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Cathay Pacific reopens lounge at Shanghai Pudong Airport

The lounge reopens after nine months of upgrading works.

Cathay Pacific has reopened its lounge at Shanghai Pudong International Airport earlier this week (18 July), offering an upgraded lounge experience for its customers.

The new space, located near gate D69 in Terminal 2, can seat up to 305 customers. Opened from 0530H to 2100H, it primarily caters to the Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights, although eligible frequent flyer members of other oneworld carriers may also use it.

This is what the PR promises out of the new lounge:

Cathay Pacific is “moving beyond” for its customers with a superior experience at every stage of their journey. The new Shanghai Pudong Cathay Pacific Lounge will be another reason for customers to arrive early, rest and recharge in the welcoming atmosphere of comfort and wellbeing before their flight.

Cathay Pacific press release

What can you expect out of the new lounge?

The marketing photos honestly look amazing, and one should expect no less from a Cathay Pacific lounge. This is what you can expect from the new Shanghai CX lounge:

Cathay Pacific new Shanghai Pudong lounge (Photo credit: Cathay Pacific)

Feels like home

If you have been to Shanghai Pudong airport, let’s call it – it’s not the best airport experience you can get. What Cathay Pacific promises with this new lounge is that you will be “transported to an oasis of serenity designed to reflect the comforts of a modern apartment.”

Perosnally what I love about Cathay’s lounges is the fact that they use a lot of wood and earth tones, which calms the mind either in the day or at night.

The Noodle Bar

This is a perennial favourite and arguably Cathay Pacific’s best selling point of its lounges. Of course, the Shanghai lounge must have one of these, given that Shanghai is also home to some of the best noodles in the world.

Cathay Pacific Shanghai Lounge – Noodle Bar (photo credit: Cathay Pacific)

You can expect Cathay Pacific’s signature wanton noodles, as well as a rotation of other options and dimsum choices too, including Shanghai’s very own xiao long baos!

Cathay Pacific Shanghai Lounge food options (photo credit: Cathay Pacific)

The TerraceThe Terrace

The Cathay Pacific Shanghai Lounge will also feature a quasi-outdoor seating area, with a good view of the apron and runway. There will be a selection of seating, and I’ll imagine this area will be quiet than the indoor areas.

Cathay Pacific Shanghai Lounge – The Terrace (photo credit: Cathay Pacific)

There will be self-service food and beverage options available at The Terrace, including international hot and cold dishes, freshly baked treats, cheeses and cold cuts, as well as a selection of wines, spirits and other non-alcoholic options.

Unfortunately, as with many other Cathay Pacific lounges in Asia, the lounge does not have showers, although I’ll be hard-pressed to understand why you will need one for a two-hour flight to Hong Kong.

Access

As with other Cathay Pacific lounges around the world, access to the lounge is limited to:

  • Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon business and first class passengers
  • Marco Polo Club silver members and above travelling on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon services
  • oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members travelling on oneworld member services
  • Passengers holding an eligible lounge pass

Given the lounge operating hours of 0530H to 2100H daily, this lounge unfortunately will not be able to cater to some of the red-eye oneworld services, including Qatar’s services to Doha and Finnair’s services to Helsinki. There are also a handful of oneworld carriers, including Qantas, that operates out of Terminal 1, so passengers will not be able to access this lounge given the terminals are not linked.

Final thoughts

China is a critical market for Cathay Pacific. After all, it is in direct competition with the big three Chinese carriers, particularly in the mid- and long-haul markets.

The Chinese traveller has become more and more sophisticated over the years. While airlines in the past could get away with a subpar lounge experience, the travellers have become more discerning over the years, and this investment is definitely well-timed for Cathay Pacific to provide an edge over its competitors.

The lounge is definitely a step up for Cathay Pacific in serving the Chinese market, and also in line with keeping the lounge experience consistent across the world. The offering is definitely one of the best in class, and I’m expecting that the other lounge operators in Shanghai Pudong to step up their game at some point.

Singapore Airlines Spontaneous Escapes August 2019 list is unveiled

Singapore Airlines have released their August 2019 Spontaneous Escapes offer earlier this week, offering 30% off the usual redemption rates for travel in August 2019 to select destinations.

Offering this month is a little skimpy, with a total of 22 Singapore Airlines destinations and 15 SilkAir destinations available.

