Flying with Malaysia Airlines, Malindo Air or Cathay Dragon from Kuala Lumpur International Airport? Then take advantage of the city’s in-town check-in desks, where you can ditch your suitcase and obtain your boarding pass before reaching the airport.
It’s a great move if you’re planning some final sightseeing on departure day – as you won’t need to worry about your suitcase until arriving at your destination – and also means you can head straight to passport control at the airport, bypassing the regular (and often lengthy) airport check-in queues.
Here’s how you can make use of Kuala Lumpur’s biggest airport timesaver.
Kuala Lumpur in-town check-in: the basics
You’ll find this check-in facility in the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s Sentral railway station. That’s because it’s reserved for use by passengers of the KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit airport trains, so you’ll need to buy a train ticket to access the check-in zone: but more on that later.
Malaysia Airlines passengers can check-in at leisure on the same calendar day as their flight, up to two hours prior to departure when travelling internationally – such as to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth – or up to 1.5 hours before departure when flying domestically with no checked bags: otherwise the same two-hour cut-off applies.
Flying with Malindo Air, including to Brisbane or Perth? You can check-in here a maximum of eight hours before travel up until three hours before your international or domestic flight, or until two hours before departure for domestic flights without checked baggage.
Check-in for Cathay Dragon flights to Hong Kong and beyond – including onward connections with Cathay Pacific to Australia or elsewhere – closes two hours before departure, whether travelling with checked baggage or flying with only carry-on.
In all cases, your checked baggage allowance is the same as it would be when checking-in at the airport itself, so if your business class ticket or shiny frequent flyer card provides a higher-than-normal baggage allowance, you can take advantage of that allowance here.
While the queues here tend to be quite short, each airline also has clearly-signed priority lanes for high flyers to use during peak times: but if you miss the cut-off times above, or are travelling with any other airline, you’ll need to proceed to the airport with your bags and check-in as normal.
Note that in previous years, Emirates, Etihad Airways and Royal Brunei supported in-town passenger check-in, but this is no longer the case.
Finding and accessing Kuala Lumpur in-town check-in
Begin by making your way to Kuala Lumpur Sentral railway station: a short walk across the road if staying at the popular Hilton Kuala Lumpur or Le Méridien Kuala Lumpur hotels, or connected to most of the public transport options in the city, including the LRT, KTM Komuter, KTM Intercity and the KL Monorail.
Once inside the station, follow the signs to the KLIA Ekspres…
… being sure to walk in the ‘green’ direction towards departures, as arriving passengers alight at the opposite end of the station:
Once you’re near the main KLIA Ekspres zone, keep following the signs towards ‘airline check-in’…
… until you find the barricaded check-in area:
If you don’t already have your KLIA Ekspres or KLIA Transit ticket, you’ll need to buy one from the windows or vending machines nearby – but if you already have your ticket or planned ahead and purchased a return ticket when you arrived in Kuala Lumpur, you’ll need to scan it at the barriers here to enter the check-in zone:
We’d suggest it’s easiest to buy your return ticket via the KLIA Ekspres mobile app before arriving in Malaysia, as you get a 10% discount over the walk-up price – 90MYR (A$27.05) instead of 100MYR (A$30.05) – and can present a barcode on your mobile phone screen for scanning at the gate.
This avoids fiddling around with a paper ticket, keeps your receipt safe in your email inbox, and yes, you can still pay by AMEX through the app.
Once inside the barriers, head to the appropriate check-in desk, present your passport, drop your bags and receive your boarding pass. If your airline issues airport lounge ‘invitations’ and you’re entitled to access, you’ll receive these here too:
On our most recent visit to Kuala Lumpur, we were impressed that there were no snaking check-in queues here for any of the airlines, and upon later seeing the length of the business class ‘priority’ queue at the airport terminal itself, were glad to have already been checked-in.
Of course, if there’s time before your flight and you’ve completed check-in, you can explore the shops and restaurants at KL Sentral or spend the day elsewhere, before later returning and boarding a train to the airport.
If you’re ready to depart, present your ticket again at the barriers located across from the airline check-in area to access the train platform, and you'll arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport already checked-in and ready to head straight to passport control and your airport lounge.
