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] – Here Part 4 – KHH-KNH [B7 8915, Aérospatiale/Alenia ATR 72-600, Economy] – You are 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
The next 2 reports are part of my trip within in a trip. In Part 1, I explained the debacle I was in when GE cancelled their operations suddenly on November 21, so I had to scramble to get tickets rebooked on different carriers. I picked B7 for the outbound, and with no return seats on any carriers to KHH, I just booked an AE ticket to RMQ figuring the HSR would suffice to return to Kaohsiung. These 2 tickets were booked on November 22, so the fares were on the high side ($68 and $48). Even with the higher prices than my GE tickets, it was well worth the daytrip out to Kinmen County and it’s some place I expect to return to soon to finish exploring.
My last day in Kaohsiung started with a lazy breakfast at the hotel before taking the MRT to the airport. As I mentioned before, it is 26 NTD ($0.80) for the short ride from the city center to the airport. The MRT is similar to Taipei’s and uses Siemens cars.
Reaching the airport’s station, there are 2 exits. One exit goes to the international terminal and the other goes to the domestic terminal. I head towards Exit 2 today.
FIDS. You can already see all the GE flights listed as “Cancelled.”
Heading to street level, there is a bunch of artwork on the wall leading towards the domestic terminal.
Entering the domestic terminal.
It’s one long corridor with a restaurant on this end and the check-in counters on the far end.
There was only 1 agent working at the B7 counter. I tried to use the self-service kiosks, but they were in Mandarin only.
The FIDS on display, like in Japan I guess you can just buy plane tickets like train tickets on the day of departure if there are seats. My flight is listed as fully booked so I’m hoping there is still a chance to get a window seat. Since B7’s website is only in Mandarin, I couldn’t figure out how to do seat selection or check-in online.
The agent greets me in English and takes my passport. She doesn’t ask about seat preferences and just hands me back a boarding pass and my passport. Thankfully I was issued 8K, so no complaints.
The back of the boarding pass says that you can buy/pay for your tickets at Family Mart using the FamiPort. At least in Japan, that is an accurate statement since I did this for many JH tickets so that’s what I’m guessing is also true for B7 in Taiwan.
The abandoned GE check-in counters.
KHH’s domestic terminal may be a dump on the outside, but they have one of the fanciest bathrooms I’ve seen since FCO. Love the mural above the urinals.
An advertisement for our destination today^^
I went outside, since I saw a fountain out front. For some reason, this reminds me of the Unisphere in NYC, lol. Regardless, an elaborate fountain in front of a dilapidated terminal.
Back inside, I head upstairs towards the view deck.
I’m guessing this map has not been updated in some time; don’t recall any NGO-KHH routes still existing…
Display cases for the 4 main domestic carriers in Taiwan: GE, B7, AE, and FE.
Hello ladies! I should have stolen that GE one…
The view deck was way over the top. There were windows along the walkway connecting the domestic and international terminals. The windows came with bar stools and a set of binoculars that you could use^^
Very sad to see the grounded GE planes out on the tarmac. We have an A320 and 3 ATR72s parked at KHH. After the disasters they have endured recently, it was no surprise that they had to pull the plug. With the reformation of FE and growth of AE, they were probably already feeling pressure on domestic routes. They said in the newspaper they had already faced 2 billion NTD losses in the first half of this year so just decided to call it quits.
BR A321 taxing out and taking off.
CI B738 taking off.
The holy grail of models is based here at KHH. I have never seen such a display in my life at an airport.
KA A320 in the new livery arriving.
B7 ATR-72 arriving.
Seeing the B7 ATR72 arrive, I went back down to go through security. The entrance to the security, they check passports and boarding passes then there is a security screening. I will say that it seemed pretty “relaxed” in that at least half the people set off the metal detector and they were never patted down, granted most of those people were over the age of 60 so maybe they are more lenient for the elderly.
Airside, there was a small room displaying local artifacts.
FIDS. As you can see, almost all the domestic traffic out of KHH is to the islands in the South China Sea. There were a couple of elderly foreign couples heading to Magong.
The domestic waiting room. I was a little shocked entering this room, it was nothing like the Japanese domestic terminals that I’ve seen. It was jammed packed and there was not enough seating so everyone was just standing around.
They had the famous water fountains in China/Taiwan with your choice of hot (102C), room temperature (33C), and cold (17C) water. I refilled my water bottle here.
There were 2 computers that had free internet connections.
Or you could stop and get a massage.
I found some outlets on the wall to give my cell phone a quick charge while I waited to make sure it would last the rest of the day.
At 9:50 (15 minutes before departure), an agent makes an announcement that boarding for my flight was starting in Mandarin followed by English. There are no boarding pass checks as we walk outside.
FE MD-80 that we will be following to KNH. Not sure where that wheelchair was going…
My B7 ATR-72.
No English on this sign marking our gate.
I join the queue.
The agent checks my boarding pass and passport before letting me walk out to the plane. Last chance to make sure you are on the right plane, lol.
She is gorgeous. I find it strange that they let us walk under the wing, I always thought that was forbidden for passengers on the tarmac. They only had some cones around the engine.
