toby25
Topic Author
Posts: 100
Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 1:28 pm

Cathay Dragon: HKG-KUL-HKG Biz & Eco Class

Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:34 pm

Image20170629_121602 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

First of all, my photograph skills range from terrible to don't give this guy a camera!

It has been a while since I last uploaded a report for you in part due to my laziness and none of my trips have been noticeably exciting. However I decided to write up this report as I have not seen a Dragonair report on these forums for a while, not since the change of name to Cathay Dragon anyway. My Marco Polo Gold card is due to expire in September and since changing jobs I am not flying as often enough to renew my membership. Therefore, I was taking any opportunities to fly in order to squeeze out as much of my membership that I had left before the due date.

I had not flown with KA in a while; my last trip with them was to PEK almost 2 years ago so I decided it was high time to check up on things. I did not fancy travelling into Mainland China where KA’s network concentrates on so I decided to look somewhere further afield. It has been a very long time since I last visited Kuala Lumpur and combining with a hotel combo on expedia worked out at about HKD2500 which was a fair price.

Image20170629_123544 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

I will not delve into the reasons of Dragonair’s name change as most of you should know the reasons why. CX recently relinquished control of the KUL route to its regional sister airline operating 3-4 flights a day on an all A330 aircraft. It should be noted that Malaysian Airlines also code shares on this route. Checking my booking on CX mobile app I was able to preselect my seat immediately.

48 hours before, online check in was duly opened. I was able to re-select my seat as well as have my boarding pass sent to me in various means, noticeably via e-mail or text or you can collect it at the airport. The flight to KUL I booked was actually a code share with CX as for some reason it was slightly cheaper than choosing a KA flight number. Not too sure how code share works, I’ve seen some airlines have 8-9 code shares on one flight! Do they profit and cost share on these code share flights?

As I wanted to spend some quality time in the lounges, I decided to head out to the airport extra early. My flight departs at 12.50 so I decided to leave to catch the airport bus at 8.00 arriving at around 09.00. The airport bus arrived on time and I tapped my Octopus card on the reader and made myself comfortable for the next hour. This particular bus had free WiFi available as well as a USB port to recharge your phone. However about 20 minutes into the journey we hit some terrible traffic. We were at a standstill for about 20-25 minutes just moving inches at a time. The journey was painfully slow. I could see that other people on the bus were getting agitated about missing their flights. The reason as I eventually saw was that a bus collided in the back end of another bus causing some pretty major backlogs.

Image20170629_084334 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Airport bus comes with USB charger ports for that last minute of extra juice!

Image20170629_084344 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Economy class ‘air’ bus seat

Image20170629_095811 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Wonderful day for flying

Image20170629_101415 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Finally arriving at the airport

Image20170629_101428 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
CX City Headland Hotel

Image20170629_101430 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
I think these airline boards are more of a danger than a help. Have to slow down to find your flight taking your eyes off the road.

Image20170629_101534 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
The bus made a stop at CX City with CX Betsy aircraft outside the entrance.

In total, the 50 minute journey took around 2 hours, eating into my lounge relaxation time. Upon arrival at the airport, I made a quick dash to aisle H where the KA check in desk are located. Still being a gold card member I am entitled to use the business class counters where there was one person ahead of me. After a couple of minutes waiting at the front of the queue; the lady from the first class counter called me over. I enquired about the loads on the flight to which she responded that it was a very full flight. She also mentioned that I had a good possibility to be upgraded to business but the computer could not confirm at this stage and was told to check back at the boarding gate. Today’s gate would depart from gate 1 which is good if you don’t want to walk far but I was hoping for the gates in the 60 range so that I could use the QF lounge then make my way to The Pier before boarding. Trekking over to The Pier when my gate was at gate 1 just wasted time so I decided to forgo that plan and concentrate on QF lounge and possibly the CX The Wing lounge near gates 3-4.


Even booked in economy class I still have access to my favourite lounge in HKG which is the Qantas lounge. I am actually allowed to bring in one guest travelling on a oneWorld flight and was tempted to ask if anyone wanted access to a CX lounge, for a price, of course lol. The Qantas lounge opens at 09.30 everyday which is a bonus considering the first Qantas flight does not depart until the early evening, meaning members of the oneWorld programme can effectively use this lounge without travelling on a Qantas flight. It is a lot less crowded than the CX lounges which if you are a Silver member grants you access making it a very busy lounge at times.

