Flight Review: Cathay Pacific Airways, Old Economy Class
In my previous post, I have mentioned how great their new economy class product is. Unfortunately, almost half of their fleet is still fitted with the old economy class product, which mainly operates on Asia routing, With the hard shell seat design that ensure no invasion of legroom by the front passengers, does it really ensure a #LifeWellTravelled experience (new rebranding tagline) ? Find out more on this flight review which features their old economy class product and learn how to identify the flight that operates on old and new product.
Hong Kong(HKG)- Singapore (SIN)
Dep: HKG 1515
Arr: SIN 1910
Aircraft Type: Airbus A330 (A33Z)
Seat: 40H (Old Economy Class)
Seat Configuration: 2-4-2
Old Economy Class - Seat Product Feature
Cathay Pacific is one of the very few airlines that offers fixed shell design economy class seat. Given the very limited space in the typical economy class, the interest of the fixed shell design is to optimize your own legroom and space at the front.
As the seatback is fixed, you will not be able to shift it downwards. Instead, you will recline within the fixed shell seat with a slouching body posture. In my opinion, I felt no difference putting the seat in default and in recline mode. It is definitely not comfortable for long haul flights. Years ago, this fixed shell design economy class seat was presented on long haul flights. Many passengers had complained that the reclining feature was useless and was causing backache. Hence, this fixed shell seat product now mainly operates on regional routes.
In terms of legroom. I felt that this fixed shell seat helps to offer slightly greater space as compared to other airlines' A330 aircraft economy class product. When I choose my flight, I will always try to avoid flying the Airbus A330, The A330 is the smaller version of a big plane, which has been in the industry for a long time. Usually the legroom on A330 is smaller than the longer and newer aircrafts like Boeing 777 or A380.
Cathay Pacific Airbus A330 seatmap (Taken from CX website)
Similar to other airlines, Airbus A330 and A340 has a 2-4-2 configuration in economy class. The first row of every cabin comes with extra legroom. The middle 1st row seats are free of charge while the side seats come with additional cost, particularly 39A/C/H/K AND 59A/C/H/K (Emergency Exit Seat - EMEX). However, you may ask for Emex seat for free upon check-in if flight is not full.
Before The Flight Commence
The blanket and headset were already available on the seat before boarding. However, pillow was available only upon request. If you want to use your own earpiece, you will need an adapter for it. Through my observation, Cathay does not readily provide the pillow for passengers on short flight, probably because of cost saving. The quality of the amenities is nothing worth mentioning.
Likewise in the previous blog post, I sat in the wrong row again. I had no idea why I was so blur. My seat was supposed to be on the second row. It was difficult for me to relocate myself as there were still many passengers boarding the aircraft. Fortunately, I met an attentive attendant who actually helped me to put the boarding passengers on hold at the cabin entrance so that I could reseat myself smoothly and quickly.
Thanks to my friend, I was assigned to the second row of the economy class (40H). As a aircraft geek, I totally love the view with the whole engine and wing. :D
Shortly after reaching the cruising level, the crew commenced with their pre-meal service. The drink selection was just typical juices, soft drinks, red and white wine. It is quite troublesome to charge the device with this old seat product. You need to bring down the tray table and have the full charger with you.
Even though it was a afternoon flight, early dinner was served. There were 2 choices to choose: Curry Rice with Chicken and Pasta. I really regretted picking Pasta as it was overcooked. . The taste was also too strong for me. I did not expect the meal out of Hong Kong to turn out bad, since I tasted better ones before.
The movie selection was as boring as the meal. There were only a few selection of recent movies. As it is an old entertainment system, the touch-screen function was not as sensitive as their new product. I had to press hard on the screen at times. Additionally, the screen was also quite light reflective. I had to shut the windows and adjust the display lighting for better viewing. To quote one of the recent movies on board, I watched "A Long Way Down" which was on cinema in June 2014. This was a flight during late December last year.
Landing into Singapore was probably one of the most enjoyable part of the flight. It was making a U-turn above the South China Sea. I had a great view of the sea port, as well as the city center of Singapore. To have a better view of Singapore on your next flight, I would suggest you to choose the left window seat. If your plane is coming in from the west, you will have a close-up view of the city, including the Marina Bay area.
How to choose a flight that is fitted with the new economy class product on Cathay Pacific?
When you reached the flight selection during the booking process, there is an aircraft type written on the left. At Cathay Pacific, all Boeing 777-300ER (77W) are fitted with the new economy class seat product. In their Airbus A330 (333) fleet and Boeing B777-200 (B772) fleet, there are a mixture of old and new economy class seat product, which you cannot determine whether the particular 333/772 flight you want to book has a new or old product. The best way to find out is to contact the reservation center.
The old economy class product is featured on certain A330/B772 and all A340.
Picture taken on CX website
Disclaimer: All pictures are taken by myself, unless stated otherwise.
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