Notable mentions

  • Almost all of Japan are available for redemption this month in both Business and Economy, with the exception of Sapporo and Hiroshima
  • For Europe, only Singapore-Frankfurt is on offer in Business class. You will have to figure a way to get back to Singapore.
  • Premium Economy seats between Singapore and Los Angeles are available for redemption this month
  • Unfortunately, there are no offers available to Australia or New Zealand.

Full list of offers are below:

Singapore Airlines

Miles required each way
Sector Economy Class Premium Economy Business Class Eligible flights / Blackout dates
Southeast Asia        
Singapore – Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur – Singapore
5,250 13,300 SQ107, SQ116, SQ117
Singapore – Jakarta
Jakarta – Singapore
5,250 13,300 SQ950, SQ951
Singapore – Brunei
Brunei – Singapore
13,300 SQ181, SQ182

Singapore to Bangkok
Bangkok to Singapore

8,750 15,050 To Bangkok: all except SQ972. Blackout 8-10 Aug
From Bangkok: all except SQ977, sQ979. Black 11-13 Aug

Singapore to Phuket
Phuket to Singapore

8,750 15,050 To Phuket: Blackout 8-10 Aug (for Y), 8-9 Aug (for J)
From Phuket: Blackout 11-14 Aug (for Y), 12 Aug (for J)

Singapore to Yangon
Yangon to Singapore

8,750 15,050

Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City to Singapore

15,050 All flights

Singapore to Hanoi
Hanoi to Singapore

15,050 All flights
North Asia        
Singapore to Beijing Beijing to Singapore 14,000
(PEK-SIN SQ807 only)
22,400 27,300 PEK-SIN Y class: SQ807 only, blackout 10-12 Aug
Singapore to Shanghai
Shanghai to Singapore
14,000 22,400 27,300 Economy class: only on SQ828, SQ830, SQ833 & Q835. Blackout 9-12 Aug
Singapore to Fukuoka
Fukuoka to Singapore
17,500 32,900 Blackout dates: 1-18 Aug
Singapore to Nagoya
Nagoya to Singapore
17,500 32,900 Blackout dates:
To NGO: 16-19 Aug (Y class), 14, 16-18 Aug (J class)
From NGO: 10,12 Aug (Y class), 9-10, 12-13 Aug (J class)
Singapore to Osaka
Osaka to Singapore
17,500 32,900 Blackout dates:
To KIX: 14-18 Aug (J class)
From KIX: 1-18 Aug (Y class), 8-13 Aug (J class)
Singapore to Tokyo
Tokyo to Singapore
17,500 24,150 32,900 To Tokyo: SQ12 (Y only), SQ630 (PY/J only), SQ632 (Y only), SQ634 (Y/J only), SQ638 (Y/J only)
From Tokyo: SQ11, SQ639, SQ633 (Y only), SQ635 (Y only), SQ637 (Y/J only). Blackouts: 1-18 Aug (Y class),9-11 Aug (PY for SQ11)
Singapore to Seoul
Seoul to Singapore
17,500 24,150 32,900 To Seoul: SQ602 (Y/J only), SQ608 (J only), SQ612. Blackout: 1-11 Aug (Y only)
From Seoul: SQ603 (Y/J only), SQ607 (Y/J only), SQ611. Blackout: 1-4, 9-12 Aug (Y only)
South Asia, Middle East & Africa        
Singapore to Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad to Singapore
12,950 (SIN-AMD only) 27,300
Singapore to Bangalore
Bangalore to Singapore
12,950 27,300
Singapore to Chennai 12,950 27,300 Blackout dates: 5-12 Aug
Singapore to Kolkata
Kolkata to Singapore
12,950 (SIN-CCU only) 27,300
Singapore to Mumbai
Mumbai to Singapore
22,400 27,300 (SIN-BOM only) SQ421 (PY only), SQ422 (PY only), SQ424, SQ426 (J only)
Singapore to New Delhi
New Delhi to Singapore
22,400 27,300 To New Delhi: SQ402 (J only), SQ406
From New Delhi: SQ401 (J only), SQ403 (J only)
Europe        
Singapore to Frankfurt 64,400 SQ326
Americas        
Singapore to Los Angeles
Los Angeles to Singapore
47,600 All flights

