- 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 like the Hong Kong airport a lot. It’s generally bright, there are great amenities, and I love all the different planes taking off and landing from there that I don’t see at home on a regular basis.
Plus, from a connecting perspective, transfer security is usually pretty quick. I’ve never waited more than a couple of minutes in line for security screening, and I don’t have to take off my shoes.
What I don’t like though is the walking. I’ve come into where it’s a 10 minute walk to the nearest transfer point. Fortunately this time was closer. But once through the transfer, and up a level to departures, it can also be quite a long walk across the terminal. I was going to be leaving from a gate in the 40s, and the nearest lounge would be The Pier which is not far off in the low 60s.
The Wing is certainly the preferred lounge for an arriving first class passenger who could use its recently renovated first class side — or for a top tier elite member of a oneworld frequent flyer program (I’m currently both an American Executive Platinum and a British Airways Gold, though my BA status will be downgraded soon). oneworld top tier elites can use first class lounges of member airlines when flying same-day with the alliance (although American’s members do not get lounge access on domestic itineraries, and there are excepted lounges — British Airways has first class lounges that such members can use, but their Concorde Room is off limits).
However the Wing is close to immigration and gates 1-4, and I would be departing from the other end of the airport. So I headed over to the Pier, the better to be able to leave the lounge closer to flight departure time.
The Pier is downstairs, at tarmac level.
The Pier’s business class side has been renovated, and the first class section is getting a facelift currently. The last time I visited the Pier the first class side was simply closed. (Here’s the old first class Pier lounge.) This time there was a set-aside special seating area for first class, where they offered menu service and ample seating for the modest demand.
After having a look at where I’d be situated, I decided to walk to the other end of the (business class) lounge for a shower. I was immediately shown into a shower room, which was stylish and stocked with what I’d need.
The only issue? Cold water. Very cold water that didn’t warm up until I had given up, taken my shower, and was nearly done. At least it helped wake me up. I didn’t have this problem the last time I showered at the Pier.
Back through the more crowded business class section:
And to the relatively empty first class roped-off area.
The first class side had its own modest buffet area, though of course you could use the full buffet in the business class section.
I didn’t eat anything, from the buffet or off the menu. Once I had showered I only had a short bit of time to catch up on email after 16 hours without responding to messages. Then I headed off to my gate, which was nearly ready for boarding.
When I headed through the gate my boarding pass buzzed. They had new passes to offer because there had been an aircraft swap. I was actually disappointed by this — I was slated to try out Cathay’s new regional business product for the first time, so a swap to a different configuration wouldn’t give me that chance.
But I did have a good product to try — long haul business in fact for the short hop to Ho Chi Minh City.
There wasn’t much to the short flight. Taxi was fairly quick, we were shown the safety video, and our time in the air would be marked by a meal service and an opportunity for some quick scanning of the StudioCX entertainment system.
I was asked my meal choice ahead of the rest of the cabin, which is something I’ve seen Cathay do in the past — presumably they’re recognizing top tier oneworld elite status with meal priority to make sure I get my first choice of Thai green curry chicken.
Dessert followed, a small container of ice cream.
I spent about 30 more minutes watching television after the meal was cleared, and then it was time to shut down to prepare for landing around 6pm.
Clearing immigration was quick and I was out of the airport in not more than 20 minutes or so.