My virgin flight on Cathay Dragon’s Business Class

After I got off the plane from Heathrow, I walked towards the transit counter for my onward boarding pass with Cathay Dragon. I found out that my flight had been delayed for 50 minutes, which gave me ample, if a bit too much, time to explore the Cathay lounge at KUL. Food and drinks options were disappointing to say the least, but I only needed some water, so I was not too fussed. Wifi was not very good, I was not able to do a skype voice call properly.

I left at the stated boarding time on the boarding pass (with the new departure time). Like SIN, KUL’s security is at gate, which can mean a long queue for a full flight. While the flight was not full (20/24 in J, 180/293 in Y), the lack of priority security as in SIN for frequent flyers and premium passengers meant that it took quite a while. Oh well, the flight was not boarding yet so I was not fussed.

The plane in the new livery

Once in the gate area, there was a segregated seating area for premium passengers, which was very nice.

Boarding soon followed. Business Class passengers were invited the board, and they enforced this religiously – even frequent flyers were not allowed to board at the first instance. Once onboard, I was offered Dragon Sunrise, a special cocktail, which I enjoyed immensely.

Instead of hot towel we got wet wipes.

Safety demonstration

The gate bridges were disengaged

Push-back

A short taxi was then followed by the take-off roll

Table was set and I was given the menu

Sunset outside

Drinks and nuts service came first. I had the cocktail and a glass of water

First course: Seared scallop starter, with Taittinger Champagne. The starter was not bad though the citrus salad was a bit of a weird combination

More sunset

Garlic bread and rolls were offered

The main course: Braised chicken with red date and black fungus, seasonal vegetables and steamed rice. It was meh, passable.

Dessert was the bog-standard ice cream

I was left rather hungry by the underwhelming main, hence I asked for more ice cream, which was served quickly

We were making good progress

The bulkhead legroom was good

The regional headphones left more to be desired

Soon enough it was 30 minutes prior to landing, when the seatbelt sign came on

Overall verdict: I really enjoyed the service. The crews were personal in their approaches and seemed really genuine, which was a marked difference from some of the Cathay service I got. Although it was evident that Cathay Dragon lacked the level of poshness as with Cathay Pacific, the service was much better. The catering was passable but the wine list was good. For such a short segment, the hard product was decent – the inflight entertainment was of excellent quality, the seat was comfortable, though it helped to have a bulkhead window seat with no seat mate.

Which Cathay Lounge to use in HKG?

So after reviewing all four lounges, I think a conclusion is due to examine which lounge you should use on your next visit to Hong Kong Airport if you get issued a lounge invitation.

So just to clarify the lounge use policies. Business class lounges can be accessed if you are:

  • Marco Polo Club Member Silver Tier or above
  • OneWorld Emerald or Sapphire
  • Departing Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific or Dragonair on Business Class or above

Best all-rounded lounge: The Wing

I like the Wing the most. Everything on offer is of excellent standards. It is the only Cathay lounge situated on Level 7 (note: Dragonair’s G16 Lounge, too, is situated on Level 7), that is a level above the departure gates and the same as the immigration. This allows a more open-air atmosphere and the view over gates 1-4 is very nice indeed.

The bar has an excellent tarmac view and because of the lack of ceiling, at any hour of the day, the lounge (and the bar) is very bright, unlike the Cabin or the Bridge, which tends to be on the dark side. The alcoholic offering is very good, with a range of cocktails offered and the Moet Champagne, too.

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Champagne from the Wing’s bar

The food on offer is excellent and there are quite a few dining areas for you to choose from. Though I would suggest you to stay away from the prepared food, the food made to order is of excellent quality (the broth very flavourful and the noodles very well cooked to my liking), and so are the dessert.

Overall, I think it is the best Cathay lounge in the airport. It has flair and character, which really gives travellers a rather unique experience to tell.

