Review: Singapore’s New Terminal 4 Cathay Pacific Lounge

Last week I arrived in Singapore on Korean Air. I hadn’t really thought of it in advance, but I was landing in the brand new terminal four about 24 hours into its operation.

In fact when I got off the plane I didn’t think anything of it, it’s the same wild carpet as in the rest of the airport. It’s when I realized that walking off the plane meant a long walk in a sterile corridor to immigration — rather than just walking through the main part of the airport — that it dawned on me.

Singapore’s other terminals let you arrive and walk off the plane, straight to the lounge or to shops. They have security at each gate, so you don’t clear transit security. As a result they don’t separate arriving passengers in different corridors or on another level.

Terminal 4 though, where there won’t be as many connecting passengers since connections are mostly inline Singapore Airlines connections, there’s a central transfer security point that lets you re-enter the terminal. Anyone flying into Singapore and connecting beyond either on Singapore Airlines or another carrier is going to have a less desireable experience in the new terminal 4. But otherwise it’s a marvel!

On the way back out of Singapore I was flying Cathay Pacific and had a better view for terminal 4.

I queued briefly for checkin.

Then I walked through immigration which was quick and automated. I used my thumb print, given on arrival, as ID.

Then at security I didn’t have to remove my laptop. I understand that physical pat downs are de rigueur when going through the metal detector but they were only using nude-o-scopes so no pat down was given.

Security moved quickly and spit me out at duty free. However I walked through that quickly as I was headed to check out the brand new Cathay Pacific lounge. Although there were still plenty of shops along the way, whether retail or food they were generally gorgeous.

How many airports in the world offer trees in the middle of the terminal, and comfortable complimentary seating to watch a big screen tv?

No time for that though, I was on the way to the lounge which it seemed would take me by the airport’s Peranakan Gallery. Of course it would.

Then I found the entrance to the Cathay Pacific lounge. I showed the lounge invitation handed to me at the check-in desk and I was welcomed inside.

Immediately in front of you is the noodle bar, along with ample seating.

There were other snacks and an espresso machine there too.

I went up to the bar and ordered dim sum and dan dan noodles. I was given a buzzer so I’d know when my order was ready to come collect it. And I had a seat in one of the booths so I could open up my computer where there were power ports.

After awhile my selection was ready, and while I’m not going to offer hyperbole about the dim sum (it was fine, good considering it was free in an airport) the dan dan noodles were fantastic.

Just beyond the noodle bar is a separate buffet. I didn’t partake in the breakfast, I much preferred the dim sum and noodles.

Beyond the kitchen were multiple seating areas.

The lounge has views over the inside of the terminal.

I didn’t have much time to spend in the lounge beyond having some noodles for breakfast, so I headed out towards my gate. More of that carpeting! How do they source it, so many years after the other terminals were built?

I stopped at a men’s room along the way, mostly because I wanted to see it. I know it’s brand new, so it’s going to be clean. And it’s Singapore, so it’s going to be clean. But it was gorgeous.

Then I made it to my gate. Supposedly they feature automated boarding with facial recognition but this wasn’t being used on my flight.

Overall I’d say that the new terminal 4 in Singapore is gorgeous, I’m happy originating there but I wouldn’t want to connect. And as for the Cathay Pacific lounge is was amazing for a business class lounge at an outstation!

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 InsideFlyer.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. @ Gary – this is very helpful. Thank you.

    You mention that you wouldn’t want to connect between Terminal 4 and the other three. Can you elaborate on why? (I frequently connect between BA and CX at Terminal 1, so my life is about to change)…

    Thanks again.

  2. Were you on the 0800 flight to HKG? I’m on it next week and I was concerned the lounge offerings would be a bit sparse for the early flight.

  3. Looks as though it almost directly mirrors the design elements used in the new LHR CX lounge – and to be clear, that’s high praise! I’d be happy to spend some time there any day…

  4. Flew into there on Thursday. WOW factor is certainly there. The luggage carousel area wall was stunning. I’m not saying it was worth the walk but WOW!

  5. Agree, Singapore is a focus city for Cathay not just an outstation, they have a couple fifth freedom routes from there I believe in addition to the high frequencies to/from HKG.

  6. Connected into the new Terminal Four from Terminal 3 early this week.

    Here is the process.

    1) sky train from Term 3 to Term 1.
    2) Find Gate 51.
    3) Doc check at Gate 51. They issue you a Terminal 4 sticker to wear.
    4) clear security at Gate 51
    5) go downstairs and wait for bus. 5 minutes wait.
    6) bus ride to Terminal four
    7).at Terminal 4 bus arrival area check in at airline transit desk for boarding passes
    8) Ride escalator up to departure lounge.

    It’s a far cry from seemless connections within the Term 1, 2, and 3 complex.

    I will probably try to avoid connecting to Terminal 4 airlines in the future, all else being equal.

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