Review of China Airlines flight Hong Kong Kaohsiung in Economy

Airline China Airlines
Flight CI 948
Class Economy
Seat 14A
Aircraft Airbus A330-300
Flight time 1:25
Take-off 24 Nov 16, 16:35
Arrival at 24 Nov 16, 18:00
CI   #25 out of 111 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 51 reviews
NGO85
By 1147
Published on 3rd December 2016
Background:

This series covers a trip to Kaohsiung (高雄) and Kinmen (金門). Refer to Part 1 for a detailed background. As a reminder, the routing for this series is:

Part 1 – LAX-ICN [OZ 203, Boeing B777-200ER, Economy] – Here
Part 2 – ICN-HKG [OZ 721, Airbus A330-300, Economy] – Here
Part 3 – HKG-KHH [CI 948, Airbus A330-300, Economy] – You are here
Part 4 – KHH-KNH [B7 8915, Aérospatiale/Alenia ATR 72-600, Economy] – Here
Part 5 – KNH-RMQ [AE 770, Embraer ERJ-190, Economy] – Here
Part 6 – KHH-HKG [AE 981, Boeing B737-800, Economy] – Here
Part 7 – HKG-ICN [OZ 722, Boeing B747-400, Business] – Here
Part 8 – ICN-LAX [OZ 204, Airbus A380-800, Economy] – Here



Pre-flight:

I left off the last report as I was leaving my flight from ICN and heading towards the transfer desks. CI’s transfer desk is listed as being at E2, so I made me way to the other side of the terminal in search for it.

photo 1

Reaching the transfer desk, the agent takes my info and prints out a boarding pass for me after confirming I didn’t have any checked bags from my previous flight. He tells me the lounge is near Gate 15 and to check the monitors for any gate changes.

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Transfer security is always pretty light at HKG and I’m back into the terminal quickly.

photo 3

I try to follow the signage to the ST Lounge, but completely miss it. I thought it was right next to the SQ Lounge, but before I knew it I was at the end of the terminal and never saw it. Turns out, it’s located down a floor and you need to use an elevator or escalator to reach it.

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Entering the lounge, the agent welcomes me and scans my boarding pass.

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I take a seat near the entrance since the lounge seemed very full and not large enough to handle all the premium ST passengers that would be passing through HKG.

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My boarding documents.

photo 9

I went in search of food. I noticed there was a noodle bar so I got a bowl of Taiwan beef noodle soup.

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Nothing too impressive on offer at the drinks area. There was only one espresso machine for the entire lounge and it had a really long line of people waiting to use it.

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The buffet island was filled with vultures, but the hot/cold buffet offerings just looked average and there was nothing that I tried from it.

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My offering.

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I love how the newspaper is “courtesy of Air France.”

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After my snack, I went to go take a shower. An attendant escorted me into this very cold and spartan room. There must have been an AC vent in here because it was freezing cold in this room. The room itself was tiny, with no name amenities, and this bizarre egg-shaped toilet. It was very sterile feeling.



I left the lounge to go in search of my gate as soon as flightradar showed my inbound flight landed. The FIDS shows my gate has changed to 26.

photo 21

AE B738, started to get excited for Part 6 of this series^^

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GA A333.

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SA A343.

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CX A333.

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AC B772.

photo 26

KE B748.

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AY A333.

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A trio of CX A359s lined up, the future is here^^

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Reaching my gate.

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Just in time to catch my plane pulling in as it arrived from KHH.



While they deplaned, I wandered over to the other side to take some pictures of planes departing.

Pair of KA A333s.

photo 37photo 41

Pair of CX B77Ws.

photo 38photo 39

OD B738.

photo 40

NH B763.

photo 42



————————-

China Airlines, CI 948
Equipment: Airbus A330-300 [B-18308, delivered October 2005]
Departure: 16:35 (ATD: 16:58)
Arrival: 18:00 (ATA: 17:57)
Flight time: 0:59


Back at the gate, boarding started on time. Going through the SkyPriority line, I tried to use a mobile boarding pass to keep my paper one untouched. That was a fail. The agent recognized me since he was at the Transfer Desk. He asked me for the paper boarding pass so I had to dig it out of my backpack for him to rip into two, just like my heart…

There were newspapers at the end of the jetbridge, but I only saw Chinese newspapers.

Entering the plane, there was a couple of FAs welcoming passengers, I turn to the right and get my first glimpse of a CI cabin. This cabin has the older seats.

photo 45

My seatmate was already there, so I just take a seat without taking any more cabin shots. The seat pitch is fine on these A333s.

photo 46

These seats remind me of the old SK A340 seats. They have the same size IFE, the little mirror and the cellphone/water bottle/glasses holder.



