I flew into Tokyo Haneda to experience the new CX lounge. It was a bit of a whirlwind day return, but on the positive side I got to enjoy a rare check-in- and immigration-free experience.
The new CX lounge is airy and spacious. Large windows line three sides of the 990sqm area, letting natural daylight stream in with panoramic views over the airfield. Mount Fuji is also apparently available on a clear day. London-based design firm Studiolise focused on using warm, natural materials with homey touches such as big plants and plush carpets to create something that’s “more like a living room than a lounge”. There is smart, comfortable furniture throughout, plenty of power sockets neatly hidden in side tables and complimentary wifi. While I loved the leather couches and cosy armchair options, I did miss the all-in-one Solus chair – a hallmark of other CX lounges. Food and drink options are extensive; the popular Noodle Bar has been reincarnated and now has bar stools so people can watch chefs prepare a range of signature dishes. There is also a new Food Bar for lighter bites, or a sleek bronze bar. The Bureau provides a dedicated work area with four iMacs and printers. (For a more extensive lounge review with images visit: businesstraveller.asia)
The lounge is handily located on the 6th floor, near Gate 114, from where my flight CX549 was departing. I arrived at the boarding gate around 1600, and walked straight onto the plane. As soon as I was settled, a tray of drinks was brought round. I gratefully accepted a chilled glass of Billecart-Salmon Brut.
Shortly after I was also treated to a refreshing hot towel. We left the gate on time and took off more or less on schedule.
The Cirrus 1-2-1 seat formation makes for an attractive cabin, with a pleasant aquamarine colour scheme. I was in seat 17K, near the front, which is always good news when it comes to meal service and proximity to restrooms. There are 53 business seats in total, and each one enjoys a high degree of privacy thanks to the angled design and semi-enclosed nature, while the cut-out design means there’s plenty of room to move about. The retractable table looked a bit flimsy, but it was perfectly adequate and a good height for working comfortably. Particular highlights were the universal plug socket in the control panel and a large surface on the right hand side – easily big enough to store a laptop during dinner, for example. I also appreciated the vanity mirror hidden on the door of the headphone compartment.
Meal service started fairly promptly, within half an hour or so of take off, beginning with a tasty bowl of nuts and wasabi peas. The starter of duck breast asparagus terrine with roasted zucchini and red onion was very nice. The Japanese yuzu salad dressing was an interesting flavour with a bit of a tang to it, although I found the plum soba noodles noodles to be fairly bland. For the mains, I chose the Australian primebeef tenderloin – couldn’t resist the sound of the Madeira wine sauce and parsley mashed potato. Dessert consisted of a cheese and fruit course, although I was too full to sample these and actually would have preferred my table to be cleared sooner.
After dinner I settled in to enjoy some in-flight entertainment. I’ve always thought the CX entertainment system was something to look forward to, with more than 100 movies and plenty of TV shows to watch, games, music and more. The headphones were comfortable and provided good sound quality.
As it was a regional flight, there were sadly no amenity packs. However, there were Jurlique products stocked in the bathroom. I had a little spritz of the face moisturiser as I noticed horrific dry spots starting to appear and thankfully it solved the problem.
We landed in Hong Kong on time and quickly made it to the gate. Disembarkation followed fairly soon, but I was surprised to find immigration at Hong Kong International Airport was quite busy. Luckily I had no baggage, so nipped onto the Airport Express to Central and went home.
As usual, Cathay Pacific demonstrated exemplary standards. Service was friendly and efficient, the food was delicious overall, and the seat was comfortable enough to relax or practical to work. A very pleasant way to spend a few hours.
- CONFIGURATION 1-2-1
- SEAT WIDTH 21in/53cm
- SEAT LENGTH 81in/205cm
- SEAT RECLINE 180 degrees
- PRICE The internet rate for a midweek business class return in mid-March is ¥222,700 (US$1,866), excluding tax/surcharge.
- CONTACT cathaypacific.com