When transit gets ugly and showers backfire…

Yesterday after an amazing flight in Singapore Suites including sleeping in a double bed for nearly 10 hours, it was time to transit Hong Kong.

My connection was off to a great start when an agent met the plane to escort me through transit security. I figured that was excessive since there couldn’t possibly be a queue at 5:50AM in the morning, but boy was I wrong. We must have walked past a 45 minute queue. The issue is that while the escort guided me, he kind of just kept walking without looking back, so I kind of followed him like this duck:

I’m hoping that visual clarifies things a bit. ;)

So to some people it wasn’t apparent I was being escorted, and apparently some thought I was cutting the line.

I get to the front of the security queue and there’s a British guy who had already been complaining for the 15 seconds I was near him. “I thought this airport was supposed to be efficient, what the hell is this?”

So anyway, I’m directed to cut him in line, and this bloke loses it — “and who the hell do you think you are?” Now there are a few douchebag responses you could dish back, though I wasn’t looking to be an ass, so I simply signaled that I was following the escort. He then continued with “well why are you so special that you get escorted through?” Oy, this is awkward.

It was kind of like this:

I made it to the Silver Kris Lounge and was alone in it for about 30 minutes, because I guess all the other premium cabin passengers were stuck in the queue.

I asked about the possibility of a shower, and was informed they didn’t have showers. Shoot, I guess I should have researched that before the flight. I asked if there was another lounge with a shower in the area (I knew the Thai and United lounges had them, though they’re near gate 35, which is a real haul), and the agent informed me there was a Priority Pass lounge with showers near gate one — “just keep walking that way, there’s a big black, uh, door, you can’t miss it.”

So I did that, and after they registered me asked about getting a shower room. “Ohhhh, long queue for shower, at least 3-4 hours.” I did a double take as I looked at the lounge and it was more or less deserted, so I asked him if there was somewhere else I could shower. He said there was a Priority Pass lounge near gate 35 that had available showers, and I should go there.

At this point I was crunching numbers in my head. There was about an hour till departure, so I figured I could swing it if I hurried.

Hong Kong is one of the most visually stunning airports in the world, in my opinion, though can also be a real pain to haul through.

So after walking at a fast pace for 15 minutes I made it to the lounge with showers. Unfortunately these weren’t the shower rooms I’m used to at airports with sinks and toilets (let alone bath tubs and rubber duckies), but rather tiny individual shower rooms with communal sinks and toilets, and this warning sign in the shower:

I was so curious about the enforcement of this that I… well, nevermind.

Anyway, the problem with tiny showers rooms isn’t the lack of amenities, but rather how hot they get when water is running, meaning you’re sweating by the time you get dressed.

So after the shower I was sweatier than when I got in, and with 20 minutes to go till departure I hauled back to gate 15, where my flight was just boarding.

And the greatest surprise of the entire trip was no doubt this:

Anyway, I learned my lesson — no showers in Hong Kong!

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. How did you get the escort for transit security? I did the same SFO-HKG-SIN flight, but there was no one to escort us. Is this something new or because the security was backed up that day?

  2. You can take the train down to the UA gates where the TG lounge opens early and has a shower. Doesn’t take more than 7-10 minutes from the SQ gate/lounge area. Better food there too usually.

  3. Ben, you should apply Frequent Guest Card, it is similar to Global Entry, free of charge and no line.

  4. you would not have had this problem had you flown cathay. plenty of wonderful nice private showers available.

  5. @ Papa Smurf — Didn’t ask for it, they were just waiting at the door to the plane for Suites passengers. Not sure if that’s normal or not.

    @ AdamH — Yeah, though it’s only a one way train, and by the time you factor in the wait isn’t that much quicker than walking.

    @ nathan fruchter — True, though I also wouldn’t have had the “problem” of two first class suites. :p

  6. @ Carl — While the food is good, I’m not a fan of the lack of views (which most other lounges have) and lack of showers.

  7. I ran off to use the UA shower while at the SilverKris lounge. Left my fiancee at SilverKris, and when I came back I got so much grief for leaving her alone for what must have been an hour or more. I take quick showers, but it’s a real trek!

  8. Yes, e-channel is for immigration. But it is probably quicker to pass the immigration and go upstairs to get back from landside in your case. I did once around 7pm and total time from landing to airside — 10 mins.

  9. @Raksiam LOLLLL

    P.s. same issue with showers in Doha when flying QR. temperature was ridiculous, drenched in sweat as I’m sitting in the lounge post shower. Not pleasant

  10. in my experience, the main plaza premium (priority pass) lounge that you were sent to always gives ludicrous wait times for the showers. in the past they have quoted me: three hours and called me up after twenty minutes; two hours and then paged after fifteen minutes; three hours and a thirty minute wait; etc. additionally, they page with the softest voice over the loudspeaker, it barely clears the average lounge noise level.

  11. It seems you always have to shower at the airport? Most people shower every 24 hours unless they have a workout then twice a day. Why dont you just shower when you get to the hotel? Your travel time is less than 24 hours on this journey right?

  12. @ Troy: I shower on average 4 times a day. When you’re in humid weather it’s a big difference.

    United F lounge shower in HKG is not too bad

  13. I transited through HKG on SQ back in 2006 when they still had the old lounge with showers; it’s a shame they did away with them when moving to the new lounge! I was surprised to read the reason was that “there was no demand for them”, as I know I had to wait at least an hour for a shower slot and totally appreciated it after a a 12 hour flight. They’re definitely not catering to the crowd from the US.

  14. You probably just drew a bad lounge hand. I used the facilities in the QF F lounge last month and while spartan for an f lounge it did the trick. The CX arrival showers are nice and open at 5am, but that’s landslide.

  15. Remember that there are 4 transit security points at HKG. If one is backed-up, it makes sense to try the others.

  16. @ Troy — I usually shower twice a day when at home, and it’s no different when I travel. After a longhaul flight I feel much more refreshed after a shower, so I do everything I can to get one.

  17. Twice daily at home? You must be one dirty boy! ;)

    I totally agree with you on the post-long-haul shower. I also try to get in a pre-long-haul shower. On my last trip to MEL, I managed to shower en route at YUL, EWR, ZRH, BKK, and SYD.

  18. Did they provide an electric cart with the escort? Last time I flew TG in F they provided a buggy to immigration.

  19. @ Mike — Thai almost always provides buggies, though didn’t have one on Singapore. That being said the flight arrived right next to the security checkpoint, so it really wasn’t needed.

  20. Re: the Python video. You should have told the guy “Well, you have to know these things when you’re a blogger”

  21. The ventilation of Cathay Pacific shower rooms in three lounges at HKG was really bad. I usually feel I need a shower after shower. I have been complaining this before renovation and the problem still exist. The CX staff it is more like the problem of airport management as they have hard time to get them improve the ventilation

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