Seatback contents.

photo 51

Dynasty.

photo 52

The delivery of CI’s first A350 happened. You’ll see it in a couple of pictures, so keep scrolling.

photo 53

CI route map.

photo 54

CI fleet. Already out of date since there were 2 CI A350s spotted in this series.

photo 55

The safety card for this A333.

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A really creepy looking entertainment guide.

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Headphones were pre-placed in the seatback pocket.

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Pillows were handed out by the FAs, I guess they didn’t have time to pre-place them prior to boarding.

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Seat controls in the armrest.

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A detailed look at the seat behind me.

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Taiwan immigration forms were handed out as the front door closed.

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The safety video plays as we initiate push back.

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QR B788 next door.

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NZ B772.

photo 65

As promised, the first CI A359 (B-18901) was here operating HKG-TPE. It features the Mikado Pheasant on the side.

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EY A330.

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CX B77W.

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CX B773.

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CX A359 taking off in front of us.

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ZH A320 will take off behind us.

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As we begin our roll down the runway, two more CX A359s are sitting there bringing us to a total of 5 CX A350s spotted at HKG today.

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Lifting over the new terminal, primarily used by HX.

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The main terminal.

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The last glimpse of HK before we disappear into the clouds.

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The IFE is small, just like on the last flight in OZ. The content looked minimal, maybe a downgraded version from long-haul? I just used the moving map.



Our projected route.

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Cloudy today.

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This is a short 55-60 minute flight so service immediately starts. My meal tray is plopped down with 44-minutes remaining. There is no option (you can request special meals online), there is also no drink service, but you can request a drink and they will bring it out after the trays are distributed My seat mate got a tomato juice, but I stuck with water.

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The meal for this flight was pork and rice, which was served with water and a small cake.



I like the trays they use.

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Refreshing towel and toothpick were in the silverware packet.

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Coffee and tea service was done after the meal.

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Less than 15-minutes after my tray was delivered, it was removed as we began the decent into KHH at sunset. Very fast and efficient service, kudos to CI for feeding an A333 with a short flight time.

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A stuffed animal makes an escape for it mid-flight.

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Final cabin preparations for arrival into KHH initiate here. It was interesting, the flight is so short that they make a cabin announcement that there is not any time to for duty free sales.

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Reaching Kaohsiung, a clear night as we arrive into KHH south of downtown.



RIP GE: a sea of their ATR72s sitting grounded at KHH.

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We pull into our gate.

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Heading towards immigration.

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The immigration officer doesn't speak a single word to me. Just gestures for my finger prints, then stamps my passport and hands it back to me. Outside I grab some NTD from the ATM then head towards the MRT station.

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An advantage of KHH is that it is on the MRT line making it one of the most convenient airports in Taiwan (other than TSA).

photo 103

Apparently you can use Taipei’s IC card here too, but I left mine at home so I had to buy a new IC card for 100 NTD and charge it. I went for the Minions one to accompany my LINE Friends IC card for Seoul^^ The ride into the city is less than 10 minutes and only costs 26 NTD (~$0.80).

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Welcome to Kaohsiung^^

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I was staying at the Hotel dùa, which is right next to Formosa Boulevard MRT station in the center of the city so was very convenient. It was well appointed and had a good breakfast.



I’ll leave off this series as I begin my 3-night stay in Kaohsiung.
See more

Verdict

China Airlines

7.3/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment5.0
meal/catering9.0

Air France Lounge (closed)

6.9/10
Comfort6.0
meal/catering7.5
Entertainment7.0
Services7.0

Hong Kong - HKG

8.4/10
Efficiency9.0
Access7.5
Services8.0
Cleanliness9.0

Kaohsiung - KHH

8.0/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

My first time taking CI, and not too bad. They might not have as much as hype as BR, but they met all my needs on this route and had decent catering. The older A333 cabins were acceptable on short flights, the crews did exactly what they needed to do, and we got there with excellent punctuality. Ticked all my boxes. The ST Lounge at HKG is a miss in my opinion, it's blind and overcrowded, and just has no character. As Numero_2 put it, "there are no good ST Lounges," that sums it up ;)

Cabin comfort: Older CI cabin. The seats were more than adequate for a 1-hour flight, I didn't have time to check the lavatories on this flight.

Crew: The CI crew did exactly what they needed to do, they fed an A333's worth of passengers in 20-minutes. This obviously can only be done if they cut out the formalities and do their work, so I'm not going to complain about what seemed to be "cold" demeanor during service. English ability was no problem.

