Cathay Pacific Premium Economy: Tokyo Haneda to Hong Kong

Background

It was time to fly home after a Christmas well spent in Japan. As with the outbound journey, I flew with Cathay on their Premium Economy product, this time on a 4-class 777-300ER, the airline’s major long-haul fleet type. Flight was overbooked in premium classes, figures were, as I have learnt in check in:

  • First Class: 6 (booked) / 6 (capacity) (100%)
  • Business Class: 57/53 (108%)
  • Premium Economy: 37/34 (109%)
  • Economy: 162/182 (89%)

As you can see, Business Class and Premium Economy were overbooked but Economy Class had 20 seats left. So the check in agents were very keen in securing voluntary downgrade to Economy Class. Compensation was not great – we were offered 15,790 Yen each for downgrading (~US$130) – so we did not take it. The agent was understandably disappointed but since we arrived 2 hours 20 minutes ahead of departure, no reason to print us an economy class boarding pass, eh?

Check-in counter: went for Business Class check in because of Marco Polo Silver membership. Bags all tagged priority and lounge invite was handed over.

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I spent a good time in the lounge, review can be read here: http://wp.me/p72Rbc-hs

Flight Info

CX549 HND-HKG

29 DEC 2015

1625-2030 (Scheduled);  1650-2022 (Actual; Flight time = 4 hours 32 minutes)

B777-300 ER (B-KPH; 4 class)

Seat: 31A (Worst seat in the house, despite the exit row)

Gate today is 143

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The new concourse looks modern and spacious

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Our bird today

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The boarding queue

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Joined the queue

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I quickly settled into my seat and this is the first glance of my view

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Legroom was great given the bulkhead BUT the door meant two things: 1) the width is significantly reduced due to the curving of the wall leading up to the door; 2) no window – what a disappointment!!

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The footrest of the bulkhead – I am too tall for it, though. And it shows the narrowing the seat a bit…

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View from the window of the door

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And… runway 05 of HND

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One of the great things about 77W is that the PTV has a nose camera; though not the most useful thing for a flight going into sunset

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Sunset over the wing

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As soon as we depart, Mount Fuji would be on our right, so I jumped at the chances to photograph this icon of Japan!

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View from Door R4

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Then, thanks to the empty seats in Economy Class, I settled into row 66 and took a few more pictures

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Now, back to my seat and the map is showing…

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Drink service quickly started and sparkling water for me, as usual…

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Modern Family on my PTV

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Dinner: Chicken with rice. This is probably the worst meal I have had on Cathay this year and I have flown Cathay a few times this year – the chicken was too salty and the rice was overcooked. Again, it is the Economy offering in Premium Economy: the lack of metal cutlery and Business Class entree in a short-haul flight is disappointing but understandable. Glad I filled my tummy properly in the lounge…

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The only thing that salvaged the dinner was the cookie, but I would want an ice cream…

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Tea to go with my cookie… asked for an extra cookie, too, the flight attendant happily obliged

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And by that time the service concluded, we were already nearing Taiwan – quite a slow service I would say for this flight.

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The cabin tonight

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Approach into HKG

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And Business Class cabin as we deplaned. Yet to try this business class.

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Verdict and Conclusion

This is a disappointing flight on quite a few accounts, though some at the fault of myself – like selecting the seat.

Dinner: was bad. Frankly, plainly, bad. Salty chicken, overcooked rice, unappetising starter and a small cookie… Not premium at all with the lack of metal cutlery and the same as Economy offering… One of the milks that the attendant offered me was spoiled and it was sour! Cathay needs to step up its game in the product.

Seat: was good. Two of the eight bulkhead seats have their PTVs dysfunctional, as in they wouldn’t stay fixated at a position for viewing. They just kept falling down, meaning that some people were struggling to watch something. The way the bulkhead TVs are arranged meant that I basically was watching my neighbour’s movie too… That was just weird.

Service: was good. At best, attentive: I liked the water runs mid-flight and by the end of the flight. But other requests, like tea with milk, take too long… I was not convinced a tea needs 20 minutes of brewing.

Inflight entertainment: was very good. It gets a bit boring, though, probably because it was my third flight was Cathay this month, one long-haul where I watched two movies, another short-haul where I watched a couple TV episodes…

Overall: “Good” It was an okay flight and I got by alright. But uninspiring and a bit not worth the money had I paid for the ticket by cash (this was a redeemed ticket, 36,000 miles for a round trip), would have gone for Economy so easily. I expected more from one of Cathay Pacific’s flagship service.

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