Review: Cathay Pacific Lounge San Francisco (SFO)

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Back in July I took Joanna on a trip to Las Vegas and San Francisco (introduction full details of the trip are here) as a small thank you for being so supportive of this blog and for putting up with all my traveling (there really is a lot!) The trip was a lot of fun but at some point the fun had to end and we had to head back across the Atlantic. This is a look at the Cathay Pacific Lounge at San Francisco Airport which was our first port of call on our way home.

Previous posts in this series include:

Cathay Pacific Lounge At SFO

The Cathay Pacific Lounge at San Francisco airport serves both First and Business Class passengers (as well as OneWorld Emerald and Sapphire members) and is a short walk from where you exit the security lines at San Francisco airport (take a left and follow the signs).

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-01Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Entrance

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-02Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Entrance

We arrived at the lounge around 5pm and although the oneworld website says that the lounge opens “4 hours before departure” (which would have been around 9pm – the next Cathay Pacific flight was at 12:50am) the lounge was open…or at least part of it was.

The desk agent was very friendly and it didn’t take more than a few seconds for him to check our boarding passes, hand us a couple of coupons for the noodle bar and welcome us into the lounge.

Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Seating Areas

Once you’re past the welcome desk there’s a seating area straight ahead…..

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-03Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Seating Areas

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-06Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Seating Areas

….and, next to that is a Business area with iMacs, a printer/copier…..

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-04Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Business Area

….and some PCs:


Once you’re past the lounge’s welcome desk the room spreads out to the left and to the right (an elongated rectangle) and, as area to the left was closed off, we headed to the right.

Past the Business area there’s a small side area with a TV screen and some seats…..

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-26Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Seating Areas

…and, because the next area along is where the food is laid out and where the Noodle Bar is to be found, the seating is designed more for dining than for relaxing:

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-07Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Seating Areas

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-24Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Seating Areas

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-21Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Seating Areas

Past the food area the lounge ended with one final seating area…..which is where most people had chosen so I couldn’t get too many good pictures.

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-16Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Seating Areas

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-17Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Seating Areas

I asked the Cathay Pacific agent (at the door) why the rest of the lounge was closed off and, apparently, that’s the section that only gets opened up 4 hours before the Cathay Pacific flight departs.

That part of the lounge (to the left as you walk through the entrance) is a new-ish (2015?) extension to the lounge and, before I even got a change to ask if there was any possibility of having a look and taking a few pictures, the Cathay agent was ushering me in and switching on all the lights!  A+ for Cathay service! 🙂

This newer area has a second buffet and dining area which, for some reason, I forgot to photograph (I think I was probably still too busy thanking the Cathay Pacific agent for his kindness!) and then continues on into another large seating area.

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-30Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Seating Areas

This area has a variety of different seating options….

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-27Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Seating Areas

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-34Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Seating Areas

….from standard armchairs…..

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-29Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Seating Areas

…some funky single-person booths….

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-28Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Seating Areas

…..and some cool recliners by the large windows:

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-31Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Seating Areas

There are washrooms and showers in the first part of the lounge but, as this area was still technically closed and as the fantastic Cathay Pacific agent was happy to let me take a look, I thought I’d check out what the washrooms/showers here had to offer….

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-38Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Washroom/Shower

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-37Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Washroom/Shower

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-36Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Washroom/Shower

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-35Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Washroom/Shower

This was one of the best washrooms I’ve seen in an airport lounge…heck it was better than a lot of bathroom s I’ve had at hotels!

It really was very cool of the Cathay agent to let me have a look around and take some pictures…I can’t imagine many other airlines having agents who are quite so helpful.

Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Dining

As I mentioned earlier in this post, the main dining area is just to the right of the main entrance to the lounge but, as we found out, the bulk of the food doesn’t appear until Cathay’s own passengers are likely to be around.

Still, there was the Noodle Bar……

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-11Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Dining

…which served three types of noodles:

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-18Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Dining

Can anyone spot a problem with the vegetarian noodles? 🙂

The coupons we had been given when we entered the lounge (one each) were good for a single serving of noodles. On the advice of the lady serving I ordered the Wonton Noodles which were very nice.

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-19Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Dining

There really wasn’t too much to get excited about when it cam to the rest of the food offering….it was pretty sparse.

There were a few chiller units with beers and sodas and with some fruit and snacks underneath:

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-09Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Dining

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-15Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Dining

You couldn’t really call the alcohol selection “extensive”.

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-10Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Dining

The buffet offering was ok…but there wasn’t much of it:

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-25Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Dining

And the sliders were tasty enough….but only ever seemed to appear in batches of 5 or 6:

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-22Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Dining

But at least the tea selection was good and the coffee machine wasn’t too bad:

cathay-pacific-lounge-sfo-14Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO – Dining

During our time in the lounge the buffet offered:

  • Humus, cucumber and tomato pita
  • Mini tuna sandwiches
  • Mini turkey and cheddar sandwiches
  • Cheeseburger sliders
  • Mini arugula & quinoa salad with parmesan cheese
  • Spinach salad
  • Choice of bread
  • Mini fruit salad

Not exactly extensive…but I believe a lot more appears 4 hours before the nighttime Cathay pacific departure.

Bottom Line

The biggest takeaway from me was how amazingly helpful and friendly the lounge agent was – that was just fantastic and really appreciated.

As for the lounge itself…..the showers are definitely the high point as they’re some of the best I’ve seen in an airport lounge and the seating options are pretty good.

On the negative side I’d say that some of the seating seems to be a bit densely packed together so, during busier times, I suspect there could be a crowded feel to the place even if there aren’t actually that many people in the lounge.

My lounge tip would be to head to the left side of the lounge if it’s open as the seating there is a little better and the recliners by the windows look to be a nice place to relax – you get to look straight out of the windows rather than at everybody else in the lounge 🙂


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