Pretty much exactly one year ago I did a trip to South East Asia and wanted to share my experience with you :)
About two months before the departure I had found very cheap flights from Amsterdam to various cities in Asia with Xiamen Air (MF) and could not resist so I tried to combine some cities I always wanted to visit and my final program was the following:
AMS-XMN with Xiamen Air XMN-HKG with Xiamen Air HKG-KUL with Air Asia KUL-SGN with Vietnam Airlines SGN-TPE with Vietnam Airlines TSA-XMN with Xiamen Air XMN-AMS with Xiamen Air
This would actually be the most flights I've ever taken during one vacation so I was quite excited. Getting to the Airport from my home town Bonn also took some effort and time. I took the earliest possible train short after 5am to make it to Amsterdam on time. The train was delayed a bit and construction at Utrecht central station forced me to change trains differently than my itineary had planned but I still managed to arrive at AMS about 2.5h before departure. Perfect timing.
Xiamen Air was a little mysterious to me as their homepage was not to userfriendly, especially not their European page. Amsterdam was their first longhaul destination and it showed that they had not fully adapted to non-Chinese passengers. The online check-in could be done through the KLM homepage and I was happy to have gotten a window seat for my first dreamliner flight.
I quickly printed out my boarding pass at one of the KLM self-service machines and went to the baggage drop off which was also done by KLM. Lines at the security and passport check were very long so I spent quite some time there until I made it to the gate area. AMS is a beautiful airport and oversight is excellent. I walked around for a bit, did a little spotting and slowly walked towards my gate. Fortunately I could also get a glimpse on my aircraft and would actually be the only time I would see it entirely from outside.
Boarding began soon and I was excited to experience the 787 for the first time. Most passengers seemed to be Chinese with a few European tourists among them (including me).
The first impression of the cabin was very positive. Everything looked pretty new and in good condition. The flight attendants were friendly although I already understood that the English knowledge of most was rather poor.
I was surprised about the very good seat comfort. Leg room wasn't outstanding but slightly above average I would say. It's definitely a suitable seat for a longhaul flight.
Cabin announcements were made in Mandarin and English although I barely understood anything. It was simply not loud enough and the broken English didn't exactly help. Anyway, I know what kind of information they would usually give to passengers so I simply imagined that they wished us a pleasant flight, reminded us about seatbelts and probably said something about the flight time.
We taxied shortly and were soon airborn and on our way to Xiamen. The flight would lead us along the coastline and gave some spectacular sights of the German islands in the North Sea. The most northern point of Germany (the island Sylt) was perfectly visible :D
About 1.5 hours into the flight lunch was served. Due to the low price my general expectations of the Xiamen Air flights were not too high but I was very wrong. Although there was no choice, I could not have been much more happy with what I got. It was delicious. The only slight problem I had was to inform the flight attendant what I wanted to drink. She seemed to have never heard the word Coke Zero or even Coke or Cola before. This is really something that a flight attendant on an international flight should know. Also for safety concerns, a good understanding of English is necessary.
The good food was acompanied by the sight of Copenhagen underneath of us
After all the time looking out the window and enjoying the food I finally decided to get entertained by movies. The choice of movies was good and included many Hollywood as well as Chinese productions. Although I could have watched more, I decided that getting some sleep might be a better choice and I managed to sleep for some time. Every now and then I woke up, checked the map and dozed off again.
I was a bit surprised when the lights were switched on rather early and another food service began. I had excepted a light snack or small breakfast but instead we got another full meal. It wasn't much different from the first but as I had liked that a lot I was very pleasantly surprised. It's some time ago that I could say I was full after a flight. Again, the dinner-breakfast was very good.
We had already made it so far and it was just about one hour left until I would set a foot on Chinese soil for the first time.
Short before landing I could see parts of the city of Xiamen which was covered by thick fog which got even worse at the airport so that I didn't see anything through the window.
Our flight was the very first to arrive on that day and the airport was basically dead. Except for the passengers from Amsterdam there was absolutely no one. Stores were closed and the first people I saw were the immigration officers. At the arrival gate there had been a screen showing connecting flights to Taipei, Tokio, Hong Kong (my one), Manila, Singapore, and Bangkok; all those destinations that were on sale when I was booking.
The transit at XMN is a bit special and different from other Chinese airports. There is no actual way to transit without passing the border to the People's Republic of China as you need to collect your luggage and recheck your bags at the check-in counters in the departure hall. Xiamen is among the cities that issue short visas for passengers with a connection flight so I had not to worry about an actual visa. The immigration officer just asked for my onward flight and checked his transit passenger list. Considering how simple it usually is to change planes at most airports today this was a very strange but also super interesting experience. Also, I was super happy about my giant Chinese stamps in the passport.
After collecting my luggage, I cleared customs where my luggage got x-rayed. It was very hot outside and the A/C wasn't on so first thing I did was change into lighter clothes. Then I had some time to kill until the check-in for my flight to HKG opened. There was a nice new park right in front of the terminal building so I decided to go there, sit on a bench and enjoy my three hours in China until I would continue my journey.
Thank your for reading :) Best wishes, Thomas
Amsterdam - AMS
Xiamen - XMN
All in all, I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of Xiamen Air. The crew was nice despite the language barrier, food was excellent, entertainment good, seats as comfortable as it gets in economy and flight was on time. My Asia vacation had started very well :)
11 LIKESLIKE TO THANK THE AUTHORTHANKS ! FLIGHT-REPORT LIKED
Flight-Report is a free website hosting more than 500 000 pictures and 17 000 reviews, without ads, this website can't exist. We understand that ads can be annoying, this is why we only display a maximum of 2 non-invasive ads per page.
To continue using Flight-Report, we invite you to add Flight-Report to your blocker's "white list".