Cathay Pacific Flight Report
Jakarta - Hong Kong

19 February

Lunch-time traffic from the city wasn't too bad. There were some bottlenecks along the way, but the taxi pulled into the airport in well under an hour. Luckily it didn't rain. I had heard it would take up to 3 hours if traffic backed up. There was a huge line through security to get into the check-in area, which is sanitized from the public and supposedly for departing passengers only. The plane ticket check wasn't so rigorous and after I got through, it was a breeze into Cathay's counters.

There were long lines at immigration but it moved steadily and I emerged air-side in the shopping mall section of the terminal in no time. I flew domestic out of this airport last year, and noticed the international section was a bit nicer with many duty-free shops but not so many restaurants. Unfortunately, air-conditioning was very weak inside the 3 restaurants we went into, with the first two either not having seats left or stopped serving lunch already at 1pm.

This is not a Hong Kong brand.

I tried to enjoy some plane spotting while eating lunch sweating. Hey, my inbound flight arrived on time!

At boarding time, I was surprised the screens turned to "Final Call". Apparently. there are checks further down to the gate, with the security X-ray scans followed by another bag check just before boarding.

Off we go!

We actually pushed back a bit ahead of schedule. Economy seemed full again today.

The rain had stopped and blue skies emerged in a pocket of reprieve. We quickly banked right after take-off for a U-turn northbound.

The pilots steered around the tall clouds as we were served nuts and drinks.

We skirted the western part of Borneo and exited the island near Kuching into the South China Sea.

I decided to skip lunch after grabbing a bite at the airport. The flight's timing is a bit awkward to eat - too late for lunch and too early for dinner. Sunset came and went and we landed just ahead of schedule. It was cold - 12C - and dark, which made this environmental advertisement a bit obsolete.

24 March

2nd time lucky. 50 minutes after leaving the hotel, through moderate traffic, I arrived at the airport 2 hours before departure. The security screening into the check-in area had long lines but they steadily moved, after which it was a breeze with nobody in front of me for the bag drop. No upgrade again today although the agent mentioned the flight was full.

Today's gate was in another pod and there were some Taiwanese departures in the area as well.

EVA pushed back just as I settled into my window seat. Last month, I flew on the left side and missed the city on departure. Today, I settled a bit further back but with a right window to see a different view.

We boarded later than the boarding pass time starting with the back rows. I boarded at my leisure with my Marco Polo membership and the crew rushed to get the full cattle class settled. We ended up pushing back only 10 minutes late.

There was some variety for plane spotting today, and wonderful blue skies as dry season approaches.

As we held on the taxiway, an interesting Malaysian bird passed by.

Further down, the brand new domestic T3 looked quite empty. Hopefully, my flight could depart from there one day.

We would take off towards the south today, which meant city views on the right side as we loop 180-degrees around.

Looking back, we could see the huge new T3 in the distance.

We soon approached the coast and the congested city is barely visible in the background.

Blue skies everywhere today. The right window is indeed a good choice.

About an hour later, we approached Borneo.

Borneo doesn't seem as remote as I had thought with many plantations, roads, and human settlement as we flew across.

After peanuts and drinks, lunch was served. I chose the fish rice, which wasn't anything special. The other option was a pumpkin pasta. What impressed me was the crew's memory, offering a second serving of wine for my neighbours and apple juice for myself. This sort of attention to detail makes Cathay different from other airlines and is not consistently offered on its flights either.

After dinner, we entered into a patch of clouds high up into the sky, and I dozed off as the sun set. We didn't encounter holding delays on approach and touched down at 8:15pm, ahead of schedule. We eventually settled at gate 1, where it was a short walk to immigration and my priority-tagged luggage came out quickly after. That's a rare speedy sight these days!

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