Cathay Pacific’s The Wing Newly Renovated First Class Lounge: Vietnam, Cambodia, Macau and Hong Kong Trip Report

Index:

We arrived at the airport about an hour and 45 minutes prior to departure, with a plan to have enough time to visit the Wing.

I much like the Hong Kong airport, from the entryway to the terminals. I don’t love it as much as Singapore Changi — there’s too much walking, too many bus gates, and not as many interesting attractions — but I do enjoy it overall.

First class check-in is at a series of free-standing desks on the far left hand side of the terminal. There are more desks and agents than there are passengers entitled to check-in there, so I’ve never had a wait.

While you’re being checked in there’s a computer screen facing you that displays the flight details that the agent is setting you up for.

“The Wing” is the lounge closest to check-in, it is just past security and passport control (an immediate left turn once you make it airside in order to enter the first class section, while business class entry is downstairs).

The lounge first opened in 1998, and I’ve been there many times before, I’ve reviewed it here, here, and here. But none since the first class side of the lounge had been updated so I was much looking forward to seeing the re-do.

One nice or not nice feature of oneworld, depending on your perspective, is that first class lounges (with few exceptions, like British Airways’ Concorde Room) are open to top tier elite members regardless of class of service. As an American Airlines Executive Platinum I can use the first class side of the Wing even flying coach. And on a business class award ticket I could use it as well. That’s great for top tier elites, but it also means the lounges tend to be busier than comparable first class offerings from airlines in other alliances.

Perhaps as a function of how widespread access to the lounges can be, most oneworld first class offerings are also more pedestrian than their counterparts in other alliances.

The old Wing certainly was, in my opinion. It was nice enough, service was fine — generally I would be offered something to drink when I sat down, but not again afterward. The dining area was sterile and food wasn’t anything special. The cabanas were nice but showing their age.

The redesign is a huge aesthetic improvement. Service seems to have gotten better, too, with more staff and waiters continually offering to assist throughout your stay. And the cabanas are enlarged, more functional, and more attractive as well.

The new furniture and lighting is an improvement in the large open areas overlooking the terminal.

The first section of seating can get crowded, as everyone seems to just place themselves in chairs or on couches immediately upon entering the lounge. Walk a little farther in though and I found ample uncrowded space.

There’s now an extensive, gorgeous bar that they can bring you drinks from or you can sit at.

Early in the morning I simply began with a cappuccino.

I had already showered at my hotel before heading out to the airport, but I wanted to grab a look at the cabanas. They used to be fairly narrower, but they feel much more spacious now. There also used to be an ‘outside deck’ with seating which was separated by a partition from other cabanas, somewhat like many hotel balconies are. That space has been fully enclosed to create a larger, deeper cabana.

This has to be the nicest private shower option in any commercial airport, I would love to hear anyone that thinks it has a rival. It’s certainly better than Lufthansa’s first class terminal shower rooms, for instance, and better than the cabanas in the British Airways Concorde Room at Heathrow.

The dining area is also larger, and more attractive (it’s now not just a square room). I’m not sure I like the food much better though, there’s more options than before. Catering is still by the Peninsula as before, and I frankly enjoy the food onboard Cathay Pacific first class more — which shouldn’t be the case, you can do more on the ground than in the air.

There’s both a buffet and an a la carte menu. Here’s the breakfast menu, click to enlarge:

The buffet was certainly extensive for a lounge.

I did place an order, the food was fine and I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet.

Even the restrooms in the lounge have been taken up a notch.

The lounge retains its essential classic elements, overlooking the gate area and out at the tarmac. But it’s been improved substantially. This is certainly a very good lounge, though it’s still crowded. I look forward to trying the food later in the day, and I suspect my shrugging of shoulders at the breakfast offerings has more to do with my general feelings about breakfast rather than other meals — though I would have liked a more extensive array and better-tasting dim sum options.

The business class lounge is excellent as well, I’ve visited before and highly recommend the upstairs portion. Here’s a peak:

Since we were leaving from the far end of the terminal, we exited downstairs through the business class side rather than walking back to the front of the lounge, it saved walking the wrong way on the upper level and then all the way back on the terminal level.


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. *off-topic* I have just noticed that Cathay cancelled CX889 from JFK to YVR on Thursday 3/28 and Friday 3/29
    Any idea?

  2. @R B – Haven’t researched it but I don’t know what would be driving that, have you looked at what’s gone on with the inbound aircraft?

  3. Hey, Gary. Glad you saw the cabanas. My Oct 2013 RTW included 6 hours in the cabana SIN-HKG-JNB It is Sweet!

  4. I was about to say…until you wrote it…that one should never judge a restaurant by its breakfast! Breakfast in general is just…boring.

    Was at new Wing last month for dinner and the food options were great, especially the a la carte mains and the desserts.

  5. Have you visited The Bridge? On my F flight a few days ago and flight attendant said it was the most recently remodeled lounge. Seems similar to what The Wing is like. But didn’t do much other than veg for a few hours waiting for our J flight to BKK – the hot water was out and they offered to give us voucher to another lounge that had working showers. We declined.

  6. @CW “one should never judge a restaurant by its breakfast!” and it’s important to know that hotels often have fine dining restaurants, and breakfast available in those restaurants, but it is never ‘really’ the same restaurant for breakfast (totally different staff, different chef etc).

  7. I was surprised when the staff didn’t hesitate to allow us (2 men) to share a cabana last month at the wing. Nothing inapproriate going on, but just sayin…

  8. Gary- They told me the whole upstairs is the first class lounge. Also, I thought the Noodle Bar was better for breakfast than the dining room if you like Asian food.

  9. Gary, does cabana usage have a time limit? Is sign up required or first come first serve?

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