Review of Daily Air flight Orchid Island Taitung City in Economy

Airline Daily Air
Flight DA7514
Class Economy
Seat 8C
Aircraft Dornier 228
Flight time 00:25
Take-off 25 Feb 12, 15:10
Arrival at 25 Feb 12, 15:35
DA 8 reviews
marathon
By GOLD 2296
Published on 28th September 2013
This is the end of my adventures with Daily Air

Taipei TSA – Taitung TTT (Mandarin Airlines 391) in French here and in English there
Taitung TTT – Green Island GNI (Daily Air 7301) in French here and in English there
Green Island GNI - Taitung TTT (Daily Air 7312) in French there and in English there
Taitung TTT – Orchid Island KYD (Daily Air 7503) in French there and in English there
Orchid Island KYD - Taitung TTT (Daily Air 7514) in French there … but you are HERE
Taitung TTT – Taipei TSA (Mandarin Airlines 394 ) in French here (English version to be posted soon)

No matter Orchid Island is much larger than Green Island, its tourist potential is much less if you are not into scuba diving and snorkeling, and the next morning, we returned to the airport to check if we could return earlier to TTT. The terminal is of course decorated with traditional canoes.

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Of course, on a Saturday which is the first day of a four-day week-end (I'll explain why in the report of the continuation flight), all flights were booked full, but I added our names to the waiting list. Our chances were are slim as the list was long: we were 138th and 139 on a waiting list for one of the five flights operated with a 19 seater plane, and I estimated that there was not point to wait there.

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KYD was nevertheless worth spending some time, because it belongs to the club of markedly plane-spotter-friendly airports. Not only the runway is alongside a road – the only road, actually, fenced in a very camera-friendly way, which allows taking pictures of the entire airport's activity, with the loading of the checked luggage of an incoming flight…

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… and the boarding of the passengers …

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… but a belvedere next to the tiny parking lot provides a panoramic view of the runway.

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Some Flight Reports may already consider replacing MAN by KYD in the routing of their next vacation. In order to avoid a regrettable faux-pas, I remind that removing one's shoes is de rigueur.

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An employee apparently never tires of this show:

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The show is the arrival of that Do-228:



The plane stops there for several minutes, waiting for the departing aircraft leave the only parking space. It is the mid day rush hour in KYD, with no fewer than TWO aircraft on the tarmac, whereas in the morning and afternoon, the plane which arrived from TTT turns around in minimum time.

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Meanwhile, a tourist who missed the landing hurries to reach the belvedere.

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The parking space is free, and the place leaves the runway.

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And the other plane leaves the terminal.

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Never go beyond the runway threshold!

Note from the windsock that it will take off with a tailwind: the STOL performance of a Do-228 allows disregarding this kind of detail.

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No, this is not a float plane, but you could have doubts with that picture.

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I am not the only photographer

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After gunning the engine, the plane lurches forward

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Rotation

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And gears up

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Young plane spotters are equally interested.

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Once we really had exhausted all the tourism resources of the island, we returned very early for our 4:30 pm flight. The souvenir shop manager must have been on the lookout for us, for I had hardly stopped the car that she rushed out:

- You must return the car now! The police came up to take pictures of the cars in the parking lot: they stop and fine you immediately if you leave from here. Just double park the car here!

Why would the police that I had seen from a distance fine me? Not only the lady had no proof that I had a valid driver's license, but since the day before, I had been driving a car without number plates, without registration documents, and possibly as little insurance as front wheel grooving. There is always some adventure in Marathon Travel International packages.

Note that having number plates is nearly suspicious in Orchid Island. No, I did not doctor this picture.

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That was not a problem, since we had no intention of leaving, and I gave back the keys in exchange of the receipt which contained minimum information: there is no description, no date and no amount, which is even less than the receipts provided by the Taipei taxi drivers where at least you know it was a taxi ride. She did cross the ideogram which means 10,000, which capped my expense claim to 9,999 TWD.

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I entered the terminal and heard that passengers on the waiting list would be called for the 15:10 flight. The announcement was only in Mandarin, whereas all standard PA communication (start of check in, boarding, etc..) in KYD are bilingual… in Mandarin and Yami.

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Where is this one? I can't read his name!

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It is a fast game, and after sneaking to the front row of passengers, I see on the list that we have already been called for the previous flight and crossed out. Nothing venture, nothing win, and I tell the employee: We are here, but have already been called. The gamble was a winning one: we receive the last two available seats and the employee ends the roll call, much to the dismay of other passengers.