Image20170629_103606 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Wonderful views out onto the tarmac from the lounge

Image20170629_103615 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Very quiet lounge

Image20170629_103631 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Pretty decent buffet station

Image20170629_103639 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Menu for today

Image20170629_103649 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Hash browns, drool.

Image20170629_104148 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Lovely!

Image20170629_110112 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170629_110155 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

The QF lounge effectively caters for the morning JL flight to NRT with many of the food options being noticeably Japanese-esque. There was miso soup, Japanese curry and grilled mackerel as well as some western options for breakfast. A portion of the lounge was closed off due to the light numbers. During my time in the lounge not more than 10 people were in at any one time making it feel very exclusive. I have a weakness for hash browns so I stocked piled for winter lol. I also tried out QF signature cocktail, I believe it is called Chi Chi – can’t recall the ingredients but it was ok. I restocked on hash browns and then decided to check out the shower unit. I didn’t need a shower but decided to freshen up with a quick rinse to make me feel all nice and clean. After my quick shower I then decided to head out as boarding would commence shortly.

Image20170629_110904 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
QF signature cocktail along with this month’s BA inflight magazine

Image20170629_114841 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Nice shower stall

Image20170629_114845 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170629_120403 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
I don’t understand why the edges are not fogged up, what’s the point!

Image20170629_120807 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
This is the gents toilet area

Due to my late arrival at the airport, I decided that I would stick around the boarding gate as it was not long until boarding would commence. I made a brief visit to The Wing and only limited my stay to the downstairs portion of the lounge. Looking at the FID’s it displayed my flight as boarding so I decided to make the short hop to gate 2. Since being in the lounge, the gate of my flight was changed from 1 to 2. All priority status passengers had boarded leaving a snaking queue in economy. I made my way to the business class side and handed over my BP and passport. After a quick check of my identity the gate agent scanned my BP and the lazer scanner bleeped red! Hurrah! Upgrade! The only time you want to be stopped at the gate is when they offer you a free upgrade. This would be my first upgrade on KA.

Image20170629_121719 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Never been to the SkyTeam lounge

Image20170629_121750 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Gate 15 being worked on

Image20170629_123452 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170629_121950 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Change of gate

Image20170629_123813 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Boarding the business class bridge

Upon entering the business cabin, pre-departure drinks were in full flow. I was seated at the window with another upgrade passengers sitting at the aisle seat. As I drank a bit too much at the airport my bladder was on the verge of tipping and needed to use the toilet a few times. In reality, my economy class aisle seat that I prebooked would have been more convenient for me to get in and out of rather than having to ask the aisle passenger to get up and let me pass. The cabin was very warm and I was using the safety card to fan myself. It was not a pleasant cabin temperature and was looking forward to when the cabin doors would be closed so it would cool down a bit.

Image20170629_124432 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170629_124106 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
KA business class product, typical regional variety

Image20170629_124443 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170629_124213 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Just headphones as an amenity

As this was only a 3.5 hour flight, there were no flight amenities apart from a menu that was distributed before take-off. I was not offered any pre-departure drink so I assumed that they must have forgotten about me. Push back was on time and we made a very quick taxi to the runway behind a MU A320 to PVG and another KA A330 to DPS behind us. Take off was swift and we rumbled into the afternoon skies of HK heading south towards the Malaysian pennisular.

Image20170629_124213 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170629_130029 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170629_130615 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

After takeoff the crew came round asking what we wanted to eat from the menu selection and also asked what beverage we wanted with the meal. At this time the temperature of the cabin was a more pleasant affair and I no longer had to resort to using the safety card to fan myself to keep cool. However at this point I was bursting to go to the toilet but the guy next to me seemed to have made himself comfortable but when needs must so I had to excuse myself and he was ok with it. I might have had to use the sick bag to relieve myself lol.

