Lounge Review: Cathay Pacific First and Business Class Lounge San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

Ever since Cathay Pacific and the San Francisco airport held the plane spotting event for the inaugural flight of Cathay Pacific’s A350 to San Francisco I was hooked to fly Cathay’s A350 and go back to Hong Kong.
I arrived a day early in San Francisco to make sure that I have enough time to make it to my flight even so my inbound flight would get delayed. For the one night, I stayed at the Hyatt Regency SFO Airport, which is just a short shuttle ride away from the airport. As World of Hyatt Globalist, I got a 4 p.m. checkout and headed to the airport to check in for my flight. The plan was to visit Cathay Pacific’s lounge and hang out there until my flight would depart at 12:35 a.m.
There was only one issue, the check-in for Cathay Pacific Airways wouldn’t open until 7:20 p.m. and I arrived there around 4:30 p.m. with the shuttle from the hotel. So I took the hotel shuttle back to the hotel and hang out in the Regency Club shortly before 7 p.m. to make my way back to the airport.
Checking in for my flight was quick as I was the first in line for Business Class. I received besides my boarding pass also an invite for the lounge in San Francisco and the Arrivals Lounge in Hong Kong. Getting through security was thanks to TSA Pre no problem either.

Past security turn to your left and take the elevator or escalator up to the 4th floor and follow the hallway down to Cathay Pacific First and Business Class Lounge

Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO

First Class passengers

Departure First Class lounge Departure Business Class lounge Arrival lounges*
Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon First Class Passenger + 1 guest Passenger + 1 guest Passenger only
oneworld carrier First Class Passenger + 1 guest Passenger + 1 guest No access

*Arrival lounges:

  • Hong Kong (The Arrival)
  • London (American Arrivals Lounge) for passengers arriving from CX237, CX255 and CX251 only
  • Frankfurt (Cathay Pacific First and Business Class Lounge)

Business Class passengers

Departure First Class lounge Departure Business Class lounge Arrival lounges*
Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon Business Class No access Passenger only Passenger only
oneworld carrier Business Class No access Passenger only No access

*Arrival lounges:

  • Hong Kong (The Arrival)
  • London (American Arrivals Lounge) for passengers arriving from CX237, CX255 and CX251 only
  • Frankfurt (Cathay Pacific First and Business Class Lounge)

Marco Polo Club members

Standard benefits

As one of the standard club benefits, Silver, Gold and Diamond members can enjoy unlimited lounge access regardless of the cabin class flown.

Departure First Class lounge Departure Business Class lounge Arrival lounges*
Diamond members Passenger + 2 guests

Departing on Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon or oneworld carrier** flights only
Passenger + 2 guests

Departing on Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon or oneworld carrier** flights only
Passenger only

Arriving on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights only
Gold members No access Passenger + 1 guest

Departing on Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon or oneworld carrier** flights only
Passenger only

Arriving on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights only
Silver members No access Passenger only

Departing on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights only
No access

*Arrival lounges:

  • Hong Kong (The Arrival)
  • London (American Arrivals Lounge) for Diamond members arriving from CX237, CX255 and CX251 only
  • Frankfurt (Cathay Pacific First and Business Class Lounge)

** Lounge access is limited to lounges operated by CX/KA only.

Lounge Pass

Marco Polo Club members can earn Lounge Pass(es) as a mid-tier benefit for self-use or to share with others. Please refer to the table below for benefits offered to members of different tiers.

Who can they redeem Lounge Pass(es) for? Lounge Pass holder can access
Diamond members Travel companion or Redemption Group member

Departing on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights only

Departure First Class lounge and Departure Business Class lounge
Gold members Travel companion or Redemption Group member

Departing on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights only

Departure Business Class lounge
Silver members Travel companion

Departing on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights only

Departure Business Class lounge
Green members Member self or travel companion

Departing on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights only

Departure Business Class lounge

Travel companions refer to guests traveling with the Marco Polo Club member on the same booking or traveling on the same flight date, with the same origin and destination, as the Marco Polo Club member.

A Redemption Group member may use this benefit either when traveling with the Marco Polo Club member or on their own.

All other Marco Polo Club members can use their Asia Miles to instantly redeem lounge access for themselves and for friends and family members traveling with them – even if they are not flying on Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon, or a oneworld airline.

The list above was copied from Cathay Pacific’s official website.

  • Complimentary hood food
  • Snacks
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Shower Suites
  • Plenty of seating
  • Newspapers
  • Departure Monitor

daily from 07:30 a.m. – 01:00 a.m.

Location

Past security turn to your left and take the elevator or escalator up to the 4th floor and follow the hallway down to Cathay Pacific First and Business Class Lounge

Cathay Pacific Lounge SFO

Access

First Class passengers

Departure First Class lounge Departure Business Class lounge Arrival lounges*
Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon First Class Passenger + 1 guest Passenger + 1 guest Passenger only
oneworld carrier First Class Passenger + 1 guest Passenger + 1 guest No access

*Arrival lounges:

  • Hong Kong (The Arrival)
  • London (American Arrivals Lounge) for passengers arriving from CX237, CX255 and CX251 only
  • Frankfurt (Cathay Pacific First and Business Class Lounge)

Business Class passengers

Departure First Class lounge Departure Business Class lounge Arrival lounges*
Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon Business Class No access Passenger only Passenger only
oneworld carrier Business Class No access Passenger only No access

*Arrival lounges:

  • Hong Kong (The Arrival)
  • London (American Arrivals Lounge) for passengers arriving from CX237, CX255 and CX251 only
  • Frankfurt (Cathay Pacific First and Business Class Lounge)

Marco Polo Club members

Standard benefits

As one of the standard club benefits, Silver, Gold and Diamond members can enjoy unlimited lounge access regardless of the cabin class flown.

