On October 14, Cathay Pacific opens a major addition to its business and first class lounge at San Francisco International Airport. Cathay’s is one of SFO’s most beautiful lounges…. and also one of its busiest.
The Hong Kong-based carrier invited TravelSkills out to the airport this week for a sneak peek at the new space and lunch at its famous noodle bar.
(Here’s our review of the lounge when it opened in 2012)
Here’s what we learned:
Cathay is moving into adjacent space in the International Terminal (A side) once occupied by Air France/KLM. This means the lounge will nearly double in size from the current 5,500 square feet to a spacious 9,675 square feet, enough room for up to 175 guests.
A wall of windows brightens the big space with views over the tarmac and up to the hills across Highway 101.
The number of Carrera marble and river-pebble sheathed shower suites will double from three to six, which should help with the evening rush when around 15 flyers opt to clean up before their flight.
Along with the expanded space comes an expanded menu and a new deli counter and espresso bar (manned by a barista).
To handle the extra load, a new free wi-fi system is in place.
The extra space is definitely needed as airlines play musical lounges over the next few years– and share space with Cathay.
Currently, business and first class flyers on Etihad’s daily nonstop to Abu Dhabi use the Cathay lounge in the early morning hours. Around midday, the lounge is primarily populated by those on Cathay’s 1 pm departure to Hong Kong, as well as a few passengers from Alaska Airlines, which lost its lounge to construction in Terminal 1.
Later in the day the Cathay lounge takes in the overflow Oneworld partner British Airways, its lounge now straining for space due its new A380 flight with 111 biz and first class seats. (Also, BA’s lounge is due for closure and renovation later this winter). And from about 9 pm until 1 am, the lounge hosts Cathay passengers traveling on its 1 am departure to Hong Kong– as well as overflow from the JAL lounge.
And although no decision has been made, we’ve heard that QANTAS is sniffing around for lounge space at SFO when its new Boeing 747 SFO-Sydney nonstops arrive in late December. I’m betting that QANTAS will squeeze in the barely used Emirates lounge due to their partnership. But stay tuned…
Have you had a chance to visit Cathay’s lounge at SFO or elsewhere? Did you try the noodles? What did you think? Please leave your comments below.
NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: SFO could get world’s longest flight + PreCheck: Fewer free rides + Plight of the tall traveler + Photos: New United first class seat + 6 secrets for snagging low fares