Cathay Pacific premium economy class to offer free Champagne

Cathay Pacific premium economy class to offer free Champagne

The carrier's new seats will also be wider, comfier, with bigger pillows and priority boarding privileges
Cathay Pacific new premium economy class
New premium economy class -- a lesser version of business class (left) and an upgrade from economy (right).

Cathay Pacific has released the details of its premium economy class seats -- first announced last year -- that come with free Champagne, tastier meals, more leg room and bigger pillows.

The tickets will sell for around 30 percent more than regular economy tickets according to a report in Hong Kong newspaper Mingpao. Cathay Pacific did not confirm the price details at the time of writing. 

The new class will be available for booking soon for flights departing from April, initially on the Sydney, Toronto, Vancouver and New York routes and followed by all Cathay's other long-haul and medium-haul routes to and from North America, Europe, Australia and the Middle East.

The company aims to fit 87 aircraft with the product by the end of 2013. 

“Premium economy will be a real upgrade over economy, and passengers will get great value for a great product," said Cathay Pacific chief executive John Slosar. 

"The seat will have a generous recline and plenty of legroom, and passengers will also enjoy improved service and many other extras." 

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The new seat will be wider, with a bigger recline position, and its pitch will measure 38 inches -- six inches more than economy class.

It will also include a larger meal table, cocktail table, footrest, personal television, personal stowage space and bigger pillows.

Premium economy passengers will also enjoy priority check-in and boarding as well as greater baggage allowance -- 25 kilos rather than 20.

While on board, the ride will be eased with offerings of complimentary juice, Champagne, wider snack choices and finer on-board meal selections. 

Economy passengers are not left out 

While being shuffled even further down the pecking order, economy passengers will also find improvements on board from March 2012.

New seats will be wider with a cradle mechanism to offer a more comfortable recline position, and will feature latest touch-screen personal televisions.

The new economy seats will be equipped with a USB outlet and an iPod/iPhone outlet for passengers to connect their own mobile devices to the personal televisions. 

The first flights fitted with the new economy seats will be long-haul routes to Sydney and Toronto.

By the end of next year, more than 60 Boeing 777-300ERs and Airbus 330-300s will be equipped with the new economy seats. Seats on older aircraft like the Boeing 747 and Airbus A340 won't be replaced, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Hiufu Wong is CNN Travel's staff writer.

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