CX B777-300ER econ­omy

HONG KONG–NAGOYA

Business Traveller (Asia-Pacific) - - OPINION -

BACK­GROUND

Cathay Pa­cific is rolling out a new econ­omy class seat prod­uct on its B777 air­craft as it tran­si­tions from a nine-across to a ten-across lay­out. A hand­ful of 777 air­craft cur­rently have the new con­fig­u­ra­tion, with the car­rier aim­ing to com­plete all B777-300s and B777-300ERs by the end of next year.

THE SEAT

The retro­fit­ted 368-seat B777300ER is di­vided into six cab­ins, two with 40 busi­ness class seats, fol­lowed by 32 pre­mium econ­omy seats in the third. The re­main­ing three cab­ins are filled with a to­tal of 296 new econ­omy seats.

The seat de­sign is sim­i­lar to that of­fered on the air­line’s A350, with the same trade­mark “Cathay green”, a 32-inch pitch and six-inch re­cline. I was seated in 52K, a win­dow seat in the sec­ond econ­omy cabin. At 190cm tall, I’m used to feel­ing cramped in econ­omy seats, but sur­pris­ingly I still had about two inches of space be­tween my knees and the (up­right) seat in front.

The seat cush­ion­ing has be­come no­tice­ably thin­ner, but for­tu­nately this doesn’t equate to less com­fort­able back sup­port. The leather head­rest pro­vides ad­di­tional neck and head sup­port, ad­justable by height as well as an­gle.

How­ever, when it comes to seat width, there’s no doubt that the space has de­creased in the ten-across set­ting. The seats are now 17.2 inches wide, com­pared to the pre­vi­ous 18.1 to 18.5 inches. This re­sults in a lot of shoulder-bump­ing with your neigh­bour.

A new pull-down shelf with cup holder, lo­cated un­der the TV, is the per­fect size to hold a tablet or for stor­ing small per­sonal items with­out hav­ing to lower the en­tire tray ta­ble. Lo­cated just be­neath the IFE mon­i­tor are ear­phone and USB out­lets, while a power out­put is also lo­cated un­der­neath the seat. When I did lower the tray ta­ble, I no­ticed I still had about two inches of space be­tween it and my thighs – some­thing I sel­dom find in econ­omy.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE?

Front row seats in each cabin have more legroom, as do seats 40C and 40H due to there be­ing only eight seats in row 39. You may want to avoid rows 42 and 72, as these are lo­cated clos­est to the lava­to­ries. Rows 56 and 57 are also ad­ja­cent to the gal­ley, mean­ing po­ten­tial dis­rup­tion from meal ser­vices.

THE FLIGHT

Soon af­ter take-off, the crew dis­trib­uted snacks and drinks – I opted for the cold Japanese oo­long tea. Din­ner was served af­ter the drinks. I chose pork rice, which came with a bun and cold wasabi noo­dles that re­ally trig­gered my taste buds. I fin­ished with cho­co­late Haa­gen-Dazs ice cream. Over­all, I was pleas­antly sur­prised by the qual­ity of the meal – tasty, in­ter­est­ing and fill­ing.

Af­ter din­ner I had a look at the new in-flight en­ter­tain­ment (IFE) sys­tem, which has also been given an up­grade. The touch­screen TV has been en­larged to 11.6 inches, larger than both the A350’s and B777-300ER’s screens; it’s now able to play me­dia in high def­i­ni­tion (HD). The con­tent library was wide-rang­ing and rel­a­tively up to date. The touch con­trols have also been sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved, with bet­ter re­spon­sive­ness. For ex­am­ple, I could use two fin­gers to zoom in and out of the 3D Earth map that dis­plays the air­craft’s flight path.

AR­RIVAL

The plane started its de­scent at 2030 be­fore touch­ing down at 2100. It was not far from the ar­rival gate to im­mi­gra­tion, and it only took me about 15 min­utes to clear the doc­u­ment check. My lug­gage was first out af­ter the pri­or­ity bag­gage.

At 190cm tall, I’m used to feel­ing cramped in econ­omy seats, but here I had two inches of space be­tween my knees and the seat in front

VERDICT

Pas­sen­gers are nat­u­rally wary of the move to ten-across lay­out, but it’s not as bad as it seems. Cathay Pa­cific has up­graded the seat prod­uct with small touches and a more ad­vanced IFE sys­tem, as well as main­tain­ing high-qual­ity in-flight ca­ter­ing. Though the seats are un­de­ni­ably nar­rower, the im­proved legroom, as well as other fac­tors, ac­tu­ally made this econ­omy ex­pe­ri­ence bet­ter than most. Va­le­rian Ho

BESTFOR...

Great in-flight ca­ter­ing and up­graded seat prod­uct

PRICE

In­ter­net rates for a re­turn econ­omy class ticket in mid-July start from HK$6,469 (US$824) in­clud­ing tax and sur­charges.

FLIGHTTIME

3 hours 55 min­utes

CON­FIG­U­RA­TION

3-4-3

SEATWIDTH

17.2in/44cm

SEATPITCH

32in/81cm

SEATRECLINE

6in/15cm

CURRENTROUTES

Hong Kong–Nagoya Hong Kong–Mum­bai

CON­TACT

cathay­pa­cific.com

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