Flight Report : CX 725 Hong Kong - Kuala Lumpur

The SMS woke me up with a delay notification of 1 hour. While I appreciate the notice so I won't need to waste time at the airport waiting, it would likely mean I'll miss the sunset photos in a KL rooftop bar later that day.

Check-in was smooth and the wait was short at the Marco Polo / Business Class line. It always is less crowded in these elite rows. The security line stretched a bit but moved along. I was more surprised by the quiet Plaza Premium Lounge near Gate 4, which usually is bursting with people lined up outside like at the Prada store.

The airport signs have changed. I had never seen a hot water sign before. Perhaps it is because so many mainland Chinese fill up their water and tea bottles after security.

In addition to the time change, the gate also changed to 70 - the furthest in the terminal. I took the opportunity to walk along the length of it to look for interesting birds.

Some of the gate signs have been decorated for the Christmas season. Subtle, and not overdone with an army of cartoon characters.

With Cathay's rebranding, the livery will change gradually so I need to take more photos of their planes from now on. I still wonder why such a beautiful and classic design needs to be changed.

The paperwork noted boarding time would begin at 1:15pm. That didn't happen. A long line snaked from the gate by the time I arrived at 1:25pm. A non-CX uniformed staff checked my ID and directed me to the priority line, which was nearly empty far ahead on the side. I liked this pro-activeness.

Next to our gate is an A340, a rare bird these days and likely on its way out of the fleet.

The flight attendant directed me to the left of the entrance. Strange. It is still Economy Class, not Business Class.

We taxied towards the western edge of the runway, with Jin Air's widebody ahead of us. I didn't expect a low-cost carrier to operate such a large jet for a short haul.

We took off towards the east just as BA's A380 came for a landing.

There was a weird blue sky glow over the city amidst the clouds.

My coveted city aerial photo opportunities were dashed by clouds that covered us up just off Tsing Yi. I closed my blinds as the sun peeked through and enjoyed some TV shows while the meal was being prepared.

It took quite some time - over an hour - for the meal to come out. Nuts and a round of drinks were served shortly before the meal. It was tasty but with a delayed departure, seemed more afternoon tea than lunch. Lucky I had a fish ball noodle beforehand at the lounge.

Economy Class has a small cabin of a few rows ahead of the second door. I used to book the smaller back cabin when flying Business Class, but I didn't realize cattle class had something similar. The area is a bit cozy and didn't seem as crowded as out back and there was very good legroom. The A330 is configured 2-4-2 so being at the window, I didn't feel claustrophobic when I need to venture out to the bathroom.

After the meal, we skirted the southern Vietnamese coast. I'm on the wrong side to see Ho Chi Minh City today.

The Discovery magazine has been rebranded. I glanced through the long article about Vienna, which was strange because Cathay doesn't fly there, or anywhere nearby. Perhaps it is a potential new destination?

There was a long article explaining their frustrations with delays, especially to China, and that much of it is out of the airline's control. I take sympathy at them, and point the blame squarely at the Chinese military who controls most of the country's airspace.

The European network has greatly expanded with several new destinations - Manchester, Zurich, and Dusseldorf, for example.

Cathay also operates several "other" flights, such as 5th freedoms out of Taipei. I have flown Osaka - Taipei and Vancouver - New York.

The entertainment selection seemed to have stagnated compared to my last flight with CX in early October. Family Guy still had the same 3 episodes and I dozed off after watching Sex in the City once again.

We descended into a cloudy Kuala Lumpur. There were lots of tall clouds so the descent was at times bumpy.

There isn't much development around KLIA except for palm tree forests that were neatly laid out.

In the distance are a bunch of red AirAsia planes. That must be the controversial new KLIA2, the replacement for the Third World budget terminal.

Time to spot MH's A380s. These won't be around for too long.

Yikes, that's an angry sky.

We touched down an hour late and taxied a long time to the terminal. There weren't too many interesting birds here and the main terminal seemed not too busy at all. But I caught this interesting Saudi bird parked next to us on the way out.

Immigration took forever, with many international flights and only a few counters open. The line snaked around until the ropes could not hold everyone anymore, and it took a long time before officials realized they needed to open another section.

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