The new B7 tail. They dumped their old red livery to mimic BR.
The FA in the rear galley greets me in English. Turning in, I noticed there were newspapers placed in the little storage compartment, but they were only Chinese titles.
The cabin from the rear.
Seat pitch is very good.
View of the cabin from my seat.
I don’t think I have ever been on an ATR72 that is this new. This plane is only 3 years old and has the modern overhead.
The safety card for this ATR72.
The new special livery for B7 based on Sanrio’s Bad Badtz character is on the front of the inflight magazine.
B7 fleet info, complete with the route guide.
B7’s international route map (including China).
B7’s domestic route map.
The guide to all the BR and B7 special liveries.
The FE MD-80 backs up next to us.
We get backed up right after then. The ground crew waves goodbye as we taxi out to take off.
DA Dornier 228, one of the most exotic domestic carriers in Taiwan, too bad they don’t fly any route I’d likely need to take.
Taxing, the FAs do the safety demonstration in both Mandarin and English. Throughout the flight, all announcements by FAs and from the flight deck were bilingual.
Aligning onto the runway.
We lift up and make a loop over the industrial wasteland just south of the city center.
We then cross over the top of KHH.
JL B763 is heading down the runway as it heads home to NRT.
Some views of Kaohsiung through the haze.
We followed the coast up to near Tainan before turning west.
I’m guessing this is TNN in the center of the picture.
The cabin midflight.
I thumbed through the magazines while drink service was being done. I’ve always wanted a Hello Kitty apron.
The FAs did drink service by cart. My seatmate apparently ordered for me in Mandarin. He should know it’s bad taste to order for your date on a first date ;) So I was handed a cup of some sort of juice (Marathon probably knows what B7’s juice is, it was maybe lychee?). The FA saw my confused look when she handed it to me and realized that I didn’t want that. She asked me what I wanted and then gave me the cup of coffee that I actually wanted. This coffee baffled me too; it seemed to already have sugar and milk in it. I like my coffee black, so this wasn’t what I really wanted either. An oshibori was handed out with drinks.
Flying past Penghu County.
This is a really short flight (45 minutes), so we quickly had the cabin cleaned and prepared for landing, which was really turbulent.
Reaching the southern coast of Kinmen County on our descent.
We get a low altitude view of the south half of the island.
The Gugang Tower (古崗樓) is visible in front of Gugang Lake.
Zhu Shan Village (珠山聚落), one of the popular places to see Fujian architecture.
We come to a screeching halt on the runway as the propellers power down.
Turning off the runway. There are no taxiways at KNH so planes have to taxi on the runway and make U-turns to take off.
The B7 ATR72 was waiting for us to clear the runway before they could depart.
The FE MD-80 that was in front of us leaving KHH.
Cabin shots deplaning.
You deplane out onto the tarmac and walk back to the terminal.
No surprise, this plane will immediately head back to KHH.
Walking towards the baggage claim.
The ceiling is lined with pictures from the island.
I follow the signs towards the exit.
Somehow I think this picture on the wall promoting “Flight Safety Prevention Week” will be there for more than a week…
There are free baggage lockers at the exit of the airport if you are just doing a daytrip here.
Outside, I try and figure out where the bus leaves from.
The façade of KNH.
Since Ms. NGO85 wants to come here too, I decide to spend the day just in Jincheng Township on the south side of the island and save the rest for when she can come too.
The bus arrives on time and comes every 30 minutes or so, but seems well timed with arrivals. I was going to take a picture of the bus, but noticed the driver was not any mood to wait for me and started closing the door, so I quickly slipped on and dumped 15 NTD into the tray. The bus fares is only 12 NTD ($0.37), but I didn’t have enough exact change.
I’ll leave off this series as I begin my day in Kinmen County. I’ll make you wait until the next report for a bonus.
Kaohsiung - KHH
Kinmen - KNH
My first time taking B7 and I liked their domestic product. Their brand new ATR72s are a breath of fresh air and they have the same in-flight service standards as BR with well-groomed and friendly FAs. This is my first domestic flight in Taiwan and it seemed to be exactly on par with what is offered in Japan with a limited drink service. This is probably one of the longest domestic flights in Taiwan (45 minutes), so it's not surprising that they have such minimal inf-flight service standards.
Cabin comfort: I didn't even know they were still making ATR72s, really nice to get one. The cabin was pristine, the seats had good pitch, and the seats were acceptable in comfort (on the stiff side, but this was a short flight).
Crew: The B7 crew was about on par with BR and had the same image. They were friendly, smiling, and efficient. The 2 FAs both spoke English well. The pilots made a couple of announcements with flight information.
Meal and catering: Thanks to my seatmate ordering juice for me, I actually got 2 drinks with my service, lol. The coffee wasn't very good since it was already polluted with milk and sugar. Oshibori distribution is a one-up on Japanese domestic service.
Entertainment: Newspaper available in the galley on boarding and the standard seatback literature. No IFE, as expected on a turboprop, just natural IFE out the window.
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