There are some significant changes coming in how Cathay Pacific’s lounges in Hong Kong operate that we have learned about.
For a long time, the lounges have been operated by partners from Peninsula to Plaza Premium to Sodexo, and, starting in November, Cathay Pacific will gradually take back the management of these lounges in-house.
We have understood that the F&B and cleaning continue to be provided by Sodexo, but Cathay will directly employ all passenger-facing employees.
The first lounge that will return to Cathay Pacific will be their Pier First Class, followed by Cathay’s business lounges, and lastly, the Wing First Class.
Cathay Pacific has decided not to automatically hire Sodexo employees in these lounges, but they can apply for their existing jobs. Some have already gone through the process and learned whether they will be accepted.
Here’s a statement we received from Cathay Pacific:
Cathay Pacific is introducing a change to the lounge operations model. Starting from November this year, we will gradually transition part of our dining and hospitality services from our lounge operator, Sodexo, to a Cathay led in-house model.
This strategic move aligns with our ambition of becoming one of the world’s greatest service brands. By managing these services directly, we are able to deliver a seamless, consistent and unified service across all touchpoints and enhance our customers’ travel experience.
I learned about these changes when spending 12 daylight hours at the Hong Kong International Airport yesterday while visiting several lounges, chatting with the staff, and typing away with my laptop.
The service in both the Wing and Pier was good, although many of the staff won’t be working in these lounges after Cathay takes them back in-house. Cathay should also have a relook at their Wing first-class menu, which has become relatively sparse.
Overall, the change is likely good because Cathay Pacific has better control of the entire process, and employees will, hopefully, get the same travel benefits as other group employees (highly discounted flights).
These previous switchovers have been close to invisible for most Cathay’s lounge guests, and I would expect this coming change to be no different.