Departure First Class lounge Departure Business Class lounge Arrival lounges*
Diamond members Passenger + 2 guests

Departing on Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon or oneworld carrier** flights only
Passenger + 2 guests

Departing on Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon or oneworld carrier** flights only
Passenger only

Arriving on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights only
Gold members No access Passenger + 1 guest

Departing on Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon or oneworld carrier** flights only
Passenger only

Arriving on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights only
Silver members No access Passenger only

Departing on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights only
No access

*Arrival lounges:

  • Hong Kong (The Arrival)
  • London (American Arrivals Lounge) for Diamond members arriving from CX237, CX255 and CX251 only
  • Frankfurt (Cathay Pacific First and Business Class Lounge)

** Lounge access is limited to lounges operated by CX/KA only.

Lounge Pass

Marco Polo Club members can earn Lounge Pass(es) as a mid-tier benefit for self-use or to share with others. Please refer to the table below for benefits offered to members of different tiers.

Who can they redeem Lounge Pass(es) for? Lounge Pass holder can access
Diamond members Travel companion or Redemption Group member

Departing on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights only

Departure First Class lounge and Departure Business Class lounge
Gold members Travel companion or Redemption Group member

Departing on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights only

Departure Business Class lounge
Silver members Travel companion

Departing on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights only

Departure Business Class lounge
Green members Member self or travel companion

Departing on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights only

Departure Business Class lounge

Travel companions refer to guests traveling with the Marco Polo Club member on the same booking or traveling on the same flight date, with the same origin and destination, as the Marco Polo Club member.

A Redemption Group member may use this benefit either when traveling with the Marco Polo Club member or on their own.

All other Marco Polo Club members can use their Asia Miles to instantly redeem lounge access for themselves and for friends and family members traveling with them – even if they are not flying on Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon, or a oneworld airline.

The list above was copied from Cathay Pacific’s official website.

Amenities
  • Complimentary hood food
  • Snacks
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Shower Suites
  • Plenty of seating
  • Newspapers
  • Departure Monitor
Hours of Operation

daily from 07:30 a.m. – 01:00 a.m.

Cathay Pacific’s lounge is located on the 4th floor of the International Airport, together with a bunch of other lounges. Once passed security there is an automatic door on your left, go through there and follow the signs to the Cathay Pacific Lounge. You can use either the elevator or escalator to get one floor higher. Once there, walk down the long hallway to the left and the entrance of the lounge will be to your left as well. Very easy to find. To your right would be the Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge and the Philippines Airlines Mabuhay Lounge.

Entrance to the Lounges


Follow the corridor down to your left


Hallway to the lounge


Entrance to Cathay Pacific First and Business Class Lounge

I was one of the first guests to arrive and I showed my invite for the lounge and was ready to go.
From the entrance, the lounge splits to the left and right. The left portion was still closed as they got it ready but the area right in front of the entrance and to the right was already open. Both sides offer a variety of seating areas and a snack buffet. However, the hot food buffet is only at the right side of the lounge.

Entrance

They just started to prepare the food and had some mini burgers and cold sandwiches still out besides cheese and other snacks.
The food got changed to a more Asian-style cuisine with Kung Pao Chicken, Black Pepper Beef, rice and more. The food was really good and they always kept the buffet filled. Even tho that in the time from when I arrived at the lounge until shortly before departure, the lounge never really got to full.

Food Buffet


Food Buffet


Food Buffet


Food Buffet


Food Buffet

Besides food, passengers have the choice between numerous beverages from water and sodas over to beer and wine and spirits. Not to forget that they also have a coffee machine where you can get your favorite coffee blend.

Self-Service Bar and Food Buffet

Besides dining tables, there were more comfortable chairs located throughout the lounge. Besides the dining tables pretty much ever chair and seat had a power outlet to charge your devices. If you need to get some business done, there are workstations and printer/fax in the business center near the middle of the lounge, next to the entrance.

Business Center with workstations


Business Center with workstations

On either side of the lounge are a restroom and some shower suites which is also complimentary during your visit.

Bathroom

As it was already dark when I arrived at the lounge, there was not much view from the windows in the lounge.

Conclusion

This is now one of my new favorite lounges at the San Francisco airport, but I will rarely use it because of their opening hours and access requirements to get in. For most of my flights out of SFO, I use the American Express Centurion Lounge in Terminal 3 as I can walk there from the terminals I fly out the most. The biggest downside at SFO is that the terminals are not interconnected. That means you have to go through security every time you change the terminal. That’s why I stayed at the Cathay Pacific Lounge in the International Terminal. It has been a very long day already and I got through security when the lines were short even with TSA Pre. If you fly out of SFO on a Cathay Pacific flight you really should visit this lounge.

Cathay Pacific First and Business Class Lounge - San Francisco International Airport

9.7

Food

9.8/10

Bar

9.9/10

Amenities

10.0/10

Design

9.0/10

WiFi

9.0/10

Service

10.0/10

Views

9.9/10

Location

10.0/10

Pros

  • Close to Gates
  • Lots of Space
  • Great food and drink options
  • Shower Suites

Upcoming Events

  1. Long Beach Airport Festival of Flight

    November 2 @ 10:00 - 04:00 PDT
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