Hello from the Dragonair Lounge in Kaohsiung. I am waiting to board Flight #5 of this series now, so I figured I should get the previous report done up quickly. Anyway, as a reminder, I will repeat a small section of the series introduction, for the full introduction, read Parts 1 or 3 please! (:
1. I intend to do this series semi-live; i.e. I shall type as I fly and publish the FR soon after arriving at a destination. I do apologise if there are delays but I will try my best to be as up to date as possible.
2. I will do away with my usual “timeline” style (see my past reports), otherwise it will take me much, much longer to get my reports ready.
3. Those square brackets in italics will give you an idea as to when exactly I was writing parts of the reports in this series, i.e. right now I am typing away as I wait for flight KA451 in the Dragonair Lounge at KHH, but eventually, I completed this report only a few days later in Australia.
4. And lastly for now, my apologies for not catching up on those previous series of mine. Was so super busy in school and also, busy preparing for this massive trip of mine. (:
A look again at the map and flights included in this series:
Dragonair KA454 Aircraft Registration: B-HSU Origin: Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) Destination: Kaohsiung International Airport (KHH) Date: Wednesday, 4 May 2016 STD/STA: 1655h (UTC+08:00) to 1825h (UTC+08:00) ATD/ATA: 1659h (UTC+08:00) to 1821h (UTC+08:00) Estimated Duration: 01 hour 30 minutes Actual Duration: 01 hour 22 minutes Flight Distance: About 412 miles / 663 km
Welcome to Chapter 4 of this series! This will be a long report on a short regional flight, with quite a lot of photos detailing the flight. After the flight report, you’ll see a short bonus consisting photos taken in Hong Kong (mainly photos of food, though).
We begin the journey from our hotel at Kowloon, Hong Kong.
The free hotel shuttle bus service provided by HK Airport Express has a stop right outside my hotel, so it was extremely convenient to get to Kowloon station from there.
To be eligible to ride on the free shuttle service, one just needs to have a valid Airport Express ticket.
My hotel was at the last stop of the shuttle bus’ loop, so after picking us up, it was straight to the train station. In less than 10 minutes, we were already checking in using the in-town check-in service.
Once again, you need to scan an eligible Airport Express ticket so as to use the in-town check-in service. The check-in counters at Kowloon station weren’t as crowded as those in Hong Kong station, so the whole process was very smooth and efficient; no wait at all.
Before we knew it, I received my boarding pass and lounge invitation card from the agent. And with those documents was a map of HKG’s gate area.
After we were done with check-in, we had to exit from this gate and then make our way to the Airport Express platform. Technically, you can check-in in the city way before your flight, and then enjoy one more day of Hong Kong before making your way to HKG. For us, however, we decided to just eat our last meal in Hong Kong at the airport.
The frequency for the Airport Express is pretty good and trains come at intervals of around 10 minutes. The entire journey on the comfortable train then took only about 20 minutes – really a quick and efficient way to get to HKG.
Once we were in HKG, we bypassed the check-in counters and headed directly to the restaurant where we wanted to have our lunch.
Tsui Wah is a famous restaurant in Hong Kong, it has many outlets – including one which seems to always have a long queue in Central Hong Kong. Apparently, the outlet at the airport had a long queue too, but we just had to wait for 5 minutes before a waitress showed us to our table.
It turned out that the food wasn’t exactly super awesome (in my opinion), but they were still quite taste I’d say.
After lunch, we queued for security checks and immigration clearance, and were airside after about 10 minutes. While I was provided with invitation cards for CX lounges, I chose to use the Qantas Hong Kong lounge.
The QF lounge in HKG is situated right after immigration. If you haven’t been there before, you might’ve easily missed it! Do pay a visit to this lounge the next time you fly oneworld carriers from HKG – it’s really nice!
As a guide, the lounge entrance is situated above Gate 15, and it’s at Level 6.
