Cathay Pacific Premium Economy on Regional Routes: A Worthwhile Choice?

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I’ve flown a lot of Cathay Pacific premium economy on long-haul routes. There is a marked difference versus economy, as we explored here. The seats (especially on the 777 rather than the A350) are much roomier and more comfortable than in economy. One meal is better than that served in economy. There is also a welcome drink, which is a small gesture but one which differentiates the cabin from economy. Often, premium economy comes at a substantial premium to economy so its overall value is a matter of personal preference.

On regional routes there is also often a significant price premium but the premium economy proposition is different.

As an example, consider flight CX566 which I recently took from Hong Kong to Osaka in the premium economy cabin. First up, in regional premium economy there is no welcome drink. As this is a redeye flight there was not even a drinks service of any sort during the flight (I was kindly offered a wine by a member of cabin crew, but noone else in the cabin was).

In terms of equipment, this was an A330 (registration number B-LAD).

The A330 parked after arrival at Kansai, parked by its A350 sister ship.

The seats felt less spacious than on the long-haul fleet. They did have good noise-cancelling earphones, like long-haul. The blanket and pillow are also a noticeable step up from economy, as in long-haul. On this regionally configured cabin, there is no toilet in the premium economy cabin – passengers have to go back (just a few paces) to economy. That could be inconvenient, although on the flip side it beats sitting in the middle front row of premium economy in the 777 and having passengers step over one on their way to and from the dedicated toilet.

The food on this flight was minimal, a snack box served with lemon tea.

Given the 1.45 a.m. departure time, many passengers may not wish to eat a meal but for those who do this is a pretty poor offering in economy class, let alone premium economy.

Conclusion

Cathay’s regional premium economy is definitely not as good as its long-haul offering. The main differences are in the seat and food and drink. Does that matter much? If you have an opinion, feel free to share it in the comments section to help other travellers looking to make a choice.

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