Cathay Pacific Reveals a New Premium Economy Seat

Australian Business Traveller reveals Cathay Pacific’s plan for a new premium economy which will launch with its Airbus A350 aircraft.

Cathay Pacific will use the B/E Aerospace MiQ seat as their new premium economy seat.

    B/E Aerospace Stock Version of MiQ Seat

Interestingly, this is the same seat that American Airlines will be using for their international premium economy product that will debut later this year on the Boeing 787-9 and is also using on reconfigured legacy US Airways Airbus A319s for first class (sans footrests).

    American Airlines International Premium Economy to Debut This Year

There are differences in the seat on each aircraft, though.

  • The domestic first class seat American Airlines uses does not have footrests.

  • The international premium economy seat American Airlines will be offering has foot bars popping up front the seat ahead, and only offers a true foot rest for the seats in the bulkhead (which do not have seats in front of them, natch).

  • Cathay Pacific, on the other hand, will offer true foot rests on all their premium economy seats (Cathay’s old premium economy is configured like American’s new one will be — foot bars, except at the bulkhead)

To get a better sense of what the premium economy seat will look like in practice, envision it in Cathay Pacific colors, for instance here’s what regional (short haul) business class looks like:

    Cathay Pacific Regional Business Class

Additional features of the Cathay Pacific premium economy seat include:

  • Aisle seats will allow their outer arm to drop down, for a bit of extra space
  • AC and USB power
  • Tablet tray beneath the seatback television screen, great for using your own entertainment device without having to hold it

Unlike Singapore Airlines premium economy, though, no c‘book the cook’ pre-order meal service.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This is good news. I frequently fly CX premium economy to Asia, as I can rarely justify flying J, but can usually get premium economy for ~40% above economy prices, which my company will allow. Given the extra space, better service, and 1.5 EQMs on AA, it is a no-brainer. It is already a pretty good product, and I’m glad to see it is improving.

  2. The new Cathay Pacific premium economy seat is nicer than their short-haul business-class seat pictured above. I was very disappointed with that seat. On the other hand, within Asia I’ve also flown Cathay Pacific’s business class seat that is the same as the business class seat on American’s 777-300s. These seats are obviously a huge improvement.

    Given the huge difference between Cathay Pacific’s regional business-class seats and the minimal difference between the new premium economy seat and the old regional business-class seat, Cathay Pacific needs to replace those old seats pdq.

  3. I have flown across the Pacific RT in CX Premium economy and found it disappointing because:
    1. The service is no different than economy class.
    2. When the person sitting in front of me reclines his seat it feels no different than being in economy class when the person in front of me reclines their seat – which is what will happen during the entire flight except when meals are served.

    The slightly better seat and slightly better food is not worth the hundreds of dollars difference in cost for the slight increase in comfort. I am fine sitting in regular economy class and would rather spend the money on a better hotel room.

    However I will try the new CX Premium economy seat when it comes out to see if it is an improvement over the existing one.

  4. As I predicted, premium economy is the new business class, same as the old business class two decades ago. And business class is the new first class in all but name. The transformation is basically complete now.

    Funny how little really changes in the industry except for new ways to shaft the passenger through extra fees, fewer elite perks, etc.

  5. I will echo the theme other commenters have made. This new economy premium seat is the old business class seat of a decade ago. This especially true as Cathay has confirmed that the A350 will have no First Class.

    For Cathay, I hope this will enable them to “sell” premium economy. Cathay currently uses PE for bumps and non-revs, so the extra revenue for that new seat is essentially non-existent. Since, I can be one of those non-rev pax, I should try this seat as soon as Cathay has those new aircraft flying to the US.

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