Premium Economy on Cathay Pacific to Vancouver

CX888 Hong Kong HKG – Vancouver YVR
Thursday 25 Oct 2012
STD-STA: 12:30-21:25
Actual: 01:10-21:22
Boeing 777-300ER
Seat 31A moved to 31C

CX Boeing 777-300ER at HKIA
CX Boeing 777-300ER at HKIA

After spending a  day in Hong Kong, I headed back to the airport on the Airport Express. With my boarding pass already issued in Singapore, I headed towards past immigration and made a stop at ‘The Wing’ which is Cathay Pacific’s lounge near boarding gates 1-4. The newly renovated lounge was comfortable with several distinct spaces like the Noodle Bar for freshly made noodles, the Coffee Loft for lounging with a cup of coffee, pastries and a wide variety of magazines. As far as lounges go, ‘The Wing’ in Hong Kong is one of my favourite, not just for its vantage point over the terminal but its facilities. And shower rooms here are built like those in boutique hotel rooms with their own toilet and walk-in shower. After having a nice dinner of Dan-dan noodles with a dessert of Häagen-Dazs ice cream, I relaxed in the lounge catching up on the news and email before heading to the boarding gate for my flight back to Vancouver.

Champagne for Welcome Drink
Champagne for Welcome Drink

Upon boarding, I noticed the load on the Premium Economy today was quite light, but it could be because I had priority boarding, which is convenient for frequent flyers as I can take some time to take out my iPad and headphones for my inflight entertainment. I had picked a seat on the window this time round though the emergency exit doors tend to eat into the legroom space on the bulkhead. As I got seated, the steward servicing the premium economy cabin passed by with a tray of welcome drinks and it includes champagne. It’s not Krug or anything special but I thought it adds that ‘premium’ touch to the cabin boarding atmosphere. Hot towel was also distributed to premium passengers while the plane is boarding.

New Premium Economy
New Premium Economy

Once boarding was complete, it turns out there was only 5 other seats occupied in the Premium Economy cabin. This made it a very nice flight as I had no seat mate and was able to move to the aisle seat since my inflight entertainment screen just does not want to remain in place. I think the swivelling arm was faulty and there was already a lot of scratches on the screen which was bad considering the Premium Economy cabin is relatively new. For the late night departure from Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific serves a supper and the menu read as follows:

Supper 晚餐

Smoked duck breast on vegetable mayonnaise 煙鴨胸奶油雜菜沙律

Wok-fried chicken with black bean, steamed jasmine rice, kailan with garlic and ginger 豆豉雞球配白飯及蒜蓉薑汁芥藍

or Roasted salmon with Camembert rarebit and tomato concasse, potatoes with herb and asparagus 或芝士番茄醬烤三文魚配香草馬鈴薯及蘆筍

or Saffron fettuccini with tomato concasse and Parmesan cheese 或番紅花意大利麵條伴芝士番茄醬汁

Ice cream 雪糕

Tea and Coffee 茶及咖啡

Brunch 早午餐

Fresh seasonal fruit 時令鮮果

Fruit yoghurt 鮮果乳酪

Baked egg with ham and cheese, streaky bacon, chicken sausage, fried potatoes and herb cherry tomato 芝士火腿焗蛋批配煙肉,雞肉腸,馬鈴薯及香草櫻桃番茄

or Braised chicken with mixed vegetables in light soy sauce and rice vermicelli 或雞柳鮮蔬燴米粉

Croissant with fruit preserve and butter 牛角包配果醬及牛油

Tea and Coffee 茶及咖啡

Snacks 小食

Cup noodle and assorted snacks are available throughout the flight. 航機上另備有杯麵及各種小食供閣下隨時享用。

Drinks selection wise, they were the same as what was offered on my way to Hong Kong from Vancouver. Again I have to mention that the Premium Economy meal service was definitely generous in terms of selection. I picked the Chinese selection of the wok-fried chicken but was sorely disappointed by the meal as it was too salty for my liking. Similarly the appetizer was better on the way out.

Premium Economy Supper of Wok-fried chicken
Premium Economy Supper of Wok-fried chicken

Similar to the Business class service, there was also a box of pralines in the meal tray. This was given in lieu of the Ghirardelli chocolates received out of Vancouver. I think all premium cabin service originating from Hong Kong will receive this type of praline.

Metal Cutleries and Box of Praline for Premium Economy
Metal Cutleries and Box of Praline for Premium Economy

Seated at the aisle seat, I also utilized the StudioCX entertainment system while enjoying my supper. In my opinion the IFE works pretty well even in the bulkhead and does not intrude on the tray table so it allows passengers to enjoy movies while having their meal. The main frustration is that some of the personal TV does not want to stay in place for some of the seats and there can be some problem in getting an optimal viewing angle when the seat is fully reclined.

StudioCX on Premium Economy
StudioCX on Premium Economy

Due to the low loads on Premium Economy, the cabin is very quiet and like last time, there was no sight of the crew after the meal service. As such, it was easy to recline the seat all the way back and have a good rest for the long transpacific crossing. I had a pretty good sleep, though when seated in the bulkhead, the new Economy seat (not the fixed shell type) on Cathay Pacific’s 777-300ER is still pretty comfortable. I would have to say I had the same amount of comfort sleeping in Economy than Premium Economy.

Breakfast Service
Breakfast Service of Rice vermicelli

For breakfast, I chose the rice vermicelli which thankfully was quite good. I found it better than the supper served, which was actually supposed to be from the Business Class meal service. Cathay Pacific once again proves that some Economy class meals are better than Business class ones. Overall because of the empty Premium Economy cabin, my return trip to Vancouver was very pleasant and felt a lot like Regional Business class. If only the meal service was as good…

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