The Seat: Compared to my recent review of a typical economy seat aboard Cathay Pacific’s 777-300ER, this one clearly is champion of leg space. It’s also not my first near-galley rodeo either. I spoke quite fondly of my experience watching flight attendants drop countless meal-time items at my feet while preparing to serve the gang in steerage aboard a Singapore Airlines 747. In this case, the galley is a little better separated from the seat, giving you more space to stretch out and relax even when the crew parks carts in front of you. Where recline is concerned, you’ll find that these newer fixed-back seats push your lower half forward into a recline position instead of the more common back-recline. This keeps you from jamming into the seat behind you but feels a little less than comfortable. As is typical with exit seating, You give up an ever-so-slight amount of seat width to allow for the tray table inclusive armrest. Your video entertainment screen pulls out from underneath the seat and is loaded with an impressive number of movies, full seasons of TV series (not just one or two episodes), a great moving map and an external camera (which comes in handy as this row is windowless).
Service: You’ll feel spoiled a little if you’re used to flying US or UK domestic flights. Cathay is one of the worlds 5 star airlines as rated by SkyTrax and service is a big reason why.
Notes: Electrical outlets are located under the seat instead of behind the tray table, as with typical economy seats on this plane. (Just so you don’t freak out when you go to plug in your iPod.)
Summary: Like I had mentioned in my earlier review Cathay Pacific has done a good job updating their cabins, most recently to their international business class and super awesome first class cabins. I still don’t like the lack of lumbar support in these seats, but do love this exit seat for the added legroom and little bit of extra spacing from the nearby galley.
Rating: 4 hops (of 5).
Strategy: Cathay Pacific offers “Premium” seats like this one for $25 on shorter routes (like this one between New Yorks JFK and Vancouver) or $100 for transpacific and longer routes. Either way a phenomenal deal for that much extra legroom.
How I got it: Called the airline shortly after making the reservation and checking the online seatmap for availability. Process was simple and took less than a few minutes.
Elliot on January 26, 2012
I have flown on many long haul flights on CX’s 77W and I couldn’t agree with Jake more. 54C is a decent seat. But If you want the best seats in the house, aim for window seats on row 31. Doors on row 31 does not have a slides attached so you won’t be cheated for legroom. Walls are just near enough for you to lean on. Also you’ll be seated away from the washrooms as possible among the premium seats (good if you have a sensitive nose). For extra comfort, bring a carry on luggage which serves as your personal inflight footrest. If 31 A/K’s are not available, go for 54C because 54A/K’s aren’t really extra legroom seats. Also infants will be seated on 54G (which is next to 54H). Otherwise aisle seats 31C/H and 54H are worth paying attention to, too (just pray there won’t be infants on board or anyone with a bad stomach). Not a keen fan of middle seats. But if I am left with middle seats on the sides, I’ll still take it. Hope this helps.
Jake Redman on January 26, 2012
Thanks Elliot. Wasn’t aware that there were no slides attached to the exit door in row 31. Great to know!
Patrick on February 2, 2012
Are the power outlets same as the ones in houses? Three prong?
Jake Redman on February 2, 2012
Indeed, they are 3 prong. Outlets are located near your feet in these (exit row) seats and behind the tray table of standard economy seats.