What's next on Cathay Pacific's airport lounge roadmap?

By David Flynn, March 27 2018
What's next on Cathay Pacific's airport lounge roadmap?

Cathay Pacific and Oneworld passengers have a riot of choice when it comes to the Hong Kong loungescape, with seven airside lounges.

Although that tally will drop to six when The Cabin closes on April 30, the airline believes it has more than enough to go around, having studied how its travellers choose which lounge to use.

“Around July last year we did an in-depth ‘voice of customers’ survey to understand how customers choose their lounge,” explains Vivian Lo, Cathay Pacific’s Head of Customer Experience & Design.

“There are two particular patterns. Most customers goes to the nearest lounge to their departure gate. But another group always go back to the lounge that they prefer or the lounge that they've always gone to, it’s almost like default.”

Lo expects Cathay’s newest lounge, The Deck, will have strong appeal to both types of travellers.

“I think most people look for proximity to the gate and a lot of the Cathay Dragon flights still leave from this end, and you will also increasingly see a lot of the European flights that depart at night that might be from gates at this side as well,” Lo predicts.

“We try our best to get more flights (using gates) around our lounges, if we can, so that our customers can have less to walk.”

“But I also think that few of our customers that could choose The Wing might decide to come here because of the design and the unique feature of the verandah, which has a runway view and an impressive view of the sunset.

“A lot of our customers fly in and out every day, their life is pretty hectic. This is probably one of the few times where they can sit down and enjoy a sunset without being at home, maybe have five to ten minutes of zen before you're on your way.”

So what’s next for Hong Kong?

While Lo is wary of declaring Cathay’s Hong Kong lounge portfolio as being completed, she admits there’s little more to be done at the airline’s home hub for now.

There’s no intention to give The Wing a makeover to the new Ilse Crawford lounge design, for example.

“A lot of customers like The Wing very much. We will continue to look at how we improve the food and beverage, the experience, but there are no plans to redesign it into the Ilse Crawford template as yet.”

As for The Arrivals lounge, which has become the runt of the Hong Kong lounge litter, it all comes down to space being made available by the airport authority for the lounge to be expanded or relocated with a significantly larger footprint.

“There’s a finite amount of space, although with the expansion of the third runway programme Terminal 2 two will be rebuilt and basically everything depends on that overall airport plan,” Lo says. “We won't know whether there will be options open until that's been finalised.”

New lounges for Shanghai, Seoul

2019 could see new Cathay Pacific lounges at both Shanghai and Seoul, although both are in the earliest stages of planning. “We are still looking into options,” Lo says.

“Beijing was refurbished quite recently, so we are looking at Shanghai (first).”

Any new lounge for Shanghai “will be in the current space unless something new suddenly appears, which rarely happens,” Lo reflects. “But we’re always looking for where we can expand.”

Seoul will see an all-new lounge built at Terminal 1 once Cathay Pacific’s flights are relocated from the T1 satellite, Lo tells Australian Business Traveller.

“We are moving our operations back to the main terminal. For customers that's a great thing because they will have to walk a lot less.”

David Flynn travelled to Hong Kong as a guest of Cathay Pacific

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Apr 2012

Total posts 55

I was thinking of the Arrivals Lounge as I read the story. The closing of 'The Cabin' does leave a gap for the departures along the long 'arm' of 21-30 but no biggy with now 'The Deck' & 'The Bridge' at 35.


A closing drink will be had soon at 'The Cabin' ... that is two lounges I have ventured to recently that have or are closing ... champagne to guess the other lol


JBL
JBL

01 Jun 2016

Total posts 60

Seoul isn't in the earliest stage of planning. Cathay have already moved out of the current lounge into a temp one to facilitate construction. Also I find the comment about moving the flight to the main terminal odd. When I departed from Seoul, the plane left from the main terminal near the temp lounge

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Jan 2018

Total posts 95

I am sure no one would sensibly suggest that CX need to do anything more at HKG. The range and quality of the lounges currently on offer are already more than one could ask for.


It is, however, very pleasing to see that CX are now looking further afield to refresh and update their lounge offerings in some of the other major ports that they service. Of course, I cannot see there being a dedicated CX lounge at any Australian port given that CX customers are already well served by the network of QF lounges.

Cathay Pacific runs its own lounge at Melbourne Airport, FYI. It's pretty small, and under Oneworld rules, passengers can choose to use it, or go to the Qantas lounges instead.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Aug 2011

Total posts 161

Difficult to see why that would be upgraded, I'd expect once the QF Biz Class lounge is refurbished, CX could happily close its one if it can come to a suitable arrangement with QF to keep it open late for CX178.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Jan 2018

Total posts 95

Chris, I wasn’t aware of that. Any idea why they do so in MEL but not elsewhere? Seems odd they’d do so there but not, for example, in SYD.

QF

29 Oct 2012

Total posts 19

Got no idea why they keep that MEL lounge open, it's a disgrace. Makes the QF J lounge look good!

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

08 Jan 2018

Total posts 3

Can close MEL,NRT, KUL, as PAX will go to QF/JL/MH lounge

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

28 Mar 2018

Total posts 2

With the exception of the arrivals lounge, I have nothing but praise for CX's current refurbished facilities at HgKg. However, I do wish the staff serving food at the counters could be more polite and cheerful, they are a seriously miserable lot (and I feel ashamed to dare ask for more!!)

Something CX can't control being subcontracted catering?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Jan 2018

Total posts 95

I think there is a cultural aspect to this more than anything else. The Chinese approach to service in such situations differs quite significantly from western norms. The focus tends to be on efficiency and process rather than on overt friendliness or western pleasantry.


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