- Introduction, Positioning Flight to New York, and the Hilton JFK
- British Airways First Class Lounge, New York JFK
- Cathay Pacific First Class, New York JFK – Hong Kong
- The Pier First Class Lounge and Cathay Pacific Business Class, Hong Kong – Ho Chi Minh City
- Park Hyatt Saigon
- Lunch at Pho Hoa, Ho Chi Minh City
- Vietnam Airlines Business Class, Ho Chi Minh City – Danang
- Hyatt Regency Danang Resort & Spa
- Vietnam Airlines Economy, Danang – Siem Reap
- Park Hyatt Siem Reap
- Angkor Wat and Other Temples
- Dragonair Business Class, Siem Reap – Hong Kong
- Turbojet, Hong Kong Airport – Macau and the Sheraton Macao Hotel
- The Venetian, Fernando’s, and the Ferry to Hong Kong
- Grand Hyatt Hong Kong Harbor View Suite
- Bo Innovation, Hong Kong
- Amber Restaurant, Hong Kong
- Cathay Pacific The Wing First Class Lounge, Hong Kong
- Cathay Pacific First Class, Hong Kong – New York JFK
- American Airlines JFK Flagship Lounge and New York – Washington National
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.
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