SilkAir – Only Economy class available

SectorEconomy Class (miles each way)Eligible flights / Blackout dates
Southeast Asia  
Singapore to Kota Kinabalu
Kota Kinabalu to Singapore
5,250All
Singapore to Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur to Singapore
5,250To KL: All except MI322, MI324
From KL: All except MI327, MI329, MI339
Singapore to Penang
Penang to Singapore
5,250To Penang:  MI348, MI350, MI354, MI356
From Penang: MI345, MI347, MI353, MI355
Surabaya to Singapore 5,250All
Singapore to Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai to Singapore
8,750Blackout:
To CNX: 7-10 Aug
From CNX: 9-14 Aug
Singapore to Phuket
Phuket to Singapore
8,750To HKT:  MI750, MI754, MI756, MI758
From HKT: MI749
Blackout:
To HKT: 8-10 Aug
From HKT: 12 Aug
Singapore to Yangon
Yangon to Singapore
8,750
North Asia  
Hiroshima to Singapore17,500 Blackout: 8-15 Aug
South Asia  
Singapore to:
– Bangalore & vice-versa
– Chennai (one-way)
– Coimbatore (one-way)
– Kathmandu (one-way)
– Kochi (one-way)
– Kolkata (one-way)
– Visakhapatnam & vice versa
12,950Blackout dates:
To & from BLR: 9-12 Aug

Remember – redemptions end 31 July 2019, so grab your seats fast for your last-minute holiday!

FLIGHT REVIEW: Cathay Pacific A330 Business Class, Singapore – Bangkok

Many people associate Cathay Pacific with its home base of Hong Kong, which isn’t surprising given that there are over 50 flights a week from Singapore to Hong Kong. While Cathay Pacific is one of the preferred choice when travelling to Hong Kong, what some people may not know is that Cathay Pacific also offers a daily service to Bangkok from Singapore.

The Cathay Pacific Singapore-Bangkok daily service is one of Cathay’s unique fifth freedom flights around the world, and the only one operating between the two Southeast Asian cities.

I decided to take a slight detour to Bangkok today while on my way to Hong Kong, to check out if this option is indeed a much better choice than other full service carriers.

The schedule

Cathay Pacific runs a return flight between Singapore and Bangkok daily, in addition to its eight daily services to Hong Kong.

At the time of writing, the daily schedule is as follow:

FlightRouteDeparture
Time
Arrival
Time
DayAircraft*
CX712SIN-BKK13201500DailyA330-300 / A350-900
CX717BKK-SIN11551525DailyA330-300 / A350-900/1000

*Aircraft types are always subject to change

While Cathay has an issue of aircraft consistency, they don’t really have an issue with cabin product consistency. Unlike Singapore Airlines, Cathay essentially only have two business class seat types – the regional business class and the long-haul business class product, both of them are used on services to Singapore.

The lounge

All business and first class passengers will be able to access the Cathay Pacific lounge at Terminal 4 before their flight. The lounge is pretty new, having opened back in November 2017 when Cathay Pacific moved to Terminal 4.

Cathay Pacific Changi Airport Terminal 4 lounge

Of course, if you are holding a oneworld Emerald equivalent status (including British Airways Executive Club Silver, Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold), you will also be able to access the lounge as well.

The aircraft

On my A330 aircraft today, there are three classes: Business, Premium Economy and Economy. In business, there are 39 seats over 10 rows. There’s a small premium economy section consisting of 21 seats over three rows, while in economy there are a total of 191 seats. It’s a fairly loose configuration, given that an A330 can carry over 300 people at max.

Pre-departure drinks

Note that there are three versions of the A330 that Cathay Pacific operates. Two of them have the long-haul Cirrus business class seats, while the last one uses the regional recliner business seats, which unfortunately is used on the Singapore-Hong Kong services at times. If you are not sure, just check up the seat map of the flight before you book.

The seat

Fortunately for me today, the cabin product on the Singapore-Bangkok sector was the long-haul business product. The cabin is laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration in a reverse herringbone format, with all seats having direct aisle access. Seats are Cirrus seats, designed by Zodiac Aerospace, and can be found on several other carriers including Air France, American Airlines, and Delta.

The beauty of such 1-2-1 configuration is that it works for both couples and solo travellers. If you are travelling solo, the window seats work best, but if you are travelling as a pair, the middle pair seats will be your ideal positions.

Given it’s a long-haul business class product, the seat can be converted into a lie-flat bed at a touch of the automatic controls, with the seat flushed with the ottoman in front of the seat.

