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Topic: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2009-01-31 02:52:09 and read 32767 times.

Flying on "The Wings of Taiwan": Hong Kong-Taipei-Hong Kong
on EVA Air Airbus A330-200 & Boeing 747-400 Combi



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Photo © Ingo Lang
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Photo © H.J. Yen




Intro
EVA Air, Taiwan's second largest airline, and its A330-200 and 747-400 Combi models are featured in part 4 of my current trip report series. Domestic flights in Taiwan and a visit to the famous Taipei 101 will be in the focus in the next part.


Background
We had had a side trip to Taiwan on the agenda from the very beginning of our tour planning. There was a great choice of widebody flight options between Hong Kong and Taipei - and in the end we decided to go on the carrier which once used the marketing slogan "The Wings of Taiwan". We hadn't flown on EVA Air before - and apart from that the carrier was also offering attractive fares. We picked a late morning flight to TPE on a 747-400 Combi and added an A330-200 evening flight on the next day. There were also two 777-300ER flights available, but the departure times weren't favorable.

All those who have missed parts 1, 2 and 3 or want to read more about the background of the trip simply need to click here:
Striking Newcomer: Berlin-Beijing On Hainan A330
PEK-SHA, China Eastern A330 & Shanghai At Night
SHA-SZX, Shanghai 757: Delayed By The Military




Thursday, 06 November 2008
Hong Kong (HKG) - Taipei Taoyuan (TPE)
EVA Air, BR852
11:20-12:55 (11:18-12:54)
Flying time: 01:22 (hrs)

Boeing 747-45EM
B-16409 (s/n 1077), delivered in 05/1996 as N409EV
Economy Class, Seat 21H (Evergreen Deluxe cabin)



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Photo © Botterman Bram
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Photo © K.L.Yim




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Photo © Chaity
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Photo © K.L.Yim



Former appearance:


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Photo © Jose Ramon Valero - Iberian Spotters
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Photo © Dickson Ching - HKAEC



Evergreen Deluxe Seating
We left Kowloon early in the morning and took the MTR (Mass Transit Rail) to Tung Chung station at Lantau Island where we transferred to an airport bus. It takes more than an hour to go by MTR and bus, but is a lot cheaper than the Airport Express.
Only few passengers were waiting in line in EVA Air's check-in area and soon a friendly agent entered out data. After a few minutes she printed our boarding passes with seats in row 21 - which we had already reserved at the time of booking. EVA Air's remaining Boeing 747-400 Combi aircraft are still equipped with the old Evergreen Deluxe cabin (premium Economy Class) in the nose and front section of the main deck.
Seat map: http://www.evaair.com/NR/rdonlyres/C...FFF18B8957/0/B747_400Combi_276.jpg
The Evergreen Deluxe seats are sold as regular Economy seats on the HKG-TPE-HKG runs, so it had been clear from the very beginning where to settle down.

Airside Spotting & Boarding
After passing security I walked around for a while to find a good spotting spot. Registration spotting is a pleasure at Chek Lap Kok, but the glass windows can make it difficult for photographers sometimes. In only a few hours I got a total of 40 new registrations.

Hong Kong Express Boeing 737-84P B-KBR (with a Hong Kong Airlines 737-800 close behind):


Picture by Satchmo

Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-367ER B-KPF in Asia's World City colors:


Picture by Satchmo

Our Boeing 747-45E Combi arrived at the gate on time...



...it was B-16409, a 1996 model.




Cabin Comfort & IFE
Friendly FAs in dark green uniforms welcomed us at the door - and this time we turned left and headed to our seats in the 747's nose section. Not surprisingly, the seats - designed in the early 1990s and most likely installed on the aircraft in 1996 - can't match today's standards and look a bit worn.


Picture by Satchmo

Nevertheless, the seats are comfortable...



...and pitch is excellent for premium Economy (38 inches, according to EVA Air's website).



The front wall and the wardrobe doors are brightly-painted...



...spicing up the slightly dull ambiance in that front section (picture taken later in the flight). The cabin was packed - at least on the main deck.


Picture by Satchmo

In addition to overhead screens in all cabin sections, Evergreen Deluxe seats are also equipped with PTVs. However, those remained switched off during the whole flight.


On-time Departure
Our 747 Combi was pushed back ahead of schedule, passing Hong Kong Airlines Boeing 737-84P B-KBM. The livery clearly reveals that the carrier is a member of the HNA Group.



Some minutes later we entered runway 07R and our 747 rocketed upwards after a relatively short take off roll. Busy cargo ramp as usual:


Picture by Satchmo


"Meal Box"
The flight attendants soon started serving cold and hot drinks and also distributed snack boxes - or "meal boxes", as stated on the box. What I also found interesting was the remark "Please do not carry off aircraft". Do they want to reuse the boxes?



Not that I had expected a large meal - but the content of the box was disappointing, both in terms of quantity (lunchtime!) and quality.



The sandwich (ham and cheese) was dry and tasteless - and the sweet bread roll wasn't a culinary delight either. It was filled with brown cabbage-like stuff, similar to the (red bean curd?) bread roll filling I got on Hainan Airlines. Not to forget - the coffee wasn't good either. Catering was an outright disappointment on that flight.   


Cabin Tour & Approach
An announcement by the apparently American captain revealed that there wasn't much time left at cruising altitude, so we went for a walk and had a look at the "Cattle Class" section:


Picture by Satchmo


Picture by Satchmo

Just after we had returned to our seats, the plane started descending...


Picture by Satchmo

...and soon we were on final approach to Taipei Taoyuan Airport.


