New lounge at SFO - disappointed

Discussion in 'Cathay Pacific | Asia Miles/Marco Polo Club' started by estnet, Dec 21, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    Recently visited the newly opened lounge at SFO. Clearly a new place with basic furnishings and an area with tables for eating. What I didn't like

    1) No first class section
    2) No champagne available!
    3) Really embarrassing food. With the exception of the cooked to order wonton soup (and dan dan noodles also available) which was good the food on offer was disgusting! Dried out pasta, dried out veggies, tastless soup - well you get the idea.
    4) Wifi so slow as to be almost unusable (not just by me asked a neighbor and his was slow too and this was with very few people in the lounge) - when I enquired was told to try using the free SFO wifi (which didn't really have a signal there)!

    I would put the lounge just a touch above a UA red carpet (old name) lounge - this is not what I was expecting from Cathay. So sad
     
  2. Toula
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    Toula Gold Member

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    Wow even the BA lounge they used to use had champagne and a separate section for First.
     
  3. Rejuvenated
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    Rejuvenated Gold Member

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    We visited there earlier this month. While it is far from being one of the most glamorous lounge to be created, it suited our preferences just fine. Yes there were no champagnes and also there was no convenience of being able to board directly from the lounge that the BA lounge offers if the aircraft is parked at Gate A4 or A6. Apart from the downside resulting from these two areas, we find it to be a nice change and upgrade from the BA facility especially in the hot food offerings. Quality was not the best but we didn't find it to be terrible either. I only had the Wonton Noodles from the Noodle Bar but my wife had the Noodle Bar's Dan Dan (peanut) Noodles as well as a little bit of fried noodles from the buffet. There was nothing fancy about the taste of that fried noodle she said but it was okay and nothing terrible to rant about. Both the Wonton and Dan Dan noodles we found to be decent. Whether a food taste good or not of course boils down to personal taste. But we were very satisfied in finally seeing more hot items being available in the food offerings, an option that was extremely limited and poor in quality inside the BA lounge.

    We used the SFO wifi for our laptop and didn't encounter any connection and/or speed problems during that day.

    The lack of a separate F & J section according to the station manager we spoke to when we were there is due to the lack of space available to construct the whole facility. Overall the lounge isn't very big. So what is likely to happen should a separate F section be included? It will likely be a small room similar to the one found at the BA facility one level below. We are among those who despise being inside that small F room of that Terrace Lounge. Other than better alcohol selections compared to the ones found in the J section, we are not a fan of being confined to a small room and don't see any significant advantages of being in there especially when there are other passengers inside that room (considering that this isn't the Cabana at the Wing where one can go inside, shut the door and have no one else come in until you are done and have exited). Often we would just forget it and stay on the J side which is more spacious and comfortable whenever we visited the lounge prior to the existence of the new CX lounge. My take is if a separate F section is to be created, then adequate space should be available and not just be limited to one small room. If there isn't enough meaningful space to justify so, then might as well drop the idea of a segragation.
     
  4. HaveMilesWillTravel
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  5. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    Everyone's taste is different but when I was there there were pasta noodles so dried out that I'm surprised that they even met health standards (did try a bite but it was a bit like soggy cardboard so didn't eat more) - same for the hot vegs ( looked like they had been there for hours). I agree that they made to order noodles are fine (even good), but to present hot food (uncovered) that looks like it has been sitting out all day (and I was there for the night flight so perhaps it actually had been) is embarrassing IMHO. I haven't been to the BA lounge so can't compare but this lounge doesn't come close to being among the best (or even very good) I've visited. The SQ lounge at SFO also no longer has a F section, but the internet works, food isn't great but at least the hot food is covered (which probably helps keep it from drying out) - but then they don't have cooked to order food.

    My take is that if they are going to offer food it should be kept to some kind of standard and that I would expect more from what is purported to be a "special" lounge for first class passengers. It would also be nice if the internet worked consistently and if it didn't at some time that at least an effort might be made to indicate that some follow up would be undertaken to fix it for the future.
     
  6. Rejuvenated
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    Not taking anything away from your experience. We were there for the 11:50am departure so we can only reflect on what took place during the am hours. The only thing covering the hot items we saw which included fried noodles, hash browns, eggs, was a rectangular glass roofing above them and sure it would be nice if they had a direct covering on each one of them. However outside of the eggs appearing somewhat dry, the hot dishes for the most part still looked fresh to us. Perhaps when we entered they had not been out of the kitchen for too long yet. Some of the other items such as the yoghurt, sandwiches, etc were also not directly covered and had similar but a higher slanted glass above them. There were some items (which we didn't check to see what exactly they were) located between the top & bottom storage of the canned beverages that were directly covered. Regardless, considering that the lounge only opens four hours prior to departure and not the entire period from early morning to late evening, I would be very surprised if any of the hot dishes, sandwiches or any of the other food items they had during morning were just left out there to continue from the time the facility closed, reopened for the evening departure and then closed again once the night flight left. I would believe that for the hot items, they would be preparing and making new ones again prior to reopening the lounge again at around 8pm. 8+ hours is an awful long time for any food (especially hot ones) to just be sitting out there while the lounge is closed and to be consumed by people again afterwards once it reopens. I personally don't believe CX would choose to have them this way and would be appaled if they did.

    People (including us) have been complaining what we've been getting previously at the hands of the BA Terrace (especially in the food area) and want something new and better. Now that we have and have experienced this new facility which we found to be a great improvement from the BA one, we would not trade it to return back to the Terrace Lounge. With most airline lounges out there available, many people can always find ways to nitpick certain things and aspects as everyone has different expectations and needs. However, prior to entering this new lounge, our expectations were not super high because we know that for CX, this is an outport lounge and not a home base one. Hence we did not expect it to have the multiple offerings and features that we are accustomed to for so many years over at the Wing, Pier, etc.

    I have used the free Wifi SFO provides several times since the service debuted last year and have always found the connection to be fast and reliable. Since they've had this service I have not bothered using whatever connection any of the lounges offer or any other possible alternatives within the airport facilities. If the complimentary wifi SFO is providing had issues on their end during the evening you were there, then anyone using that wifi service during that time would most likely have had problems as well regardless which lounge one was in or in any other location throughout the airport, not just the CX lounge alone.
     
  7. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    Appreciate that our experiences were different BUT if the lounge pays for their own wifi at least make sure it is working and not just brush it off when it isn't.

    As I said I hadn't experienced the BA lounge so perhaps I am not properly appreciative :rolleyes: but SFO is an outpost for SQ and they do a much better job. Maybe my expectations were a bit high (but I have to say that after my visits to the Wing -which was sad - apologies and "it will be better next year") and the Pier - which was better but still not up to the home ap first class lounges of SQ, LH and ANA I am not impressed.

    It may be that my expectations are/were too high, or maybe I'm just spoiled :p but one of the things I really appreciate when flying first class (which btw I consider a real treat) esp. When leaving very late is the ability to eat something before the flight so I can sleep on the plane and adequate wifi to catch up on last minute issues before 15hours offline.

    That being said I DID really enjoy the cooked to order wonton :)
     

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