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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our departure was timely and we were off into the hazy sunshine.
Menus were distributed.
The table was set while i enjoyed Spike Lee's fantastic film BlacKkKlansman.
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.
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.
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.
Bonus: Upgraded Room at The Conrad Hong Kong
Bonus : Click here displayhide
Turns out there was one perk to ending up alone on this trip. When I was checking in to The Conrad I mentioned to the agent, who happened to be a manager type, that i no longer required a room with two beds and they can put me anywhere, in case someone else needed the room. She tapped on her computer and confirmed that I was just here for the one night. She then offered me a two room suite and even apologized that that it was a peak view and not harbor view. I was quite grateful for the upgrade. My usual Hong Kong accommodations are very small and cramped, on account of the high hotel prices in the city, so this was a treat. The views are astonishing of course and if you sat in teh right seat in the living room you could see the harbor. At night it only gets better.
Malaysian Airlines Golden Satelite Lounge - Business Class Section
Kuala Lumpur - KUL
Hong Kong - HKG
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.
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