Cathay Pacific premium economy fares revealed: 50% above economy

Cathay Pacific premium economy fares revealed: 50% above economy

Latest: read our 'world first' review of Cathay Pacific premium economy

Cathay Pacific has revealed the fares for its highly-anticipated premium economy service, and as tipped by Australian Business Traveller they're about 50% above economy prices.

The cost of a Sydney-Hong Kong return flight in mid-April averages $2,300 for premium economy, compared to economy rates hovering around the $1,500 mark for the same period.

(However, depending on the dates of travel, the lowest premium economy return fare is $2,176 while economy sits just shy of $1,200.)

Those premium economy rates are also one-third the price of Cathay's $7,750 rack rate for business class.

This near-economy positioning is consistent with comments by Cathay exec Alex McGowan, who described the airline's premium economy to Australian Business Traveller as "an economy plus product, not a ‘business class minus’ product... trading down from business class into premium economy is not the game we’re in."

Cathay's premium economy service will be introduced on flights between Hong Kong and Sydney, New York, Toronto and Vancouver from March 1st, although bookings are available only from April 1st onwards.

As Australian Business Traveller revealed last week, throughout March Cathay Pacific will offer free premium economy upgrades to top-tier frequent flyers travelling in economy class.

Cathay Pacific will naturally prioritise its most loyal Marco Polo Club members first, starting at the top tier Diamond Plus elites to Diamond and possibly Gold.

Also in line for a bump-up are Emerald-grade frequent flyers with oneworld partner airlines, such as Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum.

Premium economy pricing

Here's the average cost of a premium economy return flight in mid-April for Cathay Pacific's first four destinations, as listed in the global distribution system (GDS) used by travel agents.

  • Sydney: CX101/100 (daily except Thursday) – A$2,300
  • New York: CX830/831 (daily except Monday) and CX840/841 (daily except Thursday) – HK$45,000 (US$5,800)
  • Vancouver: CX888/889 (Wednesday only) – HK$27,700 (C$3,580)
  • Toronto: CX826/825 (Monday, Thursday, Saturday) and CX828/829 (Wednesday, Friday, Sunday) – HK$32,800 (C$4,240)
Each Premium Economy flight will earn CX Asia Miles at a rate of 110%.

Cathay Pacific vs Qantas vs Virgin Atlantic

How does Cathay's average $2,300 rate for Sydney to Hong Kong stack up against  Qantas and Virgin Atlantic, both of whom also offer premium economy on the same route?

For the same mid-April period Qantas is listing premium economy prices averaging $2,450 for a return flight – the actual prices are $2,300 and $2,600 depending on which specific dates you travel.

Virgin Atlantic's premium economy return fare is a flat $2,200 throughout that week.

Once Cathay Pacific releases photographs and other details of its premium economy seat, Australian Business Traveller will publish a detailed comparison of the full premium economy experience for Cathay Pacific, Qantas and Virgin Atlantic.

Cathay's premium economy offering

The premium economy seat is 19.3 inches wide with a 38 inch pitch (six inches more than CX economy class, so it's close to par with Qantas' premium economy) and an 8 inch recline.

Fittings include a large meal table, cocktail table, footrest, 10.6-inch personal television, in-seat power outlet, a multi-port connector for iDevices and extra personal stowage space.

Creature comforts for passengers will include a wider choice of onboard meals and snacks, noise-cancelling headphones and a large pillow.

The premium economy ticket will also entitle you to an increase in baggage allowance from 20kg to 25kg (for luggage allowances measured according to weight) or two pieces of baggage from 23 kg to 25kg each (for allowances measured by the number of pieces), priority check-in at dedicated counters and priority boarding ahead of economy class passengers.

Latest: Read our extenive 'world first' review of Cathay Pacific premium economy

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

15 comments

  • willb2107

    willb2107

    12 Feb, 2012 06:01 pm

    When 'we aren't business class minus - we are economy plus' is said, that sounds like a bad thing. 

