Previously, I did a trip report on Cathay Pacific’s Regional Business Class, where I upgraded to on my sectors into Osaka. On my return trip, I remained on Economy Class in the Osaka – Hong Kong sector, which gave me a chance to experience their latest Economy Class seats… And yes, it was the first time I travelled on Cathay Pacific’s Economy Class!
KIX – HKG
Flight: CX 503
Cabin Class: Economy, rear cabin
Seat Configuration: 3-3-3
Flight Time: 10.05am – 12.41pm (slight delay of about half an hour)
Flight Duration: 3h 36m
Check In & Boarding
The journey started with a rather frustrating check in, which I couldn’t really discern if it was the airline’s or airport’s issue. The terminal was very crowded and lines were long and unmoving at every counter. For a highly advanced country like Japan, I was amused to find that there was no self-service check in at Kansai Airport!
Luckily for me, I had already completed online check in, so all I needed was to proceed for the Bag Drop, which had a comparatively shorter queue.
My gate hold room was at some obscure location in the airport, which required me to go through multiple escalators and sky train rides to get to. I was tempted to say I “retraced” my steps when I first arrived in KIX, but I couldn’t be sure if I was returning to the same area.
Side note on Kansai airport transit area for departing passengers. Unlike Singapore’s Changi Airport, or even its Japanese counterpart like Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport, Kansai Airport is lacking in providing shopping experience for its travellers. If you need to buy anything, do it right after clearing the customs/security screening (there is none at the gate hold room, so there’s no need to rush to it). For my gate, there was only 1 small convenience store nearby, which one can only buy light meals or magazines.
One thing for sure, boarding was done in a very orderly manner, which I gave credit for the Japanese ground staff.
I got to board the plane first, as I booked a seat all the way at the back; I had like 4 hours of transit time in Hong Kong, so I wasn’t too concerned about getting off the plane.
Choosing Seats on Cathay Pacific B777 Economy Class
The best part was, I was at row 77. For B777, Cathay Pacific decked out their Economy Class cabins with a configuration of 3-3-3. Near the tail, due to the narrowing of the fuselage, the configuration reduced to 2-3-2 for the last 2 rows. When I read reviews online, the last row was not recommended due to “limited recline” and proximity to the galley and toilets, so I took the 2nd last row instead: 77A.
When I boarded, I found the verdict of “limited recline” to be rather misleading. There was sufficient space behind the last row for the recline; based on my picture, if they could fit an equipment at the base between the last row and the partition, the top of the seat should have sufficient recline.
Additionally, the port side and starboard sections weren’t exactly in front of the toilets. The partition behind row 78 was to cordon off the exit; the toilets were after the exit. The only concern should be disruption from the galley, which would be easily reduced with a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones and eye mask (for night flights).
Therefore, 78A/78C/77H/77K should not put people off, especially when you now have 2 seats instead of 3. Couples would love these seats and single travellers who love window seats have 1 less person to jostle over to access the aisle.
For me, the best part of being at 77A was the hope that it would be so undesirable that no one would pick to sit beside me. If I had the luck, I would have 2 seats to myself!
That being said, the “best” seat would be 77C, which was the aisle seat beside mine. A lot of reviews would caution that people seated at 77C/78C might be disturbed by the moving meal carts, especially as they try to manoeuvre the curve in the aisle in that section (as mentioned, due to the narrowing of the aircraft body).
Using science, when the crew had to steer their carts from the “lane” beside 77C/78C, into the main lane from 76C onwards, the cart, 76C’s seat back and 77C’s seat back would form a triangle. Unless you have wide shoulders, anyone seated at 77C would not be disturbed by the cart movement at all. Instead, you have the added floor storage under the seat of 76C (technically, 77C is behind 76B), though they removed the seat pocket behind 76C.
Guys will also be able to indulge in manspreading. Remember the triangle? You can manspread like a gymnast your knees be safe from any knocks. This is the only aisle seat in the Economy Class to spare you the luxury of manspreading!
The starboard equivalent of 77C would be 77H.
Enough of seat configuration.
The seats themselves suffered in the looks department. They looked plastic and uncomfortable, which did not justice to the real experience. They were definitely softer than my office chair. I couldn’t say much for the width, since most Economy Class seats on high tier airlines are more or less the same at 18 inches, sufficient for an Asian to settle in the seat. The pitch was the surprise. Somehow, I had so much extra space between my knees and the seat back of the front!
On the real estate at the seat back, the small LCD screen was at eye level, suffering from the afternoon glare from the windows. The coat hanger was at the side of the screen and the remote control to the Inflight Entertainment System was below. Even lower, we have the tray table.
Unlike modern designs which had the tray tables fold into half before being tucked into the seat back, the whole tray was rigid. When kept, there is a cup holder (with a rather sophisticated design, I must say) for the adhoc drink without the need to open up the tray table.
The sleeve pocket was below the tray table, which was positioned rather low due to the tray table. It was not partitioned like that on SQ’s. Below the seat pocket was the floor storage, which was huge as there was no foot rest in the way.
In case you’re wondering, the in seat power socket can also be found on the seat back, but the tray table has to be lowered. While it may seem a hassle, it is logical to have the tray table opened when using the power socket, since you need a place for your laptop of mobile devices when plugged in.
Inflight Meals for Cathay Pacific Economy Class
There was lunch served, which was catered from Japan, hence I chose the most Japanese option, which was the Chicken Katsu with rice. The chicken was not overcooked, but the cuteness was in the rice, which was separately packed into a paper tray, so that the egg gravy from the chicken would not “contaminate” the rice (even though I wouldn’t mind mixing them together).
There were no fruits, but soba was served as appetiser. Yes! The soba soy sauce came in a convenient bottle and you can pour as little as you want, without fearing that the remainder sauce would spill out!
The overall meal experience was refreshing for all the run-of-the-mill Economy meals I had!
If you ask me, Cathay Pacific’s Economy Class is still worth taking, though I can only vouch for it for regional flights (gotta try it on long hauls to know for sure!). Food on Cathay Pacific had always been good compared to its competitors and the seats were no less inferior.
For inflight entertainment, the hardware on the Economy class were nothing to rave about, with the standard LCD screen controlled by the remote. Like the older products on Singapore Airlines, the Inflight Entertainment System onboard Cathay Pacific’s cattle class was supported by a good range of shows.
It would also be good to be part of a program that allows you to use one of the airport lounges, since Hong Kong’s airport’s open areas are too crowded and a passenger travelling on Economy can’t use any of the Cathay Pacific’s lounges that were only open to First and Business Class.
I blogged about my experience using one of those airport lounges opened to non-premium passengers, so I won’t be elaborating on that in this post.
Fate has it that I got to take Cathay Pacific’s Economy Class to Hong Kong to watch Sammi Cheng’s concert shortly after my Osaka trip. Here are the meals that I had onboard:
Breakfast: Omelette with Chicken Sausage and Potato, comes with muffin and yogurt. The omelette was too dry and bland, while the sausage was too salty. The only good thing was the muffin…
Dinner: Braised Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Garden Fresh. Tender chicken that was well-marinated.
If you enjoyed this entry on my trip on Cathay Pacific’s Economy Class, feel free to go on and read about my trip reports on Cathay Pacific’s Regional Business Class, Premium Economy, or even Thai Airway’s long haul flight or SAS’s transatlantic flight!
Last but not least, remember to subscribe to my blog for more exciting posts on travel and food! If you travelled on Cathay Pacific’s Economy class, do share with me your experience too! Stay wanderlust!
The photos and videos were all captured with my Google Pixel XL.