Hello from Australia! Yup, if you followed the previous parts of this series, you’d guess that I am continuing this report right after completing the previous one. You’re right! I gotta speed up a bit or else I’ll be eight flights behind time by this weekend (Just for reference, it’s 12 May 2016 as I type this). 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 in Melbourne, 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 KA451 Aircraft Registration: B-HLL Origin: Kaohsiung International Airport (KHH) Destination: Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) Date: Sunday, 8 May 2016 STD/STA: 0800h (UTC+08:00) to 0925h (UTC+08:00) ATD/ATA: 0809h (UTC+08:00) to 0931h (UTC+08:00) Estimated Duration: 01 hour 25 minutes Actual Duration: 01 hour 22 minutes Flight Distance: About 412 miles / 663 km
Welcome to Part 5 of this series! This was the start of a long day of flying with four flights ahead of me.
At the end of this report will be short bonus covering photos taken in Kaohsiung and Tainan – two of the southern cities in Taiwan.
1. KHH-HKG KA451 (We are here!) 2. HKG-SIN CX739 3. SIN-SYD BA15 4. SYD-MEL QF439 (Flight changed to QF461)
KA451 departs KHH at 8am and because of my good habit of heading early to airports before flying, my friend and I arrived about ~2.5h before departure at 5.20am, only to find out that Dragonair commences check-in 2h before departure.
After waiting for 40 mins, we managed to get hold of our boarding passes at 6.12am, and our bags were tagged all the way to SIN. My friend will be ending his trip in SIN while I will connect onto the BA flight down to Australia.
Initially, I thought of asking the KA check-in agent if she could help me tag my bag all the way to SYD, and also if I'd be able to get my boarding pass for BA as well. But after second thoughts, I figured it may be quite complicated since my KA/CX itinerary is separate from the BA one. Furthermore, my friend was booked under the same itinerary back to SIN. Eventually, I didn't check-in through to Australia and instead decided to do my BA check-in when I arrive in SIN.
We went through security in KHH at about 6.25am and it was a quick one. Queues at immigration were however super long, so it took us another 20 mins or so before we got through. By then, it was 6.42am.
A random note – there were many large tables set up for us passengers to rearrange our baggage after security checks; a nice initiative by the airport management.
After security and immigration clearance were completed, it was time to get some breakfast at the Dragonair Lounge in KHH. The lounge in this airport is a very tiny room, with just enough seats to accommodate eligible guests on an A330 – the largest aircraft operated by Dragonair into KHH.
Unsurprisingly, the food selection wasn't very appealing. But I was thankful that I could order a hot rice burger from the kitchen. So I asked for a pork burger; the other available option was the beef burger. The rest of my breakfast were just fruits and coffee.
We only had about 40 mins in the lounge, but it was already more than enough to explore it. Basically, one photo is enough to show you about 90% of the entire lounge.
In the lounge, I started off my report for the previous flight (KA454 HKG-KHH) and fed a little bit of extra power into my iPhone. Soon, it was time to make our way to the gate.
As you can see in the photos below, KHH isn't exactly a very spotter friendly airport.
Some aircrafts like this China Airlines B738 could be nicely photographed.
China Airlines / B737-800 / B-18607 / CI711 KHH-MNL
But others like my Dragonair A333 couldn't. I had to stand in a really weird position just to take the photo below, haha.
Dragonair / A330-300 / B-HLL / KA451 KHH-HKG
It was possible take a photo like this, though.
At about 7.30am, we joined the queue for boarding after seeing that many passengers were already queueing.
The economy queue was long, and it was the same for the priority boarding queue.
We boarded our aircraft at 7.45am and were one of the first to board in Economy. The smaller part of my boarding pass was torn away, sadly.
Anyway, this Economy cabin looks very similar to that of CX’s B773. The seats are similar, or if not, the same. And this is the type of seats that I really dislike.
A view from my window seat.
The standard IFE screen, coat hook, power socket. But no USB ports.
More passengers boarded, and eventually filled up most of the seats in the rear Economy cabin.
We pushed back at 8.09am and the safety video was played. It’s worth noting that the recorded announcements were quite muffled on this aircraft, so when the safety video played, it was quite noisy…
Anyway, after the safety demonstration was completed, the IFE became functional and I started searching for some short TV shows to watch.
We started to taxi at 8.15am, and the crew was asked to be seated at 8.17am.
The view during take off and the initial climb was nice! The weather was pretty good so you can see Kaohsiung city nicely, and about halfway through the video, you’ll see our aircraft’s shadow on the ground!
Enjoy the video!
As mentioned in the previous report, Kaohsiung is a port city, so it wasn’t surprising to see lots of ships docked near the coast. Looks a little like Singapore, no?
Another view outside the window 12 minutes after take off. It definitely looks like a nice morning to fly!
I decided to turn on the flight map to see where we were, but it wasn’t working throughout the flight and all I got was this.
19 minutes after take off, the breakfast was served. Really fast service, but the crew had no choice but to be quick given that this was a really short flight.
Breakfast that morning was noodles with chicken, veggies and a siew mai. I ate the siew mai and just a little noodles, but that was all. The crew also came around with hot beverages, but the hot beverage service didn’t last long as turbulence soon began.
With the meal also came a pineapple shortcake, one of Taiwan’s famous food as souvenir.
The skies outside still looked quite clear but at around 8.50am, the captain came on the PA asking all crew members to be seated due to turbulent weather ahead.
In another ten minutes, we were already in our descent and the captain spoke to us again regarding the destination’s weather condition. Cabin crews were also allowed to resume duty prior to arrival.
