01. Introduction: One…I mean…two final rides on the United Airlines 747
02. United Airlines 737-800 economy class San Diego to San Francisco
03. United Airlines 747-400 upper deck Polaris business class San Francisco to San Francisco
04. United Airlines 747-400 upper deck Polaris business class San Francisco to Seoul
05. Asiana business class lounge, ICN
06. Asiana Airlines A330-300 business class Seoul to Hong Kong
07. Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel and Towers
08. The Bridge – Cathay Pacific business class lounge, HKG
09. American Airlines 777-300/ER business class Hong Kong to Los Angeles
10. American Airlines ERJ-175 first class Los Angeles to San Diego
I’ve been reading trip reports from other travel bloggers for well over 20 years now, and if there’s one thing they all have in common, it’s their love of the Cathay Pacific lounges at the Hong Kong airport. For years I’ve heard nothing but good things about the CX business and first class lounges at HKG, and somehow I’ve never had the chance to try one of them at any point in all my travels around the world. Of course I’ve only been to Hong Kong twice before, but still – this is a world class airport, and I’m a bit surprised that I’ve been able to steer clear of it as much as I have during my travels in and around Asia. It’s not like I was trying to avoid this place, but it just rarely works out that I ever find myself needing to connect in Hong Kong.
I knew as soon as I booked this trip that I would have plenty of time to hit a lounge in HKG before my flight home to Los Angeles. Despite knowing that, it never really dawned on me that the lounge I would have access to would be of the Cathay Pacific variety. For some reason or another I was just thinking there would be a generic One World lounge there for lowly American Airlines travelers such as myself, and I was perfectly OK with that. Without giving it much consideration, I guess I’ve always thought that the Cathay Pacific lounges where reserved exclusively for Cathay Pacific customers.
That’s why, as I’m sure you can imagine, my face lit up like a eight-year-old boy staring through the window of a toy store when I found myself standing at the entrance of The Bridge – Cathay Pacific‘s business class lounge here at HKG. It was a very exciting feeling to stumble upon it by accident, primarily because I was in search of a One World lounge and nothing more.
So the big question was: would they let me in even though I wasn’t flying Cathy Pacific today? Long story short, they welcomed me with open arms without batting an eye and just like that I was given the opportunity to find out firsthand what the Cathay Pacific lounge experience is all about.
I’m just going to cut right to the chase and talk about the most impressive part first: the food. Never in all my travels have I visited a business class lounge with the quality and quantity of complementary food as was offered here in The Bridge. My mouth is watering just thinking about it as I type this – even though I ate lunch not 20 minutes ago and I’m not even remotely hungry. The quality and variety of food options in this lounge are unmatched (at least in my experience) and it was so hard not to go back for seconds, thirds, and fourths.
The funny thing was that the night before (right after dinner), I started feeling like I was getting a mild case of food poisoning, and that it would be dangerous to eat anything else. I woke up the next morning feeling a bit hungry, so I ordered some room service only to realize that I started feeling sick again within five minutes of eating. Talk about bad timing – having food poisoning right before getting on a 13 hour long haul international flight is never a good thing and it’s hard not to imagine what might happen if things take a turn for the worse. That’s why I was so irritated while I was standing here in the food line of this lounge, arguing with myself that I was setting myself up for complete disaster if I eat anything at all.
But I simply couldn’t resist. “Screw it” I said – consequences be damned, and I volunteered to suffer the fate of nature later if it meant that I could enjoy this precious moment of devouring amazing food right here right now. Do I even need to describe how awkward and scary of a meal it was? On one hand, everything tasted soooo good. On the other hand, I had to eat very slowly and be prepared to stop if my body started giving any indication that it was not accepting what I was putting into it.
Thankfully I survived the meal without incident. I most certainly could’ve gone back and got a lot more, and I probably would have if I was feeling better, but one plate was enough and I didn’t want to push my luck. Once the food was gone, it was time to sit back, relax and enjoy the ambience of the Cathay Pacific business class lounge experience.
Overall, I found The Bridge to be one of my favorite business class lounges that I have ever had the pleasure to spend time in. The food was the most amazing part (of course), but the style and design of the interior combined with the awesome views out to the main terminal made it all the more great. If I had any complaints at all, it would have to be about the size. I actually felt a little bit cramped in there, which is completely opposite of my feelings about, say, the Star Alliance business class lounge at LAX (one of my favorite open floor plan lounges).
So there you have it. After 20 years of reading glowing reviews from others, I got to pop my Cathay Pacific lounge cherry and experience the hype for myself. It was everything that I hoped it would be, and more.
But hold on a second. There is this other little lounge down the hall called The Wing that I keep hearing people gush about, and perhaps I’m not going to be completely satisfied until I get to spend some time in that one too. Fingers crossed that I won’t be feeling the lingering effects of food poisoning before walking through those doors!