CX PE Worth It?

Old Aug 3, 18, 11:38 am
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CX PE Worth It?

Apologies for my newbie-ness, I've never flown CX before.

My wife and I are looking to travel to PVG from ROA in the near future. Historically, I'd book this through United, as I have status there and can get E+ seating complimentary. However, after flying United in E+ this year from PVG, my wife (a native to Hong Kong), insists that CX has a better soft and hard product. Therefore, I'm looking at CX for our next trip to PVG. Specifically, I'm looking at the IAD - HKG - PVG route. I understand that this will entail a 4 hour drive for us to IAD from our location, but I'm not opposed to spending a night in the DC area.

It looks like we can fly CX economy for around the same price as United (abiet we have to drive to IAD). However, for 2X the price, looks like we can fly CX PE. My question is:

Is CX PE worth the 2X price for a long haul flight like this? How does it compare to UA E+? Note that I will hit UA Gold before our trip, which means we'll have lounge access if we fly United. I'm assuming no lounge access on CX PE. Also, I have 0 status with AA, will a CX flight count towards FF with them or should I sign up for something with Cathay? We plan on making this same routing 1 - 2 times per year for the foreseeable future due to family in Shanghai.

Thanks in advance for any insight.
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Old Aug 3, 18, 4:34 pm
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1. That single trip will give you 26,700 EQM and 3,200 EQD with AA. Plus 17k RDM. That’s enough to earn Gold with AA (equivalent to UA Silver I believe).

2. No lounge access. There are decent lounge options in HKG if you have Priority Pass, though.

3. PE is quite good; lots of legroom and good recline. Much better than UA E+. E+ with UA is similar to CX Y.

4. CX service is better than UA. Service is hugely more consistent than UA.

5. Food is ok. Probably roughly on par with UA.

I’ve flown CX PE many times and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. Also, there’s currently a coupon you can use to get $250 off PE. Code is REWARD. Use when booking direct on CX website.

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Old Aug 3, 18, 6:23 pm
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Originally Posted by PSU08 View Post
Apologies for my newbie-ness, I've never flown CX before.

My wife and I are looking to travel to PVG from ROA in the near future. Historically, I'd book this through United, as I have status there and can get E+ seating complimentary. However, after flying United in E+ this year from PVG, my wife (a native to Hong Kong), insists that CX has a better soft and hard product. Therefore, I'm looking at CX for our next trip to PVG. Specifically, I'm looking at the IAD - HKG - PVG route. I understand that this will entail a 4 hour drive for us to IAD from our location, but I'm not opposed to spending a night in the DC area.

It looks like we can fly CX economy for around the same price as United (abiet we have to drive to IAD). However, for 2X the price, looks like we can fly CX PE. My question is:

Is CX PE worth the 2X price for a long haul flight like this? How does it compare to UA E+? Note that I will hit UA Gold before our trip, which means we'll have lounge access if we fly United. I'm assuming no lounge access on CX PE. Also, I have 0 status with AA, will a CX flight count towards FF with them or should I sign up for something with Cathay? We plan on making this same routing 1 - 2 times per year for the foreseeable future due to family in Shanghai.

Thanks in advance for any insight.
Have you checked out DL's new ATL-PVG flight? I recently booked PVG-ATL in normal economy because I had some DL money expiring, but I think they offer PE on it as well. Availability is wide open for the next several months, which leads me to guess lots of space to stretch out. I'm guessing that IAD-HKG will also be lightly booked in the beginning, but I mention the DL option because it would spare you of the drive to IAD.
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Old Aug 4, 18, 1:15 am
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UA's Economy Plus is not to be confused with Premium Economy for any airline which is a completely different class of travel. The commercial aviation world has been slowly migrating away from First/Business/Economy to Business/Premium Economy/Economy. Premium Economy is practically on par with US domestic first class but obviously not as nice as business lie-flat products. The benefit of PE is the cost where PE is likely to be 1/2 the cost of business class.

Is it worth 2x economy? As with anything money related, that is subjective. Is it better than economy? Absolutely. Whether it's worth it or not depends on a ton of factors.

For your other questions, I would second swingaling and moondog's responses. If you're going to fly CX PE, it will take longer to build up status with CX than AA so I would opt for AA. However, if you're going to fly economy, note that only the most expensive economy fares accrue any mileage to AA's program. For CX, if you want earn status, you'll need to sign up for the Marco Polo club which requires a fee to join. If you just want to earn miles, Asia Miles is fee.

On moondog's suggestion, I would say it is circuitous routing to fly from East Coast to HKG then up to PVG - unless you want to stop by a HKG lounge or your wife wants to breathe in some hometown air. Downside of routing through HKG is there are air traffic control delays on the mainland so flight delays are the norm rather than the exception.
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Old Aug 4, 18, 2:33 am
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If you can afford it, then yes.

As others have said, the PE product is different from Economy Plus or AA Main Cabin extra. Those are simply a bit more legroom but the same seat and food.