Image20170629_133536 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
White linen for the meal

Image20170629_133421 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
KA signature cocktail

Image20170629_140509 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Meal service in full swing

Image20170629_140526 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170629_134632 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Starters

Image20170629_131341 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Mains

Image20170629_131637 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Literature pocket

Image20170629_131725 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170629_131742 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170629_131756 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170629_132131 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
These pockets are useless not sure what they meant to hold, definitely not a water bottle

The crew started to distribute the fast track immigration passes to all business class which as I would find out later would be an absolute blessing when I saw the ridiculously long line snaking its way from the immigration counters! The crew then began distributing the starter after laying down white linen onto the tray table. The starter was fine nothing too mind blowing and I ordered the KA signature cocktail which tasted like diluted orange cordial! After the crew came around to collect the empty dishes. Is it just me but I love to touch the cold metal cutlery from the meal service, my weird little fetish lol.

Image20170629_140624 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170629_143017 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

The crew then began the main meal service which we could choose from three options listed in the menu. I chose the chicken and rice which was again very blah. At this point I then decided to watch the film Split with James McAvoy. It was very good but unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to finish it before we landed so I made a mental note to watch the remaining during the return leg. Once the main meal service finished then the crew handed out ice cream to finish off the meal.

The seat functions very much as a regional business class product, i.e there was no lie flat function and there is very little storage around the seat. The only noticeable storage area was where the airline puts their infight magazine and duty free catalog. In order to charge your phone using the USB next to the TV monitor then you have to slight jut out the meal tray for your phone to rest there or if your cable is long enough to put in the magazine storage bin or hold it in your hand.

The remaining portion of the flight was just watching the film and physically trying to hold in my pee as the guy next to me was sleeping. My original booked economy aisle seat is actually better in this regard plus there are more storage options to place things. So is the business class seat on KA worth it? I personally wouldn’t book this as I believe economy class is more value for your dollar than the KA business seat. Fair enough, it is miles ahead of what African, European and American airliners call their business class but in Asia there are many awesome regional business class products out there; many using long haul international business class aircrafts on regional 3-5 hours hops around Asia.

Image20170629_130920 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Making myself comfortable after the meal service

Image20170629_132257 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Bathroom

Image20170629_132339 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
With Jurlique products

Not too long the captain came on the blower informing us of our decent towards KUL and the weather details. We made a winding decent towards KUL passing over some funky looking shrubs that seem to extend for miles in all directions! We made a slow taxi towards what seemed like an empty airport and docked at the C gates.

The cabin doors were opened and we made ourselves out of the plane towards immigration. KUL is funny in that both departure and arrival passengers share the same terminal level so ends up as a mix match of passengers leaving and just deplaning making it quite confusing. Charlotte in North Carolina also has the same set up.

Heading towards immigration required the use of the sky train to take you to the main terminal. I found the signs a little confusing so ended just following the crowd of people hoping they were arriving passengers heading to baggage reclaim. I passed by a local phone operator booth, Digi, and purchased a local data sim card and then made my way to what can only be described as a unorganized mess of people waiting for immigration. Now my flight arrived just behind a plane load of passengers from British Airways so the lines for immigration were crazy stupid. Malaysian airport / government really needs to tidy up their act here, it’s a disgrace!

Now luckily I had a fast track immigration card so could cut the long queues but again the signage was terrible and wasn’t sure which queue was what. Managed to find the line for first and business by invitation only queue and even that queue was long, not as long as economy but still a disgrace.

Image20170629_165151 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Lifeline!

Image20170629_164956 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Queue for immigration!!! Disgrace!

Finally made it to the front and was duly stamped and allowed to enter the country for 90 days. Picked up my baggage from the luggage belt which had priority status and on to the KLIA Express train towards Sentral.

Image20170629_163844 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Malaysia is a wonderful country just a bit too hot for me. Wonderful people, amazing shopping malls and reliable and efficient transportation hub. The only complaint is the monorail with just two cabins and frequency of 12 minutes per car made getting onto the monorail one tight squeeze. It was very uncomfortable especially with the number of people trying to get on from say Imbi station where the large shopping mall is located.

Approximately 48 hours before departure, mobile online check in opened for my return portion back to HKG. I would be taking the 09.00am flight back so it would require an early start. Luckily staying in Sentral meant that the KILA Express service back to KUL would only take 30 minutes. I woke up at 5.00am in order to do some last minute packing and make my way to Sentral station via Nu Sentral shopping mall. I had already bought a return ticket when I arrived at KUL so it was simply to tap my ticket on the reader and heading downstairs to the platform. At this time the train was empty so there were plenty of seats to choose from.