One final tip: ‘Express Path’ cards for the airport formalities don’t exist in Malaysia, but business class and first class passengers can present their boarding pass at the red-carpeted passport control lanes for a fast-track to their lounge or departure gate, found next to the Diplomatic Passport and APEC Card queues.
Air New Zealand's Airpoints frequent flyers will enjoy have access to Qantas Clubs around Australia under the newly-forged alliance between the two airlines.
As of October 28, 2018, Airpoints Elite and Gold members booked on a codeshare flight with Qantas will find the doors swing open for them at the two dozen Qantas Club lounges in Australia's capital cities and regional centres. They'll also be permitted to bring in one guest.
But it won't be as easy as flashing your shiny Airpoints card, as the following conditions apply:
- you have to be travelling on a domestic Qantas flight
- it has to be booked under the Air New Zealand codeshare (those flight numbers will be in the NZ7xxx range)
- and this must be booked as part of a trans-Tasman booking
This arrangement replaces Airpoints access to Virgin Australia lounges following the dramatic bust-up between the two former allies.
However, there appears to be no Qantas Club lounge access for Koru Club members, nor can AirNZ frequent flyers cool their heels in the more upmarket Qantas Business lounges.
The Qantas / Air New Zealand alliance covers selected flights on the domestic network of each airline, however trans-Tasman and other international flights are excluded from the arrangement.
Cathay Pacific will roll out its new 'business class dining concept' this month, with the meal service taking a step closer to a first class experience.
Meals will be individually plated and delivered to passengers by hand rather than by trolley, as the airline adopts more personalised and upmarket approach.
Cathay also expects this will result in a "quieter and calmer cabin environment", especially on late night flights.
Passengers will have a choice between three appetisers and "up to six main course choices" on flights over ten hours in the initial launch of the service to the likes of Chicago (on July 30), London/Gatwick (in August) followed by Frankfurt, Manchester and Washington DC (September); Amsterdam, Paris and Johannesburg (October), Madrid, Brussels and Barcelona (November) and London/Heathrow (December).
And, being very much on trend, light and healthy 'wellbeing options' feature in every main course.
On flights from Hong Kong the menu will be changed every month, with a quarterly menu refresh for flights to Hong Kong.
Fights from Hong Kong (but not, for now, the return leg) will also see a new range of Hong Kong Favourites inspired by local dishes, such as
- Hong Kong char siu pork with egg noodles, seasoned soy sauce, spring onion and ginger (shown below)
- Wok fried seafood in lobster soup with ginger, spring onion, crispy and steamed rice
- Beef brisket with flat rice noodle soup
- Mango with pomelo and sago
But before all that eatings starts, business class passengers will notice the new-look menus.
Printed as eight pages on quality paper, they not only detail the meals and drinks available on that flight but include foodie-friendly articles such as 'Anatomy of a Laksa' and feature a local chef revealing their favourite eateries both in Hong Kong and around thr world.
There will also be a breakfast menu card which passengers will complete before hitting the hay, so that they can wake to what the airline described as a "hotel room-service" experience.
However, these are set menus rather than allowing travellers to pick-and-mix from a wide selection of items.
In addition to what's described as 'traditional' Chinese and Western breakfasts, there's also a lighter Continental breakfast plus a minimalist Express breakfast of a piece of pastry and a drink, which can be served 60 minutes before landing for passengers who wish to maximise their sleep.
Refreshments will be revamped as a selection of 'most loved dishes' available throughout the flight as a snack between meals on services to North America and Europe, including the airline's signature burger and popular soup noodles. These will also appear on the main meal menu.
Next year will see Cathay's 'new business class dining concept' extend to medium-distance routes, with plans to include Sydney and Auckland in February 2019 and Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns, Adelaide and Perth in May 2019.
Very few watches can claim true originality, and the Cartier Santos is among those few.
The Santos made its debut way back in 1904 as a personal timepiece for aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont, making it both the first pilot’s watch and one of the earliest known men’s wristwatches.
As we've previously detailed, the Santos was borne from a request by Brazilian flyer Santos-Dumont, who told his friend Louis Cartier – then a Parisian watchmaker – of the challenge of timing flights using the then-conventional pocket watch, as pilots needed to keep both hands on the aircraft controls.