We spent a few hours in the lounge and I caught up on some work. Wi-Fi in the lounge had a good speed and there were no troubles connecting to it. At about an hour plus before boarding was scheduled to commence, I took a quick shower too. The shower rooms in the QF Hong Kong lounge are nicely designed as well. I’ve used it about thrice and still think it’s great.
If you are wondering about the food options, I’m sorry I didn’t eat anything in the lounge that day! Was feeling quite full from lunch and thus decided to only drink some tea in the QF lounge. From my past experience, lunch in the lounge would typically consist of Japanese options, since the lounge is used by Japan Airlines’ customers during the early afternoons.
We left the lounge at 4pm, 55 minutes before departure. That day, our flight was scheduled to depart from the North Satellite Concourse, which is a bus ride away. Not knowing exactly how long it will take, we decided to leave for our gate earlier.
Checked the departure FIDS to confirm that our flight was departing from Gate 508. The status of our flight at 4.03pm was “boarding soon”; so we quickly followed signs to “Gates 501-530”.
Some of the 500 series gates are bus gates. Flights using those gates will see passengers being transferred directly to their aircrafts by bus, ours however wasn’t a bus gate; instead, Gates 501-510 are situated in another concourse situated away from the main terminal. The shuttle buses run on a headway of 4 minutes and they function exactly like inter-terminal trains.
I managed to spot some planes on our way across the tarmac, here’s Cathay Pacific’s B77W in the new livery; we will come back to this aircraft later.
This CI B744 was operating an interesting flight; a fifth freedom from HKG to CGK, after arriving from TPE as CI679.
China Airlines / B747-400 / B-18215 / CI679 TPE-HKG-CGK
And then we see CI’s Skyteam partner, Garuda Indonesia. This aircraft was also bound for Jakarta.
Garuda Indonesia / A330-200 / PK-GPO / GA863 HKG-CGK
Thereafter, our bus drove across the tarmac and arrived at the satellite concourse in about 5 minutes. And after that, we then needed to go up the escalators before reaching the gate area.
This is the North Satellite Concourse. It was opened only in 2010.
Apparently, it’s possible to head back to the main terminal from this concourse. Just go back down and take the bus.
The gate that we will be departing from – Gate 508. It didn’t seem very crowded.
Shots of the aircraft operating KA454 bound for Kaohsiung. This satellite concourse is still spotter-friendly, but not to the extent of the main terminal.
For instance, I tried to find out the registration for the plane. In the end, the reflection of it solved the problem, haha! (Of course, one can guess the registration from its nose gear too.)
The smoking area also doubled as an observation deck. I don’t smoke so I didn’t check it out.
But for those interested, this is how it looks like. (Managed to take this photo from the plane later on.)
Boarding commenced at about 4.25pm. Everyone was just asked to queue up first, and after the short priority queue cleared, it was general boarding for everyone – looks like it will be an empty flight.
Managed to take another photo of the aircraft from the jet bridge. Anyway, various newspapers from Hong Kong and Taiwan were available as well.
Only upon boarding that I realised this flight was operated by an all Economy A320. No wonder there weren’t any priority boarding calls for Business passengers.
A quick look at the seats – legroom, tray table, seatback without IFE screen, overhead panel and windows. The legroom was decent, especially since this was going to be a very short flight.
The boarding process continued for a while more and everyone was on board by 4.45pm, 10 minutes before departure.
Our captain gave a welcome announcement before pushback, and informed us that the flight time will be 1h 5mins.
The aircraft had no overhead screens as well, so safety demonstration was conducted manually by the crews.
Our aircraft pushed back at 4.59pm.
Let’s do some more planespotting.
This is a brand new B77W from Switzerland. Numero_2, have you flown on it before? =P
Swiss / B777-300ER / HB-JNB / LX139 HKG-ZRH
And here’s the CX B77W we saw just now, it was bound for LAX that day.
Some other airlines at HKG that afternoon. The aircraft in Star Alliance livery was EVA Air’s BR856 bound for TPE.
We taxied off at 5.04pm.
After moving off, our aircraft turned left around the satellite terminal, and we continue to spot more airplanes!