Picture by Satchmo

We touched down at 12:49 and arrived at the gate five minutes later - one minute ahead of schedule.


Picture by Satchmo



Transfer to Taipei Songshan
There was a long queue at immigration and it took about 30 minutes until we could grab our luggage. We decided to take the next bus to Taipei Songshan Airport in order to check the domestic flight options for the next day. Buses run every 30 minutes, one-way tickets are quite cheap (roughly 3 Euro).
The bus was equipped with comfortable seats in a 1-2 layout - and the bus on the return trip from Taipei Main Station to Taoyuan Airport on the next day was even equipped with PTVs (out of service, though).



The green headquarters of EVA Air in Taoyuan:



Motorcycles dominate the scene on Taipei's roads:



Elevated railway track of the efficient Taipei Rapid Transit System, one of the most expensive rapid transit systems ever constructed:



We arrived at Taipei Songshan Airport after a journey time of about 50 minutes and checked the domestic flight options...story to be continued in the next part.


Taipei Taoyuan Spotting
After our domestic journey to Makung and a visit to the Taipei 101 it was time to go back to Taipei Taoyuan Airport on the next day. Due to its construction, spotting from the main terminal hall is not possible. After checking in for our flight and enjoying a delicious meal in a Japanese restaurant...



...we decided to take a shuttle bus to the Chung Cheng Aviation Museum, located in the south-eastern area of the airport. Most important to us was the observation tower...



...offering views of the terminals and the runways. The (air-conditioned) observation deck is a good location for registration spotters, but taking pictures is very difficult. The planes are far away and the windows weren't clean.



Those who are interested in military planes can have a look at numerous retired Republic of China Air Force aircraft:



The museum closes at 17:00 - but views from the tower aren't good any more after sunset anyway. While we were waiting for the shuttle bus we had a closer look at some of the exhibited planes:





Friday, 07 November 2008
Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) - Hong Kong (HKG)
EVA Air, BR1851
19:00-20:45 (18:52-20:29)
Flying time: 01:17 (hrs)

Airbus A330-203
B-16306 (MSN 587), delivered in 04/2004
Economy Class, Seat 51A



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Photo © Ingo Lang
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Photo © Jonathan Rankin




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Photo © Andrew Hunt - AirTeamImages
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Photo © K.H. Ng - HKAEC



Smooth Check-in
Checking in had been fast and efficient some hours earlier. Since we hadn't been able to reserve seats in the rear cabin at the time of booking I started a new attempt at the counter. The friendly check-in agent immediately reacted to my request and told us the rows which were still available. Considering it would be only a short flight we chose the last row on the A330-200.
We passed security and took a seat in the gate area. Spotting was nearly impossible due to the darkness and relatively small windows. So I couldn't log many more registrations - in total I had got 20 new ones during the day. Several EVA Air A330s were parked side by side at the terminal - and BR1851 would be operated by B-16306, a 2004 model.




Cabin Comfort
Friendly FAs welcomed us on board while we were walking down the cabin. I found the light green and grey color tones pleasing to the eyes.


Picture by Satchmo

The slim-line seats are hard cushioned, but still comfortable.


Picture by Satchmo

Seat pitch is generous, the IFE box doesn't pose a problem.



The passenger load was quite low, so boarding was completed quickly.


Picture by Satchmo


IFE
EVA Air's A330s are equipped with an audio and video on-demand (AVOD) entertainment system which is called Star Gallery:





The system offers a wide selection of entertainment options:


  • - Sky Hollywood: 19 movies (latest blockbusters and classic flicks)
  • - Sky Concert Hall: More than 100 music CDs (playlist builder)
  • - Sky TV: 53 TV features (shows, news, travelogues, children's programs etc.)
  • - Kids' World: TV programs and music for younger travelers
  • - Sky Fantasy: 10 video games
  • - Sky Compass: Inflight data and maps with different zoom levels
  • - SMS and E-mail
  • - Sky Shop: Catalog with duty-free products and gift items
  • - Information: EVA Air news, Evergreen Club updates and travel guides

Star Gallery was easy to operate and all options were available on the short hop to Hong Kong.


On-time Departure
While a maintenance crew had to check an engine pylon on the A330 next to us, our plane was pushed back early. 15 minutes later we turned onto runway 06 and B-16306 lifted off after a powerful and short take off roll. Sky Compass channel shortly after takeoff:




Disappointing Dinner
The cabin crew soon started distributing food - and I was glad to see they handed out trays and not just "meal boxes". However, I was surprised that spaghetti Bolognese was the only option on a flight between Taipei and Hong Kong:



Honestly, the meal was another disappointment. The noodles were soft-boiled and the sauce tasted quite stale. Salt and pepper hadn't been provided, so I couldn't do anything to improve its taste. I can't complain about the pickled egg (soaked in vinegar), but the salad - a kind of cabbage with herbs - tasted simply terrible.   
Drinks followed quite late. I asked for a beer - and surprisingly, there was a choice between Carlsberg and a Taiwanese beer. At least EVA Air had some local stuff to offer, in contrast to the mainland carriers on the days before. I ordered the Taiwanese beer which wasn't bad - at least one positive aspect in terms of catering...  

Enroute over the Taiwan Strait, shortly after passing the Penghu islands:






Cabin Tour & Approach
Time passed quickly, not least because of the enjoyable IFE. Before the plane started descending, we took some more shots of the cabin.


