- 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
I left the Hilton JFK on their 7am shuttle for my 9:05am Cathay Pacific departure, and after making several stops to drop off other passengers arrived at terminal 7 around 7:15am.
While the revamped Delta operation at JFK is a favorite, especially the terminal 4 Skyclub with the outside deck, terminal 7 is actually my favorite because it’s just small and manageable. There’s no better place to arrive at off an international flight, because (unless there’s a huge backup at immigration, which can be mitigated with Global Entry), you’re just out quickly.
Cathay Pacific does premium check-in at the far left side of the terminal, alongside British Airways premium check-in. There’s a lounge seating area just in front of the check-in desks and there’s a premium security line right there.
Qantas leaves from here and so does United, Air Canada, and ANA. It’s an odd combination of airlines, and there’s British Airways lounges and also a United Club.
Check-in was completely reasonably fast, with bags checked through to Ho Chi Minh City. The agent checked for Vietnam visa, and issued lounge invitations for JFK and for Hong Kong — a practice that I understand for third party contract lounges (using the invitations for accounting purposes when billing airlines by the passenger) but not so much for oneworld partners or when using an airline’s own lounge. Cathay’s lounges in Hong Kong will admit you based on your boarding pass. The invitation is extraneous.
It was time to head into the terminal, and the premium security line is just 180 degrees behind you after you’ve checked in. I especially like that line. It’s almost as good as PreCheck, there’s no nude-o-scope because there’s simply no room. It’s on an uphill slope, just one line, but I’ve never seen it busy. You’re through quickly.
British Airways actually has three separate lounges at JFK — a Concorde Room for their own first class passengers, a first class lounge which won’t then have any of their first class passengers and as a result has partner first class passengers and oneworld top tier elites, and a business class lounge.
As a Cathay Pacific first class passenger (and a oneworld emerald on two airlines) I had access to the first class lounge, which I’ve visited several times in the past. It’s called a first class lounge, but it really isn’t one, it’s an elite lounge and is adorned accordingly.
The lounge is reasonably well-provisioned. At breakfast time there’s fruit and cereal and yogurt and breads plus smoked salmon. There’s not a more substantial hot buffet, however. There are reasonably premium self-service liquors and there’s plenty of seating, but it’s not a bright, airy lounge and there’s no service to speak of. In other words, it’s great by US domestic lounge standards but it’s entirely unimpressive as an international first class offering.
I made myself a coffee, and not having had breakfast toasted a miniature bagel and had it with some lox while I logged on and scheduled a couple of blog posts to go live during my pending 15 hour flight without internet. All in all I spent about an hour in the lounge writing and responding to emails before heading over to the gate, by way of Starbucks which is on the way (my third coffee of the morning).
All things considered, had I not woken up before my alarm at the Hilton I’d have been happy taking a slightly later shuttle departure as there’s no reason to arrive at JFK early for this lounge. But I was happy for the productive time there for sure.