Review of Mandarin Airlines flight Taipei City Kinmen in Economy

Airline Mandarin Airlines
Flight AE1283
Class Economy
Seat 20A
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 01:00
Take-off 22 Dec 20, 09:20
Arrival at 22 Dec 20, 10:20
AE 19 reviews
gmhorse
By 594
Published on 28th January 2021

Welcome to a continuation of my Taiwan journey in the time of COVID.

This report shares a domestic trip within Taiwan that I did from Taipei to the island of Kinmen (金門).

This island is only a few kilometers (i.e. swimming distance) away from the Chinese city of Xiamen — and has a fascinating modern history as a front line of the Cold War. One historical teaser: China's People's Liberation Army shelled Kinmen every other day between 1958 and 1979.

For those who are interested in learning more, here's a recent Washington Post article that provides a pretty good overview of Kinmen's geopolitical and historical status.

Since the flight was only one hour, this report may be heavier on the tourism bonus than the actual flight ;)

As a refresher, here's my overall journey routing…


Routing


GETTING TO AIRPORT, CHECKIN


I woke up bright and early and headed to Taipei Songshan Airport to catch my 9:20am flight.

Since Taiwan did not have any COVID lockdown, I was able to take the subway—which provides direct access to the airport. I'll share pictures of the subway in my return journey; I must've been too sleepy and jam-packed at morning rush hour to take pictures on this leg.


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…and welcome to the Domestic Terminal of Songshan Airport!

Songshan primarily serves domestic flights, but does have international ones as well (though fewer during the pandemic). If you're unfamiliar with Taipei's airports, Songshan is like the equivalent to Seoul's Gimpo or Tokyo's Haneda.


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There were very few people checking in, even for domestic flights. This was the check-in counter area.

Right now, Taiwan only has two main domestic carriers: UNI Air (a subsidiary of EVA Air) and Mandarin Airlines (subsidiary of China Airlines). I would be taking Mandarin Airlines - whose checkin counters are on the far right of the picture.


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A sampling of flights. All of these flights go to outlying islands.


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After breezed through security, I emerged into an extremely sparse terminal.


QUICK PLANESPOTTING


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I quickly located my plane.

You might be wondering: "Isn't this report for Mandarin Airlines? Why does this plane say China Airlines?"

Well… as mentioned above, Mandarin Airlines (AE) is a subsidiary of China Airlines (CI). Apparently CI lent a 737-800 to AE… so I wouldn't actually get to fly on AE metal. Otherwise, AE mostly flies Embraers and ATRs.

With time to kill, I did a bit of planespotting. Here's what I saw…


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UNI Air A320, probably borrowed and repainted from EVA Air. EVA Air's livery is quite similar to UNI's though, so it probably wasn't that hard of a paint job ;)


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Custom UNI Air Bad Badtz Maru livery just arrived!

Many avgeeks may know that UNI Air's parent airline EVA Air has famous Hello Kitty liveries. Not to be upstaged, UNI decided to take some Sanrio characters for itself too ;)


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Behind the UNI Air ATR are two MD-82s from Far Eastern Air Transport, a Taiwanese airline that went bust in 2019. They had the unfortunate English abbreviation of "FAT," which you might be able to make out on their tails.


AFTER BOARDING, BEFORE TAKEOFF


Anyways… it was soon time to board. The process happened quickly and unfortunately I do not have pictures.


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Here was my seat. The plane's exterior might've said China Airlines, but at least they changed the headrest coverings!


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Mandarin Airlines inflight magazine.


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Mandarin Airlines route map


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B738 safety card


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A333s at the international side of Songshan, from out of my window.

Our takeoff was quite uneventful despite the gray skies. Unfortunately the cloud cover meant I wasn't able to get any cityscape photos of Taipei.


Inflight


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Cabin in flight. Load factor was maybe 40%.


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On this one hour flight, we were given a drink service of wheat tea. It was quick, efficient, and polite.


LANDING


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Soon it was time to land. Here you can see the Taiwanese-controlled island of Kinmen in the foreground, and the Chinese city of Xiamen in the background.


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Coming to a stop at a gate next to an EVA Air A320 operating for UNI Air.


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Bye-bye, B738!


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One last shot of the airport terminal before I got picked up by a car that my hostel sent.

And thus ends the flight portion. Now check out the travelling bonus!


TOURISM BONUS!


Bonus : Click here display
See more

Verdict

Mandarin Airlines

8.0/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering8.0

Taipei City - TSA

9.0/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Kinmen - KNH

9.0/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

Overall... not much to say about the flight itself. The crew were as efficient/friendly as could be for a 1 hour flight, and the plane was decently clean. The flight itself was smooth, the airports efficient.

As a history enthusiast though, this trip to Kinmen was a great intellectual escape amidst the pandemic. Don't miss the tourism bonus!!!

Information on the route Taipei City (TSA) Kinmen (KNH)

2 Comments

  • Comment 570774 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5378 Comments

    Thanks a lot for this cool report! I found the history bonus super interesting as a history lover. I like that Mandarin make an effort to add their own branding inside the 737s (and sometimes A330s) leased from parent carrier China Airlines.

    Looks like this was a more comfortable flight than the transpacific leg with the much lighter loads here.

    Thanks for sharing!

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