Prior to our flight back to San Francisco in business class on one of the 777-300ER aircraft of Hong Kong’s flag carrier, my two older kids and I enjoyed a few hours in the Cathay Pacific The Wing business class lounge. Our November visit to Hong Kong lasted three days, and we had an amazing time. A business class flight home was a nice ending to our nine days in China.
We arrived at Chek Lap Kok Airport via the Airport Express, which is the most convenient way to transit between the airport and Hong Kong or Kowloon. Even though Cathay Pacific has a good number of flights out in the evenings and late into the night, the airport did not feel busy at all.
Neither did the Cathay Pacific The Wing Business Class Lounge. There were two agents on duty when we arrived, and maybe 12 people in the lounge. At least what I assumed what was the entire lounge. What surprised me was how small it was, until I realized (belatedly, as we were leaving) that there is an entire different section upstairs that is much larger and has other food offerings, including a noodle bar. Live and learn.
This review will obviously focus on the downstairs section, which I thought was the extent of The Wing business class lounge. You can chalk this one up as a travel blogger fail! Go ahead, roast me.
Seating at The Wing
Part of the reason we’d taken off so early from Hong Kong was to give the kids time to complete some of their schoolwork, and hanging out in the Cathay Pacific The Wing Business Class Lounge was as fine a place as any. I got them set up at one of the larger tables available in the middle of the lounge that seat up to six people, since it was pretty much the only space that would work for us.
Along one edge of the lounge are these individual pods that I might have chosen as a solo traveler, although the table at each a bit small. They do look comfy.
Surrounding these are wide armchairs with tables and outlets. The only complaint I have is that the large tables for six do not feature outlets, so I eventually had to move my daughter to one of the armchairs as my laptop charged. Other than that, it is a great space. Even if it is only one section of the lounge!
The Cathay Pacific The Wing Business Class Lounge really started to fill after our first hour there, around approximately 9:30 p.m. I was watching the monitors at one end of the lounge, and there were flight departures spaced evenly for much of the night, resulting in a pretty constant flow through the lounge while we were there. The departures screen is easily visible from much of the lower section of the lounge.
One place that wasn’t quite as popular was The Gallery, although it was very quiet compared to much of the rest of the space, which is supposed to be one of its features. There is also a business center in the downstairs section as well.
After we had a bite to eat, I got the kids settled in to work on school for a couple hours, to their chagrin. But hey, what else was there to do? Not to mention, we hadn’t quite finished up enough of my son’s work before he would return to school the next day. Or sort of the next day. We would depart very early Thursday, arrive late Wednesday night into San Francisco, and he would go back to school on Friday. Time zone fun.
Food at Cathay Pacific The Wing Business Class Lounge
Food is the honestly the primary reason I’m interested in visiting a lounge, as it saves us a bundle when we fly. It’s even better when the selection and quality are excellent, which is definitely the case at The Wing.
There was spring mix and dressings, a fruit salad, a delicious chickpea salad, and a creamed corn soup, if you were looking for something on the lighter side. Hot dishes included lemon chicken and pork fried rice. Missing was any dim sum, but there is some of this upstairs, as well as the noodle bar that I completely missed.
There are a number of soft drink choices, as well as beer, tea, coffee and water. I found the chilled tea in the cooler to be excellent. There is also a coffee bar upstairs, but there is no way I was going to pound down any caffeine at this time of the night. I wanted to be able to sleep for at least 4-5 hours on our flight.
Fresh fruit and juices are also available. All the food and beverages were kept well stocked by the attending staff.
The wine in the downstairs section is self-serve and located in a small alcove along the hall near The Gallery, consisting of three red and three white options, and two different champagnes. I had one glass of Shiraz, plenty for our four-hour stay in the lounge.
Overall, I thought the food and drink to be very good, and substantially better than nearly anything I’ve ever had at a domestic lounge, with the exception of maybe the Centurion Lounge at SFO.
The shower experience
Showering at an airport lounge is something I’d only read about until our experience at the Cathay Pacific The Wing Business Class Lounge. Showering after a business class flight sounds like a much nicer prospect, but I decided that cleaning up after a long day in Hong Kong before a long flight would be nice.
After all, we would be in the air for over 12 hours, arriving into San Francisco during the evening. We were basically starting the day over again at this point. I asked an attendant if I could take a shower, and she directed me immediately to one of the open units. I imagined there would be a wait for these facilities, but they didn’t seem too busy at 10:00 p.m. I bet it’s a different story in the morning during all the long haul Cathay arrivals.
The bathroom and shower facilities were immaculate. The staff maintains them well, and it was super refreshing to shower after a long day in humid Hong Kong.
I can imagine that this would have been even more refreshing had we visited Hong Kong in the hot and sticky summer where temperatures are 20 degrees warmer. Visiting in November was very pleasant.
Kids thoughts and departure from the lounge
This was not my kids first time in a lounge. We’ve visited a couple in Seattle and San Jose previously [SEE: The Club at SEA (South Satellite) Review]. I’ve done my best to explain to them that we won’t always get access to places like these, and that this isn’t the typical travel experience. While my kids had already figured out that our return flights weren’t going to be the typical experience (and that access this time was because we were actually booked in business), they knew the drill by this point. I didn’t hear any more of the “all of this is free??” and other similar statements.
The kids enjoyed the lounge, including the food and drinks, but honestly four hours was too much. They got restless. It didn’t help that I was trying to get them both to complete as much school as possible, and the later it got, the more grumpy they got. It doesn’t matter how nice The Wing business class lounge is, they wanted to go!
Finally, about an hour before boarding, I called it quits on the school. My daughter was totally exhausted by this point and just wanted to sleep. She’d have an opportunity soon enough once we boarded our flight, unaware of how nice it would be to do so in our business class seats.
Our gate had not yet been assigned when we arrived, which made sense; we were a solid four hours early. Once it did appear on the board, I was thrilled that we would be boarding at Gate 4, which was a very short distance from the Cathay Pacific The Wing Business Class lounge. We only had to walk a minute or two to the gate, allowing us to leave just prior to boarding time.
For most of the final hour I chatted with a couple who were on their way back home to England. We had some fun discussions about some of the places they’ve visited, and they had flown Cathay a number of times from what I understood. One thing they didn’t seem to be aware of was that there is a flight from Hong Kong to Manchester, which is apparently just as far from them as Leeds, to which they were flying one-stop through London.
The Cathay Pacific The Wing business class lounge is one of the nicest lounges I’ve ever visited. And we didn’t even get to see all of it! The food options, even what is limited to downstairs, are good, and they have a reasonable selection of wines. The pre-flight shower after a day in humid Hong Kong was heaven. I’ve read about lounge shower many times, but this was the first time I actually have been able to use one.
If you’re interested in other Cathay business class lounges, Dan checked them all out previously (SEE: The best Cathay Pacific business class lounge in Hong Kong Airport?).
If we ever pass through Hong Kong again flying in their flag carrier’s business class, I’ll be sure to visit the other section of the Cathay Pacific The Wing business class lounge. If the small section downstairs was enjoyable enough, I’m sure the apron-view seating and noodle bar upstairs will kick the estimation up even more.