Cx PE is a larger seat, more legroom, and a bit different service. The cabin is also blocked off a bit from Y.

Coming FROM the US you may want to look at CX/AA business fares. There are sometimes some bargains and not much more than PE.

But PE is definitely an improvement over Y. Its not full flat but on long hauls it makes a big difference to me.
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Old Aug 4, 18, 3:36 am
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Originally Posted by hkflyer2014 View Post
As others have said, the PE product is different from Economy Plus or AA Main Cabin extra. Those are simply a bit more legroom but the same seat and food.

Cx PE is a larger seat, more legroom, and a bit different service. The cabin is also blocked off a bit from Y.

Coming FROM the US you may want to look at CX/AA business fares. There are sometimes some bargains and not much more than PE.

But PE is definitely an improvement over Y. Its not full flat but on long hauls it makes a big difference to me.
and theres JL/Nh that avoids the backtrack
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Old Aug 4, 18, 3:37 am
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Originally Posted by kaka View Post

and theres JL/Nh that avoids the backtrack
Double connection unless he drives 4 hours to iad.
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Old Aug 4, 18, 6:40 am
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Is some thing x 2 the price worth it?

Very good question, every one will have a different saying.
If you just want to get from A-B, no.
If you want double the enjoyment, no.... PE is still economy, you still surfer for overnight long haul.

However if you ask me, I will do everything I could to avoid flying long haul Y. And if I don't want to pay for J or F, PE is the only option and it is worth it.
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Old Aug 4, 18, 6:56 am
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IMO an exit/ bulkhead row Y seat on CX is better than a PE seat- Maybe because I'm 6'3". But it's worth looking into if you're booking early enough to snag one for an extra $150-200 per segment

Last edited by CedarSwampThing; Aug 4, 18 at 6:56 am Reason: spell correct
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Old Aug 4, 18, 7:02 am
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Originally Posted by Ausriver View Post
However if you ask me, I will do everything I could to avoid flying long haul Y. And if I don't want to pay for J or F, PE is the only option and it is worth it.
Well said. PE is kind of a ripoff product in many cases because it consumes 1.5x the real estate of Y v. 5x for J, but is often more than half the price of J. That having been said, for many people that extra $2,000 is a big deal, so PE pencils.
@kaka: I was thinking more about the NH option, and it occurred to me that NH 955 (NRT-PVG) is an extremely painful flight....unless they have swapped out the 763 recently.
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Old Aug 4, 18, 8:56 am
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Thanks for the replies all. Really appreciate the feedback.

I looked up the seat dimension for CX PE and as mentioned above, it seems to be similar to a domestic First seat. Based on the responses here, I think we'll give it shot. This will be my first long haul trip on a non-US based airline. Interested to see the differences, since I've often heard the service is better.

In the past, I've flown to PVG via UA's ORD - PVG routing, in both economy and business. The service has been mediocre at best, to downright bad at times. And UA's 2-4-2 business configuration is underwhelming. I'm excited to try CX for the first time. And the wife will be happy since it was her idea
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Old Aug 4, 18, 9:50 am
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Try to fly CX’s a350...2 more “ of leg room and bulkheads seem to be even more roomy. Service much better than surly UA!
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Old Aug 4, 18, 10:07 am
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Originally Posted by triplefives View Post
Downside of routing through HKG is there are air traffic control delays on the mainland so flight delays are the norm rather than the exception.
@PSU08: This point is often exaggerated a tad, but I dare say that all of us who fly hk-sh regularly have been scarred by 12 hour delays. This is a non issue when flying into Shanghai from the east.
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Old Aug 5, 18, 7:50 pm
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Originally Posted by boss315 View Post
Try to fly CXs a350...2 more of leg room and bulkheads seem to be even more roomy. Service much better than surly UA!
supposedly more legroom, but narrower seats on the 350s though. Same 2-4-2 configuration (with different seats) as on the 77Ws but with narrower fuselage.
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Old Aug 5, 18, 8:27 pm
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Be aware of CX's flight to PVG. The round is served by both CX and KA and the aircraft is heavily swapped to the last minute, which means:

1) If you book on KA (its regional arm, codeshared with CX on all mainland flights and way more flights to PVG than CX), you will end up on B (for PE W/R class) or H (for PE E class). Not sure how it affects your status credit with AA but KA doesn't offer PE, so you will definitely sit in Y.
2) If you book on one of the three CX services, make sure you double check the fare class. If you book into PE and ended up on a 33P (regional product) or 33E (ME/Indian Sub-con config with LH J but no PE), they may protect you to J. The rule is rather murky, but you can surely argue, the worst is have the fare difference refunded. And 2hrs' flight on CX's Y is not end of the world.
3) Have you also considered SHA (the smaller/domestic-focused airport of Shanghai)? A lot closer if you stay on the west side of the city. Only KA serves it though (so without PE) and must less frequency (2 flights a day on TUE and FRI and 1 flight a day on the rest) but less subject to ATC.

Just some thoughts from someone who does 20+ PVG/SHA return a year.
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