Image20170702_062835 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

The train departed exactly on time – I love efficiency but not when I am running late lol! We made a quick journey to airport and then made my way to the top floor where departures are located. KA counters are located at aisle H, I believe where there were separate lines for business, economy and baggage drop. The business / Marco Polo lines were actually longer than the bag drop line so I queued there instead.

The check in counter lady was pleasant and tagged my bag to HKG but did not put a priority sticker on. I asked her if she could put one on to which she replied if I was a Marco Polo member. I was a little confused - didn’t my booking number have my details already? The lady said there was no reference on the computer which is awfully strange. Perplexed, I handed over my membership card and she typed in the numbers and all was ok. She re-printed my BP and added a priority sticker to my bag. Weird.

Image20170702_071423 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
KA check in counters

I headed to the fast track immigration queue and was stamped out of Malaysia. You have to scan your bag and person to enter the ‘secure zone’ but this is not the full security check. This is done at the individual gate. I wished I had known about that earlier as I downed my bottle of water and needed to pee all morning. I then proceeded to take the train to the satellite C terminal. I made my way upstairs and headed straight for MH lounge.

Image20170702_071431 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_071501 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
I like this funky design

Image20170702_071659 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_072054 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_072839 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_072454 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
C terminal

Image20170702_072512 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Was closed when I arrived

When I got there, a family who just arrived from Chennai was refused entry saying they were not entitled to use the facility. The family then argues saying that they used the MH lounge in Chennai to which the lounge attendant replied there is no MH lounge in Chennai. Anyway, I was accepted and made my way to the food area. The lounge is a good size with a bar, noodle station and plenty of seats. However, the whole lounge could do with an upgrade as the seats had seen better days. The food on offer was pathetic which consisted of hash browns, curry, rice and bread. Electric sockets didn’t work and instead you had to go to a charging device at the far side of the lounge if you wanted to charge your mobile. If this is MH flagship international lounge then it is pathetic.

Image20170702_072933 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_073106 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Bar area

Image20170702_073137 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_073146 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_073154 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_073228 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_073301 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_073345 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_081211 by Callum Johan, on Flickr


Food options regularly ran out. Cutlery was not replenished and the WiFi sucked. After a few hash browns which did not taste great, I decided to exit the lounge and head for the Premium Plaza lounge instead. Very disappointed in MH third rate lounge considering this is their home base. A very sorry state. Fail.

Whilst walking towards the Premium Plaza lounge I noticed on the opposite side a CX lounge. I was not even aware CX had a lounge here. Did I completely miss this?! I decided therefore to peek into the CX lounge as I have been to this Premium Plaza in the past. The CX lounge attendant asked if I had the lounge invitation that was given to me at check in. I replied that the check in lady did not print any invitation pass for me. Not to worry the lounge attendant entered my details in manually and I was let through.

Image20170702_081400 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_081600 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_081622 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_081630 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_081718 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_081720 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Limited food options

Image20170702_081730 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Pot noodles should be banned in all lounges!

Image20170702_081739 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_081745 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Not a bar, just a long table

Image20170702_081759 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_081813 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_081818 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Now the lounge is very basic and not like the other lounges in the CX network like in LHR or BKK. This lounge was small but comfortable. A small IT section and food area. That is it. There is no bar or noodle station, or freshly cooked food here so not really a wow factor lounge here. Not to worry. Boarding was called shortly so I decided to make my way to the gate, C32.

As mentioned, all passengers will need to go through a full security check here so the queues can be long. After passing though then I had my BP checked – no upgrade this time but I did have the seat next to me free which is even better – and then made my way onboard. This aircraft has been painted in KA’s new colours.

Image20170702_083608 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_072752 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Double trouble

Image20170702_072755 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_081248 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_081251 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_083627 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
Boarding gate

Image20170702_084314 by Callum Johan, on Flickr
March of the mainlanders!


The cabin seemed pretty full and the crew were working hard to get everybody settled in, including multiple requests for blankets and pillows. This flight was not very memorable, just your box standard service so not too sure what to type here. I finished off the remaining part of Split and then tried to get some shut eye however the couple behind me were talking loudly so any attempt at sleeping was going to be a challenge.

