Dec182011

Lounge Launch – Cathay Pacific San Francisco Airport SFO

There was a media reception for the newly opened Cathay Pacific Airways First and Business Class Lounge in San Francisco Airport’s international terminal this week. This is the first Cathay Pacific branded lounge in the U.S.

I was interested in attending since it has been a few years since I have even stepped foot in an airport lounge. I have spent quite a few hours in Business and First Class airport lounges in the past so I have some frame of reference for lounge amenities.

SFO International Terminal

The interesting aspect of this trip was checking in with Cathay Pacific and receiving an economy class boarding pass for the evening flight so I could pass through airport security. I guess the fine print on the boarding pass stating “only valid with ticket coupon” would have prevented me from boarding flight CX 873 departing at 12:05am for Hong Kong.

I just wish since I was issued a fake boarding pass that I had been given a Cathay Pacific First Class boarding pass rather than economy class seat 52A. That would be a more impressive souvenir for my travel archives. I have actually flown Cathay Pacific a couple of times in economy class, but never in the premium cabin. And Cathay Pacific was not handing out complimentary premium flights to the media attendees.

At least I was fast-tracked through the premium security line to access the SFO international gates.

Cathay Pacific Airways lounge is located just to the left after passing security via an elevator or escalator upstairs to a hall with several airline lounges including Air France L’Espace Lounge (Skyteam), Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge (OneWorld), Philippine Airlines Mabuhay Lounge and China Airlines Dynasty Lounge (SkyTeam).

Cathay Pacific Airways - Six Decades of Service hallway poster.

Cathay Pacific First and Business Class Lounge

Several receptionists were waiting at the door to meet and greet visitors. I arrived early and had the opportunity to take photos before many people had arrived to the lounge.

Wood, glass, white marble and black granite greet the Cathay Pacific lounge guest.

Carrara white marble counter in main lounge area.

Cathay Pacific lounge SFO food room.

Center room of Cathay Pacific lounge is main food and dining area.

The long Carrara white marble counters offer dining area for single persons and tables for two offer more intimate space for eating snacks or hot food from the noodle bar.

Noodle bar prepares fresh hot soups to order.

Pork and Shrimp wonton noodles

I had skipped lunch in anticipation of some good lounge dining from 3-5pm. The wonton noodle soup hit the spot and I would probably have tried the other soup too if I hadn’t been talking so much. Fortunately an attendant came around with shrimp and chicken skewers too.

Cathay Pacific lounge fruit and sandwiches.

Cathay Pacific lounge food selection.

Cathay Pacific Lounge drink selection.

The typical fare of soda and some stronger alcohol beverages are available. All the soft drinks are Coca-Cola brands.

My regular readers might know I am a beer drinker. I didn’t even notice beer in the Cathay Pacific lounge until I looked at my photos to see the cabinet has Bud Light and Tsingtao. The fact that the beer comes in a can is a no-go zone for me. I am a beer snob and I can usually taste the difference in beer from a can. I like Tsingtao in a bottle.

I understand having a representative beer from China in the Cathay Pacific lounge, but please don’t let Bud Light be the sole U.S. representative beer. California has dozens of locally brewed craft beers that can give a visitor a good taste of American brewing.

Fortunately there was plenty of wine and champagne being served to guests for the event.

Cathay Pacific Lounge Work Stations

The lounge probably has seating for 100 or so people in the 520 square meter lounge space. There is wireless reception throughout the lounge and seven computer workstations and a printer on one end of the lounge.

Outlets next to chairs.

Cathay Pacific lounge business center with seven computers and printer.

Computer station in Cathay Pacific SFO lounge.

Cathay Solus Chair

There are three specially designed Cathay Solus chairs in the lounge. They look kind of cool and a place to snag if you want to be physically isolated from everyone else in your own little space.

Cathay Solus Chair for self-containment and entertainment space.

Personally I would prefer a massage chair like I have seen in some lounges in Asia. That is truly relaxing seating for the long haul traveler suffering jet lag.

Here are some photos of various seating arrangements in the lounge.

Cathay Pacific SFO Lounge seating.

Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO seating.

This is a lousy picture of a beautiful TV mini-room space.

Cathay Pacific SFO lounge seating space.

Cathay Pacific SFO lounge seating space.

Departure Boards

The lounge has flight departure displays in the lounge. Nearly another 9 hours to go before the flight to Hong Kong departs.

Departure Board shows CX873 on time.

Shower Time

There are three showers in the Cathay Pacific SFO lounge. Passengers leave their boarding pass at the reception desk while using the private shower room.

Cathay Pacific SFO lounge shower-1

Cathay Pacific SFO lounge rain shower

Cathay Pacific SFO lounge shower-3

Cathay Pacific SFO lounge shower-4

Cathay Pacific SFO Lounge Reception Desk

The entry to the lounge has a beautiful wood wall opposite the counter and Venetian glass tiles are behind the desk. Unfortunately I did not get good photos of this space due to the number of people crowded around the lounge entrance for the media event.

Cathay Pacific Lounge Venetian glass tile wall behind reception desk.

Here is Cathay Pacific website’s professional photo of the reception desk wall.

Pig Roast

The event culminated with a roasted pig brought out for photo ops with Cathay Pacific and airport management. Apparently this is Chinese tradition for new business ventures, weddings and such. I’d love to learn more about the significance of a roast pig if anyone has more knowledge and cares to leave a comment.

Cathay Pacific SFO lounge roast pig.

The lounge is open four hours prior to flight departure and there are two CX flights daily from SFO. Customers eligible to use the facility include First and Business Class passengers traveling on Cathay Pacific and oneworld carriers, members of the Marco Polo Club with Silver Card status and above, Cargo Clan Elite members and oneworld Sapphire or above members.

Best of luck to Cathay Pacific Airways employees and passengers. I hope you get the opportunity to experience the Cathay Pacific lounge on your visit to San Francisco International Airport.

Jasmine Tea gift box is my CX swag. My wife loves tea.

Thank you Cathay Pacific Airways for the opportunity to visit your new lounge at San Francisco International Airport.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

Pingbacks

Comments

  1. Looks very nice… a step up from British Airways’ Terraces lounge they previously used in SFO, though a bit smaller by the looks of it. The only thing I’ll miss if I fly Cathay in a premium cabin again is the direct jetway access door found in the BA lounge.

  2. So I’m not familiar with oneworld lounge policies…if I have AA EXP, could I use the cathay lounge if I’m flying oneworld out of SFO?

  3. I spent an hour or so in this lounge last Monday before heading to Hong Kong and I was generally pleased with it. My only real complaint was that it got quite crowded, which was surprising as I was heading out on a 777 rather than the larger 747 Cathay uses for both dailies in the summer and one in the winter.

  4. @Jerry – Yes.

    AA Executive Platinum members have oneworld emerald status. AA Platinum members have oneworld sapphire status.

    “Enjoy exclusive access to premium airport lounges around the world as an equivalent oneworld Emerald or Sapphire frequent flyer member.

    Members of oneworld airline frequent flyer programmes with the equivalent of oneworld Emerald or Sapphire status can use any lounge offered by any oneworld airline when departing on any flight marketed or operated by any oneworld member airline, no matter in which cabin class they are flying.”

    http://www.oneworld.com/ffp/lounge-access/

  5. Chinese people usually have a roast pig during the opening of a business for good luck. I guess the opening of the first US Cathay Pacific lounge is a pretty big deal to wish success in this opening. Roast pig is usually just a symbol of good luck whether it be a wedding, business opening, etc.

Comments are closed.