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It was a peak traffic day, we were 138th on the list in the morning, the planes have 19 seats, the 15:10 flight was booked full…

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… but there were still seat for us: never despair on Taiwanese domestic flights. What the employee has in the hand here is my resident's card.

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That was lucky, because according to the display behind the employee, Flight DA7514 was extra, due to the four day week-end.

This check-in is when I discovered Daily Air's safety demonstration: since there is no FA on board, this screen on the counter display a loop recording of would be on an IFE that does not exist in the Do-228.



A last view of the terminal, with in the bottom right the unforgettable shops for souvenirs / instant noodles / numberless rental cars and scooters.

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Boarding. Kids pay half fare and they are many: six out of nineteen passengers.

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This line is after KHH-CMJ the longest operated by Daily Air. When you fly long distance (in Daily Air's parlance) in a Do-228, you discover a disadvantage of that plane: it does not have toilets. No, that did not create a problem for me, but that unusual feature and the high proportion of children reminded me an old story.

It was back in 1994, approximately, at the time when the defunct Air Inter had introduced A330s on the TLS-ORY French domestic route. It was also the time when yield management was limited to three fare flat fares predetermined months in advance. I was welcoming at ORY a 4-5 year old UM kid on the very last minimum fare flight in late August, and all families had concentrated their sending of children on that last super-cheap flight of the summer vacation. The identity of the adult receiving a UM is checked of course, and it took ages, for there were no fewer than 128 UMs on board (I always remembered that count provided by an apologetic ground staff). Anyway, as soon as I had recovered my kid, he begged to go the toilet for an emergency.
- Couldn't you ask to go to the toilet in the plane?
- I asked, but the flight attendant said that there was no toilet in the plane!

How to avoid managing on hundred kids who contagiously ask to go to the toilet during a one hour flight…

Let's go back to the FR after this digression. When you check-in at the very last moment, you cannot expect having the best seats, but we did not get the worst, far from it : row 8 is the one which is nearest to the door (for those who want do leave the aircraft as soon as possible, due to an urgent need due to the absence of toilet on board and due to the lack of time to use that of the airport due to a hasty check-in), and the legroom of seat 8A ridicules anything you can have in First class elsewhere, since you can extend your legs all the way to the cockpit inclusively.

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My sports shoes are getting worn… they will never let me check in at a First Class / Plutonium Elite counter without a credentials check.

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The door once closed.

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And through the window next to the door, I see that the fears of the rent-a-car owner were justified:

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for the police truck has started operating.

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That is what I call fleeing in the nick of time: we take off.



A last glimpse at Orchid Island :

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We fly toward the bad weather on Taiwan



A view of Taitung from above



TTT is in sight on the left on that picture

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Last turn to align with the runway

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Touchdown

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This time, my picture of TTT's terminal is less blurry. Note the giant Taiwanese flag in front of the control tower (a common feature of Taiwanese airports).

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There was nearly no luggage in the rear hold: all but two pieces were in the front one. There is propably zero air freight on the KYD-TTT leg on a week-end.

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A ground staff turns the propellers manually, on both engines. Anybody knows for what purpose ?

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Unloading of the rear hold

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The aerodynamic appendices underneath the rear of the fuselage

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The pickup truck has arrived for the checked luggage which is in the front hold.

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It is 15:34, and Flight DA7511, the last one of the day towards KYD, is going to take off precisely on time.

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A view of the only air traffic at that time: a helicopter of the fire department.

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The ground staff waves to the departing plane to KYD

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And the aircraft left towards the runway


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Verdict

Daily Air

5.8/10
Cabin5.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Meal/catering5.0

Orchid Island - KYD

9.5/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness10.0

Taitung City - TTT

9.5/10
Efficiency10.0
Access8.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

How do you rate the comfort of an aircraft without IFE, without toilets, without pressurization, noisier than any propeller aircraft that I ever boarded (including the Cessna 152), and vibrating so much that I took five pictures of its aisle to have an acceptably sharp one? 5 out of 10 may already be too much by some contributors' standards.

With a record time between my arrival at the airport and the take-off, the punctuality is of course top-notch, and I keep thinking that the best FA is the missing FA who cannot enforce the no-photos on board rule. No meal is served, hence the neutral grade.

Daily Air and its destinations have been up to my expectations in terms of adventure while staying in Taiwanese territory. My readers are invited to go and cross check by themselves: no that I have researched the issue, it has become nearly easy.

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