A Few Details of Cathay Pacific’s 10-Abreast 777 Configurations

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Cathay Pacific has long offered one of my favourite economy class products. Generally, the crews on flights are great (though I haven’t flown in Cathay Pacific longhaul economy since 2014), and I’m such a fan of the hard product, which is wide, nicely cushioned and well-designed. I haven’t managed to fly the seat longhaul, though I’ve flown it around Asia a few times, such as between Hong Kong and Jakarta, which I’ll review by tomorrow.

IMG_0186Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-200 Economy Class

Last October I hinted that Cathay Pacific was going to go 10-abreast on their 777s, which was a move that we were all sad to see happen, though I think most of us saw it coming.

I think it’s worth posting that Cathay Pacific has confirmed these changes and will start overhauling their aircraft mid-year.

a large white airplane on a runwayCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Hong Kong Airport

Cathay Pacific has constantly stated that they’ll try to assuage the pain in 3-4-3 economy configurations by adding as many amenities and added comfort to the seat as possible. Changes will include better padding (is that even possible?), reduced inflight entertainment box protrusions, and the headrests will be more akin to the new A350 economy class seats, which have “cradle” headrests that allow easier sleeping.

IMG_0576Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 Economy Class

Hopefully, Cathay Pacific will actually follow up with these changes and create one of the most comfortable products among the 3-4-3 777 economy class seats. I know that’s an oxymoron, but if you don’t try, you never know.

Seat Dimensions

SCMP has also outlined the dimensions of the seat, which are as follows:

  • Seat pitch will stay at 32 inches
  • Seat width will shrink from 18.5 inches to 17.2 inches
  • Screen size will increase to 12 inches (due to a different seatback layout)

“We are not alone. Actually, we are late in the game… But the overall customer experience is a lot more important than whether it’s a 3-4-3 or a 3-3-3 configuration,” Paul Loo, Cathay’s director of corporate development and IT, told analysts during the results release earlier this month.

Sure, Mr. Loo, but I feel like my chances of voluntarily taking Cathay Pacific 777 economy post-retrofit are going down the…loo.

img_4897Cathay Pacific’s new seats will be about as wide as Swiss’ 777 economy class

Increased Seats

Cathay Pacific’s 777s will be undergoing a net increase of a few seats per flight, but that can lead to about 4 million seats per year with all the 777s that they run:

  • their 4-class 777-300ERs will be going up by 19 seats
  • their 3-class 777-300ERs will be going up by 28 seats
  • their regional 777-300s will be going up by 40 seats
  • the 777-200s will remain unchanged and carry the same economy class product

In a way, I’m sad to see all these precious economy class seats on their 4-class 777-300ERs go in lieu of just 19 more economy seats, but I guess it all adds up to quite a bit of revenue, especially with the losses they’re making these days.

a row of blue seats on an airplaneCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class

It’s almost a blessing for those seated in Cathay Pacific’s 777-300 economy class, to be honest. While their shell seats aren’t dreadful, they’re not comfortable in the slightest…

DSCF6030Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300 Economy Class

Cathay Pacific’s new 777s will have WiFi

While I haven’t personally tested out Cathay Pacific’s WiFi, I’ve heard great things about the WiFi speeds. Cathay Pacific’s WiFi system on the A350 is pretty great, and charges by usage, so I’m happy it’s being introduced to the 777-300ER as well. I guess I’ll spend less time sleeping and more time working if I do end up on one of Cathay Pacific’s 777-300ERs.

Cathay Pacific’s WiFi System

Bottom Line

Ultimately I’m devastated that Cathay Pacific is shrinking economy seats, and will make an effort to avoid these seats in the future. I still want to give their new seats a try, though I really don’t have high hopes, and know that the airline’s reputation is going down.

However, it’s worth noting that Cathay Pacific just turned a couple of massive losses, and their planes can be really packed during peak season. So overall, I’m hoping that they turn a couple of profits after this happens, so it’s not a wasted effort that just makes passengers feel less comfortable.

Personally I wish Cathay Pacific luck with these new seats, but I doubt I’ll be a fan of them.


    1. @ Charlie – I think you’ve missed the point of this post. Many airlines still offer nine-abreast economy and I’m pointing out that Cathay is now offering less space in economy than the industry standard.

  1. I took this configuration 3 times from Hong Kong to London in the bulkhead seat, and honestly the padding actually feels more comfortable (not that the old one is not but)… and that the power port was actually working (the power ports don’t always work in the old seats), and that there was place to put stuff under the TV… but then again i can’t speak for people sitting in other seats so…

  2. Please name one Airline that still offers a 9-abreast economy on their 777. It’s just not a thing anymore. Industry standard actually is 10-abreast now so 1. you can be glad that Cathay waited so long to adapt to it and 2. you can be even more grateful that they compensate the narrower seats with one of the greatest looking economy seats thanks to all those amenities… Go fly on Etihad’s 777 for example and you’ll see what a terrible economy is like. Anyway I do share your opinion on the 3-4-3 layout – it’s not as comfortable as the 3-3-3 layouts you’ll get on the A350 or 787 for example. So I always try to avoid the 777 in the first place and go with A350 and 787 instead. But I’d still give Cathay’s new 777 economy a try as it simply looks stunning.

    1. @ Mike — I appreciate your enthusiasm, but you forgot about Thai, Singapore, Delta, Turkish Airlines…they’re all still delivering brand new 777s with 9-abreast. 🙂

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