    Wouldn't it be better to have business class minus, than Economy Plus?

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  • Al Glidden

    AlG

    13 Feb, 2012 10:33 am

    "Wouldn't it be better to have business class minus, than Economy Plus?'

    Not if you want to keep sales of business class nice and healthy, and thats where so much of the money is to be made!

    I think CX has done its sums on this right,like Qantas they should see a lot of economy passengers upgrading. I also know some businesses who have cut back to staff (except executives of course!) flying economy instead of business class because of the massive price difference, but when an airline offers premium economy they can fly that, so QF gets a fair bit of business travel in premium and I reckon CX will see the same.

    I would certainly be interested in CX premium economy, will be good to see AusBT review of this service.

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  • AirportAddict

    AirportAddict

    12 Feb, 2012 06:56 pm

    Premium get u into the cabin or is there no lounge access?

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  • David Flynn

    David

    12 Feb, 2012 07:31 pm

    No lounge access unless you've got appropriate frequent flyer status (Marco Polo / Qantas / oneworld Gold or higher).

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  • am

    am

    13 Feb, 2012 03:21 pm

    I wish they would unveil their new seats already... Due to enter service is literally a matter of weeks and we have so few details!!

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  • AirportAddict

    AirportAddict

    13 Feb, 2012 04:06 pm

    Yeah i agree. Most airlines put it on show a little while before it happens. I think they need to give a bit of a preview... it would also be good marketing as well.

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  • David Flynn

    David

    13 Feb, 2012 04:13 pm

    Agreed. I was expecting pics and final details to drop this week, considering that Cathay's website now lets you book premium economy travel.

    However, CX PR has told us that pics won't be released "until the end of February" - which I'll admit seems very odd! At the time of writing Premium Economy doesn't even appear on the CX website under Travel Classes, so potential travellers have no idea of what they're supposed to get for their money. Very strange indeed!

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  • am

    am

    13 Feb, 2012 09:36 pm

    And last year they said 'early-2012'!! Grrr!!

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  • David Flynn

    David

    13 Feb, 2012 10:37 pm

    Well it's still 'early 2012'... patience, grasshopper! :P

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  • David Flynn

    David

    14 Feb, 2012 05:01 pm

    Update on this: this arvo saw CX list Premium Economy on their website, but no more details than what we've already got and certainly no pics.

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  • AusFlyer

    AusFlyer

    15 Feb, 2012 02:13 pm

    Whoever does CX PR these days can't be too on the ball then. I've started losing interest in the seat and am really bored with the slow dribble of information that is coming out. 

    Why would you release seats for sale before showing anyone what they look like?!

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  • AirportAddict

    AirportAddict

    14 Feb, 2012 05:50 pm

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  • airtraveladdict

    airtraveladdict

    20 Feb, 2012 12:50 pm

    Yes the sooner the realise the pics the better!

    The pricing is definately a plus 50% for PE has always been my benchmark, I would never pay 100-125% for PE.

    I would be interested to see the pricing for CX PE to London, where the price hovers between $4900-$5,300 on Qantas (Economy $1,800), BA WTP $4800 (economy $1800), Air NZ $4700-4900 (economy $2,400), Virgin Atlantic $4700-$5200; Virgin Australia PE from Syd-Abu and economy to London ($2800-$3300); Japan Airlines $3000-$3800.

    Sometimes when you find Qantas PE fares for $5,300 to London, you are better off spending an extra $500 bucks to book a Business class ticket on Malaysia Airlines.

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  • airtraveladdict

    airtraveladdict

    20 Feb, 2012 12:50 pm

    I mean Release the pics! spelling mistake

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  • airtraveladdict

    airtraveladdict

    20 Feb, 2012 12:55 pm

    I forgot to add that China Southern also does PE, and they are consistently the cheapest at $2000 to London.

    But... I haven't heard many positive feedback, so I guess thats why its so cheap.

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23 Jul, 2019 11:17 am

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