Cathay Pacific’s latest establishment, the Cathay Welcome Port Lounge, is now operational at the Shekou cruise home port in Shenzhen – an unconventional location, not situated at an airport. The lounge serves as a hub for high-speed ferries commuting from Shekou Pier, efficiently connecting the mainland mega-hub to Hong Kong Airport within a mere 30-minute voyage.
Lavinia Lau, Cathay Pacific’s Chief Customer and Commercial Officer, likens the experience to an ‘airport lounge at Shekou Wharf,’ providing a prelude to what patrons typically encounter at Hong Kong Airport.
With a dedicated check-in desk at Shekou, passengers can conveniently manage their baggage, obtain onward boarding passes, and embark on a ferry transporting them directly to the airport for their flight. Lau emphasizes that the Shekou lounge seamlessly integrates into passengers’ journeys with Cathay, offering a preview of the renowned Hong Kong lounge experience.
The high-speed ferries boast CX codeshare, enabling checked baggage through any Cathay flight. Combined flight and ferry tickets can be booked on the website, designating Shenzhen Shekou Cruise Homeport (ZYK) as either the origin or destination.
At the Shekou cruise home port, a specialized Cathay Pacific counter ensures hassle-free baggage check-in to the final destination. Following security and immigration procedures, passengers can unwind in the Cathay Pacific lounge conveniently positioned near the pre-boarding area.
The CKS Fast Ferry connects Shekou to Hong Kong Airport’s Skypier, allowing passengers to travel directly to Terminal 1 and their preferred Cathay lounge without passing through immigration.
Cathay Pacific Shekou Lounge: Entrance
“Cathay’s Shekou Ferry Terminal Lounge welcomes visitors daily from 7 am to 8:15 pm, featuring unique access guidelines distinct from Cathay’s airport lounges.
Cathay Pacific has clarified to executive travelers that the following individuals are eligible to access the Shekou lounge before embarking on their swift ferry journey to HKG:
1. Cathay Diamond & Gold Members: Travelers on any airline (confirmed for all airlines, including Oneworld, Star Alliance, Skyteam, Emirates, Etihad, etc.), departing from Hong Kong, are permitted. As long as a Cathay Diamond or Gold member possesses a valid boarding pass, they are granted access.
2. First Class and Business Class Passengers: Exclusive access is reserved for those traveling on a Cathay Pacific flight.
3. Cathay Silver Members and Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire Members: Access is granted solely for those traveling on a Cathay Pacific flight.”
While Cathay Diamond and Gold members enjoy exceptionally generous access, the lounge is exclusively available to all other travelers, irrespective of travel class or status, only when connecting with Cathay Pacific.
This restriction means that Oneworld frequent flyers departing from HKG on flights operated by British Airways, Finnair, JAL, Qantas, and Qatar Airways are not eligible to use Cathay’s Shekou Ferry Terminal lounge, maintaining its exclusivity primarily for Cathay Pacific passengers.
Cathay Pacific Shekou Lounge: Design
Lau characterizes the Shekou lounge as a “more compact rendition” of the classic Cathay Pacific lounge. It embodies the sophisticated design language crafted by Studious for Cathay Pacific, akin to the ambiance seen in Cathay lounges across various locations, including Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong’s The Pier, The Deck, Taipei, Manila, London, and Vancouver.
The Cathay Pacific Shekou Lounge can be likened to a more intimate coastal adaptation of The Deck. Visitors will encounter recognizable elements such as cherry wood and dark green tiles, along with bronze and brass fixtures. The lounge offers an array of seating options, from communal tables to individual lounge chairs.
Marcus Louis, Cathay’s Head of End-to-End Customer Experience and Strategy, envisions the Shekou Lounge as a luxurious home away from home. He emphasizes the need to create a compelling first impression that sets the tone for the entire Cathay experience.
A notable distinction between the Shekou Lounge and its airport counterparts lies in its panoramic ocean views instead of runway scenes. Positioned at the end of the ferry pier, the lounge offers a sweeping 270-degree vista of the sea.
One of the lounge areas provides an exceptional panoramic experience, featuring a sizable simulated skylight and a curved wall of windows. On clear days, travelers can enjoy distant views of Hong Kong.
While the Shekou lounge doesn’t fully replicate the complete Cathay lounge experience, missing features like the renowned Noodle Bar, travelers can still indulge in a diverse selection of Asian and Western cuisine. The menu features delights such as pork bao, Chinese desserts, and a variety of toasted paninis and pastries for a touch of European flair.
Shekou Takes the Lead for Cathay in GBA
Cathay’s Shekou Pier Lounge is a key component of its commitment to promoting the Greater Bay Area (GBA), the largest and most populous urban area globally, boasting the highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies. The airline aspires to be “the leading premium airline of choice for international travel from its expanding domestic market in the Greater Bay Area.” Intermodal services, like Shekou’s sea-to-air connection, play a central role in achieving these goals.
Hong Kong is our domestic market, but we are also increasing our investment in the Greater Bay Area, a market ten times larger than Hong Kong,” explains Cathay executive Lavinia Lau. “We really want to expand our domestic market to GBA.
Cathay Pacific’s Lavinia Lau: “We really want to expand our domestic market to GBA.
The airline envisions sea-air connections as part of its growth strategy, with Shekou anticipated to have approximately 16 daily direct ferry services to Hong Kong Airport. Rose Wei, head of the customer experience team for all Cathay ‘intermodal’ connections in the GBA, emphasizes the vibrant and prosperous nature of the GBA, positioning Cathay as the gateway between the region and the world.
GBA Integration and Global Recovery
The GBA initiative is integral to Cathay’s broader global recovery plan, aiming to return to pre-pandemic passenger and capacity levels by the end of 2024. The fortuitous timing aligns with the opening of Hong Kong Airport’s three-runway system and redeveloped terminal 2 in 2024, providing Cathay with more space to expand its services, potentially including a new lounge. Lau anticipates heightened competition, as even before the pandemic, Hong Kong Airport was one of the most competitive globally, accommodating 120 airlines in 2019. The airline remains optimistic about its positioning in the evolving aviation landscape.
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