Cathay Pacific New Bangkok Lounge and Hong Kong in Business Class
After spending several weeks in Thailand we suddenly would be leaving. As usual we hadn’t actually planned this, after getting back to Bangkok from Changi Mai on the train overnight, I had expected to stay for a couple nights. I had been hoping to use the next sector up of my round the world ticket but it had proven difficult to get availability and I’d failed before trying to standby for it. However, availability suddenly appeared so I quickly decided it was in my best interests to get to Hong Kong immediately. So off to Suvarnabhumi Airport we rushed on the Airport Link, neither without flight tickets.
Buy tickets before… flight cancelled.
For me the only reasonable option would be to book a flight on Cathay Pacific up to Hong Kong to connect with their flight down to Auckland. Last minute tickets on this route and airline would be horrendously bad value, so a cheap award ticket through British Airways would be in order. The only question would be what class of travel. There were several flights, some with 2-class regional seating and a couple with 3-class international seating. The former had reclining business class, the latter premium economy recliners or flat beds in business. Their long-haul premium economy is pretty similar to their short/mid-haul business seat, just cheaper! I get lounge access regardless so thought this would be a great time to try the Cathay premium economy product, on a short regional day flight. As I was about to book I noticed the earlier flight was no longer available, it had 0 availability in all classes when it was wide open just before. Next I know mine is no longer available either. They had cancelled the earlier flight, which was soon to depart and moved most/everyone onto the flight I had wanted. So I was left to book the later flight, which was the latest option with a comfortable connection time. Total price 8000 points and €92. Meanwhile Liz had looked at every cheap last minute flight for the short trip in the other direction to Singapore. Things sort of aligned, with nothing being super cheap, particularly with luggage, so she booked onto the Cathay Pacific tag flight Bangkok to Singapore, departing just before mine. This way she’d also get lounge access and fast track immigration.
Both with confirmed tickets we could finally head to check-in. Priority check-in was a breeze and although she was on a separate flight we both got premium lane invites. This was a huge help as immigration in Bangkok seems to have gotten much worse to what I remember. Huge wait times. The Premium Lane service remains very efficient with only a couple people to content with instead of hundreds. It probably saved a good half an hour again, which is quality lounge time.
Cathay Pacific New Bangkok Lounge
Last time I departed Bangkok Airport there were a myriad of oneworld lounges. Qantas and BA shared separate first & business lounges, Cathay had two, JAL had one, Royal Jordanian and Finnair(?) used the Plaza Premium or Thai Airways lounges. Well Cathay Pacific has a new combined business/first class lounge concept, similar to Singapore Airlines and Qantas. Bangkok is one of the first to see it and this lounge is less than six months old. I immediately recognised the space as the old Qantas First Class lounge, which I often had to myself. Similar to Changi, it was apparently taken over by BA when Qantas partnered with Emirates but then shut completely. Just opposite the old Qantas Business lounge had also very recently shut permanently. Years have passed since Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong were all daily transit points on the Kangaroo and Aust-European routes. It’s now considered a mere leisure destination primarily operated by Jetstar’s long-haul operations.
The New Cathay Pacific Lounge follows along from their major refurbishments in Hong Kong Airport. With high quality furnishings, wooden wall panelling and abundant natural light, it perfectly suits the open design of Suvarnabhumi Airport. From the entrance, the facility is split into three main areas. A buffet, quick snacks immediately in front, the bar and traditional seating and a dining area with Cathay’s signature noodle bar.
We had missed breakfast with the rush to the airport so sat down for a good brunch. We were going to be in the lounge long enough to possibly have a second meal.
We got to spend a good amount of time in the lounge and really enjoyed it. They’ve done a good job as you’d expect from a top class airline. It is easy to forget to appreciate how great these places are, let alone accessing them.
It was sadly time to part ways, a month in Thailand (and briefly Myanmar) was over. I walked to the gate to say goodbye before returning to the lounge for a brief period until my flight was called.
A330 Long-haul Business Class to Hong Kong
So after all the thoughts about the premium economy, I ended up with the best option available. To be fair, not the absolute best – Emirates operates the route daily with First Class and the occasional Royal Jordanian tag flight have beds too. Regardless I was sort of thankful to have a bed for a short while as I could catch up on some missed rest after train trip.
Of course more food would be served, it is hard not to overeat during these times.
On the menu today was a side of Thai prawn noodle salad and Billecart-Salmon Brut. Choice of mains were: stir fried kurobuta pork with rice, pan fried beef tenderloin with vegetables or Thai red duck curry. Having been predominantly eating Thai food of recent I was looking forward to the beef without paying for it.
Cathay as ever is pretty much perfect. Although I miss the days of having a great variety of planes flying their regional routes it was great to have the long-haul product available on several flights from Bangkok. I ended up getting a brief sleep before our arrival. I headed for the recently reopened The Pier first class lounge, which was close to our arrival gate and by luck close to my next departure gate where I’d have another bed down all the way overnight to Auckland.