Review of Cathay Dragon flight Kuala Lumpur Hong Kong in Business

Airline Cathay Dragon
Flight KA730
Class Business
Seat 12K
Aircraft Airbus A330-300
Flight time 04:00
Take-off 22 Jan 19, 09:00
Arrival at 22 Jan 19, 13:00
KA   #12 out of 133 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 62 reviews
socalnow
By GOLD 1548
Published on 14th March 2019
Greetings Flight Report community and welcome aboard.

The genesis for this trip was actually a trip in July. My pal Mark and I had a spectacular Lufthansa First Class extravaganza that left us in Tokyo with a need for a ride home. Enter Virgin Atlantic and their unbelievable redemption of 110k Flying Club points for a round trip in ANA First Class. In the miles and points world that's the preferred was to get between the US West Coast and Tokyo. The gods of mileage redemption smiled on us and we found two F seats from Tokyo to LAX on the July day we needed. His was HND-LAX and mine NRT-LAX but it was good enough. Flying Club require a round trip redemption so we had to park the return segment somewhere. I scoured Expertflyer and found two First Class seats on LAX-NRT for January 17th, 2019. Darn it all we'd have to plan a second trip around that segment. If we must. So then, you're up to speed on how we and why we presented ourselves at LAX on this date and time.

As for building out a trip around this flight to Tokyo it was easy. Mark loved eating around Singapore on a previous trip so I told him if we ever get a chance to go back to that part of the world I think he would really enjoy Kuala Lumpur, for many of the same reasons he enjoyed Singapore. Amazing cuisines as a result cultural diversity chief among them. I added the KL is a lot like a less polished version of SIN. Also, it's a much less expensive hotel town so we could stay in luxury for a fraction of the price. So it was settled, we'd make our way down to KUL and, since we were in the neighborhood, we'd swing by Hong Kong on the way home. Mark hasn't had the pleasure of visiting HK either.

In the 6 months between trips I planed and schemed and fleshed out all of the segments on points (some his but mostly mine) so that we would travel in relative comfort. We would rely on Delta to non-rev home on the last T-Pac segment, which likely meant economy class for Mark. Can't win them all.

Spoiler alert: Things didn't go to plan for either of us. The first installment contains the unfortunate circumstances.

Carrier, route, equipment, class, lounge, and procurement method:



All Nippon Airways (ANA), LAX-NRT, 777-300ER, First, United Polaris Lounge / Star Alliance First Class Lounge, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
All Nippon Airways (ANA), NRT-KUL, 787-8, Business, No Lounge, United Mileageplus
Cathay Dragon, KUL-HKG, A330-300, Business, MH Golden Lounge, BA Avios (This Report)
Cathay Pacific, HKG-HND, 777-300ER, Business, The Pier First Class Lounge, BA Avios
Japan Airlines, HND-SFO, 777-300ER, First, JAL First Class Lounge, BA Avios
Alaska Airlines, SFO-SNA, EMB175, First, No Lounge, Cash

Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge Satellite - Business Class



Check in was quick as friendly and efficient. I fell into the "premium line trap" at immigration where, yes, it was shorter, but there was only one staff as opposed to many for the regular line. Therefore the wait was probably longer.

Having visited the underwhelming First Class portion of the Golden Lounge last month I was tempering my expectation of the Business Class side.

photo 20190121_075505photo 20190121_075514

It's a spacious lounge with a good variety of seating.



There are ramp views, including the A330 I will board in an hour or so.



What stood out at this lounge was the food. There are several "made to order" stations offing a variety of dishes. I am a noodle soup junkie so I started my breakfast there.



The Sarawak Laksa was rich and piquant with fishy and sweet notes. A good effort.



Across from the noodle bar there is a beverage island and past that there is another complex of chef stations including kaya toast (in the mornings, sandwiches in the afternoon apparently), a barista, and a waffle station.



I'm not one to pass on kaya toast. Properly grilled bread and all.

photo 20190121_073435photo 20190121_073437

KA730 KUL-HKG



I make it to the gate about a half hour before departure and there is no wait for security. The issue i have with the security at the gate model is knowing when to leave the lounge to allow enough time, but not get to the gate too early and be stuck in the, often very crowded, holding room. Nailed it this time.

photo 20190121_082746photo 20190121_082937

Once on board I find my seat in the rather uninspired Cathay Dragon configuration. It certainly makes the dated ANA recliner seat that I rode into KUL seem like first class.



There is a minimum of storage in addition to the minimum of recline. Power ports, a grainy video monitor and decent headphones are also included.




I thought canceling my travel partner's seat so close to departure might give me an empty seat next to me but no such luck. A man traveling with his wife and 3 children sat there. He slept and ate while she juggled 3 childrens' meals and bathroom trips. Class act.

I selected water for my PDB and it was served in a nice glass etched with the CX logo. It was offered with a packaged towel.

photo 20190121_083548

Our departure was timely and we were off into the hazy sunshine.

photo 20190121_090808photo 20190121_090957

Menus were distributed.



The table was set while i enjoyed Spike Lee's fantastic film BlacKkKlansman.

photo 20190121_092327photo 20190121_092342

Service started with the base tray served with fruit and yogurt. To drink I opted for water and Champagne. They don't keep teh Champagne on the cart in the morning but the lovely flight attendant assured me she would return and she was true to her word. Bread was also offered.



The choices of main dish were offered from the cart and I selected the chicken satay. It was perfectly fine with a decent spice and reasonable tenderness.



Enjoying breakfast off the coast of Vietnam.

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The windows on this aircraft were badly scratched so many of my window shots ended up like this one. Occasionally I could position the lens jst so and get the lens to not focus on the scratches.

photo 20190121_120646

I enjoyed my film and a few glasses of Champagne and before I knew it we were on approach to Chek Lap Kok Island. My first Cathay Dragon flight in the books.



