Airlines that offer a strong ground experience usually do so in their home markets, and sometimes to a lesser extent in a few key other markets, but rarely in outstations. And rarely in the United States.
There are a handful of good lounges operated by airlines in the US such as the Qantas first class lounge at LAX and Lufthansa’s at JFK. But even lounges offered by airlines with good international reputations usually underwhelm in the U.S. — such as the Singapore Airlines lounge in San Francisco.
Joe Brancatelli’s subscription newsletter reports that Cathay Pacific plans to substantially improve its lounge offerings in North America. Cathay Pacific’s new Senior Vice President for North America Philippe Lacamp has a charge to bring the experience here up to the standards of Asia (though I doubt that will happen, any improvement is welcome).
Making sure Cathay is as good here as it is in its hometown of Hong Kong. “We pride ourselves on the delivery of service. We’ve set a benchmark in Hong Kong and we don’t want to be sub-optimal in North America,” he told me. Besides, he said, “we’re not a low-cost operation. We’ll lose if we are viewed as a commodity airline.”
Here’s what we can expect:
- The overcrowded San Francisco club — which does feature a noodle bar — goes from 5500 square feet to 9000 square feet this month.
New features will include a self-service deli counter, an espresso bar manned by a dedicated barista and three more shower suites.
- There will be a new lounge in Vancouver.
- He acknowledges the British Airways lounges at New York JFK are awful (According to Joe, Lecamp says he’s “looking for opportunities.”)
British Airways First Class Lounge, New York JFK… Isn’t Actually Used By BA First Class Passengers Since There’s a Concorde Room
Cathay Pacific has quality lounges in Hong Kong but isn’t known as a top carrier for ground service generally. But any improvements are welcome, and could spur competitive pressure although lounge work — as anything involving airports — takes longer than it should.