Ottoman that can be used as a footrest too

Every seat has a in-flight entertainment screen that folds out from the seat in front of you. When stowed in the original position, the screen will be at a 90 degree angle from you, so that means that you don’t get any entertainment during take-off, landing and taxiing. If you ask me, this is about the only weakness of the seat design.

Seat controls, power sockets are conveniently located next to you

The seat controls are conveniently located at the side of the seat. The entertainment control handset is stowed next to you, with the power socket and audio inputs right next to it. This makes it very convenient to access and use, particularly with the side table right next to all the sockets.

The service

The flight time today is under two hours, making it a very short flight for a meal service. Given it’s a mid-day flight, lunch was served.

For those who are familiar with Cathay Pacific’s services to Hong Kong, you will know that it usually does a three course meal in business class, with each course served separately.

Given the short length of today’s flight, the meal service is therefore similar to what Singapore Airlines offer on its short haul services, where everything is served on a single tray.

For starters, there was a bowl of fresh fruit, with no other options available.

There was three choices of main course:

  • Stir fried beef, sha cha sauce, kailan, oyster mushroom and egg fried rice
  • Pan fried salmon fillet with sumac spice, carrot potato mash, quinoa with zucchini, peas, sun blushed tomato and dill mustard sauce
  • Grilled chicken with Bali sauce, fried noodles with vegetables and chilli sauce

Apart from the menu that was already placed on my seat, what’s good about the Cathay Pacific business class meal service was that the cabin crew will wheel out a trolley with all the mains available, so you can visually take a look at the options before deciding what you want. I always thought this was a much better option, because words can only conjure an image of what the dish might look like, which more often than not turns out to be different from what is plated.

I went with the salmon with quinoa. Shortly after the main was served, another cabin crew trailing behind came around with a basket of bread, and I gladly chose garlic bread to go with my meal.

What differentiates Cathay Pacific from Singapore Airlines was their dessert service. Singapore Airlines typically does a cake or a room temperature dessert service.

Loyalists will know that Cathay Pacific dishes out Haagen-Dazs ice cream for its passengers, and this is no different even for this short-haul service and definitely a plus for me.

For those who are interested in the beverage list, here are the wines and champagne on offer today:

Cathay Pacific ex-Singapore wine list

The Entertainment

I am a huge fan of Cathay Pacific’s in-flight entertainment system. As earlier mentioned, the only draw back was the design of the screen, which flips away from the seat during take-off and landing, so that means that you won’t be able to watch your shows from gate to gate.

Cathay Pacific in-flight entertainment system

Back to the content. Cathay Pacific boasts a wide variety of entertainment options on its IFE, and what I personally enjoyed the most was the huge range of Chinese and Asian content. I find that particularly lacking on other carriers, including Singapore Airlines.

Beyond Hong Kong produced shows, they also carry a healthy amount of China, Taiwan, Japan and Korean content, including some more obscure options that may be hard to find. Some of the best shows I’ve watched are on Cathay flights. Having said that, they are also pretty strong in their Hollywood offerings – you will be able to find some of the hottest films on their system.

Noise-cancelling earphones

Final thoughts

The Cathay Pacific fifth freedom service between Singapore and Bangkok is a very much welcomed competition if you are looking beyond the Star Alliance carriers (i.e. Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways).

While it’s pretty much a very short flight, coupled with its brand-new lounge at Changi Airport, this is a product that works and is a very worthy alternative to what Singapore Airlines can offer. Schedule wise, while it only offer one flight a day, the middle-of-day timing also works pretty while for both business and leisure traveller – I could still head to work in the morning and still make it on the flight, while the return flight affords me some time in the morning in Bangkok before coming back to Singapore in time for dinner.

For those with Asia Miles, the redemption on this flight is however slightly more pricey than Krisflyer. You will need 25,000 Asia Miles each way in business class on Cathay, as compared to 21,500 Krisflyer miles each way on Singapore Airlines.

LOUNGE REVIEW: TGM (formerly known as The Green Market), Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2

Plaza Premium operates a wide suite of lounges and airport transit hotel offerings around the world, and have been aggressively expanding in the last couple of years. Its footprint at Changi Airport is not small: it operates two lounges (one at Terminal 1 and 4 each), the Aerotel in Terminal 1 as well as a restaurant-lounge concept TGM at Terminal 2.

