Cathay Pacific now has a Boeing 777-300ER and a Boeing 747-400 flying between San Francisco and Hong Kong every day. TravelSkills reader AG emailed us for some help on choosing the right flight.
>>Please click thru the slideshow above- click on white circle with arrow on right side of photo<<
Dear Chris: I’m a long time reader of your travel articles on SFGate & TravelSkills. You provide some great insider knowledge of travel all over the world and I look forward to each new story that you post. I was wondering if you could do an update to the story you originally posted about Cathay Pacific’s updated long haul cabins.
In particular I was wondering if you could do an update on their plans on completing the swap out of their fixed shell economy class seating. When will that be finished for the SFO to Hong Kong route?
I am not sure if you are aware how horrible those seats are in long haul economy. There is no recline in the seat shell. This helped keep your personal space as the passenger in the seat in front of you couldn’t recline into your space. But the sacrifice with this design is that when you push the recline button, the seat slides down into the shell pushing your legs out and putting all the pressure in your lower back. Long haul flights in these types of seats are a nightmare for me and plenty of others have complained in reviews that can be found all over the internet.
I’m a frequent flyer on Cathay and I was elated when I heard that they were swapping out those seats.
The question I have is when are they going to swap them out for their twice daily flights out of SFO to Hong Kong and back? I read the Cathay website for information on the new Economy Class and I am even more confused. Some say only the Boeing 777-300ER’s are getting the new seats. But which ones? The ones flying out of SFO to HKG?
I have a trip planed for August and if they still have the old seats, I think I’m going to flip over to Singapore Airlines as my back will not be able to tolerate those old Cathay economy seats on another international flight.
Thank you very much. — AG
Thanks for this note AG! I think you’ll be pleased with the quick response from Cathay Pacific regarding recent aircraft changes on the SFO-HKG route—it now sounds like you have a choice between the fixed shell seat and the newer, more standard model. I’ve heard both sides on this issue… some folks love the protected personal space offered by a fixed shell. But it’s uncomfortable for others. I guess it just depends!
>>Please click through the slideshow above which illustrates the difference between cabins on the 777 and 747.<<
In any case, here’s what I heard from Cathay’s spokesperson Julie Jarratt:
Cathay Pacific now has the new long-haul Economy seats on our Boeing 777ER, which is operated on the night flight from San Francisco (CX873).
Regarding the 747, which is our daytime departure flight from SFO (CX879), we are not planning to replace it this year, and it will likely fly next year as well with the current Economy seats your reader refers to.
While we do understand your reader’s frustration, many customers do appreciate the fixed shell back, which generates extra space by preventing the passenger in front from reclining into your personal space.
The 747s serving SFO have been updated with a new personal TV content, a new Premium Economy cabin and refreshed business class product, but will retain the Economy seat for the foreseeable future.
Our recommendation to your reader would be to book CX873 to experience the new Economy seat.
Jarratt added that both Cathay flights from SFO to Hong Kong now have Premium Economy cabins.