Picture by Satchmo

Amenities and plastic plants in the lavatory:



We couldn't see much in the darkness outside, but we could watch the approach on the moving map:



Right turn for final approach to runway 07L - now we could actually see the lights of Macau in the distance:



We touched down at Chek Lap Kok at 20:24 and arrived at the gate five minutes later - a total of 16 minutes ahead of schedule. I got some more registrations on the way to the baggage carousel, but the most interesting plane which caught our attention was AP-BAK, PIA's last remaining Boeing 747-200. To be precise, it's a 747-240 Combi - what a beauty:


Picture by Satchmo

More than an hour after leaving the airport we arrived in Kowloon and checked in again at the The Salisbury - YMCA of Hong Kong. Story to be continued...



Conclusion
Flying EVA Air was a positive experience in general: Ground staff and cabin crew members were friendly and polite, the check-in processes were fast and efficient, both flights were on-time, the aircraft cabins were clean and the seating comfort was good. Considering the short flying time, the lack of IFE on the 747 wasn't a major annoyance. The IFE on the A330 can't match the latest systems, but it's still absolutely sufficient for long-haul flights. However, the catering on both flights was completely disappointing - I had really expected more quality. Anyway, I wouldn't hesitate to fly EVA Air again - but I wouldn't mind trying rival China Airlines, too.

Next report: TSA-MZG-TSA on Transasia Airways and UNI Air


Best Regards,
PlaneHunter

[Edited 2009-01-31 03:09:30]

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: Globetraveller
Posted 2009-01-31 03:06:34 and read 32767 times.

Hi there PlaneHunter,

Another great addition to your series of trip reports. Excellent pictures and interesting detail.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
In only a few hours I got a total of 40 new registrations.

Wow... I guess that's Hong Kong for you.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Not surprisingly, the seats - designed in the early 1990s and most likely installed on the aircraft in 1996 - can't match today's standards and look a bit worn.

The seats look like a blast from the past! I am quite surprised that Eva Air has not chosen to update these, because they are very inconsistent with the new seats on the 777-300ERs.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
but the content of the box was disappointing, both in terms of quantity (lunchtime!) and quality.

That does look rather dire! Did you eat all of it?  Smile

Thank you for all your efforts!

Globetraveller

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: BA319-131
Posted 2009-01-31 04:33:59 and read 32767 times.

Great report PH, thanks for sharing  Smile

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
The front wall and the wardrobe doors are brightly-painted...

- Hmm, not keen on this.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
snack boxes - or "meal boxes", as stated on the box. What I also found interesting was the remark "Please do not carry off aircraft". Do they want to reuse the boxes?

- How odd!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Not that I had expected a large meal - but the content of the box was disappointing, both in terms of quantity (lunchtime!) and quality.

- Looks rubbish, I don't know why, just expected more from EVA.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Chung Cheng Aviation Museum, located in the south-eastern area of the airport. Most important to us was the observation tower

- Nice, thanks for the tip, never knew about this.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
I was surprised that spaghetti Bolognese was the only option on a flight between Taipei and Hong Kong:

- What an odd choice for this part of the world!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
plastic plants in the lavatory

- Why??

Great stuff!

Look forward to the next installment.

Best Wishes

Mark

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: Celestar
Posted 2009-01-31 06:33:36 and read 32767 times.

Thanks for the TR on EVA, we do not see that often.
I have a long love and hate relationship with EVA.
EVA was formed as a private company to compete against CI.
It was long taught as what the Taiwan private company can do against government backed bureaucracy. EVA was innovative in bringing out Economy Deluxe and we are talking about more than 15 years ago!
It is rather ironic that EVA continue to decline after some good starting years. Ironic enough to see with this competition, CI continue to be better and better, though its safety record need serious improvement. If you ask any Taiwanese, 80% will tell you that CI is much better now. It is like Lexus making BMW becoming better and better.
I remember about 2-3 years ago where EVA run into red, the company replaced its CEO and the new management went on a relentless pursuit of cost reduction. The morale was hurt, food and catering was cut. Flights were arranged so tight that delay was normal. Basically, the airline managed to turn around without loosing money but at the expense of its image.
I think the only respect I have for EVA is their safety record. So far, this has been the most outstanding side of this airline.

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: AT
Posted 2009-01-31 07:03:03 and read 32767 times.

Great trip report. And what a difference between the 747 and the 330 cabin.

Nice to see the PIA 747-Combi. I've flown on that very aircraft before. Don't they have two Combis in service? May be they already retired the other one?

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: FLIEGER67
Posted 2009-01-31 09:09:16 and read 32767 times.

Hey, PH,

another great story from your China travels.

EVA looks like not bad, but the catering, definitely not my choice!.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Next report: TSA-MZG-TSA on Transasia Airways and UNI Air

I´am looking forward into something more special!.

Greetings,
Markus (FLIEGER67)

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2009-01-31 14:22:00 and read 32767 times.

Hi everybody, thanks for all your comments!

Quoting Globetraveller (Reply 1):
Wow... I guess that's Hong Kong for you.

Not just that...but HKG is really good for spotting.  Wink

Quoting Globetraveller (Reply 1):
The seats look like a blast from the past! I am quite surprised that Eva Air has not chosen to update these, because they are very inconsistent with the new seats on the 777-300ERs.

That's true, big difference between the old Evergreen Deluxe Class and the new Elite Class. The question is how long these 747s will remain in service.

Quoting Globetraveller (Reply 1):
That does look rather dire! Did you eat all of it?

Yes, it was lunchtime and I was hungry...  Wink

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 2):
- Looks rubbish, I don't know why, just expected more from EVA.

