It's fallout from the latest clamp-down imposed by the US Department of Homeland Security and removes one of the greatest time-savers for business travellers, who until now have been able to dump their checked luggage at the station, check in for their flight and either speed their way to the airport or spend the rest of the day in Hong Kong.
The move doesn't impact travellers heading to any other Cathay Pacific destination, and Cathay's flight CX888 to New York via Vancouver is exempt from the new rules.
Also caught up in the changes are American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Singapore Airlines (which has daily flights between Hong Kong and San Francisco).
A statement issued by Cathay Pacific advises that "while passengers may still check in online, they are asked to check in their baggage at the dedicated counters on Aisle B at Hong Kong International Airport , where they will be subject to a short security interview."
"Passengers without check-in baggage should proceed to the boarding gate directly as early as possible, where they will be also be subject to a short security interview."
The airline suggests that all passengers travelling to the US "arrive at the airport three hours prior to departure to ensure they can proceed through all airport checkpoints in good time."