Dragonair / A321 / B-HTE / KA854 HKG-WUH
A “slightly rarer” aircraft type? B737-700. Well at least I think I haven’t seen one before. This MU narrowbody was bound for Lijiang via Kunming.
China Eastern / B737-700 / B-5271 / MU734 HKG-KMG-LJG
We saw the aircraft in Star Alliance livery, now the one in the oneworld livery.
Cathay Pacific / A340-300 / B-HXG / CX402 HKG-TPE
And next, it was two A380s in sight. A few hours ago it was 3, but the BA A380 departed. The LH A380 was bound for FRA as LH797 and the EK A380 was bound for DXB as EK383.
As we taxi towards the runway, the cabin became a little “smoky”.
One last aircraft before we take off for Kaohsiung – South African’s A340.
South African / A340-300 / ZS-SXA / SA287 HKG-JNB
We continue our stroll to the runway, which took in total about 10 minutes plus.
B-HSU took off from HKG Runway 25L at 5.15pm – here’s the video of the take off. You can see that the landscape around the airport is really quite stunning.
[Hello from Melbourne, where I will be completing the rest of this report.]
Here’s a view of the cabin after take off. We were lucky and had three seats to ourselves, so I moved to the window seat after cabin doors were closed.
It’s a short flight but I managed to take some time to look at the seat pocket contents.
The magazine contained some interesting articles.
The editor was arguing that Hong Kong has the best skyline in the region, is it true? We shall see in a while.
There were also some nice graphics showing the different languages being spoken around in Asia. How many of these can you speak?
This is the article comparing the skylines of various Asian cities. I was really amazed by Hong Kong’s figures – almost 1,300 skyscrapers in the city?!
Then comes the more interesting portion containing information about the airline. We’ll just look at KA & CX’s network maps today.
The duty free catalogue contains some interesting airline souvenirs. It’s interesting to note that the Cathay Dragon A330-300 aircraft model is already available on sale.
Order forms are available in the duty free catalogue.
And this is the safety information card, and then some other brochures/leaflets that were in the seat pocket.
The meal service began about 20 minutes after take off. It was a simple hot meal but had some really good dim sums in it!
I brought the cookies off the aircraft, and then forgot to eat it thereafter.
I quickly finished my meal and then the FAs came around offering hot beverages. I took the oolong tea.
Here’s view outside after the meal service concluded.
And then a quick visit to the lavatory of this A320.
I was surprised at how empty the aircraft was when I walked to the washroom. The last few rows were totally empty (except for one passenger seated on the last row). Enjoy some more pictures of the cabin!
Here, you can see that only the front of the aircraft was filled up. There was no Business cabin on this aircraft so behind the curtains was the front galley.
At about 5.47pm, the FAs were rushing down the aisle to clean up the cabin as we were about to start descending into Kaohsiung. I took a random seat at the back and waited for them to be done before moving back to my own seat.
As the cabin crews were cleaning up the cabin, our captain came back on the PA for some more updates about our arrival – his announcement was then translated into Cantonese and Mandarin by the purser.
Back at my seat.
10 minutes later, landing preparation commenced.
As we approached Kaohsiung, the sun was also about to set. At around 5.58pm, the seatbelt signs came back on, and 7 minutes later at 6.05pm, the crew was asked to be seated for landing.
Here are the photos taken during our final approach into KHH.
Kaohsiung city in sight – sorry for the unfocused photo; my camera refused to focus on the views outside of the window.
The approach into KHH provided some nice views of the city. Watching the video, you can probably guess that Kaohsiung is a port city. Enjoy the landing video!
Anyway, Dragonair differs from Cathay Pacific in the aspect that the announcements after landing on a KA flight are pre-recorded, whereas on CX flights, those announcements are done manually in the conventional way. Wonder what’s the reason for this difference.
6.14pm, touch down in KHH.
There weren’t a lot of traffic in KHH that evening. Here’s the Xiamen Air flight to Xiamen, operating as MF864 out of KHH.
