This is the opening FR of a vacation in some lesser visited areas of Mainland China, flying some lesser used local airlines.
Taipei - Hong-Kong (Cathay Pacific), in French there, you are here Hong-Kong - Beijing (Dragonair), in French there, in English there Beijing - Datong (Air China), in French there, in English there Taiyuan - Guiyang (China Express), in French there, in English there (expanded with a tourist bonus!) Guilin - Jinan (Capital Airlines), in French there, in English there (expanded with a tourist bonus!) Beijing - Hong-Kong (Dragonair), in French there, in English there Hong-Kong - Taipei (Dragonair), in French there, in English there
This is the map, in case you are not familiar with that geography. These were all homemade logistics arrangements.
I did not want to travel that day, nor did I want to fly in that direction. But at D-50, the direct flight and the flight via HKG to PEK on Saturday morning were both full. The Friday morning direct flight was full too, and I had to fall back on the route via HKG, an illustration of the insufficient number of direct flights then, for exclusively political reasons. Unless the Taiwanese lovers all decided to go and see the Great Wall, because that Saturday was the local equivalent of Valentine Day.
Crossing the seas have become commonplace in the world, but Taiwan has kept this uncertainty touch which spices up traveling, and preserved the tradition of typhoons which used to shut down the links across the straits of Taiwan. This time, I was lucky, the current typhoon veered far away from Taipei. They predicted that winds up to 200 km/h winds would strike Naha, the prefecture of Okinawa: it must have been something.
The fireworks for the same lovers' day were cancelled in Taipei, and it rained, which reduced my regret of not having a window seat, because I had neglected to check in on line.
This FR begins at dawn, at 5am. It was nearly the first flight out of Terminal 1, and all counters except that of CX were deserted.
I received also my BP for the continuation flight to Beijing, which already had the gate number in Hong Kong.
Immigration and security controls were all the faster there were very few passengers and nearly as much staff as usual.
It is 5:30 am and the terminal has a strange look: nearly all luxury shops are closed with these canvas covers, so that they all seem to be undergoing renovation.
No problem, since I had no plans to buy anything, and I have time; boarding gate B6 is still nearly empty.
This plan shows you that I am actually very close to wing C. Gate C3, where Flight BR391 to Ho Chi Minh City will board is therefore very close. Gate C3 looks like no other: it is actually in a corner of the children playground of TPE.
At that time, all wise kids should still be sleeping, but the ones who were awaken so early by careless parents are nevertheless wisely very quiet.
I could have had the slide for me alone, but I am unfortunately slightly taller than 1.10m. For taller children, there is a lot of choice, because Taiwan devotes a lot of space to promoting itself, with ofr instance this exhibit on the island's forests.
This is a relaxation space with floral themes.
This library area attracts lots of people. Note the self serve wheelchairs: these are high quality items, with hydraulic disk brakes for the pusher, like on a top of the line bicycle.
Taiwan communicates on its cutting edge technology exports, and feels secure enough today to mention it this display its former reputation for shoddy goods manufacturer. They illustrate that with high performance bicycles, one of Taiwan's lesser known specialties.
There is not much in the way of plane spotting, because there are only CX and BR planes. What is more, it is still quite dark and most windows are tinted. Note here the sling evacuation device: the same can be found in many places of the terminal.
Two CX four engine planes; the presence of the A340 is quite puzzling, because it should be long distance plane, and the longest route of CX out of TPE is to NRT.
One of the first opened shops. Note the trunk for a charity in the foreground.
The Taiwanese were not unruly in dumping in it their sales receipts. In Taiwan, in order to fight against undeclared sales and improve VAT proceeds, all sales receipts bear a unique tax number. Every two months, the Ministry of Finance organizes a lottery on these numbers. There are three grand prizes of 2 million TWD (50,000 EUR) each; at the lower end of the scale, anybody has 0.4% chance to win 200 TWD (5 EUR) from any receipt. I won twice (5 EUR, not 50,000 EUR, alas!)
It is at last time to board. This is an overview of the economy class (see my other reports on CX for the business class cabin).
The seats do not recline much:
But the seat pitch is decent, and it is a short flight anyway: a record 1h14' this time, versus the usual 1h18'. All flights between TPE and HKG are scheduled to take 1h40', so that they take off late and land on time.
This is the breakfast (a hot ham and cheese sandwich), efficiently served by smiling FAs, who pass to propose a second cup of tea or coffee.
A collage of the view through the window during the flight:
In the last one, it is the A330 operating Flight CX6888 (KA 980) towards PEK, which already know to be boarding at gate 40, by chance quite close to that where my plane arrives one minute ahead of schedule. If I had forgotten about it, there are IFEs to remind me.
Taipei - TPE
Hong Kong - HKG
CX on the TPE-HKG route? In J like in Y, it is high quality, especially when you take into consideration the short duration of the flight.
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