Update: Cathay Pacific has brought back in-town checkin for USA bound flights!
Originally posted on 10/25/17:
Some 15 years ago I became a mileage addict, in part due to figuring out how to manufacture more than a million free Cathay Pacific Asia miles via the now-defunct eBay Anything Points program.
Since then I’ve flown Cathay Pacific several times in business and first class. Their first class seat and bedding is undoubtedly the best in the industry. I’ve found the service to be very polished, but a bit robotic and nowhere near as good as the personalized premium cabin service on other Asian carriers like ANA and Singapore. Cathay Pacific is also the only airline that has refused to warm up my own double wrapped kosher meal that I brought onboard. Other airlines are happy to warm up my meals after seeing the drivel that is passed as a kosher meal. However Cathay Pacific does have awesome first class lounges and you can call the lounge to preorder delicious Hermolis kosher meals to eat before your flight or during your connection.
Mimi and I spent 5 days in Hong Kong and Macau during our round-the-world trip in 2011. It’s a fascinating East meets West city that is home to several great kosher restaurants and shuls. I even had an awesome custom kapota made while I was there.
We spent Shabbos with Chabad of Hong Kong Island where the food was excellent and the atmosphere was awesome. After Shabbos we moved the W in Kowloon. A comedy of errors there led them to comp our entire stay in a “Marvelous Suite.” Aside from the rooftop infinity pool and hot tub, one of the coolest features of the hotel is that you can call a bellhop to bring your luggage and check it in to your final destination at the in-town checkin counters located underneath the W in Kowloon station. You never have to lift a bag from your room until you arrive at your destination. From Kowloon station you can take the train and be inside the airport in less than 30 minutes. It’s an awesome feature.
There is also an in-town check-in counter located at the Hong Kong Island station.
Unfortunately, Cathay Pacific has announced that they will no longer offer the ability to use the in-town checkin counters for passengers on flights to the US. They are saying that US bound passengers should arrive at Hong Kong airport a whopping 3 hours before flight time in order to take a security interview. An interview is now required on all international flights to the US. At least Cathay has some great lounges in the airport, first class passengers can even order kosher Hermolis meals to eat in the lounge.
Passengers flying on Cathay Pacific to JFK on the flight that makes an intermediate stop in Vancouver aren’t subject to the new restrictions.
The odd thing is that American, Delta, Singapore, and United are all still allowing in-town checkin for US bound flights as per the MTR in-town checkin website. Those carriers are likely conducting the security interview at the in-town checkin station, though they can also be conducting them at the airport gate.
It’s more than a bit shocking that the mediocre US carriers can get this right and Cathay Pacific can’t in their own home market!
Have you used in-town checkin when flying from Hong Kong?