Cathay Pacific Premium Economy vs Economy Flight Review HKG – JFK
CX has a great Premium Economy product, more positives on the hard product than the service. I’ve also made some comparisons versus regular Economy class which I’ve flown many times. I recently embarked on a flight from Hong Kong to New York JFK in Premium Economy and here’s my experience.
I won’t bore you with all of the seat details, which are outlined here. Basically it’s an economy type seat that has a lot more legroom and seat pitch than regular Economy class. I find Premium Economy perfectly suitable for flying long-distance as I don’t really need a flat bed, the recline I found to be very acceptable. There’s also a footrest, USB port, 11” TV screen, and electrical socket. I was able to sleep fairly easily, except since I was by the window it was really cold. Bring additional clothes, I had two blankets and was still and frozen popsicle.
Service-wise you don’t really get much more than regular Economy, you’re pretty much paying for the extra space on the plane. Boarding the plane you get a welcome champagne, orange juice, or water as usual in business class. The flight attendants also offer a hot towel, which I used to wipe the buttons on my TV. Didn’t notice the service to be any different than regular economy. Also you don’t get any pre-boarding benefits, no additional bags, only a lousy 5 extra kilos, and you check-in with regular Economy passengers.
There’s a small, really basic amenity kit from G.O.D. that comes in a pouch; eye-mask, earplugs, tiny amount of hand lotion, toothbrush, socks, and a coupon from G.O.D. The pouch is probably the best thing. Nothing included in the Premium Economy amenity list that you can’t get in Economy class, except that they actually leave the amenities at your seat. CX used to give Economy passengers an amenity kit; but now they’re cheap and keep it in the back galley so you only get it if you ask at flight attendant. But they have it, so ask. (Hand lotion isn’t included in regular economy but you can get that in the toilet, lol.)
There are two meals on this evening flight, one dinner and one breakfast. The first meal is catered from Business class and I decided on the steak, which was over-cooked, as you’d expect on a plane. It did come with actual metal silverware and ceramic plates. I did enjoy the Cookies and Cream Haagen Daaz, my favorite flavor, mmmm. The second meal is catered from economy class with plastic cutlery and plate. I had the omelette which was ok, but I wasn’t very hungry. I also enjoyed one of Cathay’s signature cup noodles in the middle of the night.
Flight attendants give you a bottle of Evian when in Premium Economy so you stay hydrated during flight. I usually keep that to drink when I get off the plane since customs and baggage can take a long time in New York, or really any gateway city in the US like Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. And sure enough I needed it. Upon landing immigration for US citizens was surprisingly quick, 5 minute wait. But my bag was the last off the plane, waited at least one full-hour for it to arrive on the luggage belt, really slow and terrible ground crew in the US. Considering the plane landed a little late, I didn’t even leave the airport until 12:30am.
Overall the flight was a normal CX flight. Nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing too positive or negative, except the hour long baggage wait upon arrival. One of Cathay’s best features is the high level of consistency in all of their flights. Do I think Premium Economy is worth the extra price? No I don’t. However, I redeemed some miles for the trip, so it may be ok in this case. Also there was no Economy or Business seat available on this flight so Premium Economy was my only choice.