Review at: http://wp.me/p72Rbc-bF

Best for Chinese Food and Privacy: G16 Lounge, Dragonair

Rarely covered by reviews and rarely covered by the tracks of travellers, I find the G16 Lounge to be a heaven for those who want good food and to stuff themselves before their flights. There are extensive choices for noodles made to order and they are very Chinese and local.

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Choices for Noodles made to order, G16 Lounge

In addition, the lounge has self-service counters featuring fresh fruits, canned fruits and cheese and crackers. Overall, not an impressive range but very impressive within the realm of Oriental food offering. The lack of extensive alcoholic offering can be a cause for concern for some.

Another plus for G16 is the lack of passengers using it. You can probably have a private corner to your own if you go for G16. If you really need a proper rest and want to get out of the crowd, this Dragonair lounge is for you.

Review at: http://wp.me/p72Rbc-cM

Best for Western Food: The Cabin

I think this picture speaks for why I say that the Cabin is best for Western food.

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Selection from the Cabin

Run by the Peninsula Hotel, the lounge promises great food quality, though can sometimes be a disappointment (see the Cabin review). There are a range of sandwiches and salads, which look good to me and were enjoyed by other passengers.

The bar is almost always empty (from my last two visits), so can be quite an enjoyable experience sitting by the bar and slipping your champagne.

This lounge is not very good for Chinese food offering, though. For those who prefer something hot and something in a broth, this is definitely not the lounge for you.

Review at: http://wp.me/p72Rbc-do

Best Tarmac View: The Bridge

The Bridge does not offer much, when compared to the Wing and the Cabin. But its sheer size over the concourse and the big window panes do promise to offer great views over the tarmac, and can be the heaven of plane spotters.

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View of the tarmac from the Bar

This lounge is not run by Peninsula, unlike the other two lounges. Something to take note.

Review at: http://wp.me/p72Rbc-dR

In conclusion…

Visit The Wing for atmosphere and good variety of food

Visit G16 for a lot of private spaces and good Chinese noodles

Visit The Cabin for good Western food and a classy bar

Visit The Bridge if watching airplanes is what you want from your experience

Dragonair’s G16 Lounge

Background

So I have spent 1.5 hours in the Wing enjoying my life and the clock is ticking because I have only 2 more hours for 3 more lounges. I hurried along to Dragonair’s G16 Lounge which is around 5 minutes walk away, near, as named, gate 16.

On my way I saw CX’s newest livery on B-KPM, parked at Gate 1 for its TPE departure.

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Nearly there…

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Up the escalator you will find this lonely lounge up here…

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Very basic food / drink selections… Note: only one type of red/white wine available, seems not to be of high quality, and no champagne on offer, too. Basic boozes if one fancies some.

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There are options of food made to order. Those are more to the Hongkonger tastes:

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My selection today: Very good noodles and fishballs. Much higher quality than the Plaza Premium Lounge nearby and really make to order!

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View from the lounge: gates 18-19

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The best part of the lounge is that there would never be too many people. Very quiet, good for relaxation. Also, perhaps because of the lack of visitors, the attendants in the lounge are very polite and active. It took only 5 seconds for them to come and collect my bowl after I finished my noodles.

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My exchange with the attendant:

Attendant: Sir, have you finished the noodles? Do you want me to take away the bowl?

Me: Yes, thank you so much.

Attendant: No need to thank me, it’s my job!

Verdict and Conclusion

“Very Good”

The G16 lounge is decent. The food offering is underwhelming at first glance but the noodle bar is excellent – more local and better selection (especially with the sauce to go with the noodles). The alcohol offering is underwhelming but that probably keeps most people away, thus allowing a very relaxing environment. The attendants are really polite and get the job done well. I like the lounge because of the environment – so if you are in for relaxing before the flight and don’t care much about the alcohol, G16 is for you.

On another note, I can understand why Dragonair does not put in much resources. It shares lounges with Cathay and that it is a regional airlines. So no complaints.