China - Hong Kong
Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA)
- Dining is a delight at The Haven
- There's a room dedicated to Champagne
- Some travellers prefer The Pier's more modern style
- No spa, unlike The Pier
- Bag a Cabana, and you'll forget you're in an airport
International travel restrictions have placed Hong Kong 'off limits' for many flyers, but those who do make the journey have one of the world's best lounges to look forward to.
Cathay Pacific's The Wing First Class Lounge stands ready now, and will soon be home to top-tier travellers departing on Qantas flights from 2022, as those restrictions ease.
Location & Impressions
After clearing outbound security and passport control, make a sharp left, and follow the corridor towards The Wing First Class.
The lounge sits directly above gates 1-4 at Hong Kong International Airport, but up on the same level as passport control, rather than by those boarding gates.
That location affords it great views across the airport, with plenty of natural light flowing through the massive floor-to-ceiling windows.
Step inside, and you'll first pass the Champagne Bar – a good reminder that you've arrived at one of the world's best airport lounges.
Continuing with that premium feel, you can keep an eye on the time courtesy of the oversized Omega Seamaster nearby.
The Wing has plenty to explore, and you'll find signage throughout to point you in the right direction.
Being a first class lounge, the seats aren't all squashed together – as is more common of many business class lounges – with passengers having plenty of space around them, even before COVID-19 came along.
Editor's note: Lounge visits for this review took place prior to COVID-19 travel restrictions, although every effort has been made to provide the most up-to-date information.
The Wing First Class normally caters to Cathay Pacific and Oneworld first class flyers, Marco Polo Club Diamond members, and other Oneworld Emerald frequent flyers, like Qantas Platinum.
But for now, things have changed.
As at September 2021, The Wing First Class is open to all Cathay and Oneworld lounge-eligible passengers departing Hong Kong.
This includes not just the top-tier travellers above, but also business class guests, Oneworld Sapphire cardholders, and Marco Polo Club Gold and Silver members.
All lounge-eligible passengers who are instead transiting Hong Kong – that is, connecting from one flight directly onto another – are directed to The Wing Business Class on the level below, to keep these groups of passengers separate.
With the lounge's Champagne Bar just behind reception, begin your journey with a glass of bubbles – the choice is yours.
As selections vary from time to time, it's a great opportunity to sample a sip of each, before choosing your favourite for a larger pour.
Continuing through the lounge, you'll find a variety of food and beverage nooks, each with a different twist. Fancy a barista-made coffee? Cathay has you covered.
That barista counter is separate to The Coffee Loft – where you'll find similar brews – with plenty of natural light to help wake you up for a morning departure.
When local regulations permit, a small snack counter isn't far away, with a selection of sweet treats to pair with your coffee.
That's also where you'll find refreshments like sparkling water, juices and soft drinks, as well as beer, wine and Champagne.
Fancy something else – perhaps a cocktail?
The tended bar is well-stocked, with staff ready to assist.
Being an early afternoon visit, an Aperol Spritz was a refreshingly light choice.
For snacks, the buffet counter provides tasty pastries such as mini quiches, puffs, and Chinese cakes.
They're next to a salad bar, adding cured meats to the menu.
While those buffet snacks are fresh and tasty, the real highlight here is 'The Haven' – the lounge's signature restaurant.
Offering table service, guests can select from a variety of tasty dishes, and a full beverage menu.
While described on the menu as 'mains', portion sizes are more starter-sized, which allows you to enjoy more than one item without filling up: or, to save some room for your flight.
As in The Pier First Class – when it's open, of course – it's hard to go past the Shanghainese-style dan dan mien noodles, served in a spicy and fragrant peanut sauce.
It's a real signature of Cathay's, and a dish that easily brings back memories of travel – particularly to Shanghai.
For something a little lighter, try the beautiful pan-fried halibut fillet, served with caramelised fennel, tomato, and olive salsa.
While dishes change from time to time, service during this visit was quick and efficient, recognising that travellers are dining on a schedule.
If your lounge time calls for work, there are a number of places you could set up a laptop.
Particularly for a quick email or two, the tarmac-facing benches are great – providing a backdrop unique to Hong Kong Airport.
But sometimes there, the sun isn't your friend. That's where these signature Solus chairs come into their own – giving you privacy to work, a place for your laptop, and a power outlet within your pod.
That's not to say you can't get work done elsewhere, particularly as power points are spread across the lounge: even in more social spaces like the Champagne Bar, if you lift a hatch on the floor.
A separate business centre normally provides computers and printing facilities, although these may be temporarily unavailable in line with local COVID-19 restrictions.
In any case, WiFi speeds here were speedy enough to get things done, with downloads averaging 62Mbps, and uploads hovering at 40Mbps on this most recent visit.
Taking the chance to kick back and enjoy your international jaunt? The Champagne Bar is a very comfortable place to await your flight.
The same is true of many other spots throughout the lounge, with these comfy seats also conveniently bar adjacent.
Most areas throughout The Wing First Class offer excellent views across the airport, as you while away the time.
Shower suites are available, but so too are Cabanas. These temperature-controlled suites offer bath and shower facilities, a day bed, working space and power outlets.
Unfortunately, they're limited in number and book out fast – often with a waiting list, that can take time to pass – so if you're interested in booking one, make that your first port of call upon arrival.
There's no denying that Cathay Pacific's The Wing First Class Lounge is the 'older brother' to The Pier First Class, with the latter adopting a more modern and apartment-like style.
But furnishings aside, The Wing First Class is still an excellent place to await your flight.
Offering a choice of Champagne – and indeed, a dedicated room in which to enjoy it – plus restaurant dining, plenty of cosy seats and those excellent Cabanas, The Wing First Class still ranks among the world's best.
With Cathay partner Qantas permanently closing its own Hong Kong lounge, The Wing First Class is also set to become the de facto home of Qantas Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman's Lounge members in Hong Kong.
Although these members could previously visit this lounge under Oneworld rules, that access will be actively promoted when Qantas returns to Hong Kong: and when it does, there's much to look forward to at The Wing.
Read more: Qantas permanently closes Hong Kong lounge
Chris Chamberlin travelled to Hong Kong as a guest of Cathay Pacific.