Hong Kong – Manila in Cathay Pacific First Class — A continuation of “Cathay & British Airways First Class, Philippines and Macau, a Presidential Suite, and the Fat Duck Restaurant

Our flight from Toronto landed just a few minutes early, but that meant before 5 am. And Hong Kong is a ghost town at that hour. We quickly went through transit security and found our way over to the Wing. It opens at 5, but the first class side doesn’t open until 5:30 am. We waited and wandered — most parts of the lounge, the Game Room for instance, were deserted. But the main sitting room was jam packed.

Once 5:30 rolled around we went upstairs, and immediately asked for a Cabana. We shared one, which was perfectly fine, and in my opinion this makes for one of the nicer shower facilities after a long overnight flight. My wife and I aren’t separated, which means we can mill about and meander slowly given our four-ish hour layover. And there was enough space and in a tranquil enough environment (most lounge shower rooms are pretty antiseptic) that we could relax. I asked a staff member to bring us coffees, and they happily obliged.

The cabanas offer shower, bathtub, and sink area, and an ‘outside’ patio area with lounge chairs looking out over a man-made stream. The patio area has a barrier separating each cabana from the one next to it, and the stream of course is shared.

After an hour or so freshening up, we found a spot in the lounge itself, looking out over the gate area.

Immediately an attendant came over to take drink orders, which were promptly fetched. The lounge quickly filled up. It is, after all, open not just to first class passengers (of which Cathay has many at their hub) but also all top tier oneworld elites. As a result it felt like a very nice business class lounge rather than an exclusive, quiet oasis (the way the Thai first class lounge in Bangkok, the Asiana first class lounge in Seoul, and the Lufthansa First Class Terminal do — although even that last gets pretty busy at peak times). Put a different way, I never have a problem walking away from my spot and leaving my carryons including laptop in the Frankfurt First Class Terminal. Here I’m not sure I’d do that.

The first class dining room in the Wing is called The Haven, and had a well stocked buffet catered (and, I think, staffed) by the Peninsula. But there are many tables, close together, and while I was there most of the tables filled up. That made it feel more like a busy cafeteria than a comfortable, quiet space. So I decided to take a plate of food back into the bigger lounge space.

Soon enough it was time to board, we headed over to our gate in the 20s, and boarding quickly commenced. This time we had another 777, once again the aircraft had only one other passenger besides us in the cabin, and I took a center seat while my wife took the window.

Shortly after takeoff menus were distributed for this short ~ 711 mile flight, and it was time for the third (!) breakfast of the morning.

Juice selections

Fresh seasonal fruit

Low fat fruit yoghurt

Assorted cereals

Main Courses
Omelette with creamed spinach, grilled breakfast steak, chicken sausages, potatoes, mushrooms and vegetables

Dim sum served with chili sauce
[i]Chicken and ham in bean curd skin, pork siu mai with crab roe, seafood dumpling, mushroom and vegetable dumpling, port and chive dumpling

Bread Basket
Assorted breakfast bread
Served with preserves, honey and butter

Tea and Coffee

Once again I took my meal with my wife, the flight attendants installed the table extender and I assumed the position on the ottoman of her suite.

Unfortunately, my cappucino didn’t quite come out right, no foam and lukewarm. I didn’t bother with a second try at it.

Instead, after breakfast there was just time for a quick refresh in the oh-so-spiffy Cathay Pacific lavatory, and we were nearly ready to land in Manila.

After landing, baggage was first off the belt. We walked through customs and there was a staff member waiting for us with an Intercontinental sign. He took us out across the street to the generic air conditioned “hotel lounge” (the higher-end properties had their own designated lounges). This was basically just a room with several contracted staff members with various hotel signs waiting to head into the terminal to pick up guests or coordinating vehicles. A couple of minutes later a hotel Mercedes pulled up to the back side of the lounge, we walked out, our luggage was placed in the back, and we were on our way. It turns out that it’s a contracted car service, rather than owned or managed by the hotel, but it did the trick as we meandered around the massive airport complex and passed by the far off domestic terminal.

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. If you had to guess, how many square feet do you think the Cabanas are?
    Thanks for your reports, it is fun to experience some of these things vicariously.

  2. Third breakfast of the morning? Did you actually eat it? I hope not…unless the cabana also had a Stairmaster.

  3. What gate did your flight to MNL depart from? If it had departed within close proximity of the other CX lounge – the Pier, you should have paid a visit there as well. Speaking from personal experience as a CX Diamond, I personally prefer the Pier to the Wing – I adore the “enclosed” environment of the Pier, rather than the “open air” feeling of the Wing. The Pier is usually less crowded as well, as it caters mostly to the Oz/NZ flights and other regional flights.

  4. Flight was nowhere near the Pier, landed.. cleared immigration.. and took my onward flight near Wing.

    Definitely wanted the Wing anyway for the Cabanas. On my return I would have preferred the Pier but left from a single digit gate so used the Wing again.

Comments are closed.