A critical review of various airlines as experienced first-hand by editorial members of The Business Travel Magazine team.
THE FLIGHT: Flight CX257 from Hong Kong to London Heathrow, operated by a B777-300. I was travelling in premium economy, a product the airline first introduced in 2012. A newer version features onboard Cathay’s A350 aircraft. PRE-BOARDING:I’d checked in online and sailed through security at Hong Kong International Airport. Departing from Gate 1, the flight was delayed by 20 minutes due to ‘congested air space over China’. Boarding commenced around 30 minutes before the flight ultimately took off. THE SEAT: I had window seat 31A in the 2-4-2 configured premium economy cabin (compared to 3-3-3 in economy). With a 38-inch pitch (versus 32 inches in economy), there was ample legroom and the recline was reasonably generous too. The meal table lifts out of the arm rest – rather than folding down from the seatback – and there was a well-positioned footrest and small slideout drinks coaster. The 10.6-inch IFE screen had touch controls that actually worked without having to repeatedly jab it. There was a USB socket to the side of the screen and a power socket in the arm rest. A blanket and pillow were supplied, as were a very basic amenity kit and good quality headphones. Among the features of Cathay’s latest premium economy seat on A350s is a useful seat-back tablet holder. THE SERVICE: Menus were handed out shortly before take-off and bottles of water soon afterwards, together with juices. Breakfast was served not long afterwards and comprised fruit, yoghurt, croissant and a choice of three hot dishes. Lunch (salad, a choice of three mains and dessert) was served midway through the 13-hour fl ight and a range of snacks were available on request throughout the fl ight. THE VERDICT: Cathay’s premium economy product provides just enough extras and added comfort to take the edge off a long daytime flight. As with most Asian airlines, the service from cabin crew couldn’t be faulted. THE DETAILS: Cathay Pacific flies from Heathrow to Hong Kong 35 times a week. It also flies four times weekly from both London Gatwick (daily from June) and Manchester (five times weekly from June), with both routes flown by Airbus A350s. Return fares from Heathrow to Hong Kong travelling in premium economy start from £894 and from £865 flying from Gatwick. cathaypacific.com
Reviewed by Andy Hoskins (2017)