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As I'm not flying much right now (as are many people), I'm going back over some flights I did in 2018/2019 for this site that I've not yet published, just to keep me sane. So here is my Boeing 737 experience from China Airlines- it felt fitting to do now, given I already did the return of this trip in late 2019 (link bellow).
This trip report begins a good 11 hours before the flight. I checked out my hotel in Kowloon, and took the public transport to the airport in order to spend time spotting at the Airport, I was hoping to use the Sky Deck- however due to the civil unrest, the deck was closed- so any spotting had to be done, AIR SIDE… Which meant living in HKG Airport for 11 hours ahead of my flight. Something I am accustomed to!
I've heard stories about how good some of the Far Eastern airports are, and given how good Singapore is meant to be- I was very impressed by Hong Kong International. This is one of the youngest airports I've visited as the airport opened in late 1998, a good 18 months after I was born. Replacing the iconic Hong Kong Kai-Tak.
Due to this being my first trip to Asia, I was keen to see most of the short-haul Asian traffic and Asian budget airlines which don't operated to Europe, or London in general. I felt like a kid in a candy shop- seeing all these new airlines for me and seeing the airlines I often see at LHR with Boeing 777 or Airbus A330- I'm seeing the Airbus A320's, Boeing 737's…. It was fantastic!
I also spotted the London Heathrow arrivals from the UK airlines. The Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 was the same one that did my SEA-LHR flight in November 2018 (G-VCRU). I also spotted the Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A380-800 services done by British Airways.
One sight that caught my eye was the Qantas Airbus A330-300. I have never seen the A330 from Qantas- only the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 fly to Europe, and before that was the Boeing 747-400 before 2012. Another amazing find was an Eva Air Airbus A321 in the HELLO KITTY livery, I'd only seen the B777 a few times in London.
Much as I enjoyed exploring Hong Kong Airport, my flight's departure time came around eventually, and I made my way to the Gate to find my Boeing 737-800(WL) B-18658. The aircraft had been delivered brand new to China Airlines in September 2015, making it 4 years old at the time of flying it.
Given most of my flights on 737's have been on European airlines (except a few US flights), this was one of the nicer Boeing 737 cabin's I've experienced. The seat legroom was plenty for economy, there were overhead IFE Screens and the seats were comfortable with pink fabric, adding some colour to the cabin.
We pushed back and subsequently took off from Hong Kong for the 80 minute ride on the Asian "Golden Route". More narrow-body aircraft are featuring on this route, which once had almost all flights daily operated by the Boeing 747, though China Airlines is the only airline using the Boeing 737-NG on this service (Eva Air, Hong Kong Airlines and Cathay Dragon use Airbus A320-family).
There wasn't a lot to see of HKG as we departed into low cloud at night, however a nice tint from the mood lighting and an inflight-map came into operation from the ceiling.
For an economy class flight of 80 minutes, it is somewhat unheard of in Europe or the USA to get a meal included, but China Airlines provided a small meal (which I wasn't quite expecting), they offered beef or chicken with rice and water rounded off by a chocolate/almond biscuit. I opted for chicken (beef I had on the return flight). Whilst it didn't look like much- it was substantial and enough for a short flight- as well as a welcome bonus!
As we descended past Taiwan, lining up for Taiwan, the airline played a Taiwan Tourism arrival video. It was regarding the usual business of declaring certain items and any cash above a permitted amount, whether you'd been involved with live stock (to prevent the islands pigs being infected by illness).
Taipei came into view from the plane during decent, it was a lovely sight to see this countries capital city from above all lit up!
We arrived just shy of 11pm, local time. We had a short taxi past various aircraft of China Airlines including some brand new Airbus A330 and Airbus A350-900, which will replace the Boeing 747/777 fleets eventually as the main backbone of the fleet.
I asked for a flight deck visit, but was told this wasn't permitted by Taiwan, which is fair enough- the law is the law.
I exited the Boeing 737, reflecting on a nice flight and a solid introduction to flying with a mainline Asian airline. This was definitely one of my favourite Boeing 737 experiences, with probably the best cabin service I'd get from an airline on one. Immigration was a breeze to get through, despite there being a few flights also coming in, and I went to my guesthouse for the night.
My guesthouse had a balcony from the shared living area, which overlooked the runway and China Airlines maintenance area, which I took the opportunity to get some nice pictures of the airport.
China Airlines facility with a Boeing 737-800, Airbus A330 and Boeing 747-400
Selection of Far-East Asian delights parked up around Taipei Airport, ready for their next flights!
Taipei has two main airlines based here, the oldest and most prominent is China Airlines.
Eva Air, is the second most prominent airline at TPE.
Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737-800 departing for Kuala Lumpur, whilst an All Nippon Boeing 787-8 leaves for Tokyo Narita.
China Airlines- Fantastic short haul product from my two experiences, their Boeing 737 is well kitted out for their shorter flights. Comfy seating, an IFE Screen as a bonus, proper inflight meal provided. I recommend for future flights!
Hong Kong Airport- Well organised, though massive airport. Great place to be having a stop over in!
Taipei Airport- Nice arrival experience, didn't take too long. But Airport doesn't hold too well on the departures area (or was that just my experience?)