Upcoming MR to HKG... int'l noob

Old Mar 6, 18, 2:57 pm
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Upcoming MR to HKG... int'l noob

Hey FT'ers. Member for a while, but don't post much.

I'm taking a MR to HKG on the 18th. I've never even been out of the country (except Canada and Mex), and I'm just jumping both feet first into Asia! I'm arriving on Delta, so I just have a few questions:

1. I've looked at the airport map - about what gate will I arrive?
2. All the times I've flown domestic, I can just check in online. Can I just do that for my return flight, during the flight to HKG?
3. Can someone explain the arrival procedures to me? From the time I get off the plane until I'm out of the airport? I know I'm going to have to do immigration and customs, but I don't know what to expect.
4. I am staying at the Regal at the airport, but I'd like to slip into town to one of the night markets. I arrive at 2030, so would I have time to check into the hotel and take the MTR into the city?
5. I'm in DL main cabin (not Comfort+) on the A332 in both directions. First flight is pretty full, but the return has several preferred seats open. Any recommendations if I were to buy a preferred seat?

Thank in advance!
war.eagle.30 is offline  
Old Mar 6, 18, 3:08 pm
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I don't have a load of info but HK is super easy, I think you're overthinking it. I think you picked the easiest place to do a mileage run to in Asia aside from Singapore. It's one of those cities you can show up to knowing nothing and survive just fine.

Immigration is a breeze, probably more efficient than both Canada and Mexico. Should be just like you're going to Canada but they'll probably ask fewer questions.

The Airport Express should be pretty quick to get you into the city. The city is generally pretty active at night.
sethMCOflyer is offline  
Old Mar 6, 18, 3:13 pm
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I flew into HKG last year. You should arrive into T1. I believe we were parked around gate 41. I just remember that it was a very long walk from the gate (about 10-20 mins).

Immigration times depend on arrival time IMO. Sometimes, there were a lot of other arriving flights and the lines got long. Nothing unusual about customs though.

Avoid the first row of preferred seats where C+ is in front. C+ reclines a lot more and will eat your leg room.
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Old Mar 6, 18, 3:34 pm
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Agree with the other posters on ease of immigration and efficiency of the airport. Last summer I transited HKG and our flight arrived late (maybe 21:45 or so) and at a bus gate. I still had time to check in at the SkyCity Marriott by the airport and catch a cab to Jordan Road and was able to walk up and down Temple Street before the night market wound down.
I will caution you to be mindful of the final departure times for the MTR because cabs back to Lantau can get very expensive after midnight.
GopherMSP is offline  
Old Mar 6, 18, 3:57 pm
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Just to echo what the other posters have stated... It doesn't really matter what gate you end up at, some are more of a walk than others, but customs and immigration is very fast and easy.

You don't need to check in during your flight for the next one you can check in at the counter the next day since you'll end up needing DOC check anyway (lines are never long IME anyways).

I recommend the exit row for preferred seats (22A, B, H, J) Those are probable the best non C+ seats in the main cabin. Keep in mind that E fares are now systemwide so even though the seat map may show very open for a flight you might have 50-60 people clear into seats on day of departure.
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Old Mar 6, 18, 4:11 pm
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I generally agree with the consensus that HKG is nothing to worry about, but I don't think I've ever cleared immigration in less than 20 minutes. I seem to always get stuck behind Mainland tour groups. Definitely a lot of walking, and maybe a train.

As a general rule when clearing immigration, don't make stuff up. If they ask why you're only staying 1 night (assuming that's what you're doing), just tell them it's a mileage run, since that's what you're doing. Don't worry about sounding weird.

You will need your passport verified by a human or kiosk departing the US and departing HKG, so OLCI doesn't really accomplish much.
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Old Mar 6, 18, 4:27 pm
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Thank you all for the tips. I went ahead and reserved 22A for the return trip. How bad are the disturbances there with the lav area?

On the way over, I'm in 32G - two rows after it transitions into 4 wide to 3 wide. It LOOKS from the DL seat map and seatguru.com like there might be a touch more leg room, for my right leg anyway, in that seat. Can any of you comment?
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Old Mar 6, 18, 5:05 pm
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Originally Posted by war.eagle.30 View Post
Thank you all for the tips. I went ahead and reserved 22A for the return trip. How bad are the disturbances there with the lav area?

On the way over, I'm in 32G - two rows after it transitions into 4 wide to 3 wide. It LOOKS from the DL seat map and seatguru.com like there might be a touch more leg room, for my right leg anyway, in that seat. Can any of you comment?

The best seats on in coach are row 10, but it will cost you. I think the benefit of legroom in row 22 far outweighs any issues related to proximity to the lav, especially on a flight this long. As long as you have good headphones and earplugs and a mask, you should be fine. If you can get an aisle instead of the window in row 22, you may want to. I'm trying to remember exactly how it looks, but I think the exit slide case sticks out a bit and that legroom in the window seats is not quite as good as the other seats in that row.

Also note that while there is USB power at every seat, full AC power is only available in the forward coach cabin (and in D1 of course).

