and wireless charging.

“We always put our customers at the centre of everything we do,” said Vivian Lo, Cathay’s general manager of Customer Experience and Design. “We listen to our customers and ensure that we understand what is important to them. These valuable insights motivate us to go above and beyond to elevate our customers’ journeys and ensure that their experience with Cathay is truly unforgettable.”

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