Is Premium Economy really worth the price?
The flight from the UK to Australia is probably one of the longest you'll have to endure, and when you tell people that you're flying economy, endure is most definitely the word that will come to mind. But do you really have to just endure it?
My flight started with disappointment, I missed my hot towel and peanuts.
When you're paying for something the class system is definitely in effect, I previously flew premium economy with Singapore Airlines to Australia, promptly after boarding I was provided with a hot towel, peanuts (an airline staple), and a drink of my choice. However on this most recent economy experience with Cathay Pacific I enjoyed no such pleasantries, I did finally receive some peanuts and an antiseptic wipe, half an hour after take-off albeit.
The seat was pretty comfortable, yet a piece of the foam backrest ended just under my shoulder blades causing unwanted irritation on a twelve hour flight. I am a pretty average hight being six Ft one inch’s and cant really complain about legroom, I could easily stretch my legs out under the chair in-front, with the only fear being accidentally playing footsie with the person in-front.
Except for the hot towel, amenities, slightly better service and bigger screen, I couldn't really notice a big difference between premium and regular Economy with the two airlines.
When the trolley finally came along the aisle on my economy flight the staff were relatively smiley and as helpful as one can be when your restricted to a choice of two options of meals and just as limited variety of drinks, however on the second leg of my journey I discovered that there is a slightly larger selection of drinks that are not mentioned on paper or offered by the staff, only given when requested, sort of like a secret menu, at least the drinks I did have came with ice. My premium flight was the complete opposite, everything available was listed including snacks available throughout the flight, staff were attentive and overall friendlier.
The entertainment system on Cathay Pacific was perfect for its purpose of killing a few hours, the screen is about the same size as an iPad, the selection of films and tv is what you'd expect, with everything ranging from Family Guy to House of Cards in the TV department, backed up by more new releases from every country than you could throw an A380 at, as well as a classic western section I found pretty funny, it's a brilliant view at what the Chinese believe the west, particularly the Uk like to watch, a selection of all the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings films, along with Bridget Jones Diary and Die Hard. Beware however, prepare yourself to watch the same six minutes of adverts when you want to watch one of them. A selection of the films also have Chinese subtitles that cant be turned off, meaning that you may as well be watching them on a dodgy website. The experience with Singapore Airlines was pretty similar with a bigger screen and no subtitles.
My meal, chicken or beef, I chose chicken was edible. the starter was smoked turkey and potato salad, the turkey should have been in a sandwich not a salad and all I can say about the potato salad is dill, and some more dill. It may have just been mine but the tray table was so slanted I almost ended up with dinner in my lap on several occasions, the kung po chicken was as flavourful as a good ready meal, the jasmine rice was no Uncle Ben’s and the chicken itself was good, however it still eludes me which part of a chicken it was from. The bread roll and water were good. for pudding, strawberry Häagen-Dazs, although I’d call what I got strawberry rock, as it was solid and impenetrable to my inferior plastic spoon. The food on Singapores flight was better but you get the same on their economy service as their premium economy service, so the food is a company difference not class related.
I cant say anything about sleeping as I got none on either of my flights.
Overall my flight on both airlines was bearable, and the better service on Singapore Airlines made it as enjoyable as it could have been. There really isn't a massive amount of difference between economy and premium economy, especially with the sometimes massive price difference between the two, so if I was paying I’d just go with standard economy, spend the money you've saved on doing something awesome at your destination.
The Airline you choose to fly with is definitely a bigger factor.
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