Cathay Pacific first class, business class lounge, Kuala Lumpur

Review: Cathay Pacific first class, business class lounge, Kuala Lumpur

Country:
Malaysia
City:
Kuala Lumpur
Airport:
Kuala Lumpur
Cabin Class:
Business & First
Alliance:
oneworld
Airline:
CX (Cathay Pacific)

location:

dining:

work:

overall:

What's Hot

  • Business nook with computers for travellers without their own tech

What's Not

  • Slow WiFi with limited space to work
  • There's nothing "first class" about this lounge

X-Factor

  • A sometimes-quieter alternative to the busy Malaysia Airlines lounges

Introduction

Cathay Pacific's first class and business class lounge at Kuala Lumpur International Airport is, at first glance, a little odd in its overall existence – given that Cathay Pacific no longer flies to Malaysia, and while its regional offshoot Cathay Dragon continues to link Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong, it does so without offering a first class service.

That said, with four daily Cathay Dragon flights from KL to Hong Kong, maintaining a 'Cathay'-branded lounge at the airport does have its merits: but the reasons to visit this lounge as opposed to Malaysia Airlines' recently-refurbished and much larger facilities nearby (as permitted under Oneworld alliance rules) are relatively slim.

Here's what Cathay's "First and Business Class Lounge" has to offer in Kuala Lumpur.

Location & Impressions

After clearing security – and if beginning your journey in Malaysia, passport control – head to the Kuala Lumpur's Satellite Terminal and take the escalator up one level from the main concourse.

Cathay Pacific's lounge is rather central, being near the middle of this '+'-shaped terminal where all the piers come together: but if you have any trouble finding the place, look for 'CIP 18' on the airport maps.

Inside, the space largely resembles a long rectangle, with windows bringing in natural light throughout the day...

... and the far left corner of the lounge given over to a TV area with seating better-suited to groups than solo travellers.

During my visit, boarding calls weren't being made for Oneworld partner airline flights, so to keep tabs on your departure you'll need to watch the lounge's sole flight screen, which is found back at reception rather than inside the actual lounge space:

On first impressions, and particularly when there are no Cathay Dragon flights departing around the same time, the space can be much quieter than Malaysia Airlines' own Golden Lounges nearby, and if you can get into those lounges, you can almost certainly walk through the door here too, as below.

This lounge opens from 6:30am until 11pm daily.

Access

  • Business class and first class passengers of Cathay Dragon and of other Oneworld airlines departing Kuala Lumpur including British Airways, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian and SriLankan Airlines
  • Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman's Lounge members flying with the airlines above
  • Marco Polo Club Gold, Diamond, Diamond Plus and Diamond Invitation guests plus Cathay Pacific Cargo Clan Elite members, also when flying with a Oneworld airline
  • Other Oneworld Sapphire and Oneworld Emerald frequent flyers travelling with a Oneworld airline
  • Marco Polo Club Silver members prior to Cathay Dragon flights only

Marco Polo Club Green members can also earn lounge passes for one-off lounge visits; to bring a guest into the lounge in the case of Silver members; or to bring in additional guests over and above the normal allowance for Gold and Diamond members – or which can be shared with friends and family members.

With the exception of Marco Polo Club Silver members flying premium economy or economy, and those accessing this lounge via a one-off pass, all other passengers who can use this lounge would also have access to Malaysia Airlines' nearby business class Golden Lounge, with first class flyers and Oneworld Emerald members able to visit Malaysia Airlines' first class Platinum Lounge, too.

Dining

While the sign on the door might read "First and Business Class Lounge", there's nothing particularly first-class about this lounge or its dining options, which begin with canned drinks in the fridge with sandwiches, fruit and sweet bites in front...

... continuing with soups, snacks and instant noodles...

... along with a limited range of fresh salad ingredients, tiny spinach and onion quiche squares and deep fried gyoza – but I always find that with gyoza, unless it's made fresh and eaten promptly it's usually quite disappointing, and these dumplings were no exception to that rule.

Slightly more appetising were the salad, meat and vegetable options nearby, along with rice...

... to go with a scoop of Japanese-style chicken curry:

A few spirit bottles are mounted to the wall including whisky, gin, vodka and a white rum...

... but unlike in some of Cathay's other airport lounges, Champagne, bartender-mixed cocktails and barista-made coffee are all absent.

Work

Have some work to finish before your flight? You could set up your laptop at this solitary long bench...

... but if you'd like to plug in and charge that computer or your other gadgets, forget this idea: you'll need to take one of the more 'casual' seats instead and just balance it on your lap, so that you're within reaching distance of a power point, for which you'll need to whip out an international adaptor. The same is true for phone chargers, as USB outlets aren't available here:

If you're one of the few business travellers still relying on desktop computers in lounges rather than bringing your own tech, there's a small business nook down the 'TV end' of the lounge with computing and printing facilities...

... which you could also use as a makeshift office space by moving a keyboard out of the way in favour of your own device.

Wireless Internet is available but speeds are glacial, with our tests showing average downloads of just 0.75Mbps and uploads of 0.82Mbps when the lounge was practically empty, giving very little hope of getting online once the space fills up.

Relax

With very few of the seats here suited to working, most of the lounge is given over to relaxing instead...

... and to help pass the time, a variety of reading material is offered...

... including a reasonable range of English-language publications, which we always appreciate.

As for showers, you won't find them here – and while the lounge does offer a baggage storage room, it's out the front near reception and isn't locked, meaning somebody could easily walk off with the wrong bag, so it wasn't a facility I made use of.

All things considered, this is a pretty mediocre airport lounge and certainly not one of Cathay Pacific's best, with terrible WiFi, limited food and beverage options, and power points a rarity: unless you happen to sit by a table with a lamp on top, which, as in many lounges, signals power is available.

Unless the recently-refurbished Malaysia Airlines lounges nearby were uncomfortably busy, I'm not sure why anyone would choose to visit this lounge instead, except as a quiet place to get some work done during off-peak times: albeit with slow Internet.

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

Guest

20 Jun, 2018 08:05 am

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