Cathay Pacific May Go Ten Abreast in Economy

Cathay Pacific is not having a good year. Having recently announced their (sort of) abysmal financial results with a significantly drop in yield, passenger demand and their continuing hedging loss. Additionally, they seem to lack the ability to stay out of local tabloids, with controversies ranging from security issues to incidents.

IMG_0182Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-200 Hong Kong Airport

However, the one thing that Cathay seems to be doing right are their inflight hard products, especially aboard their long haul aircraft, and in Economy. We’ve ranked Cathay Pacific’s Economy Class seat as one of the best in the industry, with an impressive amount of seat width, an adequate amount of legroom, exceedingly comfortable padding and an impressive amount of storage areas.

This was especially true aboard their Boeing 777 aircraft, which currently still retain a 9 abreast cabin configuration, countering the industry trend to stuff more seats into an aircraft at the expense of cabin comfort, something that was especially welcome given that these aircraft operate flights that cap out at 16 hours.

IMG_0185Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-200 Economy Class

However, this year, Cathay has apparently been flirting with the idea of installing 10-abreast seats aboard their 777 aircraft. However, we’ve been told that the airline “had come to no decision” about implementing these seating changes. However, Cathay has told us in the past that “we will not be changing our livery”, before going ahead and “modernising” it a year later (in fairness, I don’t hate it).

IMG_0112Cathay Pacific New Liveried Boeing 777-300ER Hong Kong Airport

So, I wasn’t surprised when Runway Girl Network reported that the airline was testing a new set of seats, and actually inviting customers to go over to Cathay City and work with the new seats, which are rumoured to be of Recaro’s SL3510 line, current flying aboard Qatar Airways and KLM.

Recaro SL3510 Long Haul Line 

According to the piece on Runway Girl Network, the tester found the seats to (obviously) be much more narrow when compared to Cathay Pacific’s current generation of Economy seats. However, it does seem that the product team are trying to make 3-4-3 suck as little as possible and are actually trying to innovate with the seat by adding some extra padding.

However, no matter what product does to these seats, you’re not going to change the fact that 10 abreast Economy is an uncomfortable configuration of seats. You can add a champagne fountain in the seat, serve Caviar and Kobe Beef. You can offer an IFE selection that exclusively features blockbusters currently in cinemas. At the end of the day, the main reason people avoid economy is because of the lack of space.

IMG_0144Swiss Boeing 777-300ER 10-Abreast Economy Cabin

Bottom Line

I’ve tried to lean towards Cathay Pacific whenever flying longhaul economy due to their comfortable economy product on both their current longhaul flights and the future A350, as currently, they do have two of the best economy seats flying.

IMG_0576Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 Economy Class

But if Cathay Pacific does go 10-abreast, that will be a good reason to avoid Cathay Pacific in the future. I’m hoping Cathay Pacific does pick the right decision for themselves here, and by this I don’t completely mean nine-abreast, as that’s rarely a selling point for most economy passengers and the main reason people book economy isn’t because the seats are comfortable – it’s because it’s cheap. But it’s needless to say that I’ll be avoiding Cathay Pacific in economy if they do choose to go ten-abreast.

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