Here are more photos taken during the descent. And this shall be followed by a video of the approach into HKG.
Can anyone tell me if these islands are part of Hong Kong?
More ships in view as we approach HKG.
And then here’s the video of our approach into HKG!
You’ll first see the thick clouds that we dived right into, and after we got beneath the cloud cover, the Hong Kong-Macau bridge came in sight. Over the next few years, every time as we fly into HKG, I think it’d be quite interesting to observe the bridge slowly being completed.
Soon after, we touched down at 9.26am, 1 minute after scheduled arrival time. After the touch down, look out for an interesting aircraft that we taxied by. Try ignoring the annoying muffled announcement though, haha. Eventually we reached the gate at 9.31am.
Anyway, this is the “interesting aircraft” that I was referring to!
State of Kuwait / A340-500 / 9K-GBA / DAC-HAN-HKG-SSN
When I did my research while writing this report, I was kinda amazed at just how many aircrafts the “State of Kuwait” owns.
We continued our taxi to the gate and as we were about to disembark, an SAS A333 taxied pass – SAS really doesn’t have an interesting livery yeah? Haha.
And that’s it! We are back in HKG, but this is just the end of 1 out of 4 flights for this long day of flying. I’ll catch you at the next part of this report as we head back to SIN on a super noisy CX flight, till then!
Bonus – Tainan / Kaohsiung
Tainan (台南) and Kaohsiung (高雄) are the two biggest cities in Southern Taiwan, the former however should be less known to many. Just some fun facts, though – Tainan does have an international airport and it has some flights to Hong Kong, China and Japan.
Anyway, let’s look at where I went in Tainan first.
Unintentionally, we spent quite a fair bit of our time in Tainan visiting “salt-related” attractions / facilities. It was interesting to hear about how salt was manufactured in Taiwan and also to see a huge mountain of salt, like this:
We also visited this interesting place which had salts of 366 different colours – one for each day of the year.
We ate quite a fair bit of food in Tainan, but I liked this the most – 蚵仔煎 (Oyster Pancake); this really is a signature dish in Taiwan so try it when you visit night markets!
We went to see the sunset at Tainan beach as well. The sun wasn’t the main subject of this photo though!
And before we left Tainan at night, a visit to the oldest departmental store in Taiwan – 林百貨 (Lin Departmental Store).
It’s nice historical building, but things that were sold inside were quite expensive. Anyway, here’s the view from the observatory on the top floor (it’s six storeys tall, but back in the 1900s, it was a tall building).
In Kaohsiung, we paid a visit to another old historic building – the Qishan Railway Station (旗山車站). It was a nice visit, not exactly because of the building, but because of the staff working there – they were the typical cheerful and extremely friendly Taiwanese; we had a nice 1-hour chat with them.
Seafood in Kaohsiung is not bad, but the best ones should be found in the offshore Qi-Jin District (旗津區). This island is actually right beside the approach path of aircrafts arriving/departing KHH, it could be seen in those videos I’ve uploaded too.
Another interesting meal we had was a vegetable steamboat buffet. There were all sorts of vegetables, many of which we’ve never seen before!
On the last full day in Kaohsiung, we visited Chai Shan (柴山), which is a hill beside the Sun Yat Sen University (中山大學). Nice place to have coffee!
At the bottom of the hill was an open area with art exhibits (駁二藝術特區) – we didn’t pay to see the exhibition though.
At the end of our trip, we returned the rented car the night before this flight (at the airport). Reason: the car rental company wasn’t opened early enough the next morning for us to return the car before our flight. After dropping off the rented car, we took the Kaohsiung metro back and passed by this really nice Metro station – 美麗島站 (Formosa Boulevard Station).
Alright, I am done with the bonus too! There are many nice places in Taiwan but we just didn’t visit them this time. In future if I find chances to go to those places, I will come back here with even more photographs!
[Signing off from Qantas Business Lounge @ Melbourne Airport. I’m gonna to board flight QF37 now!]
(To be continued)
This report was completed on 13 May 2016 at 2.43pm (UTC+10:00).
Full sized photographs of this flight will be available soon.
Cathay Dragon Lounge
Kaohsiung - KHH
Hong Kong - HKG
Dragonair again delivered a reliable service on this short hop back to HKG. I’d have appreciated it if check-in opened earlier, as that would have allowed me more time in the lounge to settle some errands on my laptop. Nonetheless, once the check-in process commenced, everything was really smooth. This was my first time flying Economy in Dragonair’s A333, and since it was the type of seat that I really can’t appreciate, I will deduct some points off “cabin comfort”. For that matter, legroom was a little tight and the seat itself really wasn’t comfortable. We had very little interaction with the cabin crews on this flight as most of the time, they were rushing to complete service, especially since they had to be seated due to turbulence for part of this flight. Entertainment and meal however were really decent for such a short flight.
The Dragonair lounge in KHH is a tiny one, but I guess it serves its purpose well since Dragonair doesn’t have that many flights out of KHH a day, furthermore, they are all quite appropriately spread out throughout the day. Some of these flights are operated by A330s but most of them are A320 services. I’ll rate the KHH KA Lounge as one that’s slightly above average. In the next few parts of this series, I’ll get a few more opportunities to sample other lounges in KHH. After those visits, I guess I’ll have a better basis of comparison regarding lounges in this small regional airport.
As for the departure and arrival airports, my experiences were very similar to those on the previous flight; allow me to leave the scores as they were in the previous report. Thanks for reading!
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