Indeed, I'm wondering what CI has to offer on that route.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 2):
- Nice, thanks for the tip, never knew about this.

I can only recommend to go there.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 2):
- What an odd choice for this part of the world!

I had expected at least a Chinese alternative.

Quoting Celestar (Reply 3):
It is rather ironic that EVA continue to decline after some good starting years. Ironic enough to see with this competition, CI continue to be better and better, though its safety record need serious improvement. If you ask any Taiwanese, 80% will tell you that CI is much better now. It is like Lexus making BMW becoming better and better.

Interesting to hear, thanks for that.

Quoting Celestar (Reply 3):
I remember about 2-3 years ago where EVA run into red, the company replaced its CEO and the new management went on a relentless pursuit of cost reduction. The morale was hurt, food and catering was cut. Flights were arranged so tight that delay was normal. Basically, the airline managed to turn around without loosing money but at the expense of its image.

At least they managed to build up a competitive fleet of A330s and 77Ws - now it will be interesting to see how long the 747s remain in service.

Quoting Celestar (Reply 3):
I think the only respect I have for EVA is their safety record. So far, this has been the most outstanding side of this airline.

Especially compared to CI's safety record...

Quoting AT (Reply 4):
Nice to see the PIA 747-Combi. I've flown on that very aircraft before. Don't they have two Combis in service? May be they already retired the other one?

Yes, AP-BAT was retired in early 2008. AP-BAK had also been stored for a while, but was reactived again.

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 5):
EVA looks like not bad, but the catering, definitely not my choice!.

BR needs to improve its catering, no doubts.


PH

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: Anonms
Posted 2009-01-31 19:11:14 and read 32767 times.



Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 6):
Indeed, I'm wondering what CI has to offer on that route.

Portion-wise, it's about the same, but CI's catering is much better than BR's in terms of taste, at least from my experience.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 2):
- What an odd choice for this part of the world!

Spaghetti's pretty common in Taiwan (surprisingly). In that sense, it's not that odd.

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: Econojetter
Posted 2009-02-01 03:24:07 and read 32767 times.

Thank you for the report. It brings back fond memories of the mid-1990s when BR Evergreen Deluxe (they called it Economy Deluxe initially) was by far the most comfortable affordable option between the New York region and Southeast Asia. 38-inch pitch, wide seat, full leg rest, personal TV, and the chance to sit in the nose of a jumbo, all for a fare that was comparable to Economy on competing airlines!

http://i372.photobucket.com/albums/o.../China2008Taipei/BR852cabin2ch.jpg

I remember the old cabin crew uniforms: bright green with orange trim, just like the livery you could spot them from a mile away  Wink It's all very subdued now and the unique earnestness their inflight service used to possess seems to be missing. Do the cabin crew still bow in unison at the end of the service?

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2009-02-01 09:22:46 and read 32767 times.



Quoting Anonms (Reply 7):
Portion-wise, it's about the same, but CI's catering is much better than BR's in terms of taste, at least from my experience.



Quoting Anonms (Reply 7):
Spaghetti's pretty common in Taiwan (surprisingly). In that sense, it's not that odd.

Thanks, interesting to know.

Quoting Econojetter (Reply 8):
38-inch pitch, wide seat, full leg rest, personal TV, and the chance to sit in the nose of a jumbo, all for a fare that was comparable to Economy on competing airlines!

It was indeed something revolutionarily new in the early 90s!

Quoting Econojetter (Reply 8):
Do the cabin crew still bow in unison at the end of the service?

I can't tell - I couldn't see them very often from my seat. Would be interesting to know.


PH

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: SandroZRH
Posted 2009-02-01 13:55:20 and read 32767 times.

Hey PH! Another well written, interesting report. The seating on the B744 is way outdated, not an aircraft i'd want to fly on a longhaul flight, if i had a choice. The food looks disappointing, but other than that, BR looks okish!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
I found the light green and grey color tones pleasing to the eyes

Really??  yuck 

Thank you again for taking your time to share your China/Taiwan adventure with us!

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: ContinentalEWR
Posted 2009-02-01 14:05:02 and read 32767 times.

Not sure what is uglier. The EVA Air building colors in Taipei or the cabin interiors on their planes. They need a style make over. Yuck! That said, I hear it is a very good airline.

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: Morcegoa330
Posted 2009-02-01 15:15:08 and read 32767 times.

Hi PH.
Great TR and great pics too.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
...plastic plants in the lavatory

How bizarre.  no  Completely unnecessary in my opinion.  Smile

Cheers,

Ricardo

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: Elevate
Posted 2009-02-01 15:46:29 and read 32767 times.

Hi PlaneHunter,

It's always been a pleasure viewing your work, and this report is definitely no let down!!

I'm looking forward to the Transasia Airways and UNI Air report(s)!

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: Anonms
Posted 2009-02-01 18:21:13 and read 32767 times.



Quoting SandroZRH (Reply 10):
Hey PH! Another well written, interesting report. The seating on the B744 is way outdated, not an aircraft i'd want to fly on a longhaul flight, if i had a choice.

Actually, the ED seats in the 747s are some of the most comfortable airplane seats I've ever sat on, especially compared to BR's new Y seats that feel like park benches (I hear the new ED seats aren't very comfortable either).

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: The777Man
Posted 2009-02-02 02:09:02 and read 32767 times.

Excellent report! I have been waiting for this one for a while!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
"Please do not carry off aircraft". Do they want to reuse the boxes?

LOL! Perhaps they are afraid that people will bring un-opened boxes off the plane and taste the food.....?

