With a flight departing after 1pm, we strolled to the airport at around 10am, thinking it would be a leisurely check-in. Indeed the check-in area at Cathay Pacific was quite empty as it was situated beside its airline partner Air Berlin. There was no one in the First Class line and we proceed to check-in.
However it turns out there was some confusion with regards to my Dad’s ticketing. Both of the tickets were booked separately and redeemed using American Airlines AAdvantage miles so that might be the cause here. Furthermore Cathay Pacific was just starting flights out of Düsseldorf recently when I checked in for the flight. It was a bit of a wait as the check-in agent conversed with her supervisors and made a few calls before we got our boarding pass. I also had to ask for window seats and enquired how full the cabin was and was given a reply of ‘pretty full’. One drawback to the whole process was that Düsseldorf was a bit of an outstation and did not have baggage handlers for First Class passengers, so I had to bring my ski/snowboard bag to the end of the terminal near the Lufthansa counters where odd-sized baggage are checked in. That was the main blemish here and a far cry from the First Class counters in Hong Kong. For that matter, ANA even has baggage handlers for its First Class passengers in San Francisco.
After returning to meet up with my Dad who was waiting with out hand carried baggage, we went on to queue at the customs line for the tax refund and it seems many tourists were at a loss as to whether to check-in first or get the stamp first. Apparently you need to check-in and get the boarding pass, then bring the checked luggage over and get the stamp, before bringing the luggage over to the counter again to be checked in. It was a very troublesome process and not a very orderly in my opinion as Singapore Changi does this the best way with customs clearance occurring first before checking in the luggage.
Fortunately being a smaller European airport, Düsseldorf does not see much crowds during security check and thus we still did have some time to spare before the flight. This was even after all the delays caused by waiting for the tax refund and bringing my odd sized luggage for check-in. While Cathay Pacific has a oneworld partner in Düsseldorf which is Air Berlin, the assigned lounge for business class passengers is actually the Lufthansa Senator Lounge.
After passing both me and my dad’s boarding pass, we were granted access into the lounge though there would be no boarding call for our Cathay flight here. Access to the internet is provided with a password that can be obtained from the reception. Inside the lounge it was quite spartan but they do have a nice space set up for beverages and food.
There was 2 main bar and beverage counters throughout this fairly large lounge. Aside from the usual espresso and coffee machines, there was tea bags, a nice selection of German beers, wines and other liquors. Soft drinks from the fountain and water were also readily available.
Since it was yet to be lunch time, and we only had some fruits and coffee prior to coming to the lounge, we tried out some of the food on the buffet counter. The selections were mainly German fare like boiled sausages, cabbages, and potatoes.
Aside from these, there was also some interesting selections like caramel pudding and curd with herbs. Not that I tried any of them but they were interesting choices. There was also some apples and bananas for those looking for more conventional and healthy snack options.
In the end I just picked some nuts and crackers to go with a cup of cappuccino to have it in the spacious dining area at the end of the lounge. There was coat hangers spread out across the lounge similar to the LOT Polish lounge in Warsaw.
I think this lounge is nice to spend time in not just for its size but also how there was some segregation of space for guests who want to dine, to work and to relax. With the dining area at the other end, the clattering of cutleries will not disturb guests seeking to read magazines at the main seating area. Throughout the lounge, there are partial views of the tarmac so natural light does filter through as well.
Next to the reading and seating area, there are also cubicles with power points along with a printer for guests who needs to get work done. Generally, the space and the availability of seating space for a prime time slot between 11am to 12noon shows this lounge was adequate considering it also allows entry to Star Alliance Gold partners.
As you may have noted as well, the lounge does a good job marketing the Lufthansa brand, and there was the Superflieger 747 poster which ferried the winning World Cup team back to Germany. While this may not be any luxurious lounge befitting a First Class experience, it was an adequate space for business passengers to get some food or some report done in a nice environment.