Cathay Pacific have annouched that they will be closing their Hong Kong arrivals lounge.
This is mirroring the news from Etihad, who recently transferred control (And in a sense, closed) their international lounges.
But for Cathay to close a lounge at their hub airport in Hong Kong, this is news indeed.
What is the Cathay Pacific Arrivals Lounge?
Before we dive into specifics, I must point out that this is a arrivals lounge, not the departing lounges for various guests.
Called ‘The Arrival’, the lounge is designed to welcome passengers as they get off a flight (Be it a long haul flight or a short haul from within China) to Hong Kong. It is located between terminals one and two within the giagantic Hong Kong International Terminal.
I’ve only used the lounge a couple of times, and didn’t find it to be very exciting. It’s like a dungeon, as it doesn’t have any windows or natural light. The lounge has a limited buffet, so the only real reason to use the lounge is because of the shower suites, should you want to freshen up before heading into the city. – Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) (Onemileatatime.com)
It is open from 6am to midnight, allowing passengers to ‘arrive’ any time of the day. As Hong Kong is a 24 international airport (located on the more remote island or Lantau) they can operate with impunity.
The liunge can be accessed by any passengers in Cathay business or first, Marco Polo Club Gold or Diamond members and Oneworld Alliance Emerald members.
Why is Cathay closing their lounge?
The have annouced that they will be closing their lounge on November 5, 2018, with the space being remediated back to the Hong Kong Airport.
The funny thing is, according to my sources its rather popular, with over an hour wait times to get a shower booth.
But apparently the airport authority wishes to expand its terminals (and build a third runway) and needs the space, and have chosen not to renew the lease.
“Options for an alternative location (for the arrivals lounge) are limited and not suitable.” – Cathay Pacific Statement
I have to suggest, who would use this lounge? I can understand visitors arriving and want to have a shower before taking the train into the city (If they are going straight to a meeting), but the train only takes 24 minutes to downtown (And fun fact, you can check baggage ON TO the train downtown, and it will be transfered into your flight) so passengers who are arriving might prefer to just head home.
And I suggest these passengers live in Hong Kong, as Cathay is the flag carrier for the city and thus most of its passengers might ultimatly already have a far more comfortable home only a train ride away.
And tourists might as well head to their hotel.
However, commentators on the issue seem to differer than my opinon.
As a long haul flyer Arrivals Lounges are a very valued asset for an airline to offer. I’m surprised more carriers don’t understand this benefit attracts business travelers, especially as hotels push back room access times. – Zoomzoom, Australian Business Traveller
What do you think? Does the lounge deserve to stay open?