Cathay Pacific Premium Economy: Worth the Price?


Many airlines have been introducing Premium Economy in recent years as a “middle ground” between Economy and Business class. Most Premium Economy cabins offer seats with more width and legroom than Economy. Some airlines also offer improved meals and other comforts. For example, Qantas provides amenity kits for Premium Economy passengers.

One member is considering paying the extra money to fly Premium Economy on Cathay Pacific. This member doesn’t have enough points for a Business ticket, but hopes to get some rest on their overnight flight.

I need to fly out in August to KIX and on the way back I’m doing a few days stopover in HKG. I’m a very slight sleeper and hardly get any sleep on the plane at all. However, cause I’m flying out Friday night after work, I need to be pretty sharp the next day. I don’t have enough points for business so thought I would just pay the extra for Premium Economy, as I know I’ll never get any sleep in economy. So I’ve been curious, is it actually worth the extra $1k+?

Our members have mixed views on this. The Cathay Pacific Premium Economy seats are wider, have more legroom and greater recline than regular economy seats.

50% more recline. 7 inches more legroom. Wider seat (no fighting for armrests). No fighting for overhead luggage space. Some aircraft offer a dedicated WC.

For some members, the extra comfort is well worth the price over Economy.

It is MUCH better than economy. The seats are wider, more leg room, more recline – more importantly it’s a separate cabin which is darker and quieter than Economy. The TV’s are much bigger for watching movies; the service is good. There is plenty of room in the overheads. It actually reminded me of flying Businesss “back in the day” before the advent of flat beds and all the comfort we have these days (yes, I’m that old!).

However, other members feel the product is similar to an exit row seat in Economy – which can be obtained at a much lower cost.

I feel the product is overrated. Slightly larger seat with a little more recline. Not that much different to an economy exit row seat.

Unfortunately, the Premium Economy “soft product” on Cathay Pacific appears less polished than on the likes of Qantas and Virgin Australia. On long-haul flights, the first main meal served is from the Business cabin. However, the second meal is no different to a standard Economy meal. On intra-Asia flights, all meals are Economy standard. One member also comments that meals are not served on proper plates, nor drinks in proper glassware. Instead, plastic is used. Although a lack of these small touches are unlikely to be a deal-breaker, they do detract slightly from the overall experience.

Do you think Premium Economy is worth the extra cost? Share your experience HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]