Meal and catering: The meal was unexpected. I didn't have many expectations, but CI does promise a hot meal on international flights. The food tasted good and the hot main and dessert was more than appropriate for a short flight in Y. Well done CI, glad you didn't mimic the snack bag that CX offers.

Entertainment: Newspaper available on the jetbridge (no English???) and the standard seatback literature. CI's IFE is old, but the contrast seemed much better than what OZ has and the moving map was a newer version. It's not great, but it's not like you have time to watch anything on this flight.

Related

18 Comments

  • Comment 376842 by
    Numero_2 6390 Comments

    Thanks Michael !

    The ST lounge looks pretty dark, like the Plaza Premium LX uses in HKG. ^^

    "and the cellphone/water bottle/glasses holder." -> I'd say cellphone/beer can/glasses holder. lol

    This flight just looks on par with the TPE-HKG I flew with BR. Old cabins and IFE and no meal choice.

      0
    • Comment 377268 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1581 Comments

      "The ST lounge looks pretty dark, like the Plaza Premium LX uses in HKG. ^^"
      - The other Plaza Premium Lounge near immigration is even worse than the one LX uses. The only redeeming factor of this lounge was the noodle bar, the beef noodle soup was pretty good.

      "I'd say cellphone/beer can/glasses holder. lol" <== Perfect size for a San Miguel ;)

      "This flight just looks on par with the TPE-HKG I flew with BR. Old cabins and IFE and no meal choice."
      - I'd imagine BR's A321 service on HKG-KHH is the same too. It's still better than what you had on OZ ICN-KIX^^

      Merci Clement^^

        0
  • Comment 376864 by
    eminere™ 241 Comments

    It is incredible CI offers a full hot meal on a flight of this length.

      0
  • Comment 376898 by
    marathon 7441 Comments

    I have never seen such an egg-shaped toilet. I am no specialist, but this seems quite unique.

    The livery of AE's 738 is showy to say the least (they only had E190s when I was there)

    I always take a picture of BPs which have a detachable stub before losing that part.

    I am puzzled by the airmap showing Macau written in Japanese. All other names are in simplified Chinese characters, even though they use traditional ones in both Hong-Kong and Taiwan.

    Great view of the harbor of Kaohsiung before landing !

    You made me discover GE's demise - this was not the airline I was betting against when I was in Taiwan, but that was before they had these two crashes.

    KHH and TSA are both very accessible, but MFK beats them all : the center of the town is just across the parking lot in front of the terminal. Granted, MFK's runway is longer than the "urban" area it serves, whereas KHH and TSA serve major cities :)

    Thanks for sharing - I look forward towards reading the next ones !

      0
    • Comment 377266 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1581 Comments

      Thanks for stopping by and reading Marathon!

      The livery of AE's 738 is showy to say the least (they only had E190s when I was there)
      - Do you know what it says on the side before Taichung(台中)?

      "I always take a picture of BPs which have a detachable stub before losing that part."
      - I need to get a travel-sized scanner ;)

      I am puzzled by the airmap showing Macau written in Japanese. All other names are in simplified Chinese characters, even though they use traditional ones in both Hong-Kong and Taiwan."
      - I think this screen is in Japanese. I have always seen Macau written in Katakana and never in the traditional characters (澳門) in the Japanese language. It might have to be based on historical reasons, such as Macau still being a Portuguese colony at the time of the development of the Japanese language?

      "You made me discover GE's demise - this was not the airline I was betting against when I was in Taiwan, but that was before they had these two crashes."
      - Yeah, and one of those 2 crashes was a plane bound to KNH, maybe it was fate that led me not to take them in the end... B7 and AE both were good carriers, I still need to try FE, but they have the most confusing website of the Taiwanese carrier for non-Mandarin speakers.

      "KHH and TSA are both very accessible, but MFK beats them all"
      - Then perhaps I should have been clearer and said "international airport" ;) These little islands off the Mainland are very interesting, is there ferry service from Fuzhou to Lienchieng?

      Thanks again!

