Flight Test: Cathay Pacific premium economy

Route Hong Kong to Sydney.

Aircraft A330.

Seat Premium economy, seat A32.

Flight time 8hr 50min.

On-time performance It's five minutes to midnight and way past this Cinderella's bedtime, so the departure, right on schedule, is a good omen and we touch down in Sydney a few minutes early.

Seat width and pitch The seat pitch of 38 inches is a good 6 inches more than in economy seats. It might not sound much but it feels roomier. The 20-inch seat width is a welcomed upgrade of two inches over economy's size and the recline of eight inches leaves plenty of legroom.

Seat configuration A two-three-two layout of just four rows (28 seats) gives the cabin an airy ambience. It also makes the best seats (row 30) stand out like beacons. They have padded leg rests and adjustable pop-up screens.

Comfort The premium-economy cabin is calm and quiet. Pillows and blankets are the same as those in business class. An extra layer of padding in the contoured seats acts like a mattress topper and the armrests are upholstered in leather. Adjustable head and footrests add to the comfort. There's a bit of magic engineered in the recline — the seat base lifts and slides forward, leaving me in a cradled position. Nighty night.

Entertainment There's noise-cancelling headsets, same as in business class; 27-centimetre personal screen and a choice of 500 TV programs and movies. There's also a universal connector for smartphones and computers.

Luggage 25 kilograms, five kilos more than in economy.

Food and beverage Champagne on seating and a bottle of water are nice gestures. A vegetable salad tossed with a little ham and mayonnaise makes way for very good beef tenderloin with bernaise sauce. There are vegetarian and Chinese options and the Haagen-Dazs toffee ice-cream is a fun way to finish. Breakfast of juice, fresh fruit and yoghurt, a souffle and a good, flaky croissant is no less impressive.

Service Premium economy has priority check-in, boarding and disembarkation. Our attendants are graciously efficient.

Flight frequency Cathay Pacific has three daily flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Hong Kong. A premium economy return fare from Sydney is $1660, including tax.

Online See cathaypacific.com.

Tested by Anna Anderson, who flew courtesy of Cathay Pacific.