Since we were to be in Taipei for 6 nights, we decided to get out of Taipei to Taroko Gorge for a day-trip. In order to save time traveling, we joined a day tour from Taipei to Taroko Gorge, flying to the city of Hualien on TransAsia Airways early in the morning and returning back to Taipei by train in the evening. The city of Hualien is only 120km from Taipei and the flight from Taipei to Hualien is the shortest flight I have ever flown on a plane. Probably one of the shortest scheduled flights in the world too? And the route is also probably one of the exotic routes to fly on. It would be interesting to experience such a short domestic flight in Taiwan.
The flight was scheduled to depart from Taipei Songshan, which is the domestic airport (currently also used for limited international services to Japan and Mainland China) right smack in the city center, at 0700hrs. We were picked up from the hotel at 0600hrs and reached the airport just after a 15min drive.
Songshan T2, which is the domestic terminal. The original domestic terminal, T1, has been refurbished and now used for international flights.
At the TransAsia ticketing counter to pick up our air tickets. There were 11 of us in the tour group.
Ticketing counters of other Taiwanese domestic airlines.
Check-in counters for TransAsia flights. Check-in closes 30mins before departure for domestic flights.
Our tour leader in Taipei checked in for us and handed us our boarding passes. It was basically a slip of paper.
02 November 2011 TransAsia Airways GE 007 Taipei Songshan (TSA) - Hualien (HUN) ATR 72 B-22811 Economy Class
After issued with boarding passes, the whole group went through security into the boarding lounge. Security was fast and we were soon in the sterile looking departure lounge. Nothing fanciful, just rows of seats, a cafe and boarding gates.
We will be flying TransAsia today!
Our flight will be boarding after the Makung flight.
Lets do some plane spotting! Uni Air MD90.
Mandarin Airlines ERJ190
Finally we are boarding! Will be bussed to the aircraft parked at the remote stand.
On the bus towards our aircraft. Eva Air A332 and JAL B763 parked at the International Terminal ready to operate flights to Haneda.
FAT MD80 stored on the tarmac.
Early morning at Songshan. China Airlines A333 parked on the remote stand.
Reached our ATR72 prop B-22811. It is the 2nd newest ATR72 in TransAsia's fleet and is delivered in 2007.
Another view of our plane.
Boarding. I was one of the last to board so that I can enjoy my photo taking on the tarmac. No ground staff stopped us from snapping shots on the tarmac.
Passengers settles down very quickly and the crew immediately prepared the plane for departure. There were 3 cabin crew onboard today, including a trainee crew. Most of the other passengers on the flight this morning were businessmen flying to Hualien for a day of work, judging by the suits and briefcases. Newspapers were also offered at the door. Crew also did a newspaper run down the aisle. Flight time was scheduled to be 35min but the actual flying time was a mere 20mins at most.
Seat pitch was actually rather good.
Contents in seat pocket. Inflight magazine, duty-free mag, safety card and 1 more magazine which I forgot what it was. Quite a lot of stuff for a domestic flight I must say. Even onboard shopping is offered on this short flight!
Cabin view towards the front.
Doors were closed, engines started and cabin crew performed a manual safety demo. No time wasted here! We then had a fast taxi to Rwy10.
There was no wait and we immediately took off after turning onto the runway.
We initially passed through thick clouds but the clouds cleared shortly after. Beautiful scenery of outer Taipei after takeoff.
Service announcement by the crew after takeoff. It was a very long announcement!
Followed shortly by the pilot announcement. We would only be flying at 10,000ft today!
Flying along the beautiful east coast of Taiwan.
The beautiful TransAsia stewardesses then rolled a cart down the aisle offering packet drinks and wet towelettes.
On offer were either red tea or an energy drink.
Seatbelt signs were switched on throughout the whole flight as according to the pilot, there might be some bumps. But I guess it was to reduce inconveniences to the cabin crew during their service on the very short flight.
The flight was so short that when the crew were still serving drinks halfway down the cabin, we started our descent! However the crew still managed to finish serving all passengers and immediately collected the trash and prepared the aircraft for landing.
See the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?
Almost there. Beautiful mountains!
Nearing Hualien. The scenery is stunning!
Flew over Hualien city and making a turn back to the airport.
Runway in sight.
Landing at Hualien Airport Rwy03. The airport is also an airforce base and so photo-taking were actually prohibited while on the ground. An announcement was also made regarding this. But then… http://www.youtube.com/watch'v=HrNIFWmCBNs
Just a very short taxi to the deserted terminal. I wonder when was the last time the aerobridges were used.
View of seats during disembarkation.
There were airforce personnel on the tarmac to stop anyone from taking photographs. So no photos of the aircraft on the tarmac. However I managed to capture a shot from the terminal building.
These are all the arrivals to Hualien airport in a day.
The airport looked very new and clean. And it is definitely very underutilized!
Taipei City - TSA
Hualien - HUN
It was a short and pleasant flight on TransAsia Airways and an interesting experience to try out a Taiwanese domestic flight. I was actually surprised that TransAsia was able to accomplish the services on such a short flight. I was not even expecting a drink, much less newspapers and onboard shopping on the 20min hop. Excellent service by TransAsia!
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