Cathay Pacific 777-300ER
San Francisco-Hong Kong February 14, 2019
Premium Economy 30G
My journey was about to start. This would be my first flight on Cathay Pacific in over six years. Back in 2011-12 I flew Cathay three round trips to Australia all in premium economy and I was looking forward to flying them again and seeing how the PE experience held up and if there were any enhancements or reductions.
The plane I flew was a Boeing 777-300ER in a three-class configuration. Business consisted of 40 seats in a 1-2-1 herringbone layout. Premium Economy consists of 32 recliner style seats in a 2-4-2 layout and economy has 268 seats in a 3-3-3 setup. Due to my status I was able to board with business class, although they had a dedicated line for PE, this got me on the plane a little sooner and allowed me to get settled without feeling rushed and take a few snaps before the plane filled up.
I was pleasantly surprised with my seat 30G. It was a bulkhead isle seat and this row appears to have a bit more legroom then the three other PE rows because of that. The seat has one button to recline the seatback, which according to SeatGuru is 38” of seat pitch. The second button raises the footrest and there’s a lever on the footrest to extend it longer. Lastly there’s a button to raise and lower the tv screen. If you’re in any other row of PE, the tv screen is in the seatback which would also hold your tray table. In the bulkhead row of PE, the tray table is in the armrest which does makes the seat narrower than other rows, but at 19.5” it’s still a decent width. One other nice thing about the seat is that each seat in PE offers a double armrest so you’re not fighting your neighbor for who gets it. There’s also a standard universal power plug and a USB plug below your seat.
The cabin was full so unfortunately there was not much extra space to hangout. On my previous trips I remember the PE section to be almost empty, but no such luck today. In fact, the plane was 100% full, so it’s possible they had operational upgrades to PE to accommodate other guests. Additionally, on the three class 777 there’s not a dedicated bathroom for PE and you can’t go up to business to use there’s, the staff do a pretty good job of preventing that. So, you’re stuck going back to coach and using those. This is not that big of a deal, but instead of sharing say one bathroom with 32 people you’re now sharing three mid cabin and the four at the back of the plane. In each occasion I had to use the restroom, there was always a line of at least two.
On Cathay the IFE is called Studio CX and in PE the screen is 9” large. They offer touch screen and a tethered remote in the inside of the armrest. Which occasionally if you move your legs or hips just right, you might hit a button and turn off or on your tv for example. No big deal in my opinion, but it does happen. As for what they offered, they have music, movies , tv and games in a variety of languages and subtitles too. Plus, they sort the entertainment by genre and culture. So, I found a western section, Asian and even Hong Kong section too. As for variety it was not too bad but could be better. There were about 30 western films ranging from current Oscar nominees (Blackkkclamsman and Bohemian Rhapsody to oldies like Wreck It Ralph) and a bunch in between. For me, the issue was knowing that I’d have two long haul and four short haul segments with Cathay in the next two weeks and this would not be enough to keep me entertained . They also had about 30 western shows from current hits like Young Sheldon and Superstore to oldies like Friends. And in some cases, an entire season of episodes. Overall it was fine, I was just hoping for more movies and shows I’d not seen before. Otherwise the system was fine the remote and touchscreen worked great and were responsive, unlike the other two Cathay flights I took later in the week.
Overall the food was fine. I’ve had some pretty amazing culinary experiences in the air and some bad ones too. The main goal for me it to have something that’s tasty and hopefully flavorful too. Expectations are different from first or business to coach. That being said being presented a menu with choices is always nice. Plus, the fact that they offer snacks mid meals is good too. And unlike some other airlines your meals and drinks are included. From what I remember the meals in PE are the same as business, they’re just not plated or presented the same. I’m not sure if that’s the case today, but I did like both of my meals.
During boarding the flight attendants came by and offered water, OJ or champagne and a piping hot towel. If you’ve not had one of these on a plane, you haven’t lived! Shortly after takeoff, they came around with a beverage service and packaged smoked almonds. I’m not sure if it’s the MSG or something else, but I’m addicted to these.
Maybe an hour after takeoff we were served lunch. I chose the Asian option of fried rice, prawns and vegetables. It’s also came with a roll and butter plus cold grilled chicken and coleslaw. The entree itself was good had flavor and filled me up. The chicken and slaw was interesting. For desert we had Haagen Daz vanilla ice cream and coffee or tea.
Dinner was served about four hours prior to landing so it was timed to be close to dinner at home which was nice. Again, in this case I had the Asian meal. Which consisted of rice, chicken in black pepper sauce and vegetables. Plus, a warm roll and some sort of chocolate cake. Everything was served at once and again the food tasted good. It was not fancy but did the job. What I did note though was that the person across from me had the Indian vegetarian meal. It looked great and had those homemade aromas I’m used to with that type of cuisine. Mental note for next time, to preorder that option (which BTW is free, and Cathay offers many other choices for your diet if you preorder).
Overall as I said before, I liked the food it was tasty served at the right temperature and did the job. I didn’t get off the plane hungry or overly full either. They had plenty of drink services and provided snacks between meals in the galley although I never made my way there to check them out.
Overall, I enjoyed my flight. It was comfortable, there was plenty of legroom and the food offerings were fine. Sure, having a lie-flat seat would be significantly better on a 13 plus hour journey, but the seat had a much better recline and the extending footrest, so I was able to sleep about 4-5 hours. I think what motivated me most in regard to the comfort was knowing I had business class suites to/from Hong Kong and China and a first class seat going back to the US in a few days.