I flew to Shanghai on the amazing Lufthansa 747 First Class. After spending some time in Shanghai and the fantastic Intercontinental Wonderland, I then went to Beijing and the Great Wall of China.
From Beijing, my around-the-world South Pacific island hopping trip called for a flight to Taipei for a road trip around Taiwan.
There are lots of ways to do that including flying direct, but what’s the fun in flying direct when you take three times as long by flying Cathay First Class to Hong Kong and having a go in the Cathay first class lounges, The Wing or The Pier.
So that’s what I did. I mean, why wouldn’t you?
3 hours on a direct flight, or 3h 45m in first class followed by 4 hours in the first class lounge and another 1h 45m flight to finish. I could have got from Beijing to Taipei in under 4 hours but instead I left Beijing on an 8am flight, and arrived into Taipei at 6pm.
Naturally, I didn’t select the first HKG-TPE flight I could have taken, but made sure to leave a gap of 4 hours so that I had plenty of time to try the lounge.
If you’re new to the points and miles game, this might sound like strange behaviour. After you’ve played the game for a year or two, you’ll think that going out of your way is entirely normal. Especially when you see what’s in the lounge and realise that you can do it with Avios.
So what is in the lounge? Well look, this isn’t a Priority Pass lounge. It’s the Cathay first class lounge at its home airport. Should be good, right? And it is.
How to get into the Cathay Pacific First Class lounges
There are lots of options for Cathay Pacific First Class flights that you can book with Avios departing from Hong Kong, but what if you’re transiting Hong kong? More specifically, what if you’re arriving into Hong Kong on First Class but leaving in Business class?
When I was planning, I began by looking for a first class Avios ticket from HKG to TPE, but there were no options on my dates. I could get first class into HKG, but only business class out.
Well, the rules say that if you arrive on first class and have a same day international departure in business on the same ticket then you have access to the first class lounges.
This opens the doors for some quite cheap Avios flights to other south-east Asia destinations. When I booked, the leg from PEK to HKG in F was £679 but I paid 36000 Avios and £77.
HKG to TPE in J was a whopping £694, but I chose to use just 7200 Avios and £51.
This sort of trip is purely for the fun of experiencing something I couldn’t possibly afford otherwise. For £128 and 43200 Avios I got over 3 hours in first class, over an hour in business, and more than 3 hours in the first class lounge, and it would have cost me £1373 if I was Richie Rich.
I did wonder if it was a gamble, though.
My concern was that my 2 Avios flights were separate tickets, and the lounge access rules said specifically “on one ticket”. I worried I might encounter a jobsworth and be unlucky, and I thought I would be anxious about it all the way from PEK to HKG, spoiling my enjoyment of the first class flight.
Plenty of other people have done similar, but my natural pessimism kicks in anyway.
I was delighted to have that anxiety dispelled when I checked in at PEK. They handed over two boarding cards for my flights. And an invitation to the lounge at PEK. And another invitation to the first class lounges at Hong Kong! I mentally punched the air in delight, and spent the flight extremely relaxed and content!
The Wing lounge
The main area of the lounge is quite plain, but there’s no denying the quality fo the service and the food and drink on offer. It always amazes me how the people in the first class lounges look completely unfazed by it while I’m walking around like a kid in a sweet shop.
The Champagne room is pretty nice, although it does remind me of a bar I used to go to…
First things first, though. When you get to The Wing, you need to go and put your name on the list for the Cabanas. There are shower rooms you can get into pretty much without waiting, but the Cabanas are the bigger day rooms that are on a waiting list. Get your name on the list, and then you’re free to go and eat.
Cathay Pacific The Wing Dining - The Haven
Dining at the other Cathay Pacific first class lounge in Hong Kong, The Pier, has a very good reputation. It’s on my list for my next time in HKG.
In the Cathay Pacific The Wing lounge, dining is in The Haven.
The Haven is the main restaurant in The Wing, and it is very impressive. I had to try one of everything. Ridiculously indulgent, but I sat there sipping Champagne and eating one delectable dish after another, each somehow better than the last.
Top Tip: You have to try the Dan Dan Mien noodles. Wowzer!
The regular bathrooms and shower suites are very nice, but what you really come here for, apart from the food, are the Cabanas.
When your time comes and the pager buzzes to tell you the Cabana is free, grab some Champagne and head on over.
Cathay Pacific The Wing Day Rooms - Cabanas
The attendant will show you to your private room. You won’t be disappointed. The first thing you notice is the bath, and the basin just inside the door. To the right is a wardrobe.
Then you spot the shower. It’s extremely nice.
There’s a big mirror and a dressing table. The room isn’t enormous but the mirror makes it feel a lot bigger than it really is.
From the other side you can see the sofa, which is entirely comfortable enough to have a little map on, if you’re not already in the bath with a glass of Champagne and some music on.
If I was one of those people I saw earlier, who are flying for work and come through this lounge all the time, I don’t think I could ever become bored of this sort of thing, or start to think of it as normal.
At Manchester airport I enjoy an early morning bacon sandwich in the lounge, and that’s pretty nice compared to sitting out by the gate.
I’ve just spent 3 hours in first class in the air.
At the Cathay Pacific The Wing First Class lounge in Hong Kong, I’ve just had 6 different gourmet meals and now I’m drinking Champagne in the bath.
And all it cost was £128.