As mentioned in my post about my point maximization neurosis, I used American Aadvantage miles to book Cathay Pacific business class from Bangkok (BKK) to Brussels (BRU). This naturally included a stop at their hub in Hong Kong (HKG) which allowed me the opportunity to check out Cathay’s lounge at BKK, its HKG Pier Business Class Lounge and the AMEX Centurion Lounge. In this post, I’ll cover the journey from BKK to HKG; in a subsequent post, I’ll provide details on the HKG to BRU experiences.
The flight segment from BKK to HKG was great, though it’s just under 3 hours and I was more entertained by a particular business class customer that all the crew seemed to do their best to avoid. Funnily enough, the landing at BRU also provided some extra excitement which I’ll touch on in a later post.
My flight from BKK wasn’t until 7:10pm so I took my time soaking up the last day at the Park Hyatt Bangkok and took the airport train. BKK is always a bit of a circus, so I had already checked-in online, but stopped at the counter to get the pass for the premium lane through security and immigration. The representative had to check through everything again, so she ended up also printing up tickets for me. In any case, I still saved a lot of time as it was a breeze going through the premium lane.
Cathay’s lounge is in the G concourse which was about a 10min walk. It was 3 years ago that I had been in this lounge, and it’s with mixed feelings that I remembered some of the faces. Not to discount the value of working in the service industry (basically my whole life is in service), but when I see young adults, I always hope that they’re in a position with more mobility. In any case, it was nice to have familiarity, especially, that I always feel happy to be around some of my Lao people.
The space is divided into a dining area, a self-serve buffet section and a few lounge areas which also encompass the bar and work spaces. I headed to the noodle bar in the dining room, and ordered a wonton noodle soup and dim sum. They give you one of those electronic buzzer things for when the food’s ready; then I headed to the bar for a champagne and soda water (I strictly follow the extra hydration rule when I consume alcohol and fly).
My flight was a bit delayed so I ended up messaging with Ryan who had complimentary inflight wi-fi on Japan Airlines to San Francisco, and had used this same lounge earlier in the day; it’s always fun for us to compare notes. I grabbed a few more snacks, asked the bartender to spike my Thai ice tea with whiskey, and enjoyed watching the movement on the tarmac, before I headed to the gate.
In terms of the flight itself, it was a fine. I was already somewhat full and needed to avoid stuffing myself on this flight, as the Cathay Pacific Pier Business Class Lounge at HKG was where I wanted to really indulge. The only thing I had planned to have on the flight was the Oriental Breeze, which I had really liked on a past flight; it’s non-alcoholic, yet pairs nicely with just about any liquor. But, anyone who knows me knows I am a sucker for free or inclusive so the only thing I refused was the dessert and a third serving of cognac.
As I mentioned in the introduction, there was a business class passenger that none of the flight attendants seemed to want to deal with. Bear in mind, that the following is all my conjecture. My guess is that the guy is a regular on this route and doesn’t care much for flight regulations. He was the last to board, browsed the internet until one attendant personally asked him to put on airplane mode, kept his seat belt unbuckled on take-off or landing until further personal prompting from a crew member, and went out the cabin without any sort of courtesy farewell. We had 3 crew members in the small 3 row business class cabin and I felt for them, especially the male flight attendant, who got the passenger’s stone face when he went to offer the passenger a beverage.
All in all, it was a short and pleasant flight though I was definitely more excited about the next part of the journey.