CX B777-300ER economy
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 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.
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.
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
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
Great in-flight catering and upgraded seat product
Internet rates for a return economy class ticket in mid-July start from HK$6,469 (US$824) including tax and surcharges.
3 hours 55 minutes
Hong Kong–Nagoya Hong Kong–Mumbai