HKG airport - The Wing F section
This was the first time that I departed HKIA without checking in downtown, and it took me a moment to locate the correct check-in row for CX First. Once I approached the counter though, a “roaming” Cathay employee approached me and asked if I was flying in Business Class. I smiled and informed him that I’d be flying up front today, after which he sort of bowed and pointed me towards one of the concierge desks, where a friendly female colleague of his took over while he started attaching a priority tag to my bag.
For those of you that are not familiar with the concierge check-in desks, they are a table with two embedded monitors, one angled towards the check-in agent and one towards the passenger. As soon as the agent had scanned my boarding pass, my flight number, seat, aircraft type, destination and the weather there showed up on the screen facing me, together with the current state of the flight (“on time”) and headlined by a nice “Welcome Mr. airoli” message. Love it! The check-in agent handed me my boarding pass and baggage receipt and went on to explain where I could find the lounge. I smiled at the prospect of some good time in the Wing, thanked her and made my way through security. After the famous left turn and the walk alongside the huge Cathay word mark gracing the lounge exterior, I found myself at the First Class entrance to my favorite lounge. I was greeted with a smile and sat down at the bar for a short moment, starting off my day with a refreshing Cathay Delight before proceeding into a Cabana for some body refreshment. Unlike last year, I knew this time that there are no combs provided so I asked for one before taking a long shower. The rainfall showerhead was heavenly again, but for some reason the water temperature and pressure were fluctuating these short cold splashes certainly got my circulation going! As I turned off the water, I started hearing two things in the background. First, some Viennese waltz was playing (more on that later), and second, I heard somebody singing in the cabana next door. While there is a visual separation between them, the cabanas’ open layout lets sound through. Listening a bit closer, I found out that the songs were French nursery rhymes, sung by a mother to her child. A bit weird I admit, but somehow also comforting to listen to them while leaning back in the chaise longue and watching silhouettes of businessmen with briefcases walk by on the other side of the frosted glass.
When the need for some breakfast made me get ready to leave my sanctuary, I noticed that the Blue Danube waltz had just started playing. Even before having seen “2001: A Space Odyssey”, this tune was always one of my traveling favorites and it always gave me shivers when played during boarding on OS flights. It goes without saying that listening to Strauss’ masterpiece in a cabana did so as well, and rumor has it that a certain passenger made some solemn waltz steps that day… I eventually dragged myself out of the Cabana and into the Haven, Cathay’s sit-down restaurant, where I grabbed some goodies from the breakfast buffet while a waiter served me a beautiful Silver teapot with my preferred blend. Thankfully, there were some other guests in (the) Heaven as well so that not all the waiting crew’s attention was on me (as was the case last year) I was well taken care of without being excessively monitored. By the time I had finished my first, light breakfast, boarding had started and I only had a quick peek into the Library before heading to the gate.