CATHAY PACIFIC BUSINESS LOUNGE MANILA: REVIEW

Alliance: Oneworld

Location: Manila  International Airport, Terminal 3

Lounge Rating: 4 Stars

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Based on my experience with Cathay I’ve found their lounges in general to be impressive, bar the one in Beijing which is in urgent need of attention. The lounges are bold, classy and well presented with the same service and attention to detail, providing visitors with a consistent experience. The lounges in Manila are generally disappointing, which is no surprise considering how bad the airport. However there’s a shining beacon that seems to get consistent praise online; the Cathay Business Lounge. Curious to see if the online hype was spot on, TAT decided to check in the CX Manila lounge to find out.

Lounge access options

  • Those travelling in Cathay business or first class
  • Marco Polo Club Diamond, Gold and Silver members
  • Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members travelling on any Oneworld flight in any cabin of service

Lounge location and opening hours

The lounge is located at Terminal 3, on level 4 above Gate 114. Once you’ve cleared security and immigration, you will see signage to the lounges in front of you. There’s a lift that’ll take you up to the lounge just by Gate 114.

Ambience

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Upon entering the lounge you’re instantly hit with that signature Cathay lounge style; from the luxurious wooden walled interiors to the lovely greenery break out spaces that create a sense of both tranquillity and privacy. The space is a far cry from the manic surrounds of Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

The lounge is divided into different zones for working, dining and relaxing, yet at the same time is open enough that you never feel enclosed.

For those keen to work away there’s an abundance of power and USB outlets throughout the lounge. If you don’t have your laptop on hand there’s also a small business area with three desktop computers for those wanting to punch out some work before they board.

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On the flip side the bathrooms were a tad disappointing due to a lack of showers (odd considering how hot Manila Airport is generally) and poor amenities compared to their usual Aesop range in other lounges.

Bread and butter (food and drink)

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Whilst it may not be on par with The Pier (my favourite Cathay lounge), it still serves a decent meal thanks to its signature Noodle Bar. The bar serves a variety of fresh made to order Hong Kong inspired street fare dishes. My visit offered an enticing wonton noodle soup and beef rice dish (both of which I ordered). When ordering you’ll be issued a buzzer which illuminates when your order is ready for collection.  The food served was delicious and well presented. There’s also a small self service snack area nearby the noodle bar which has a coffee machine and some light bites.

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I followed my meal up with a visit to the bar and ordered a negroni which was well mixed (bar staff here know their drinks quite well here). Also on offer was a wide range of cocktails and wines. Sadly champagne wasn’t on the menu (usually Cathay stocks a decent Moët & Chandon in their HK lounges) but instead an Australian sparkling which I decided to pass on. If something alcoholic doesn’t tickle your fancy you can also order a decent barista made coffee. Unfortunately if you are lactose intolerant or don’t want milk with your coffee, then you will be hard up for options.

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Verdict

The Cathay Business Lounge in Manila is a solid offering and by far one of the best satellite ones I have visited in Asia outside of Hong Kong. The space is sparse and peaceful and the food and drinks offering is solid. It would’ve been nice to have had a champagne option rather than the cheaper Australian sparkling and some showers for those wishing to feel fresh after coming in from the sticky heat of Manila. That said, overall it’s a good lounge to whittle away the time until one boards.

Comments

Have you experienced the Cathay Pacific Business Lounge in Manila? Love to hear from you about your time in lounge – did it shine or were you expecting something better?

 

I, SCREAM, YOU SCREAM, WE ALL SCREAM FOR EMIRATES ICE CREAM

Passing through Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport between June 15 and August 31? Love ice cream? Well you are in luck because the good folk at Emirates are  offering free ice cream.

Yes you heard correctly. Emirates will have carts throughout the terminal offering free ice cream cups daily from 12-3am, 12:30-2:30pm, and 6-9pm. Made in-house by Emirates Flight Catering, it’s expected over two million of these cups will be served to customers this summer.

For those who like to plan ahead there are five delicious flavours available:  chocolate, vanilla, date & arabic coffee, mango sorbet, and lemon sorbet.

It’s a shame I’m not passing through DXB anytime soon (unless a spontaneous trip pops up) to be able to take advantage of this offer.

Good job Emirates on this deal. It will surely leave people wanting more!

 

Alaska Airlines opens new JFK lounge

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Alaska Airlines this week debuted its new Alaska Lounge at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). The latest NYC addition builds on the existing Alaska lounge network where the airline already has a presence in Anchorage, Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon and Seattle.

