Cathay Pacific eyes new Hong Kong arrivals lounge, but not until 2024

By Chris C., July 22 2019
Cathay Pacific eyes new Hong Kong arrivals lounge, but not until 2024

After shuttering its popular Hong Kong arrivals lounge in 2018, Cathay Pacific is hoping to once again offer business travellers arrivals lounge facilities as part of a redeveloped Hong Kong International Airport from 2024: but only if the new arrivals lounge can be a significant upgrade compared to what was offered previously.

While that former lounge was closed to make way for airport construction works, its relatively small footprint often meant crowds, long lines for just eight shower suites, and came with a relatively limited food and beverage offering versus what passengers would otherwise enjoy on departure.

Speaking to Executive Traveller at the opening of Cathay Pacific’s newest airport lounge in Shanghai, Vivian Lo, the airline’s General Manager Customer Experience and Design, explains the thought process behind planning for an all-new arrivals lounge.

“At the moment, we don’t know (for sure) if we’ll have a new arrivals lounge yet,” Lo shares honestly, because the previous lounge “wasn’t ideal for us: it was too small, and either wasn’t utilised, or in the morning, you’d often have to queue for at least an hour (for the shower).”

“The design, the equipment, and the food offering were not meeting our other standards, so if we were going to do that again (open a new arrivals lounge), we would really revisit what the right proposition would be, and the right offering for us after 2024, once the new runway has opened.”

Cathay Pacific's former arrivals lounge in Hong Kong...
Cathay Pacific's former arrivals lounge in Hong Kong...

When asked about opening an interim arrivals lounge at HKIA – one that would serve passengers flying into Hong Kong over the next five years – Lo explains that there simply isn’t enough space available at the airport.

“Right now, Terminal 1 is very, very congested, and all the airlines currently in T2 will be moving to T1, so within T1 there's a lot of, I won't say compromise, but there's a lot of reallocation in order to accommodate a lot more airlines than (the terminal) was designed for,” which puts floor space at a premium.

“So in the short run, we don't think we’ll have another arrivals lounge: but at the same time, we’ve really thought about what would be important for our customers and what the alternatives are,” hinting at Cathay Pacific’s collaboration with Pure Yoga and Pure Fitness.

In lieu of arrivals lounge access for the airline’s Marco Polo Club Gold, Diamond and above-Diamond members, these travellers can instead visit Pure Yoga studios or Pure Fitness leisure clubs in-town in Hong Kong up to 12 times per year, to refresh and revive after their international flight.

“That’s a different way of trying to fulfil some of that demand for an arrivals lounge, as we thought we’d do something different for now, and then when the opportunities return, we might consider a new arrivals lounge, but that really depends on what would be available at the airport,” Lo sums up.

Also read: Cathay Pacific business class lounge review, Shanghai Pudong Airport

Chris Chamberlin travelled to Shanghai as a guest of Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon.

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2012

Total posts 210

Regarding the now closed lounge it was the case of nothing is better than something! Coming directly from a F cabin to that miserable hole was indescribably awful. The idea of freshening up with a shower etc before venturing into town to arrive for a (hopefully) early check-in seemed a good idea at the time, but was not.

It was plainly available to Y passengers for a fee, causing the overcrowding. All very weird for CX.

20 Jun 2014

Total posts 59

I miss the arrivals lounge. I used to fly into HKG at 7am, have a shower and get my shirt ironed, then head into the office. Now I generally leave earlier and fly in the night before. I'd love to see them bring one back, even if it is a shared facility between multiple airlines. Or even just set up some scheme to allow arriving passengers to go and use one of the departure lounges.

The CX arrivals lounge was great in its day, when it first opened, but in the years before it was shut down the lounge really lost its edge. Massive queue for the showers after the first wave of early morning arrivals, and even the breakfast menu and selection suffered. I think if CX did a new arrivals lounge it would want to have the same design as its latest lounges, including those wonderful spacious showers, plus a pressing service and a great dining area. They'd simply need a LOT more space, at least as much as The Deck and almost like the size of The Cabin lounge for those who remember that. And maybe CX also needs to consider limiting frequent flyer access too.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Feb 2017

Total posts 10

What facilities are available for transiting business class at Hong Kong airport for CX business class flyers?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2550


: if you're in transit then you'll have plenty of Cathay Pacific business lounges to choose from (my pick is The Pier) as well as the Qantas lounge, as both airlines are members of Oneworld. Here is some further reading for you ahead of your trip & transit:

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2012

Total posts 210

@harryt. If you are transiting to another CX J flight, then the array of excellent Business lounges (CX and others) are available to you!

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