At the gate, Premium Economy flyers board right after business class passengers and before the economy passengers. Onto the plane, and I passed by the giant first class “suites,” then the business class recliners, and finally into the small premium economy cabin, 30 seats in five rows in a 2-4-2 seat arrangement. No seat is more than one seat from an aisle.
The seats looked just like what you’d find on first class on many domestic airlines: large seats with plenty of width and distance between adjacent seats. Foot room was plentiful; seats were well-cushioned and comfortable, and reclined to almost 45 degrees with a small folding foot rest.
The seats have trays in their armrest and strong well-aimed overhead lighting. It has an entertainment system that uses a handheld-wired remote control to select from a range of hundreds of offerings including movies, audio, a map, a camera under the fuselage, and games. The display is not very sharp, but adequate. Noise cancellation headphones are provided or you can use your own. The choice of movies was current and included “Life of Pi” and “Argo.”
Food service was similar to business class with a choice of three entrees, wine and liquor. Drinks were provided prior to takeoff. Service was quite attentive throughout the flight, comparable to business class. There is one lavatory, although you can venture off your secluded island into coach to find more.
The seat was comfortable enough that I was able to sleep for 7 hours and had no backache at the end of the flight. One of the benefits of this ticket was that it could be canceled or changed for a $50 fee right up to flight time. With many of Cathay’s tickets, including mine, you can travel to another city from Hong Kong, and then back again, for no extra cost.
So was it worth the extra money? For me, it’s a definite yes. I arrived in much better shape than if I had flown economy. I was well rested and ready to go.
For more information on economy plus, premium economy and preferred seats, check out:
- Alyssa Caverly’s Know Before You Go: How to Upgrade an Economy Ticket
- Peter’s Travel Tip: Upgraded Business Class Seating
- Peter’s CBS This Morning report, Defining A Preferred Seat
- Peter’s Travel Tip, Are Preferred Seats Worth It?
By Phil Baker for PeterGreenberg.com. Phil Baker has more than three decades of experience in consumer and computer technology product development and program management. Check out his blog at www.philipgbaker.com.
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