Book your flight on Cathay Pacific here.
Believe it or not, but I can't remember to have ever missed a flight, especially not when I'm at the airport on time. I watch the boarding announcements on the screen and usually add some extra time to get to faraway gates.
Now, Hong Kong airport is big but the gates had so far been rather close to the lounge for my prior flights.
I noticed two flights going to Kuala Lumpur – Malaysian Airlines and Cathay Pacific. Both almost at the same time – 8.45 and 8.40. Both were code-shared by the other partner and showed up under the original flight number and the code-share. This did not make it easy! When I looked up my gate, only the Malaysian Airlines flight stood out. It was from Gate 508, which is in a satellite terminal. This made me really suspicious so I reconfirmed the flight number at the bus gate and I asked the agent who handled the bus, but I guess I wasn't specific enough.
After a seemingly endless bus ride I arrived at the satellite terminal where I realized my mistake. This was the Malaysian Airlines flight at 8.45 AM – showing 'final call' already! I asked a friendly Malaysia Airlines representative and she confirmed that I was in the wrong place – and it was already 8.28 AM! She also told me that the right gate would be Gate 70.
The bus took an agonizing three minutes back to the main terminal – really, this was the slowest airport bus you would ever see. I'm falling asleep just thinking about it… Once there, I asked again and a gate agent gave me a Cathay Pacific number which I called on an internal line. Someone picked up immediately and told me that my flight had left already. Nonsense! It was now only 8.32 AM so I ignored that useless information and ran for the train to Gates 30-80.
Just after exiting the train, an agent was waiting with a sign for my flight to Kuala Lumpur. Apparently more people had had the same issue. The agent radioed the gate but made no promises. Gate 70 is the last gate at that side of the airport and a solid ten minute walk from the train station. I made it in three and was at the gate at 8.38 AM. The agents signaled me to hurry and I made it just before the doors were closed.
Thanks, Cathay, for waiting for me!
After I caught my breath (that was one intense, unexpected workout!) we started taxiing and made it out onto the runway for an on-time departure.
Cathay Pacific has updated the seats in its regional aircraft to the same ones as used on the international configuration. The seats are excellent and make for a great work and rest space. I have to say, my aircraft's seat seemed a little more worn than the one I had just used on my flight to Hong Kong, but it was still comfy.
Food was served about an hour into the flight. It wasn't exactly a feat – the bread looked rather sorry for itself and the dim sum they served wasn't great. It was just about palatable, though, so I polished it off to compensate for the airport workout.
The entertainment system had the exact same movies loaded as on the international configuration, which can be a little disappointing to a frequent flyer.
In summary, it was a good flight – certainly much better than most European or Asian business class products. Where else do you get lie-flat seats, mini cabins and a friendly crew on a regional three-hour flight? Only the transcontinental US routes or the few Delta planes flying within the US with a regional configuration are a match for this great service.
Thanks to the Cathay team for waiting for me as long as possible and for a great flight in a modern airplane… but please improve the Cathay cuisine!
Book your flight on Cathay Pacific here.
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