Hong Kong International Airport is Cathay Pacific’s hub, and the airline has fully FIVE business class lounges there, four for departing passengers and one for arriving passengers. What are they like? Is it worth getting to the airport early to chill out there?
Airlines and Aviation
After four years of careful planning, I acquire enough miles to fly round-trip from Hong Kong, where I live, to California, where I am from.
And I’m not talking cattle class. I’m talking business class!
One of the advantages of flying business class is having access to a business class lounge, where you can chill out before your flight.
I hate to rush things, so I decide to leave home early make full use of the Cathay Pacific Airways business class lounge at Hong Kong International Airport.
Or should I say ONE of the business class lounges at HKIA?. There are five of them, I learn, when I go on line to do some preliminary research for this post. So which one should I choose?
Here are the options …
- The Wing – near gates 1 and 4, The Wing is the airline’s “premium”: lounge;
- The Pier – near gate 65, The Pier is the airline’s largest lounge;
- The Deck – near gate 16, The Deck is the airline’s newest lounge;
- The Bridge – near gate 35. The Bridge has no superlative attached to it.
After getting my boarding pass, I see that my flight will depart from gate 45. So I’m not sure which lounge I should head to: the one closest to security or the one closest to the gate.
If I opt for the one closest to my gate, it’s a tossup between The Pier and The Bridge. I decide to visit The Wing, since it is closest to security and is defined as the airline’s “premium” lounge.
As I’m checking out what the difference lounges have to offer, I click on a charming video showing business class passengers jumping out of taxis and racing through the terminal to get to the business class lounge as soon as possible, and that is EXACTLY what I plan on doing!
Will I be greeted with a, “You’ve arrived a few hours early,” like the actors in the video?
The Check In …
Check in is a non-event. There is a short line for economy and no line for business class.
I would have checked in on line, but there were technical problems. But it didn’t really matter. I still had to check in my bags.
The Trip to the Business Class Lounge …
Early evening seems to be a great time to depart from Hong Kong International Airport.
The terminal is quiet. Not only are there no lines at check-in, the lines at security are short, as well.
Changing Money …
After passing through security, I make my way down the concourse. I ask where the closest Cathay Pacific lounge is at a security desk. I am directed to gate 1.
On my way to the gate, I pass several money exchange booths. I congratulate myself that I had the presence of mind to change money well in advance.
There is no need to suffer the unfavourable exchange rates at the airport!
The Entrance …
I reach The Wing Business Class Lounge. Unlike the enthusiastic welcome the actors in the video get when they arrive, I only get bored looks.
My ticket is looked at, and I am ushered quickly upstairs. NO EYE CONTACT!
I see a room that looks interesting and ask, “What’s in there?”
“That’s just showers,” I am told.
The Space …
There is another counter at the top of the stairs. I’m met by more bored looks.
Everyone seems more interested in playing with their mobile devices and chatting with each other than with greeting arriving passengers.
The Long Bar …
I walk past the counter into an open space with a long bar along one side.
I learn later that the long bar is eponymously named “Long Bar”. Shades of 1920’s Shanghai, I assume.
A few people are sitting at the bar, and a bartender is serving them wines and mixed drinks.
I ask for white wine and am asked if I want the Chardonnay, the Sauvignon Blanc, or “the French one”.
I start with the first, move on to the second, and finish with the French one.
There are lots of tables and chairs as well as several cocoon-like cubicles in the middle of the space.
I claim one of the cubicles. Then I walk over to the buffet counter to see what will serve as my pre-flight dinner.
The Food …
The buffet counter is divided into three sections. The first section has three chafing dishes with hot entrees, a soup, and several breads and yummy looking pastries.
The second section has both hot and cold beverages – including some premium beers.
The third section has cold items, such as fresh fruit, dried fruit, cured meats, cheese, salads, wraps, and sandwiches.
My Opinions of the Food …
I try a few of the dishes and a few of the snacks. My impressions of the food can be divided into four groups: the good, the bad, the ugly, and my favourite.
The Good …
I start with the Thai-style beef curry, rigatoni, and lemongrass white rice.
The curry tastes like no Thai curry I have ever had before, but I like it nonetheless. There are large juicy chunks of beef swimming in a gravy that is rich and creamy.
I go back to the buffet counter for a second helping \of the yummy beef curry.
The Bad …
After finishing a second helping of Thai curry, I go back to the buffet counter to try the wraps and sandwiches.
The open-faced egg salad sandwiches are yummy, but the wraps leave me cold.
Why on earth would a chef add kernels of corn to a mixture of chicken, lettuce, and avocado?
The Ugly …
There is mixed bean salad that looks quite inviting. With just one mouthful, however, I push it to the side.
I make great bean salads. Should I share my recipe with Cathay Pacific?
My Favourite …
I spot mini carrot cakes in the refrigerating unit. I manage my expectations, as they say, and give one of the cakes a try.
OMG! It is DELICIOUS! I make myself a double espresso and pick up a few more of the mini carrot cakes.
The Facilities …
I look at the clock, and it’s two minutes before boarding. Where did the time go, I wonder.
I’ve got long hike to the gate, I assume, and I haven’t even checked out all of the facilities yet.
I decide to take a quick tour on my way out of the business class lounge. I know from experience that flights rarely start boarding passengers when they are told to arrive at the gate.
The Noodle Bar …
Past the lavatories is a zen-like space serving noodles. There is an attractive cluster of bamboo plans at one end.
The Noodle Bar is less crowded than the Long Bar. I wish I had discovered this space earlier.
The Coffee Bar …
Past the Noodle Bar is a modernistic space serving coffee. It has a cool high-tech vibe.
The Space without a Name …
There is a spacious lounge downstairs, but it doesn’t seem to have a name. I double-checked the website but couldn’t find one.
This seems to be where the action is. I believe it was the space I was ushered past when I entered the lounge.
I believe it might have been full, which is why I was directed to go upstairs.
The Verdict …
Shortly after my arrival, I telephoned a buddy who asked me to call him if I got bored.
He knew I had been full of praise of the Emirates business class lounge, which I had visited a few months earlier on my trip to Bangkok.
As soon as he picked up the phone, he asked, “So how is the lounge?”
I said, “If the Emirates Lounge was a Steak House, this lounge is a Cafe de Coral.”
The lounge was nice, but it wasn’t as nice as The Emirates Lounge. It did, however, have more facilities.
Thanks to my credit card, I also have complimentary access to the Plaza Premium Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport.
Compared to the Plaza Premium Lounge, the Cathay Pacific lounge is definitely better.
I’ll give it one thumb’s up.
You Might Also Enjoy …
- Emirates Airline Business Class Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport>>
- Plaza Premium Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport>>
- In-Town Check-in Counters: How to De-stress Your Trip to Hong Kong International Airport>>
- A Passenger’s Definitive Guide to Hong Kong International Airport (Chek Lap Kok)>>
This is the third post in a series on my epic journey, 70 Days Across America.