TGM at Changi Airport Terminal 2, Level 3

TGM, formerly known as The Green Market, has been around at Changi Airport for several years now. Located in Changi Airport Terminal 2, the space is on the third floor after immigration, right next to the food court.

In the strictest sense, TGM is not exactly a lounge, but rather a restaurant. As such, the restaurant-lounge outlet also accepts walk-in guests who may be there for a meal, so this place tends to get a little busy during meal times.

Given that it operates more like a restaurant rather than a lounge, TGM doesn’t have a large footprint. The restaurant only has booth and dining table seating, and you will be hard-pressed to look for an armchair to lounge at. Given the concept, the space makes it ideal for groups and most definitely suitable if you are expecting substantial food.

For my visit today, I’ve used my Priority Pass card, which entitles me to a complimentary meal at TGM. TGM has a ‘corporate menu’ from which you can select a bento set, as well as a soft drink, tea or coffee to go with your meal. 

Once you enter, you can choose from the following bento sets:

  • Sashimi Bento Set
  • Salmon Butteryaki Bento Set
  • Beef Shogayaki Set
  • Tempura Bento Set
  • Chicken Teriyaki Set
  • Korean Rice Cake and Dumpling Soup Set
  • Saba Teriyaki Set

Unfortunately TGM does not offer complimentary alcoholic drinks, so if you are in the mood for a tipple you might want to check out the other Priority Pass lounges instead.

Alcoholic drinks menu

As I haven’t had lunch and was planning to fill up at TGM, I settle on the chicken teriyaki bento. The bento was pretty substantial: there was a side of gyoza, pork and radish, two croquettes, miso soup, rice and also some fruit. 

Given that this is not a traditional lounge space, you aren’t going to get a lot of facility. In fact, the restaurant doesn’t even have its own restrooms, you will need to make a short trek to the public toilets next to the food court, so if you are travelling alone this may not be ideal, although the staff will be more than helpful to keep an eye on your belongings.

Chicken Teriyaki Bento Set

However, TGM is a good space if you need to get some work done. When I was there on a Saturday afternoon at about 3pm, there was hardly anyone in the restaurant thus making it a good respite from the crowd in the terminal.

Also, every table has access to a power socket, so if you need to charge your devices or plug in your laptop, this is a good space.

Final thoughts

Overall, TGM is a good place to hit if you (i) have an unlimited Priority Pass membership, and (ii) need a fuss-free meal before you get on your flight from Terminal 2. This is a much better dining option over the SATS Premier Lounge in Terminal 2, even though it doesn’t come with complimentary alcohol.

Having said this, if you need other lounge facilities, such as shower facilities or complimentary unlimited beverages, you will really be better off visiting the Plaza Premium Lounge at Terminal 1.

TGM booth sitting

Location and operating details

Location: Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2, Level 3 (beside food court)
Access: Priority Pass or Dragon Pass, or pay-per-use
Hours: 0600H to 0100H
Food and beverage: Yes, one complimentary bento set and non-alcoholic beverage
Alcohol: Chargeable
Toilets: No
Showers: No
Business Centre: No

Changi Lounge now accepts Priority Pass & DragonPass

Spend up to three hours at this public area lounge with your Priority Pass or DragonPass

Three months after opening, Changi Lounge at Jewel Changi Airport is finally accepting third-party lounge pass programmes for admission.

If you are holding a valid Priority Pass or DragonPass membership (which is fairly easy to gain in Singapore as many credit cards offer one), you may use them at Changi Lounge with immediate effect.

Changi Lounge – Bar area

As this lounge is in the public area, you will be required to show a valid same-day boarding pass to be able to use the lounge. That unfortunately means you can’t just walk in and use the lounge anytime you are in Jewel!

For Priority Pass, you will only be able to access the lounge 4 hours before your flight (e.g. if your flight is at 5pm, you can only enter the lounge at 1pm), while for DragonPass, you can access it any time during the same day for a maximum of three hours per visit.

Walk-in rates

If you unfortunately do not hold any of the passes mentioned above, you can still use the lounge for a fee.

Three hour admissions are priced as follow:

Rates for three hours (SGD)AdultChild
Without shower$38$27
With shower$50$39

Nap pods are available for an add-on, which are $34 for the first hour and $20 per subsequent hour.

Changi Lounge – Sleep Pods