After the typical long immigration lines at HKG I was on the HK Express to Central.

photo 20190121_135325

Bonus: Upgraded Room at The Conrad Hong Kong



Bonus : Click here display
See more

Verdict

Cathay Dragon

7.4/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Meal/catering7.5

Malaysian Airlines Golden Satelite Lounge - Business Class Section

8.4/10
Comfort8.0
Meal/catering8.5
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Services8.5

Kuala Lumpur - KUL

8.4/10
Efficiency8.0
Access9.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.5

Hong Kong - HKG

8.4/10
Efficiency8.0
Access9.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.5

Conclusion

The Ground Service: Efficient check in, no checked baggage.

The Lounge: It's rather excellent if you enjoy the local cuisine. I utilized he made to order stations and neglected to even explore eh hot and cold buffet options where I suspect you would find Western options, should you be inclined. The window seats have great ramp/gate views so I was quite content.

The Cabin: I found the seat uncomfortable. It reclines a bit more than a standard domestic seat and has a leg rest of sorts behind your calves. The seat surface is rather hard. The IFE on this aircraft was a generation behind acceptable in terms of resolution. The selection was ample.

The Crew: The crew would be the highlight of the flight. They were lovely young women who worked very earnestly to accommodate the needs of the passengers. I was offered refills on the Champagne with good frequency.

The Food and Beverage: The Champagne was nicely chilled and the chicken satay dish was of appropriate quality. The portion was small but with the fruit, yogurt, and even cereal if you so desired, so there was plenty to eat.

Overall: The crew and their service made up for the lackluster hard product.

Thank you for reading and happy flying.

Information on the route Kuala Lumpur (KUL) Hong Kong (HKG)

8 Comments

  • Comment 492950 by
    ThomasDutch GOLD 372 Comments

    Thanks for sharing. Cathay Dragon is definitely not close to it's mother company with their J class, though it is understandable. Just for your information, but you added some of your bonus photos (Hotel Room) among the gallery of the food that was served to you during your flight.

  • Comment 492961 by
    Rewardflying GOLD 466 Comments

    Hi SoCalNow ! Cathay Dragon, a new twist

    I'm not one to pass on kaya toast. Properly grilled bread and all.

    I wouldn't be either!

    These seats are also in some regional 777/330 CX planes and are ok for a short trip. Overall not so impressed with this cabin.

    Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to the rest of your trip and how Mark did!

    • Comment 493747 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 924 Comments

      Greetings Mark and thank you for the feedback.

      "Overall not so impressed with this cabin."
      -Yes, that's an elegant way to express the "meh" nature of this product.

      " Looking forward to the rest of your trip and how Mark did!"
      -Mark survived. He stayed in Nartia one night and was able to find his way to HND the following afternoon to fly home....in economy. A very unceremonious end to a trip that held so much promise. Oh well.

      Thanks again for the note and happy flying.

  • Comment 493139 by
    BombieFlyer 93 Comments

    Thank you for this report! As a CX/KA loyalist, I must say that Dragonair now is nowhere close its former self. As much as I love to fly with the CX group, Cathay Pacific really destroys Dragonair's uniqueness when it fully absorbed KA. In fact, I still call it Dragonair and when I interact with the flight attendants, they really appreciate it. Dragonair used to offer better food and beverage, both in quantity and quality. Sadly now they are offering the measly offering that CX does. I can't wait until the new regional J seat is launched. I'd rather sit in economy or premium economy than to sit in that awful awful regional J seat.

    It's good to know that KA served you champagne. On most flights to mainland China destinations, even the important ones like Shanghai, morning flights are not catered with Champagne anymore.

    Last but not least, that Sarawak Laksa looks yummy!

    • Comment 493748 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 924 Comments

      Hello BombieFlyer and thank you for the feedback. It's great to hear perspective from an experienced CX/KA flyer.

      "I must say that Dragonair now is nowhere close its former self. As much as I love to fly with the CX group, Cathay Pacific really destroys Dragonair's uniqueness when it fully absorbed KA."
      -That's an unfortunate and familiar tale in the airline merger/acquisition history. It's happening in the USA right now with Alaska gutting Virgin America. Of course the business case wins the day over uniqueness or personality.

      "In fact, I still call it Dragonair and when I interact with the flight attendants, they really appreciate it. "
      -Good to know.

      "It's good to know that KA served you champagne. On most flights to mainland China destinations, even the important ones like Shanghai, morning flights are not catered with Champagne anymore."
      -What? I've noted this for future reference!

      Thanks again BombieFlyer and happy flying.

  • Comment 494442 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4953 Comments

    Hey Socalnow, thanks for sharing this beautiful and thorough report as always!

    I found the seat uncomfortable. It reclines a bit more than a standard domestic seat and has a leg rest of sorts behind your calves.

    Yep, having flown in these seats I have to agree with you. They look cool, and are a bit better than domestic F seats i the U.S. but they don't compare to other Asian regional J products which are either fully flat (SQ's new 787 regional J) or angled flat (NH regional J).

    I never really understood KA's branding positioning within the CX group. Classed-down CX J for almost the same price? Considering CX has the same regional J product, I don't see the point of having 2 separate brands. But hey, that's just me.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 510670 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 924 Comments

      Thanks for the comment KevinDC.

      I never really understood KA's branding positioning within the CX group. Classed-down CX J for almost the same price? Considering CX has the same regional J product, I don't see the point of having 2 separate brands. But hey, that's just me.

      It's not just you. It's confusing for the customer. Ultimately we know why they do it, so they can establish a different pay scale.

      It's also frustrating for those of us redeeming AS miles. CX flights are OK, KA are not...

      Thanks again Kevin and happy flying.

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