Cathay Pacific Is Restoring An Awesome Benefit When Flying From Hong Kong

Kowloon Station in-town checkin, January 2011
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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.

You can use Alaska miles to get a free stopover in Hong Kong when flying between North America and Israel!

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?

HT: AJK, via DDF

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43 Comments On "Cathay Pacific Is Restoring An Awesome Benefit When Flying From Hong Kong"

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Omg!! No!!
I have used this service 30 times as I travel to HK very often for business!!!
Thats ridiculous!

By the way how do you get the kosher food to the lounge in HK?


Yes, I have used this feature a number of times. What a shame…

Heshy V

I use it too. But it doesn’t matter much. It’s at the train station and you can take the cart to the train and from the train.
Not the end of the world.

Ben Wilson

Checking in luggage at Airport Express was the best. Can’t believe they are doing away with it. Made taking the train the airport tolerable.


Will this affect those who have a stopover as in SIN-HGK-JFK? Thanks.


1% world problems.


Just start flying HK to Tel Aviv and you will be fine.

Dan Fan

This is bad news as I’m a frequent traveler to HK and I would ALWAYS utilize the in-town check in. I’m usually running late to the airport so this was always convenient since I would check my bags in the morning and then go about my business. However I recently have switched to AA ever since the started flying out of LA and I would use my SWU to get upgraded. I hope AA doesn’t terminate the in-town check in as well. I’m curious as to how this extra layer of security at the airport will affect me since I would always show up to the airport and hour before my flight, whisk by security and still make it to the gate with time to spare.


It will affect you bigly. You’ll miss your flight


Does this include transfers from shangahi into hk to proceed into ny?


When does this end!? I am flying from hkg to JFK on 11/19

Yisroel Klitenick

I love the way you phrased them “a bit robotic”. These Asians are so stiff, I don’t know how to describe it. A client of mine travelled CX with his wife TLV – CAN via HKG and they misunderstood the baggage allowance assuming they were entitled to 2 bags each (check the site to understand why). At the airport returning in CAN (on the outbound they barely had luggage), they charged them $35 per kg that was over the allowance for a total of $1575!!! between the two (45kg excess). They said they don’t have an option to pay $100 for a second bag, besides for flights to the US. An hour of negotiating and tears didn’t make them budge a centimeter. They didn’t even want to take my US Amex over the phone, they only would accept the passengers Israeli cc which cannot be disputed afterwards. Rock cold-hearted staff with a truly amazing product (we’ll give credit where it’s due)

Veshaim Reshaim Yirkav!


How would you have disputed it had you been able to use a US Amex card over the phone?

Yisroel Klitenick

I’m quite convinced at such a ridiculous price, Amex would stand with the customer.


Never know I can get a kosher meal in a longe
I sit in longest many hours mostly in erope
In citys like frankfurt
Do u have somewere a lost longest u CAn get a kosher meal?


How in the world did you use 1 million points in 36 months


Not Cathay’s fault. The USA gave everyone time to institute new security measures. The deadline was the 25th. Cathay had no choice. Yes. I have used this service many times and it’s a wonderful service.

Rochel Leah Shender

I am taking a celebrity cruise line from Hong Kong…any information on their kosher meal service. We have ordered kosher, but need to contact the cruise Line. Any advice?


Dan, what tailor did you use to make the Kapotah? Thinking of making some on my next trip.


Booked the lax to bkk flight last week with a stop in Hong Kong each way. Stops range from 3-5 hours each way. Can I go out and explore? Is it enough time?


CX is a hideous airline. I once cancelled my flight and was entitled to a full refund. It took them 6 months to issue it to me. They gave excuses after excuses…they only returned the funds to me after I asked my credit card company to intervene and threatened to sue.

Also, their phone agents are the rudest of the rude.

Their lounge in HKG airport is impressive, but you have to be vigilant. This is because many professional thieves spend their entire “working day” there.


great news! what would be the best ways to accumulate cathay pacific miles nowadays?


Ritz Carlton HK bellhop will take your luggage down to train station and help you check-in. Another reason to stay at the tallest hotel in the world.


just flew CX HKG-JFK (ended up getting diverted to EWR) and did not need any interview.


How many miles is first and how can I check award availability ewr-hkg? Thanks


Flying next week (Iyh;)CX Ewr-HKG in J. Just ordered a kosher meal (choice of Lamb, Chicken, Fish or Omelette) to The Pier Lounge (they asked me which lounge I prefer) using the regular reservation number. FYI I tried calling the Pier and The Wing directly using the numbers on the forum, but they are apparently disconnected.


Thanks for the info was just able to book two chicken dishes