The lounge, the first Alaska one for America’s east coast, features a fresh, modern yet homely design with multiple break out seating areas. At hand for lounge lizards will be Starbucks-trained baristas who will create some of the coffee brand’s signature espresso beverages and full-leaf tea beverages.

Food wise there will be oatmeal and yogurt bars in the morning and salad and soup in the afternoon and evening. Also to be enjoyed are a wide-selection of microbrews, West Coast wines or wait for it…that signature Alaska Airlines cocktail from the lounge’s welcoming bar.

The Alaska Lounge is located on the mezzanine level of Terminal 7 at JFK and is now open to Alaska guests traveling through or out of Terminal 7 who are either a first class passenger or have purchased a day pass or lounge membership.

Judging by the pictures from the airline this definitely looks like a nice little part of the world (or in this case JFK) to whittle away a few hours before the next flight.

To find out more about the lounge visit the Alaska Airlines website.

Qantas Business Lounge Sydney International: Review

Lounge: Qantas International Business Lounge

Alliance: Oneworld

Location: Sydney International Airport

Lounge Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

The Qantas Business Class Lounge at Sydney International Airport is the go to place for Oneworld travelers who want a break from the hustle and bustle of the airport terminal. So how does the lounge stack up? Australian Business Traveler checked in to find out.

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Lounge access options

  • Business and first class passengers of Qantas, Emirates, Fiji Airways and Oneworld airlines (American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines and Qatar)
  • Jetstar travellers on a Business Max fare
  • Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge frequent flyers prior to Qantas, Jetstar, Emirates or Oneworld flights
  • Emirates Skywards Gold, Platinum and iO members prior to flights with Qantas and Emirates
  • Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers  prior to a Oneworld flight
  • Qantas Club members prior to a Qantas or Jetstar flight
  • American Airlines Admirals Club members travelling with Qantas on an AA flight number
  • Customers with single use lounge passes from their credit card.

Lounge location & opening hours

After passing customs follow the signs to the lounge, which is located up a set of escalators on the third floor close to Gates 9 & 10. The lounge entrance is located a short walk away from the Qantas Sydney International First Lounge and is open seven days a week, 5am – 10pm.

 

Ambience

The lounge was empty when I arrived in (a shock to me because previous visits to this lounge have usually been heaving to the point I had to stand and eat my meal). During peak times one notices this lounge is severely undersized considering the amount of people traffic it serves.

In addition with Qantas undertaking a large transformation project of their Australian lounges (Melbourne Airport the next to be completed), Sydney was feeling tired in comparison to its Queensland and Perth counterparts. That said it is still a pleasant place to whittle away a couple of hours before ones flight.

 

Bread and butter (food and drink)

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Upon entering the lounge you will see a centrepiece central dining island which acts as a bar along with areas for dining. Here visitors can order selected plates of the day or go to one of two buffet style stations where a larger selection of food and beverages are on display.

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One thing that Qantas do well here is the barista and gelato service where a freshly brewed coffee goes down well with a deliciously creamy ice cream (obiviously these are not combined). The service with both of these are personable, inviting and add a lovely, unique touch to the lounge.

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The food selection on offer at the buffet stations was quite satisfying with the Mediterranean chicken and stir fry options both tasty. A number of salads, soups, cheeses and artisan breads were also on offer.

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Drinks wise I was a tad disappointed. Whilst the beer and wine selection was good I found the cider and sparkling to be poor. The cider was too sweet and the sparkling option was sadly a chardonnay drop which was flat and far from bubbly.

Qantas has won a number of awards for their wine selection but the offerings in the lounge that day were average and forgettable. Not the best way to ease into the beginning of an overseas getaway.

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Verdict

The lounge space when it is not at its peak capacity feels spacious despite its small floor plan. Staff are friendly and are attentive. The food is fresh and tasty. No dish that I sampled disappointed however it is a shame the same could not be said about the drink options. I have previously been in this lounge and savoured far better sparkling than the drop that was on offer during this visit. If you are looking for real bubbles aka champagne make sure you stop by the Emirates Lounge instead if you are a Qantas Gold or Platinum FF and are heading to Europe/ Middle East.

Overall a pleasant way to relax before an international flight but there are areas such as drink where it could be refined to make the lounge experience feel a little bit more memorable.

 

Comments

Have you experienced the Qantas International Business Class Lounge in Sydney? Love to hear from you about your time in lounge – was it outstanding or did the lounge fail to take off on your expectations?