We continued our short taxi to the gate.
And then parked beside another A320 from China. This narrowbody belongs to Spring Airlines based in Shanghai; it was about to operate 9C8878 back to PVG.
Spring Airlines / A320 / B-1892 / 9C8878 KHH-PVG
We arrived at our gate 4 minutes early at 6.21pm.
We disembarked from the aircraft at about 6.27pm. On the way to immigration, I managed to take a much better photo of the aircraft that brought us here!
Here’s another aircraft that was about to fly to HKG that night – B-18309, an A333 that belongs to China Airlines, about to operate flight CI937 to HKG.
We cleared immigration in about 15-20 minutes – I used the express counter with my Speedy Immigration Pass while my friend queued at the foreign passports counter.
By 6.57pm, 30 minutes after leaving the aircraft, we were already collecting our rented car from the rental car company.
Bonus – Hong Kong
This bonus will show you some of the photos I took during my stay in Hong Kong. Don’t look forward to any landscape photos or nice scenery in general, ‘cos we didn’t manage to see any – the weather wasn’t very good throughout the days we were there, and our main intention in Hong Kong was just to eat anyway, so basically most photos feature foods we’ve eaten.
The first one we went to was a famous brunch place called Australian Dairy Company (澳洲牛奶公司). It’s notoriously known for the rude attitudes of its staff, who may sometimes even chase you out if you take too long to finish your meal. But thankfully, our experience was alright and the food really was quite nice!
We also tried the Star Ferry across the harbour, from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central Hong Kong. It was a nice experience, but most importantly, extremely cheap! A one-way ride costs HKD2.50 (USD0.32 / EUR0.28).
In between meals, we just walked around aimlessly. On the second day, we ventured into two museums and look what I found in the Science Museum.
The next day, we went to Tim Ho Wan – not the original one at Sum Shui Po, though. We visited the outlet at Olympian City, which was much nearer to our hotel. And there was no queue! I’m guessing the dining environment’s much nicer too?
Anyway, I’ve tried Tim Ho Wan in Singapore before, and it wasn’t that fascinating. The one in Hong Kong was better! I particularly liked the Char Siew Bun (叉燒包), Shrimp Dumpling (蝦餃) and Petal Cake (桂花糕).
Later in the afternoon that day, we tried finding an eatery that sells authentic roast pork/char siew rice.
The one we found eventually was okay, but I am sure there’s better ones in Hong Kong – next time I shall find them!
Anyway, we travelled around Hong Kong mainly by the extremely efficient MTR. Trains run at intervals of 1 minute plus during peak hours, which is pretty amazing!
That’s it for now! Sorry for taking a few days to finish this report. I am quite a few flights behind time now, but I will try to get the next one published soon!
[Signing off from Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia]
(To be continued)
This report was completed on 12 May 2016 at 11.52am (UTC+10:00).
Full sized photographs of this flight will be available soon.
Qantas Business Lounge
Hong Kong - HKG
Kaohsiung - KHH
Dragonair delivered a reliable service on this short hop from HKG to KHH. The score for cabin comfort became higher thanks to the empty flight – a good thing for passengers like us, but not for the airline. Cabin crew on this service were extremely efficient, and I tend to find KA crews to be friendlier than CX crew (but that’s just my opinion). There was no entertainment on this flight except for the magazines, but the hot meal served on this very short flight was quite impressive!
I will do the summary for HKG together with the QF HKG Lounge. Both are top-level facilities, really. The extended walking time required to gates at the north satellite concourse might have been slightly troublesome, but everything was actually very well connected; so no complaints about the airport in general. QF lounge in HKG is really cool, go try it if you haven’t. I prefer it over any CX lounges in the airport, so in future I think I may willingly walk longer just to use this lounge instead of any other CX lounges when departing from or transiting in HKG.
KHH on the other hand is a very small regional/domestic airport. It serves its purpose well, and is really clean and efficient. Nonetheless, you can’t help but notice that the airport is already showing its age. Despite that, it was a pleasant arrival experience.
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