Revisiting Cathay Pacific's The Wing first class lounge at Hong Kong

Revisiting Cathay Pacific's The Wing first class lounge at Hong Kong

The Wing is one of Cathay Pacific's two flagship airport lounges at Hong Kong, with the upscale first class lounge unveiled five years ago this month in what was then Cathay's benchmark in 'luxury travel'.

Of course, both the first class and business class sections of The Wing now stand in the long shadow of their siblings at The Pier.

But this doesn't mean The Wing first class lounge should be shunned – especially when The Pier, situated at the far end of the terminal, isn't convenient for your flight's departure gate.

It's also handy to visit The Wing if you're flying with Qantas and enjoy Qantas Platinum status: The Wing is less than ten minutes stroll from the Qantas Hong Kong Lounge (which from March will be flanked by another Cathay Pacific lounge in The Deck).

The tail end of a recent business trip to Hong Kong saw me without sufficient time to pay homage to The Pier, so I ventured to The Wing first class lounge – for the first time in years, I might add – and found myself wondering if The Wing was getting an unjustly bad rap from the lounge lizard brigade.

Dining at The Wing first class lounge

Like The Pier, The Wing first class has a dining room (dubbed The Haven)...

... with an à la carte menu – although the menu is less extensive than at The Pier, there are still some pleasing options.

However, unlike The Pier, The Wing boasts a buffet with plenty of variety.

When I called by, the hot dishes included pork siu mai, chicken with lemon sauce and seafood chowder.

The dessert selection is noteworthy: sweet treats include banana chocolate mousse, lemon meringue tart, mango and sago pudding, Black Forest cake and Portuguese tarts.

A very different design

As you wander around The Wing, it's clear that this lounge and The Pier are diametric opposites in design. Shaped by Sir Norman Foster, The Wing is all about dominance: hard shiny surfaces, echoes, red and black decor, and even black marble.

The furniture – which does, admittedly, show the wear of five years of almost around-the-clock usage – is plush and padded, with Chesterfield sofas embodying a very English concept of class, while the Solus workstation pods are a modern sketch of 'business on the move'.

Consider The Pier, then: a relaxed residential feel instead of a fast-paced commercial one; softness instead of hard, muted sounds and even bespoke playlists instead of the echo of footfalls and cabin baggage.

Design aside, one thing The Wing delivers which The Pier does not is a sense of openness and a view to the outside world, even if this also means a bit of glare.

The Champagne Lounge

The tended bar at The Wing first class lounge isn't as impressive as that of The Pier, but it has the same selection of drinks.

A standout feature of The Wing, however, is The Champagne Lounge which takes pride of place just beyond the lounge's entrance.

It's the perfect place for a glass of bubbly – choose between Barons de Rothschild Brut, Veuve Brut and Moet Rose Imperial - and a social media selfie.

The Cabanas

Finally, if you have enough time before or between your flights, make a beeline for one of the five cabana rooms.

Each of these private suites is decked out with a spacious shower, a comfortable sofa and an indulgent full-sized bath.

There's also a pressing service which offers a fast 10-20 minute turnaround for giving your shirt, trousers or dress a quick freshen up.

So while everybody raves that The Pier is so much better than The Wing, don't let 'Pier group pressure' turn you away from some of the better traits of this still-classy first class lounge.

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

17 comments

  • autvlr

    autvlr

    16 Feb, 2018 07:07 am

    Note that the photo of the haven is from before they did a refurb to make it look softer.
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  • mviy

    mviy

    16 Feb, 2018 08:09 am

    When I was in Hong Kong I visited both the Pier and Wing FLounges and the QF lounge.

    The Pier menu is more extensive as you say and I also found the Wing menu was still good. The buffet had Chocolate Pudding on the day I visited, something I wish was available at buffets at restaurants I visit occasionally, but isn’t.

    The Wing is a great lounge.
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  • MarkJohnSon

    MarkJohnSon
    Banned

    16 Feb, 2018 11:03 am

    David, I couldn’t agree more vigorously with this post. The Wing is a great lounge, one of the best F lounges in the world. Furthermore, the location within HKG is fantastically convinient.