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
content of the box was disappointing, both in terms of quantity (lunchtime!) and quality.

About my experience on BR as well; I flew BKK-TPE on their 77W and they did offer an option between Western and Chinese (I chose the Western) and it was pretty bad. I almost never complain about airline food but that meal on BR was just slightly better than SU out of SVO......

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
The system offers a wide selection of entertainment options:

Seems like they have improve the inflight entertainement system. I had much fewer
options and most of the content was in Chinese only.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Honestly, the meal was another disappointment

Seems much better than I had.

The777Man

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: Mashimaro1
Posted 2009-02-02 04:26:27 and read 32767 times.



Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
I can't complain about the pickled egg (soaked in vinegar),

Haha, I think that's actually a tea egg. It's basically a normal egg left to soak/marinade in a tea mixture! Very common throughout Taiwan, HK and Singapore.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_egg


The other sandwich is quite....unappetising to say the least :P.

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: Airbuseric
Posted 2009-02-02 05:41:41 and read 32767 times.

Hi, PH,

I kinda liked this report. The A332 is a great plane, and I like their interior with BR. I didn't like the 744 interior and coloursettings, although for an Y class pax, you got at least still a good seat. Meals didn't attract me either...
So, I think it will do for the short HKG-TPE flight, but I hope BR provides some more quality on longer runs like TPE-BKK-AMS or to VIE.

Gruß
Eric

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: Sabena332
Posted 2009-02-02 06:39:23 and read 32767 times.

And another fantastic report with great pictures. Thanks for posting!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
The Evergreen Deluxe seats are sold as regular Economy seats on the HKG-TPE-HKG runs

Not bad, 38" pitch sounds very comfortable for the short hop from HKG to TPE.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
The sandwich (ham and cheese) was dry and tasteless

This is exactly what I thought when I saw the picture.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
* - Sky Hollywood: 19 movies (latest blockbusters and classic flicks)
* - Sky Concert Hall: More than 100 music CDs (playlist builder)
* - Sky TV: 53 TV features (shows, news, travelogues, children's programs etc.)
* - Kids' World: TV programs and music for younger travelers
* - Sky Fantasy: 10 video games
* - Sky Compass: Inflight data and maps with different zoom levels
* - SMS and E-mail
* - Sky Shop: Catalog with duty-free products and gift items
* - Information: EVA Air news, Evergreen Club updates and travel guides


Not bad, plenty of entertainemnt possibilities on long flights.

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 17):
I like their interior with BR.

Me, too! The A330-200 interior looks great!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Next report: TSA-MZG-TSA on Transasia Airways and UNI Air

I am looking forward!

Patrick

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: Akhmad
Posted 2009-02-02 09:52:44 and read 32767 times.



Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Not that I had expected a large meal - but the content of the box was disappointing, both in terms of quantity (lunchtime!) and quality.

I agree with you. It does not look anything we are used to on board an Asian carrier.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Catering was an outright disappointment on that flight.

That is a pity.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
After checking in for our flight and enjoying a delicious meal in a Japanese restaurant...

I virtually ate it.  yummy 

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
I was surprised that spaghetti Bolognese was the only option on a flight between Taipei and Hong Kong:

Why did they do that? They could have served Asian noodles instead.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
I ordered the Taiwanese beer which wasn't bad - at least one positive aspect in terms of catering...

A locally brewed beer would not go wrong.

Great report, PlaneHunter!  Smile

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2009-02-02 12:12:23 and read 32767 times.

Hello everybody, thanks for all new comments!

Quoting SandroZRH (Reply 10):
The seating on the B744 is way outdated, not an aircraft i'd want to fly on a longhaul flight, if i had a choice.

I wouldn't mind about the Evergreen Deluxe seating...but I would definitely avoid the Y class on BR's 744s.

Quoting SandroZRH (Reply 10):
Really??

Yes - I like it.

Quoting Morcegoa330 (Reply 12):
Completely unnecessary in my opinion.

Indeed, they could take real flowers.

Quoting Elevate (Reply 13):

It's always been a pleasure viewing your work, and this report is definitely no let down!!

I'm looking forward to the Transasia Airways and UNI Air report(s)!

Thanks! I try to get the next part ready in a few days.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 15):
LOL! Perhaps they are afraid that people will bring un-opened boxes off the plane and taste the food.....?

Yes, who knows. Too bad for them that certain passengers take pictures of everything...  Wink

Quoting The777Man (Reply 15):
About my experience on BR as well; I flew BKK-TPE on their 77W and they did offer an option between Western and Chinese (I chose the Western) and it was pretty bad. I almost never complain about airline food but that meal on BR was just slightly better than SU out of SVO......

Sounds really bad - so it's not necessarily better on longer flights.

Quoting Mashimaro1 (Reply 16):
Haha, I think that's actually a tea egg. It's basically a normal egg left to soak/marinade in a tea mixture! Very common throughout Taiwan, HK and Singapore.

Thanks! I remember a sour smell close to the tubs with similar eggs in a store in Taipei, so I guessed vinegar would be involved somehow. Interestingly, I also found recipes for pickled eggs looking quite similar.

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 17):
So, I think it will do for the short HKG-TPE flight, but I hope BR provides some more quality on longer runs like TPE-BKK-AMS or to VIE.

Yes, I hope so, too. Probably I'll try to get on BR's 77W on a longer sector in the future.

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 18):
And another fantastic report with great pictures. Thanks for posting!

Thanks, Patrick!

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 18):
This is exactly what I thought when I saw the picture.

