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How Cathay Pacific Makes Economy Feel Special

June 26, 2014 at 10:35 AM | by | ()

We were very pleased with our experience when Cathay Pacific debuted its Premium Economy section about two years ago, impressed by the quality and presentation of the onboard service. On a recent trip from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, we discovered that the airline has also made a commitment to an even lower class of passengers: Those of us hunkered down in the back of the plane, right by the bathrooms.

It's not uncommon for airlines to roll their eyes at their lowest-paying passengers, but with a few simple gestures, Cathay Pacific's service actually made us feel like a human being despite the fact that we were sitting in regular old economy class.

The first - and definitely something you rarely see elsewhere - was that we were provided a menu, just as if we were sitting in Business Class or Premium Economy. Inside, it laid out our menu choices, providing at least two options for both lunch and dinner, as well as a list of the alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, spirits) that we were able to order.

We know some airlines put menus in the seatback pocket for economy passengers, but that's just because they are trying to sell it to you on domestic flights. This was unique in that the food and booze were included (international flight), and the flight attendants came around and handed it to you after takeoff, which, admittedly, made us feel a little special, or at the very least, respected. On most flights, the attendants will simply present you with your options over the loudspeaker or when they approach your row.

Obviously, we weren't treated to the quality of food that our fellow passengers were in Business Class, but Cathay Pacific scored again by providing us with real silverware and real dishes and glasses, doing away with the flimsy forks and plastic coffee cups.

These procedures aren't breaking the bank or reinventing the wheel, yet they went a long way in making us feel welcome and comfortable onboard. We've all been passengers on airlines that seem to view economy passengers as mooching inconveniences, and it was refreshing to see an airline go out of its way to take care of its customers. Perhaps other airlines can learn something from this, and recognize how a few small gestures can alter passenger experience in a big way.

[Photo: Flickr]

Archived Comments:

Menu in Economy Class

Cathay Pacific, Air France and some International still have Economy Class Menu and Choice.