HKG airport - The Wing & The Pier F sections
After a short night at the Wesley, time had come for my first flight in Cathay Pacific First class. I got to the airport express station shortly before 7am and to my contempt found a counter dedicated to CX F passengers, where a professional agent checked me in and confirmed my pre-assigned seat 2A (which I chose because of the recommendations on FT). She also asked to see my ticket out of Japan, something they’re apparently trained to do. The train whisked me to the airport in no time, and I proceeded straight through security and immigration, enjoying short lines on both occasions. I then did what I always wanted to do: Turn left and enter what Forbes calls the world’s best airport lounge The Wing, and its First class section nonetheless! As I had not showered at the Wesley, I asked for and was immediately assigned a cabana. The cleaning woman (or is it “facility manager” now? ) took my boarding pass as a tender and promised to give it back to me should I decide to leave this sanctuary in time for my flight. I closed the heavy steel door behind me and immediately felt at ease: The jazz tunes in the background, the tranquil little creek flowing by, the granite panels that gently massaged my bare feet… not bad for an airline lounge! I took a long and refreshing shower in the shower cubicle, which features one of these rainfall showerheads that I like so much, and then freshened up using the spread of Biotherm toiletries provided. It was at that moment that I noticed that there was no comb provided and I didn’t bring one either. I was a bit disappointed as one would think that a comb is a pretty basic tool in a bathroom, but then decided that the only solution was to get dressed and venture out to find the cleaning woman who had promised to get me any amenities I might desire. And indeed she was more than happy to hand me a little plastic comb. But was I seeing things or was there just the hint of a grin as she glanced at my wild as uncombed hairdo? Be it as it may, I returned to the privacy of my cabana, brought my hair into order and then relaxed on the lounge chair for some time while listening to the jazz beats and surfing on the fee WLAN with my little notebook. What a way to wait for a plane!
As boarding time approached, I left the cabana, made sure to get my boarding pass back and then sat down at the full-service restaurant called “The Haven” for a moment. A waiter approached me and took my drink order. She also pointed out the breakfast buffet that they had, but she failed to make it clear that I could order items à la carte as well something I only learned after my return from another Flyertalker’s post. No biggie though as I wasn’t really all that hungry yet anyway and had a full meal on the plane waiting for me. I grabbed some fruit and a croissant from the buffet and returned to my table, where a sophisticated cover including wine glasses and a skillfully folded napkin had been placed in the meantime, along with a silver pot of black tea and the usual condiments. I enjoyed my little breakfast, but I sort of missed the privacy I had in the cabana: Being the only guest at the time, I had all three waiters on duty swarming around me and staring at me all the time that was just a tad too attentive for my taste. I finished my tea, declined the offered refill and left without settling a bill of course. I wish I could do that at other restaurants as well!
By the time I people-moved it to the departure gate, the flight was almost ready for boarding, but not quite. I wandered around the gate area a bit and discovered the First class entrance to the Pier, Cathay’s second lounge that is meant to be more convenient for pax departing from the “far” side of HKG airport. I asked the agent if I could have a quick look around, and after checking my boarding pass she was more than happy to let me in. The Pier offers more or less the same facilities as the Wing does (sauf the Cabanas), but due to its location one floor below the departures level, it is a lot less airy and bright than its sibling. This gives it a darker, sophisticated atmosphere that reminded me of an English club. I still prefer the Wing with its views though. Shortly after I had given in to about the fifth waiter asking me for drinks and had ordered a Cappucino, an announcement was made that CX451 to Tokyo Narita would now be boarding. I only had a sip of foam which was abundant on the nicely presented Cappucino, and then made my way through the F/C class line into the mighty 747 taking me to Japan.