Yes, it just looks so dry...but you never know: I got a dark bread sandwich with cheese on the final LHR-MUC leg of our tour (LH) - it looked really good, but it was as dry as the BR sandwich...

Quoting Akhmad (Reply 19):
I virtually ate it.

I hope it was good!  Wink

Quoting Akhmad (Reply 19):
Why did they do that? They could have served Asian noodles instead.

Exactly, that's what I thought, too.


PH

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: Contact Air
Posted 2009-02-02 12:58:17 and read 32767 times.

Hi PH,

Nice to read another report from your Asia series - thanks for sharing your experiences. It was also interesting to see the difference between the older B747-400 and the newer A330.

Catering looks a bit strange indeed.

Regards
Christoph

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: NZ107
Posted 2009-02-02 19:11:58 and read 32767 times.

Hi PH,

Another interesting report. Still can't wait for that Air NZ one!

Those PTVs in Premium Economy look tiny! Must be the first generation of PTVs.. I guess there's not much time to watch much in a 1 and a half hour flight anyway.

That food certainly looked poor from here.. I wonder how China Airlines compares overall.

The decor, looks quite nice even though it has that outdated look to it.

From the picture overlooking the airport from the Chung Cheng Aviation Museum lookout tower, are there major renovation works in progress? It looks like dirt with stairs going right down the middle.

Thanks for sharing!

Regards,
Nicholas

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: Anonms
Posted 2009-02-02 20:44:35 and read 32767 times.



Quoting NZ107 (Reply 22):
From the picture overlooking the airport from the Chung Cheng Aviation Museum lookout tower, are there major renovation works in progress? It looks like dirt with stairs going right down the middle.

I think they're building a new transit hotel and CI's new headquarters.

Quoting Akhmad (Reply 19):
Why did they do that? They could have served Asian noodles instead.

Spaghetti's decently popular in Taiwan.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 20):
Thanks! I try to get the next part ready in a few days.

I'm looking forward to seeing your domestic flight experience; GE wasn't too bad when I flew them to Kinmen.

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: Abrelosojos
Posted 2009-02-02 20:55:10 and read 32767 times.

PH,

Thanks for this great and rare report. BR seems to be very run-of-the-mill ... especially on this sector. I wonder if it has something to do with this particular routing. Also, is the combi section in the front of the 744? I don't remember ever being on one where that has been the case.

Thanks for writing the report. I know how hard they are to write.

Saludos,
A.

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: HOONS90
Posted 2009-02-02 21:02:57 and read 32767 times.

Excellent trip report!

I've flown on two flights with EVA, and the food on those flights were terrible too. Their Y seats on the 747-400 are very comfortable, though. I had the impression that all of the 747s had AVOD newly installed in Y class, but I guess I was wrong.

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: Econojetter
Posted 2009-02-02 23:19:24 and read 32767 times.

The food described here comes across worse than what I have had on longer BR flights, but I wouldn't expect much more on a 1.5-hour flight. I remember seeing somewhere that CX also offers sandwiches nowadays on HKG-TPE. Not surprised to see spaghetti here. Spaghetti is also popular in Japan (and they are very good there about not overcooking it), and whatever is trendy there often gets over to Taiwan, though I'm not saying this is necessarily the reason for its popularity in this case. I am not sure it would be better for non-Taiwanese to have been served Taiwanese food; some popular Taiwanese dishes are an acquired taste.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 20):
I wouldn't mind about the Evergreen Deluxe seating...but I would definitely avoid the Y class on BR's 744s.

The Y class seat on the unrefurbished jumbos is from the mid 1990s. I remember they were pretty ok nonetheless. Pitch is a generous 33-34" and, thanks to the slim seatbacks, the legroom was quite good for regular economy.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 24):
Also, is the combi section in the front of the 744? I don't remember ever being on one where that has been the case.

The freight section on the main deck starts just aft of door 4. In BR's original configuration, the Evergreen Deluxe cabin starts in the nose of the 744/74M until door 2 (iirc), and thereafter it is Economy. The small First (8 seats) and Business (16 seats) cabins are on the upper deck. The newest configuration has Business class in the nose, followed by Elite (the new premium eco), and then Economy on the main deck, with Economy (featuring extra pitch, something like 35-36") on the upper deck.

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: Anonms
Posted 2009-02-03 09:44:27 and read 32767 times.



Quoting Econojetter (Reply 26):
The freight section on the main deck starts just aft of door 4. In BR's original configuration, the Evergreen Deluxe cabin starts in the nose of the 744/74M until door 2 (iirc), and thereafter it is Economy. The small First (8 seats) and Business (16 seats) cabins are on the upper deck. The newest configuration has Business class in the nose, followed by Elite (the new premium eco), and then Economy on the main deck, with Economy (featuring extra pitch, something like 35-36") on the upper deck.

Not for the Combis; in the Combis, it's ED in the nose until the stairs, Y until the rear bulkhead, and business in the upper deck. The normal 744s have the new configuration.

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: Palmjet
Posted 2009-02-03 14:56:52 and read 32767 times.

PH

Thanks for another great report. Also fantastic to see that you went to the aviation museum at TPE. I went there many years ago (in Dec 1990) and the conditions for photography were no better then either !!!! However, at least they made an effort to encourage people to come and watch the aircraft. In those days BR did not even exist.

I flew with them in 2007 from HKG - TPE - NRT and return and posted a trip report on here for the NRT-TPE sector. All sectors were on A330s and like you, the food onboard was quite ordinary, but the service on the ground and in the air was very good. I also happen to be a huge fan of the A332, so it was a real plus being aboard my favourite aircraft for these 4 sectors.

