Clearly Yelta loved her work, tirelessly dispensing orange juice and care to passengers all night, and soothing the fractious brat in the adjacent row whose mother snored on, oblivious. What a credit she was to the airline.
Check-in: Premium Economy passengers get priority check-in and boarding, bonus on a full flight from Johannesburg to Hong Kong.
Luggage allowance: Generous, with 25kg check-in and two carry-on pieces, ideal for shopping.
The Seat: Somewhere between the lie-flat luxury of Business and the tinned sardine routine of Economy, Cathay Pacific’s Premium Economy offers a seat pitch of 96.52 cm, a full 15.24 cm more than the cheap seats. The TV screen and meal tray folds into the immovable armrest so there’s no chance of turning the two seats into a bed – perhaps just as well since my Chinese neighbour who spent the flight watching reruns of Friends on his I-pad, might have got the wrong idea. My seat (30H) offered loads of legroom and thanks to the foldout footrest, it was as comfy as KLM’s Business Class seat. In fact, the seat is the best reason for upgrading to Premium Economy on Cathay Pacific as the flight between Johannesburg and Hong Kong is more than 12 hours.
The Food: I requested a vegetarian meal that was a tad disappointing, being a huge mound of dry white rice served with a few dry mushrooms and margarine.
Crew: Here, I encountered the nicest flight attendant ever. Her first name was Yelta and I wish I’d taken her surname so I could write a letter of praise about her to the good folks at Cathay Pacific. Infinitely patient and warm without being overbearing, she fetched me a selection of decadent dark chocolates from first class, and a few other little treats. Clearly Yelta loved her work, tirelessly dispensing orange juice and care to passengers all night, and soothing the fractious brat in the adjacent row whose mother snored on, oblivious. What a credit she was to the airline. Yelta, I mean – not the mother, obv.
Entertainment: I am not one of those lucky people who can sleep on planes. Call me picky, but I require quiet surroundings and dark rooms devoid of screaming brats, rattling trolleys banging my elbow and screechy announcements from the cockpit in Chinese and English. Fortunately the entertainment was pretty good. Think cool tunes, games, TV re-runs, Hollywood releases and art house movies on a nice-sized screen that folds into the armrest. Four minutes of ads before each gets annoying but hey, that’s what the fast forward button is for. The Premium Economy noise-cancelling headphones were fab.
Amenities: Flight socks, earplugs, toothbrush, and an eye mask complimented the usual blanket and pillow but best of all were the clean, fragrant toilets devoid of urine patches, thank goodness. It’s why I always wear shoes when visiting any public loo.
Verdict: Super service, great legroom.