Curious: what is your current status and what is your goal? What is your departure airport?
jdrtravel is offline  
Old Mar 6, 18, 5:30 pm
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Not that you need another vote, but HKG is pretty easy. I just returned yesterday from a weekend trip. I flew out of Seattle - did Delta One over and Comfort + for the return. On the plane you'll get a small landing document to fill out. Keep a pen and your passport handy, instead of tucked away in the overhead bin, as you'll record basic info (flight #, passport #, issue date, hotel info, etc.) on the form. After landing there is a bit of a haul over to immigration. While there was a line, it moved fairly quickly. The officer asked me zero questions this time. He simply took the paperwork, scanned my passport, stamped it, gave it back to me and waved me through. Last time, there were just a couple of basic questions. Anyway, I had checked luggage so it was off to baggage claim. Once I had my luggage I walked through the 'green' line since I had nothing to declare. There is a red line if you do. Then, you'll find yourself in the arrivals hall. That's it!

Hong Kong stays 'open' late.. kind of reminds of NYC in that regard. I arrived at about 8:30 PM and stayed in Kowloon. Riding into the area is pretty neat as everything is lit up and people are everywhere.

For the return, the app auto checked me in so I already had the boarding pass. I took a shuttle service from Kowloon to the airport ($19, booked ahead). There are kiosks for check in at the airport. An agent stopped by and asked a couple of questions before I checked my bag. (He asked: How long was my stay? He looked at the tag on my carry-on and asked if I used miles to travel. Then he asked what my last trip was prior to HKG.) Security was quick. You only need to remove your laptop from the bag being scanned. As in the US, bottles of water need to be discarded. After security, they've set up auto entrances to the gate. You scan your passport (remember to use your hand to press the passport flat), get an okay 'light' and then proceed towards the exit of the line. Stop there in front of the camera which verifies you and allows you to exit.

Not sure I can help with seat selection but my return flight had over 100 open seats. It was nice to have room to stretch out a bit. If you are Gold or more (or have club membership otherwise), there is a skyteam lounge at gate 15. They have a full, hot breakfast. Don't bother to grab a bottle of water to go from there. They inspect carry-ons on the gateway and will toss that right out of your bag.

I hope that helps.

Last edited by nichelle; Mar 6, 18 at 5:38 pm
nichelle is offline  
Old Mar 6, 18, 5:47 pm
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So, @nichelle will they confiscate unopened bottles? I was going to pack a couple bottles of some sort of sportsdrink.
@jdrtravel, I'm currently just a general Skymiles member. However, I will be traveling about a dozen more trips this year to the east coast. My home airport is BZN. I anticipate making SM this year, and would like to pad a little to the rollover for next year... possibly make GM depending on how many upgrades I decide to purchase.
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Old Mar 6, 18, 5:52 pm
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Originally Posted by war.eagle.30 View Post
So, @nichelle will they confiscate unopened bottles? I was going to pack a couple bottles of some sort of sportsdrink.
@jdrtravel, I'm currently just a general Skymiles member. However, I will be traveling about a dozen more trips this year to the east coast. My home airport is BZN. I anticipate making SM this year, and would like to pad a little to the rollover for next year... possibly make GM depending on how many upgrades I decide to purchase.

If you are going to be traveling a lot I suggest you accelerate this. Get the Delta Amex card and earn bonus MQMs. MR are not worth it just for silver. If you can make it to--and maintain-- gold, maybe (but just maybe, and I say this as a gm). You will also want lounge access.
Also look to buy up to first class when it's cheap for the MQM bonuses.
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Old Mar 6, 18, 5:56 pm
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Originally Posted by war.eagle.30 View Post
So, @nichelle will they confiscate unopened bottles? I was going to pack a couple bottles of some sort of sportsdrink.
@jdrtravel, I'm currently just a general Skymiles member. However, I will be traveling about a dozen more trips this year to the east coast. My home airport is BZN. I anticipate making SM this year, and would like to pad a little to the rollover for next year... possibly make GM depending on how many upgrades I decide to purchase.
Yes - on my first trip there, my travel companion and I each grabbed bottles of water from the Skyclub for the return ride home. They were unopened. When our bags were inspected on the jetway, they took out the bottles of water and kept them.

Hope you have a good trip. If you make it back there, it's worth a stay even if its only a couple of days.
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Old Mar 6, 18, 6:06 pm
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Originally Posted by war.eagle.30 View Post
So, @nichelle will they confiscate unopened bottles? I was going to pack a couple bottles of some sort of sportsdrink.
@jdrtravel, I'm currently just a general Skymiles member. However, I will be traveling about a dozen more trips this year to the east coast. My home airport is BZN. I anticipate making SM this year, and would like to pad a little to the rollover for next year... possibly make GM depending on how many upgrades I decide to purchase.
The fact is that liquid is liquid when flying under USA rules. Donít try to pass through security with anything over 100 ML. The only exceptions are liquids you have purchased duty-free post-security (getting to air-side) in the airport but tends to exclude individual servings liquids (which are acceptable in US airports as there is not an additional search at gate)
In2ishn is offline  
Old Mar 6, 18, 6:19 pm
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Agreed @In2ishn - We were just happy we hadn't actually paid for the water that was confiscated. We weren't expecting a bag check at the gate so hadn't even considered that possibility.
nichelle is offline  
Old Mar 6, 18, 6:21 pm
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Originally Posted by GopherMSP View Post
Agree with the other posters on ease of immigration and efficiency of the airport. Last summer I transited HKG and our flight arrived late (maybe 21:45 or so) and at a bus gate. I still had time to check in at the SkyCity Marriott by the airport and catch a cab to Jordan Road and was able to walk up and down Temple Street before the night market wound down.
I will caution you to be mindful of the final departure times for the MTR because cabs back to Lantau can get very expensive after midnight.
For your information, there should be night bus available for you to get back to airport after the last MTR train, They'll be much cheaper than taking taxi.
ktllo is offline  

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