Image20170702_084319 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_084925 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_130227 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_090533 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_084123 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_084127 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_084202 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_085421 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_085907 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_090345 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_090412 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_090351 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_125817 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_130219 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_130940 by Callum Johan, on Flickr

Image20170702_131528 by Callum Johan, on Flickr


We were behind schedule about 10 minutes and docked at one of the furthest gate, gate 70. Picked up my suitcase and made my way home.
Seriously dude! I swear!
 
debonair
Posts: 2928
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 10:50 pm

Re: Cathay Dragon: HKG-KUL-HKG Biz & Eco Class

Fri Jul 14, 2017 7:53 pm

Totally agree 100% with your TR.

KUL is a fantastic airport in my opinion, but the immigration process and waiting time is an absolutely disgrace, what a shame. Same about malaysian airlines, loosing my luggage on a 3h transfer and poor customer service is not good enough.
Plaza Premium was in the past a fantastic lounge, but is a BIG let down nowadays and far too small - visiting the CX lounge was the right decision!
 
ZincSaucier
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:28 pm

Re: Cathay Dragon: HKG-KUL-HKG Biz & Eco Class

Sat Jul 15, 2017 2:08 am

toby25 wrote:
The cabin doors were opened and we made ourselves out of the plane towards immigration. KUL is funny in that both departure and arrival passengers share the same terminal level so ends up as a mix match of passengers leaving and just deplaning making it quite confusing. Charlotte in North Carolina also has the same set up.


Most US airports have that setup for domestic flights (or ones that are pre-cleared), but all international flights will deplane passengers to a separate level for them to clear customs as there is no way to transit a US airport from an international destination without clearing customs (and then going through security and back to the regular departures level). It's very interesting that KUL lets arriving and departing passengers mingle without having screened the incoming people again...
 
blink182
Posts: 5290
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 1999 3:09 am

Re: Cathay Dragon: HKG-KUL-HKG Biz & Eco Class

Sun Jul 16, 2017 1:38 am

ZincSaucier wrote:
toby25 wrote:
The cabin doors were opened and we made ourselves out of the plane towards immigration. KUL is funny in that both departure and arrival passengers share the same terminal level so ends up as a mix match of passengers leaving and just deplaning making it quite confusing. Charlotte in North Carolina also has the same set up.


Most US airports have that setup for domestic flights (or ones that are pre-cleared), but all international flights will deplane passengers to a separate level for them to clear customs as there is no way to transit a US airport from an international destination without clearing customs (and then going through security and back to the regular departures level). It's very interesting that KUL lets arriving and departing passengers mingle without having screened the incoming people again...


KUL screens pax at their respective gates, much like SIN, CMB and formerly AMS. Getting really micro here: upon arrival at KUL, CMB, and SIN and airports with the same set up, pax walk through a secure/glass corridor for the ten meters it takes to get through the separated gate area and then are deposited into the concourse with everyone else.
Give me a break, I created this username when I was a kid...
 
User avatar
MarcoPoloWorld
Posts: 300
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 12:37 am

Re: Cathay Dragon: HKG-KUL-HKG Biz & Eco Class

Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:47 am

Thanks for the great trip report!... I wonder why CX relinquished their KUL service to Dragon.... Anyways, thanks again!
 
User avatar
OzarkD9S
Posts: 4914
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2001 2:31 am

Re: Cathay Dragon: HKG-KUL-HKG Biz & Eco Class

Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:55 pm

Don't knock your photography skills toby25. Except for a few fuzzy ones you have a good eye and a natural feel for composition. Nothing to be ashamed of! Good TR as well.
Next Up: STL-ATL-CHS-ATL-STL. MD90, MD88, MD88, 738. 3 T-Tails ourt of 4! :biggrin:
 
User avatar
juliuswong
Posts: 239
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:22 am

Re: Cathay Dragon: HKG-KUL-HKG Biz & Eco Class

Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:57 am

MarcoPoloWorld wrote:
Thanks for the great trip report!... I wonder why CX relinquished their KUL service to Dragon.... Anyways, thanks again!

Words are that KUL is not as "premium" and lack the high demand compared to other SEA destinations like BKK and SIN hence the transfer to KA. There was also a rumour saying KA has lower cost base compared to mainline CX, which was debunked by other forum members here.

Interestingly on a side note, I remember reading somewhere there is a possibility to revert to initial arrangement, but not sure if it is true.

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