Cathay Pacific has put for a major effort to improve the onboard experience with the introduction of new seats in all three classes of service starting in January of 2007, but it’s the coach seats that really interest me.
This is straight off the Cathay website, and those little numbers correspond to all their selling points. You can get the full list here, but I’m going to focus on the ones that really matter.
First of all, numbers 1 and 3 are closely related. These new seats are what they call “fixed” design. That means that the seat never moves into another person’s “living space.” For example, when you recline the seat, it doesn’t just go back, the seat actually reclines into the shell and the front of the seat slides forward a bit as well. This may reduce legroom a little, but you can fully recline without bothering the person behind you. More importantly, the person in front of you can fully recline without bothering you!
Number 5 is also interesting in that it’s the first economy seat with a three point seat belt. That’s pretty different and might feel constricting, but they say that you can modify it to be only a lap belt during the flight itself.
The last thing that really impresses me is the seat back pocket (#7). You can plainly see that the pocket is no longer in the back of the seat in front of you, it’s underneath your legs. This does several things. If you have a lot of stuff in the pocket, it will not longer stop you from opening the tray table. It also will give you an inch or two of extra legroom. Lastly, if someone sticks their bag under your seat, it won’t poke out the front into the back of your legs.
It’s a pretty sweet design and includes all the other bells and whistles you’d expect like moving headrests and big video screens. It even has a built in coat hook in the seatback. Hopefully others will adopt it as well.