        0
      • Comment 377322 by
        marathon 7441 Comments

        花現台中 on the AE738 could be translated awkwardly as "Flowers are Taichung" : that is the motto of the World Floral Expo 2018 which will be held there. The Taiwanese never lose an opportunity to publicize their hosting of any world event they grabbed because China blocks them so often. Google translate the press release on AE's website :
        http://oneb.mandarin-airlines.com/indexMarquee/emptyContent.jsp?doAction=display&kind=2&id=631

        How dumb of me! Yes of course, that IFE screen is in Japanese. Guangzhou is written 広州 in modern Japanese, but 广州 in simplified Chinese (both Japan and China simplified their ideograms after WWII, but they of course would not cooperate for that)

        Flying FE requires Gold Taiwanese Flyer status, and obtaining a seat on Daily Air is proof of Platinum status. ^^

        Yes, there is a ferry between Fuzhou (Mawei, actually) and Nangan (Liancheng county), but this requires Plutonium level and I did not make it. Read this report :
        http://flight-report.com/en/report/5389/Uni_Air_B7301_Taipei_City_TSA_Nangan_Island_LZN
        Liancheng can be a tricky place to reach. Forget about spring time (it is usually fogged out),and you can have trouble in fall too, see http://flight-report.com/en/report/4889/Uni_Air_B7305_Taipei_City_TSA_Nangan_Island_LZN and that of the return flight

          0
        • Comment 377430 by
          NGO85 AUTHOR 1581 Comments

          "the World Floral Expo 2018"
          - What a prestigious honor^^ I saw this plane twice in this series, I don't think there are many CI leased AE planes that have been repainted in AE livery. The plane in Part 6 will be very Ci.

          "How dumb of me! Yes of course, that IFE screen is in Japanese. Guangzhou is written 広州 in modern Japanese, but 广州 in simplified Chinese."
          - Speaking of such, why is there such inconsistencies in Taiwan in the use of traditional and simplified Chinese? For example, I see 臺中 used almost interchangeably with 台中. That's an example where the simplified "台中" prevails in Japanese.

          "Flying FE requires Gold Taiwanese Flyer status, and obtaining a seat on Daily Air is proof of Platinum status. ^^"
          - One day I'll earn DA Lounge access ;)

          "Yes, there is a ferry between Fuzhou (Mawei, actually) and Nangan (Liancheng county), but this requires Plutonium level and I did not make it."
          - My next trip to Kinmen will probably be by ferry from Xiamen. It seems simpler to access, although the number of flights from Taipei might make it an easier gateway from Taiwan.

            0
          • Comment 377450 by
            marathon 7441 Comments

            “why is there such inconsistencies in Taiwan in the use of traditional and simplified Chinese? For example, I see 臺中 used almost interchangeably with 台中. That's an example where the simplified "台中" prevails in Japanese.”

            Taiwan adopted officially Simplified Chinese around Year 2000, but most of the Taiwanese I know make it a matter of cultural pride to keep using Traditional Chinese. They sometimes use the simplified characters out of convenience.
            That is nothing compared with the mess when it comes to transcriptions in the Latin alphabet. The Taiwanese use indifferently various “flavors” of the Wade-Giles system together with Mainland’s Hanyu pinyin. I have countless pictures of signs using different transcriptions next to each other for the same name, including that of the street where I used to live in Taipei. It can be very confusing for foreigners without a minimal grasp of written Chinese. (Overcoming that is part of Taiwanese Visitor Silver status requirements ^^). I love this quirkiness which is soo Taiwanese.

            Taking the ferry from Xiamen to Kinmen is a piece of cake, with hourly and usually empty services. If you have no visa problem, it is worth doing at least once, although you can only make a tourist bonus out of the trip.

              0
  • Comment 377131 by
    BombieFlyer 92 Comments

    Hello NGO85!

    I laughed so hard when I read this sentence "He asked me for the paper boarding pass so I had to dig it out of my backpack for him to rip into two, just like my heart…" Seriously, that's epic! On a lighter note, sometimes I wonder what's the point of having a mobile boarding pass if in the end the paper stock is what matters. don't you agree?

    The food that was served blew CX away big time. CX will probably only give you a goody bag or a small unappetizing wrap. CI and BR are really a lot better than CX in almost every aspect. Sometimes I am amazed with myself as to why I am still so loyal to CX.. sigh...

    And you are one lucky fella to spot so many A350-900. Those birds are gorgeous!! especially CI's A350 :)

    Thanks for this short but super entertaining report!

    "

      0
    • Comment 377270 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1581 Comments

      "Seriously, that's epic! On a lighter note, sometimes I wonder what's the point of having a mobile boarding pass if in the end the paper stock is what matters. don't you agree?"
      - Well, some airports still don't allow mobile boarding passes (OZ won't allow mobile boarding passes at LAX, weird, huh?). Paper copies are always definitive in the age of electronics so perhaps there is something to be said for continuing to use them.

      "CI and BR are really a lot better than CX in almost every aspect. Sometimes I am amazed with myself as to why I am still so loyal to CX.. sigh..."
      - I thought the J service on CX was decent on the HKG-TPE sector last year, BR's is better when table cloths come out, but it's not that far off. CX just has mediocre food. I did NGO-TPE in Y on CX a couple of times and always thought the catering was underwhelming in taste.

