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Cathay Roadshow Displays a New Level of Comfort
by Patrick Sojka - Editor Rewards Canada | Posted October 19, 07
On Oct 19, Cathay Pacific's Roadshow visited Calgary to exhibit their new cabin seating which is being phased into Cathay's fleet of aircraft in late 2007 and through 2008. Of course this meant a visit from Rewards Canada to see the new comfort offered by one of the World's premier airlines.

For the display Cathay had a large black 18 wheeler parked on Calgary's Stephen Avenue Mall in front of Flame's Central with examples of all three classes of Cathay's new seats, Economy, Business and First class.

As you enter the trailer you are greeted by one of Cathay's many attentive flight attendants and the first seats to sample are from the Economy Class. The seats which are quite comfortable offer adjustable headrests and to keep your space from being encroached upon, the seatbacks do not recline. Instead the seat cushion moves forward to move you into a reclined position. Cathay has also repositioned the literature pocket from the back of the seat to below the seat cushion to offer up even a little more legroom. Each seat has 9" Personal television featuring "Cinema on Demand" and a larger tray table for more eating and work space.

Next you move on to the new Business Class seats which recline to fully flat beds. While very comfortable and large the partitions between each seat do give a slight cramped feeling. Overall I do not view this as a big issue though as this is pretty much standard for most airlines offering this type of business class seating. These seats are fully adjustable to a 6'-6" bed and include a gentle massage function. The footrest for these seats is a cushioned ottoman which also provides storage and can be used as a seat for a guest to visit you. Each seat features a 15" personal television that comes with noise reducing headsets and features "Cinema on Demand". The bifold table provides, again, ample space for eating or working.

Finally the highlight of the roadshow was the new First Class pod. To sum it up in one word, it is "incredible". Whether sitting upright or lying down fully flat, this seat provides the utmost in comfort and amenities. One does not feel cramped at all in these extra wide seats which convert to a 6'-9" by 3' bed. Of course, just like in Business Class, the seats offer a massage function to help your body endure many hours in the air. For entertainment the pod features a 17" personal television with Cinema on Demand and the ottoman footrest also provides storage and seating space for a guest. The television can swing to a position where the guest can view it as well. Next to the TV is a personal closet for items such as jackets, shoes and other not so wide carry on items. When reclined to the fully flat bed Cathay will provide guests with duvets, pillows and pyjamas or as Cathay calls them "Sleep Suits"

You may be asking "will I get these new seats on my flight from Toronto or Vancouver?" Well you will have to wait a little while as these seats will first be introduced on Cathay's flights between New York and Hong Kong in November 2007 with the remainder of Cathay's North American flights coming online by April 2008.

Of course being in Calgary and having the roadshow here, I had to pose the question: "Is this a hint that Cathay Pacific will soon fly to Calgary" and unfortunately the answer is no. According to the PR representative on site, Calgary is a very important market to Cathay but at this point they will still rely on feed from WestJet and Air Canada.

It would be hard for someone to say that they are not impressed with Cathay Pacific's new seating as they definitely raise the bar for comfort, roominess and amenities for long haul travel. I cannot say what it would be like to travel in these seats for 14 hours but from my quick 15 minute inspection and trial, I can imagine it would be as good or better then many of the airlines now flying from Canada to Asia. So for those of you who plan on travelling with Cathay Pacific in 2008 from Toronto or Vancouver, you will get to enjoy the latest and greatest from this World Class airline.

To find out more about Cathay's new seating you can visit this section on Cathay's website dedicated to the seats: http://www.cathaypacific.ca/CXSeats/subdefault.asp

For more details on cities and dates of the Cathay Roadshow you can visit www.cathayroadshow.com. The only dates left to visit the roadshow in Canada at time of writing are in Toronto on October 24 and 25th.

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