On the TPE - NRT outbound, I was aboard one of BR's Hello Kitty Jets - which was decorated inside with Hello Kitty headrests, napkins etc and all cabin crew were wearing Hello Kitty aprons.

Thanks again - and for the pics. Look forward to hearing about your domestic flights.

Did you do any spotting at TSA? There is (or at least used to be when I lived there) a great spot at the end of the runway.

Palmjet

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: Ryanair!!!
Posted 2009-02-03 17:42:00 and read 32767 times.

Thanks for this report. It seems that BR hasn't got around to upgrading ALL their 744s because I believe there are some already flying with the new interior. But what baffled me was the vast difference of products between your outbound and inbound flights.

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2009-02-04 11:58:49 and read 32767 times.

Hi everybody, thanks for all new comments!

Quoting Contact Air (Reply 21):
Nice to read another report from your Asia series - thanks for sharing your experiences. It was also interesting to see the difference between the older B747-400 and the newer A330.

Thanks, Christoph! Would be nice to see an upgraded cabin on the 747 combis, but who knows what the fleet plans are in these troubled times.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 22):
Another interesting report. Still can't wait for that Air NZ one!

Hi Nicholas, it will take some more time until the ANZ report is ready. But I try to post it as soon as possible.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 22):
Those PTVs in Premium Economy look tiny! Must be the first generation of PTVs.. I guess there's not much time to watch much in a 1 and a half hour flight anyway.

I'd be satisfied with an airshow channel on these short flights.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 22):

From the picture overlooking the airport from the Chung Cheng Aviation Museum lookout tower, are there major renovation works in progress? It looks like dirt with stairs going right down the middle.

That's construction work for another terminal.

Quoting Anonms (Reply 23):
I'm looking forward to seeing your domestic flight experience; GE wasn't too bad when I flew them to Kinmen.

Indeed, I liked GE much better than B7. The report should be ready in a few days.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 24):
Thanks for writing the report. I know how hard they are to write.

Hi Abrelosojos - yes, it takes a lot of time to write them. But it's fun, nevertheless.  Wink

Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 24):
I wonder if it has something to do with this particular routing.

Who knows - several people in this thread alone have had similar experiences, even on longer flights.

Quoting HOONS90 (Reply 25):
Excellent trip report!

I've flown on two flights with EVA, and the food on those flights were terrible too.

Thanks! Interesting to hear about another negative report about BR's catering.

Quoting Econojetter (Reply 26):
I remember seeing somewhere that CX also offers sandwiches nowadays on HKG-TPE.

How times have changed...

Quoting Econojetter (Reply 26):
The newest configuration has Business class in the nose, followed by Elite (the new premium eco), and then Economy on the main deck, with Economy (featuring extra pitch, something like 35-36") on the upper deck.

Economy in the upper deck - sounds really good!

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 28):

Thanks for another great report. Also fantastic to see that you went to the aviation museum at TPE. I went there many years ago (in Dec 1990) and the conditions for photography were no better then either !!!! However, at least they made an effort to encourage people to come and watch the aircraft.

Indeed, one has to praise the people who decided to build the museum with an observation tower.

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 28):

On the TPE - NRT outbound, I was aboard one of BR's Hello Kitty Jets - which was decorated inside with Hello Kitty headrests, napkins etc and all cabin crew were wearing Hello Kitty aprons.

You were lucky - great to hear about the special interior. I saw both planes during my trip, but all we got on BR1851 was a regular one...

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 28):

Did you do any spotting at TSA? There is (or at least used to be when I lived there) a great spot at the end of the runway.

We didn't go to the end of the runway, but went on top of a building with a large indoor market on the ground floor.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 29):
It seems that BR hasn't got around to upgrading ALL their 744s because I believe there are some already flying with the new interior. But what baffled me was the vast difference of products between your outbound and inbound flights.

Yes, the difference was tremendous. It will be really interesting to see what happens to the combis.


PH

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: Anonms
Posted 2009-02-04 12:16:29 and read 32767 times.



Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 30):
That's construction work for another terminal.

Really? I thought they decided to just renovate T1; after CI moved east-bound flights to T2, T1 gets rather empty while T2 gets really crowded. Oo"

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: Lufthansa747
Posted 2009-02-04 15:18:27 and read 32767 times.

Hi PH,

Great report as usual! The 74E looks like an ancient 742 as far as especially the Y seats go... And the food just bad.

CX not only offers sandwiches to TPE, they also offer them on certain flights to MNL. Actually, what I had on a lunchtime MNL-HKG CX900 I wouldn't feed to my dog. A sandwich and some disgusting pudding.

Regards,

Lufthansa747

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: Coolfish1103
Posted 2009-02-05 06:10:22 and read 32767 times.

Information and corrections:

Constructions:
1. MRT from Taipei Taoyuan International Airport to Taipei City.
2. MRT from Taipei Taoyuan International Airport to Jhongli City.
3. Novetel Hotel.
4. China Airlines Headquarter.

The MRT will be built under Terminal 2, 3, and on the adjacent side of Terminal 1. Therefore, the MRT will be finished before Terminal 3 is even built.

It appears that Terminal 1 of TPE may be in a complete closure from June 2009 to 2011 to speed up the renovations of the Terminal. Ministry of Transportation has not yet confirmed this, but the construction will began by June 2009, so we will know whether it's a renovation that closes the entire terminal, or a partial renovation. Terminal 2 may be in chaos if Terminal 1 shuts down completely.

