Connecting Auckland with Hong Kong and beyond twice daily, Cathay Pacific was a worthy winner of the 2013 Skytrax Airline Award for “World’s Best Cabin Staff.”
I’ve always enjoyed Cathay’s exemplary level of personable in-flight service, no matter what class you’re flying.
The Hong Kong-based airline serves more than 90 destinations in more than 30 countries.
For Kiwis seeking a one-stop connection to Europe, Cathay Pacific will whisk you to Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Moscow, Rome, Milan and London.
Cathay’s daily services between Auckland and Hong Kong ( double daily through summer) are operated by A340-300 aircraft.
Like many airlines, Cathay Pacific has recently innovated its premium economy class offering, which is laid out in a 2-3-2 configuration.
Not quite the lie-flat luxury of their sublime Business Class experience, Premium Economy offers a roomy seat pitch of 38 inches. The seat itself is noticeably wider and you can enjoy a much longer recline.
With a 10.6 inch touch screen, a plethora of on-demand entertainment choices are at your disposal, including entire TV series box sets and a myriad of Hollywood blockbusters.
I’ve always enjoyed Cathay’s flavourful in-flight cuisine, and Premium Economy guests can savour an enhanced menu, with at least one meal mirroring the Business Class service.
The beverage service is efficient and open-ended, the newly launched amenity kits are packed with pamper products, you can enjoy priority check-in and boarding, plus an extra generous baggage allowance of 25kg.
Cathay Pacific Premium Economy is on average 50% more than an economy fare, but you’ll definitely appreciate the enhanced level of comforts, making it a very attractive long-haul option.
What You Get in Premium Economy (over Economy)
• Priority check-in at the airport counters.
• A wider seat. 19.5" versus the 18.1-18.5 of economy.
• More recline. 8" versus the 6" of economy.
• More seat pitch (aka legroom). 38" versus 32" in economy.
• Larger TV screen. 10.6" versus 9" in economy.
• Quality, noise-cancelling headphones.
• A smaller, quieter cabin. There's only 26-34 seats, separated between Business and Economy cabins, with its own bathroom.
• Extra space. Seats have larger armrests, a small shelf underneath the seatback TV, a flip-out cocktail table and a larger meal table. The meal table comes out from the armrest, so it's not effected by the seat's recline in front of you.
• Power port outlets by your feet and on the seatback.
• Footrests. As small as they seem, they really do make a huge difference.
• A hot towel to refresh after boarding.
• A welcome cocktail. Champagne, orange juice or mix them for a mimosa.
• An eco-friendly amenity kit. A pouch contains socks, an eyemask, earplugs, mints, a toothbrush and toothpaste.
• A separate menu with better meal choices. The flatware is real metal, portions are larger and mid-flight snacks are actively offered.
• Full-size bottles of water (Evian on our flight), when the lights dim for sleep. • Larger blankets and business class-size pillows.
• Service which is faster and more personalised.
• More luggage allowance. 25kg versus 20kg in economy.
What you won’t get?
• Forget camping out. The armrests between seats are fixed, so you won’t be able to stretch out across several empty seats.
• No lounge access. Premium Economy doesn’t open the keys to the kingdom of Cathay Pacific lounges. However, you can trade AsiaMiles for lounge entry.
If you have cash to splash, the business class experience on Cathay Pacific is industry-leading.
From Auckland, the A340-300s have had a business cabin makeover, with the high-walled herringbone seats refreshed.
The lighter cabin palette exudes a calmer, more relaxing mood. And yes the lie-flat beds are fully horizontal.
Cathay Pacific has recently unveiled its brand new range of amenity kits for Business Class guests, showcasing exclusive designs by distinguished French fashion brand, agnes b.
The stylish pouches are loaded with natural skincare treats from acclaimed Australian company, Jurlique.
Always raising the bar, Cathay Pacific’s sparkling new lounge, The Bridge, joins five other Cathay lounges – namely The Wing, The Cabin, The Pier, G16 and The Arrival., at Hong Kong International Airport.
Over 2500 squre metres in size, The Bridge has a seating capacity for 364 and exudes the cosy warmth of a residential design apartment. Stand-out design features include Japanese bronze, Italian copper, wood and warm-colour carpets.
Artfully designed by London-based architects Foster + Partners, the lounge is separated into two wings, each stretching out from either side of the 14-metre Carrara marble reception . Admire the lustrous wall made of Venetian glass tiles by Fabbian of Italy – a signature statement in Cathay Pacific lounges. The bamboo-shape shadow pattern adds a touch of Asian character. ”
The Bridge has fully embraced the insatiable passenger demand to charge devices, and there are sockets by most of the seats. Wifi is free, and there is a generous selection of food and drink, on both sides of the lounge.
The North side of the lounge is my favourite, as it’s home to the Bakery restaurant and the latest incarnation of Cathay Pacific’s Long Bar, with a sublime array of drinks. You’ll find freshly baked breads, pizzas, sandwiches, soups and salads. But it’s the Long Bar that is my favourite perch, gazing out on all the aircraft , at the gate and on the tarmac.
The South side’s focus is more coffee bar-feel, with exquisite cakes, biscuits and a wide selection of freshly made tea and coffee.
Light hot and cold snacks are available from the Bistro restaurant, including decadent desserts and light leafy salads.
Top marks to the lounge staff who were exceptionally welcoming, engaging and outgoing.
For extra pampering, the Shower Suites are available whether you want a refreshing power shower, or simply some “me-time” in a calm, private watery sanctuary.
Access to The Bridge is open to First and Business Class guests, Silver or above Marco Polo Club members, and Sapphire or above Oneworld members. The Bridge opens at 5.30am through till the last late night departure.
For further information on Cathay Pacific’s flights and services, jump to www.cathaypacific.co.nz