In response, Cartier designed a large square-faced watch and fitted it to a strap so it could be worn on the wrist – quite a revolutionary concept at the time.
The first commercial Cartier Santos watches went on sale to the public in 1911 with solid gold cases and ultra-thin mechanical movements designed by French clockmaker Edmond Jaeger.
(In order to produce this movement for Cartier, Jaeger worked with Swiss movement manufacturer Jacques-David LeCoultre, a partnership that would lead to the birth of storied brand Jaeger-LeCoultre.)
The enduring design of the Cartier Santos was reimagined in the late 1970s as a luxury steel sports watch, later adding two-tone steel and gold and the now-iconic screwed bezel with exposed gold screws along the bracelet for a modern, industrial aesthetic.
For 2018, Cartier has once again re-invented the Santos.
The distinctive screw-set bezel now tapers at both ends towards the bracelet to create an organic, integrated look.
The satin-brushed case features a wide mirror-polished bevel along its length, extending all the way to the gracefully curved crown guards at 3 o’clock. A square watch the Santos may be, but there’s hardly a sharp edge or straight line to be found.
The case has been slimmed dramatically from previous incarnations of the Santos, allowing this watch to disappear easily under a shirt cuff when needed.
The bracelet is fitted with a new 'QuickSwitch' system allowing for easy swapping with the included tan calfskin strap or Cartier’s alternative crocodile straps, providing some style versatility.
Adding or removing bracelet links has also been made easier with a new 'SmartLink' design which allows the wearer to expand the bracelet during a hot summer’s day without requiring a tool.
While the bezel, case and bracelet have all been modernised, the dial remains classic Cartier. With Roman numerals, a railroad minute-track and heat-blued hands, it’s hard to imagine a more traditional look.
The 2018 Cartier Santos can serve dress-watch and sports-watch duties equally well, and boasts a history that few timepieces can match.
• In-house mechanical movement with automatic winding
• Seven-sided crown set with a faceted synthetic spinel
• Silvered opaline dial, blued-steel sword-shaped hands, sapphire crystal
• Water-resistant to 10 bar (approximately 100 metres)
• Medium version case width: 35.1 mm, thickness: 8.83 mm
• Large version case width: 39.8 mm, thickness: 9.08 mm
• Pricing from A$8,750 for the Cartier Santos Medium in steel, to A$52,500 for the Cartier Santos Large in solid pink gold with matching pink gold bracelet. For stockists, visit www.au.cartier.com.
Finnair will launch inflight Internet on its European flights this week, with travellers able to enjoy the high-speed satellite service free of charge during a two-month trial period running through to the end of September.
The Oneworld airline has already outfitted six of its single-aisle Airbus jets with technology provided through partner Viasat, which also provided the backbone for Qantas' Australia-wide WiFi system.
By the end of northern summer some 20 aircraft will be upgraded, with Finnair's entire single-aisle Airbus fleet slated for WiFi by mid-2019.
The system will be available on a gate-to-gate basis, so passengers won't even need to wait for their jet to reach level flight – which will maximise time online for many of Finnair's relatively short European hops.
However, parts of some European routes will present black spots to the satellite network, including above the Bay of Biscay and the North Sea, while some restrictions also apply over Latvia, Lithuania, parts of Belarus and Russia.
Over the two-month testing period Finnair intends to "gather information on system functionality and feedback on the overall customer experience."
"In entering the passenger testing phase, we’ll be gaining the critical insights needed to further optimise our service to ensure Finnair customers get a unique experience built around their needs, interests and usage behaviours," explains Viasat vice-president Don Buchman.
The airline has yet to reveal what pricing it will charge for its sky-high WiFi once the trial period ends, although frequent flyers will no doubt hope that some sort of monthly pass is available as an alternative to paying on a per-flight basis.
Finnair already offers WiFi on its long-range 'intercontinental' jets, with the first hour free for business class and Finnair Plus Gold members, then €3 (A$4.70) for three hours or €20 (A$31) for the entire flight. Finnair Plus Platinum frequent flyers are provided with free Internet access for the whole flight.