    Look, I love the frequent flyer community, but you don’t need to spend much time with it to see at least half of it is on the spectrum. What other reason could justify walking over a kilometre in an airport to visit a slightly shinier lounge?
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    David

  • Bernoulli

    Bernoulli

    16 Feb, 2018 05:52 pm

    Haha, yes! The other reason could be that when you spend so much time at HKIA some variety and the exercise is a nice way to spend the time!
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  • Mr Miyagi

    Mr Miyagi
    Banned

    16 Feb, 2018 06:36 pm

    The walk The Wing and The Pier is hardly arduous. Guess I’d rather be ‘on the spectrum’ than obese, lazy and mobility limited!
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  • David Flynn

    David

    16 Feb, 2018 07:02 pm

    The walk tends to be back from The Pier to The Wing as there's the shuttle going Wing-to-Pierwards... however, last year I had quite a long layover and with only cabin baggage decided to walk Wing-to-Pier and it's a nice leg-stretch if you don't rush, just take the time to stroll and look around you at the people and the shops and the departure gates and where all the flights are headed to.
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  • Sanjay Prakash

    sanj747

    16 Feb, 2018 12:22 pm

    With such great options you can easily spend a whole day transitting at HK airport and lounge hop.
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  • pdaniels62

    pdaniels62

    16 Feb, 2018 02:59 pm

    I'm in the Wing First Class as we speak. Its near Gate 2, whilst the Pier is by 68. I still have 3 hours until boarding so the departure gate hasn't been assigned. If its at this end Ill stay here as its very quiet. WIFI is excellent and the food is of a very high standard. Sure beats Delta T3 LAX and SLC
    Member who gave thanks

    David

  • Oz_Traveller

    Oz_Traveller

    16 Feb, 2018 11:30 pm

    I will have 1hr 45min in-between flights. Sounds like a stretch to fit both lounges in during this time ...
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  • David Flynn

    David

    17 Feb, 2018 12:19 pm

    It'll depend on the arrivals gate of your inbound flight, the departure gate of your outbound flight, and if you can use one of the handy transit channels rather than the main E or W transit gateways. In theory, you could arrive at a low-numbered gate and pop into The Wing, then catch the shuttle to The Pier for your flight from a nearby higher-numbered gate... but I reckon that's pretty unlikely. If you're at a window seat, just watch for the gate you're pulling into - then check the gate of your outbound flight - and work out your lounge strategy from there, and enjoy it. Personally, I'd rather spend an hour in one nice lounge and relax and appreciate the experience than sprint between two lounges!
    Member who gave thanks

    Oz_Traveller

  • Oz_Traveller

    Oz_Traveller

    17 Feb, 2018 11:46 pm

    Fantastic. Never knew about the smaller transit channels until now. Some forward planning and strategising as soon as I land will surely make for an enjoyable transit.
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  • David Flynn

    David

    18 Feb, 2018 10:15 am

    Yeah, they're rather easy to miss, especially if you're in a little post-flight fog and just following the crowd while you check email or think about getting to your hotel or the rest of the day's schedule or what-not.
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  • pdaniels62

    pdaniels62

    17 Feb, 2018 08:37 am

    My CX flight left from gate 50 so I got to the Pier. Both the first and business lounge are impressive with great views. A lot of food options. I'd recommend it if you have more than 2 hours between flights. The wing is great and well suited to casual dining. It still has the fabulous noodle Bar.
    Member who gave thanks

    David

  • Jay

    ausJCP

    19 Feb, 2018 12:48 pm

    If a passenger had never visited The Pier, and they walked into The Wing, I think they'd be delighted. It's a very nice lounge indeed. (The cabanas are a godsend, especially with the shirt pressing service. I just wish they'd let you take alcohol in there!)
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  • Ieuan1

    ieuan1

    19 Feb, 2018 04:03 pm

    I took my daughter into the London CX lounge, which has a similar design to the Pier, and her comment was that it was like how American's view clubs. It's not really a residential feel-more corporate country club feel. The Wing is very good, but tends to be more crowded than the Pier. However, there is an upmarket Chinese restaurant here in WLG which has copied the Wing's black marble approach-it's really difficult to find the toilets in either place without bumping into things.
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  • Andrew Laughlin

    Axl

    19 Feb, 2018 04:10 pm

    I love both, and managed to have enough time last visit to HK to walk through all lounges including the business lounges (but was a couple of weeks short of The Deck opening): we had the champagne bar in The Wing to ourselves for over an hour, and a really lovely snack in The Haven (which was about 1/2 full), and later had The Pier dining room all to ourselves. The attendant at the Cabanas in The Wing seemed genuinely disappointed that I wasn't going to avail myself of the facilities.The only negative was the sight of someone's bare feet on a coffee table in The Pier! Kudos Cathay.
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  • Junichiro  Tanizaki

    TanizakiJ

    11 Oct, 2018 10:17 pm

    I was in the Wing First lounge last week, it was brilliant, great food (tian tan mien) Cooked to order and top flight vintage champagne (LR 2012) made the walk down to Qantas afterwards to compare, they were serving nuggets and chips and Seppelt sparkling, immediately regretted leaving the wing.
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Guest

18 Jun, 2019 07:27 am

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