      "And you are one lucky fella to spot so many A350-900. Those birds are gorgeous!! especially CI's A350 :)"
      - CI's does look really good in their livery. The magazine said that these will be heading to AMS and VIE first following their regional rotation. I have a feeling they will just start expanding their European operations while keeping their B77Ws feeding the Americas.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

        0
  • Comment 377141 by
    ashleyyau 163 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this flight report with us Michael!

    So the ST Lounge does not have windows? The lounge seems average despite looks better than the closed CI Lounge in HKG. IMO the overcrowded is due to this is the only ST Lounge in there and HKG is not a ST hub.

    “I had to dig it out of my backpack for him to rip into two, just like my heart…”
    I have the exactly same feeling on my later CX flight! I extend my condolences to your BP.

    A decent flight experience on this route. Very surprised on the meal provided by CI! It is a full meal where the route is shorter than HKG-TPE! Much better than CX!

      0
    • Comment 377271 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1581 Comments

      Thanks for stopping by!

      "So the ST Lounge does not have windows? The lounge seems average despite looks better than the closed CI Lounge in HKG. IMO the overcrowded is due to this is the only ST Lounge in there and HKG is not a ST hub."
      - But think of all the traffic on ST ex-HKG. All the ST carriers send heavies other then regional operators. KE sends heavies with high frequency, plus the GA A330s, then you have the European carriers coming in along with Delta. It's definitely not large enough. The entrance is just past the SQ Lounge, then you go a floor down. But unlike the CX Lounges (Cabin and Bridge), it isn't on the gate side of the terminal with tarmac views, it is on the landside of the concourse like the SQ Lounge.

      "A decent flight experience on this route. Very surprised on the meal provided by CI! It is a full meal where the route is shorter than HKG-TPE! Much better than CX!"
      - I'm glad I picked them over KA. This ticket was only like 750-800 HKD roundtrip in the lowest fare class (no seat selection). Their planes look better than the new KA liveries too^^

        0
  • Comment 377211 by
    hometoyyz 217 Comments

    Great flight report. Thanks for sharing!

    Is the no-mobile-boarding-passes thing an HKG thing? Because I've had the same thing with AC. I've gotten through check-in, customs, and all the way to the gate with nothing in my possession but a mobile boarding pass, but I try to board an AC flight there with the mobile boarding pass, and they will inevitably print me a paper boarding pass so they can rip it.

    Always strikes me as odd. It's kinda become a little game to play.

      0
    • Comment 377272 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1581 Comments

      "Is the no-mobile-boarding-passes thing an HKG thing?"
      - Not sure, this is the first time I've had this issue with a mobile boarding pass. On the return flight (KHH-HKG), there were no issues using the CI mobile boarding pass so I don't think it is based on carrier. Every other time I've left HKG it has been using a paper boarding pass (usually the cheap print out you can get at OLCI). I should have just printed it in the ST Lounge, but didn't recall seeing a business center in there.

      "Always strikes me as odd. It's kinda become a little game to play."
      - It also didn't help that the agent checking BPs was the same one that handed me the boarding pass at the transfer desk so he knew I had a real one... no pulling wool over his eyes...

      Thanks for stopping by and reading the report!

        0
  • Comment 377664 by
    Rl 777 670 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    How was the soup at the lounge?

    Absolutely fantastic spotting shots at HKG, lovely! Great catch of those 350s.

    Stunning aerial shots!

    A full meal service on a flight of this length? That's what I call impressive.

    Not the best hard product for longer flights but more than sufficient on a quickie like this one.

    Beautiful shot at sunset and great aerials before arrival.

    On FR it says you arrived at 09:30 AM, doesn't this flight land at 06:00 PM (18:00)?

    Nice shots from your hotel.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Have a good one, see you later!

      0
    • Comment 378236 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1581 Comments

      Thanks for stopping by!

      "How was the soup at the lounge?" <== It was good since it was made fresh, but the rest of the lounge offerings weren't very good for the standard of most lounges at HKG.

      "Absolutely fantastic spotting shots at HKG, lovely! Great catch of those 350s."
      - I think HKG is a nice regional destination for most carriers to send their A350s on for training/familiarization runs.

      "Not the best hard product for longer flights"
      - With the A350s heading to Europe and the B77Ws handling the US, you probably can count on newer cabins on long-haul flights.

      "On FR it says you arrived at 09:30 AM, doesn't this flight land at 06:00 PM (18:00)?"
      - I think I was getting ahead of myself and looking at the departure time for the KHH-HKG segment, thanks for catching the mistake, I corrected it!

        0

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