After a really great few days in Tokyo we took the Narita Express train from Shinjuku station to Tokyo’s Narita airport where we were due to catch a Cathay Pacific A330 Business Class flight to Hong Kong from Terminal 2. Cathay Pacific’s check-in areas are in area D of Narita airport and, as there was no line at all for First Class check-in (courtesy of my oneworld status), getting our boarding passes and lounge invitation didn’t take long at all.
Over the past few days Cathay Pacific has been dropping hints about a few new routes it has been planning to launch and, while some of the guesses I've been reading about have been little more than fanciful wishes, some guessed the new routes correctly. More importantly the new A350 routes look very interesting and award availability appears to be wide open!
For the second year in a row I decided to book a trip for Joanna and I without actually telling Joanna where we were going. Last year the trip was primarily paid for in cash while this year I was very keen to book as much of it as possible with miles and points.
Flyers have been without a Cathay Pacific lounge at London Heathrow for over 12 months and it was only a month ago that the airline confirmed that the lounge opening had been delayed yet again. Well, after numerous delays, Cathay Pacific has finally announced the reopening of its lounge at Heathrow Terminal 3 and provided us with a sneak peek at what lies inside.
I'd had a very nice time at Cathay Pacific's Pier First Class lounge but now it was time for the second reason I was taking this trip - to try out Cathay Pacific's Airbus A350. The first reason for the trip, to try out Cathay Pacific's First Class on the 777, had gone very well so I was looking forward to see what Cathay would offer on their newest aircraft.
Cathay Pacific does airport departure lounges very well (I'm not so keen on its arrivals lounge) but it's been a long time since I've had the chance to try out one of the airline's First Class lounges....so I was very keen to see what the Pier First Class lounge had to offer.
As a very regular visitor to Heathrow Terminal 3 I've been looking forward to Cathay Pacific opening its new lounge in the terminal but it looks like I'm going to have to wait a little bit longer. When Cathay first announced the refurbishment the plan was to have the new facility open for flyers in the first quater of 2016...but that was always ambitious given that the old lounge didn't actually close until November 2015. Since then various updates have suggested the new Cathay Pacific lounge would open in June, July, August and then September but nothing has materialised so far.
I expect airlines like American, Air France and Emirates to cram their passengers in to annoyingly tight seats that no human should have to endure but there are other airlines where we've come to expect better...and Cathay Pacific is one of those airlines. Cathay Pacific has long been considered one of the all-round premium airlines in the skies and that's a reputation that has been earned not only because of the amazing service in its First Class cabin but also because the airline hasn't historically treated its passengers like self-loading cargo. But it looks like those days are nearly over.
I arrived in to Hong Kong at around 7am and, as I had no checked baggage to worry about and as I was one of the very first to disembark, it wasn't long before I was through immigration and customs and in the arrivals hall of Hong Kong airport. I really wanted to have a shower after my overnight flight and, as I was pretty sure that the Hyatt Regency wouldn't have my room ready for me a that time of the morning, I decided to head to the Cathay Pacific Arrivals Lounge ("The Arrival") to see what was on offer.
I was having a pretty relaxing time in the Aspire First Class lounge and enjoying the freedom of the balcony that the lounge opens up on to but, about an hour before my departure time, I decided to head down to the gate. I'm not normally one to get to the gate particularly early (unless I need to make sure that there will be room for my carry on in the overhead bins) but I wasn't exactly sure how long it would take me to the gate and I wanted to be one of the first on the aircraft to make taking pictures a lot easier.