China Airlines' catering to Hong Kong is better than EVA Airway's catering to Hong Kong and Macau. However, China Airlines' catering to long haul seems to be worse than EVA Airways. I recently had a flight on EVA Airways and I must say the catering to/from Brisbane is better than China Airlines' catering to/from Los Angeles.

EVA only renovated the 744s (in which they have 3 and only 3). EVA never had plans to renovate the 74Es. The new 744s are now called 74W and are used on flights to/from Bangkok - London, Shanghai Pudong, and Vancouver. The original plan for the 74Es were to be retired completely... but was reverted due to lack of sufficient planes (this is critical especially after cross charters have begun). We will again be seeing 74E operating on long haul destinations such as San Francisco.

Right now, EVA Airways upper deck Economy seats are the best one can get for the price they pay (so only on certain routes). Elite class is no where comparable to the Evergreen Deluxe seats.

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: Anonms
Posted 2009-02-05 09:42:53 and read 32767 times.



Quoting Coolfish1103 (Reply 33):
However, China Airlines' catering to long haul seems to be worse than EVA Airways. I recently had a flight on EVA Airways and I must say the catering to/from Brisbane is better than China Airlines' catering to/from Los Angeles.

I usually fly SFO-TPE-SFO; IMO CI's catering is better than BR's on that route.

Quoting Coolfish1103 (Reply 33):
Terminal 2 may be in chaos if Terminal 1 shuts down completely.

If they just close half of the terminal, work on that half, then open that half and close the other half to work on it, it wouldn't be as chaotic; they had to do that a while as they were finishing up on the D side of T2.

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2009-02-05 10:50:39 and read 32767 times.

Hello everybody, thanks for your new comments.

Quoting Anonms (Reply 31):
Really? I thought they decided to just renovate T1; after CI moved east-bound flights to T2, T1 gets rather empty while T2 gets really crowded. Oo"



Quoting Coolfish1103 (Reply 33):
Constructions:
1. MRT from Taipei Taoyuan International Airport to Taipei City.
2. MRT from Taipei Taoyuan International Airport to Jhongli City.
3. Novetel Hotel.
4. China Airlines Headquarter.

That answers some questions. I had read that Terminal 3 construction work would start in 2008 - it seems the article was outdated.

Quoting Lufthansa747 (Reply 32):
Great report as usual! The 74E looks like an ancient 742 as far as especially the Y seats go... And the food just bad.

CX not only offers sandwiches to TPE, they also offer them on certain flights to MNL. Actually, what I had on a lunchtime MNL-HKG CX900 I wouldn't feed to my dog. A sandwich and some disgusting pudding.

Thanks! Quite irritating to hear about your bad experience on CX. I fear it won't become any better in these troubled times.

Quoting Coolfish1103 (Reply 33):
China Airlines' catering to Hong Kong is better than EVA Airway's catering to Hong Kong and Macau. However, China Airlines' catering to long haul seems to be worse than EVA Airways. I recently had a flight on EVA Airways and I must say the catering to/from Brisbane is better than China Airlines' catering to/from Los Angeles.

Interesting to hear.

Quoting Coolfish1103 (Reply 33):
EVA only renovated the 744s (in which they have 3 and only 3). EVA never had plans to renovate the 74Es. The new 744s are now called 74W and are used on flights to/from Bangkok - London, Shanghai Pudong, and Vancouver. The original plan for the 74Es were to be retired completely... but was reverted due to lack of sufficient planes (this is critical especially after cross charters have begun). We will again be seeing 74E operating on long haul destinations such as San Francisco.

Thanks for the fleet and route updates.


PH

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: Leskova
Posted 2009-02-06 09:31:43 and read 32767 times.

There I was reading through report number 3 just a short while ago and finishing with something like "looking forward to the next report" - and then I see that you've posted it already... last month...

Oh well... I was on holiday. Big grin

Great report about BR - though it really does seem rather disappointing; somehow, I would have expected more from them, though I'd have to admit that I don't really have a clue as to what I'd expect. But for me, BR always had a ring to it that made it seem like something special... this brings that image back down to earth...  Wink

As for the interiors... not sure about the color combination on the A330, it looks as if it is a bit of a strain on the eyes - maybe it looks better in real life.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 6):
Quoting Celestar (Reply 3):
I think the only respect I have for EVA is their safety record. So far, this has been the most outstanding side of this airline.

Especially compared to CI's safety record...

Is CI's record really still that bad? I thought they'd improved a lot?

In any case - PH, thanks for yet another great report.

Bring on the next one!!! Big grin

Topic: RE: "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2009-02-08 11:57:11 and read 32767 times.



Quoting Leskova (Reply 36):
In any case - PH, thanks for yet another great report.

Bring on the next one!!!

Hi Frank, thanks a lot! I'll try to get the next part online soon.

Quoting Leskova (Reply 36):
Great report about BR - though it really does seem rather disappointing; somehow, I would have expected more from them, though I'd have to admit that I don't really have a clue as to what I'd expect. But for me, BR always had a ring to it that made it seem like something special... this brings that image back down to earth...

I had similar thoughts prior to my trip...

Quoting Leskova (Reply 36):

As for the interiors... not sure about the color combination on the A330, it looks as if it is a bit of a strain on the eyes - maybe it looks better in real life.

I wasn't sure in the first moment, but then I found it quite nice.

Quoting Leskova (Reply 36):
Is CI's record really still that bad? I thought they'd improved a lot?

CI has improved a lot and I wouldn't hesitate to go on board - but the general image problem won't disappear anytime soon.


PH


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