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Topic: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2012-10-15 03:34:40 and read 11865 times.

Asia 3: Around China with KN, MU & CN

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/cover1-1.jpg

The map, courtesy of GC Mapper, of this report:


Flight 1: Beijing (NAY) – Chengdu (CTU)
Flight 2: Chengdu (CTU) – Shangri La (DIG)
Flight 3: Kunming (KMG) – Wulingshan (JIQ) – Beijing (PEK)
Flight 4: Beijing (PEK) – Nanning (NNG)

The map, courtesy of GC Mapper, of what is currently booked for this series:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/allmap.gif

Previous Reports in this series:

Part 1: Limoncello with Alitalia. BA/AZ LHR-MXP-FCO-NRT

Part 2: JALing it to Beijing. JL HND-PEK 772 Business

I was in China for nearly a month, and did a lot of travelling. I’ll spare you the detailed text, and just share some of my favourite non-aviation photos as we go through.

So, from Beijing Capital Airport (PEK), I headed across the city to meet a friend for lunch, and then down to Beijing Nanyuan Airport (NAY). This is located down in the south of the city, and served only by the Chinese Military’s civilian transport arm, China United Airlines. For many years I’ve tried various ways to fly on this airline and from the other Beijing airport. Finally it’s worked out! NAY is actually China’s oldest airport (and 40th busiest), having celebrated it’s centenary in 2010. It is scheduled to be shut down in 2017 when the new super-airport in the far South of Beijing is opened.

As I said, this is a military airport, so the normal laissez faire attitude of photography in China is waived in this airport….most of the photos were taken with my phone.

I arrived at NAY just over an hour before departure. Check in was a bit of a mess, but I was checked in without too much of a wait, and given a window seat in the 2nd row of economy.

Security was quick, and before long I was in a rather busy, and terribly sterile and bland waiting area.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF8658.jpg

FIDS…oh dear, doesn’t look good does it. I’m on the 1805 to Chengdu. Given the massive delay on the earlier CTU flight, I feared that any slot/plane that might come up for us would be given to them, thus also giving us a massive delay. I’m a little surprised about the codesharing with MU (China Eastern). KN used to/is 80% owned by Shanghai Airlines (notice the similarities with the livery?), but I guess that has now passed to MU?
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF8657.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF8655.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF8656.jpg

A KN jet taxiing past
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF8660.jpg

And something a little different

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF8664.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF8665.jpg

After a while, things started moving along…planes started landing, and then departing again.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF8667.jpg

Finally boarding an hour or so late…of course being a military airport, there’s no attempt at a real explanation for the delay….clearly it’s not a weather delay.


The empty tarmac


Escalator onto the tarmac, and into the waiting bus
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1638.jpg

Oh no, looks like it will be an MU jet today
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1639.jpg

B-2684 today
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1641.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1642.jpg

September 2012
Beijing Nanyuan (NAY) – Chengdu (CTU)
China United KN 2283
Scheduled: 1710-1950 (2h40m)
Actual: 1841-2118 (2h37m)
Boeing 737-700 B-2684
Economy Class



.


.


Welcome aboard!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1645.jpg

The crew are all in MU uniforms, but announcements are all as per KN
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1647.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1652.jpg

An hour and a half late, we rocket (we have ex-military pilots, remember?!) into the beautiful Beijing evening
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1655.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1660.jpg

Half an hour after departure dinner is served. There is a usual choice of meat and rice, or meat and noodles. I go with the rice and chicken, which is surprisingly tasty. Sadly, all Chinese airlines have now stopped serving watery Chinese beer on domestics, so I go with a glass of lukewarm tea. What a feast!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1661.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1662.jpg

Our rather haphazard route out of the Beijing area. I wonder if the pilots get annoyed at these funny routings.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1664.jpg

With no sensible diversions available, I opt to sleep until we arrive at Chengdu’s glittering new terminal. We land 88 minutes late….8 is a lucky number in China – coincidence?
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1666.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF8668.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF8669.jpg

If the FIAS is to be believed, the earlier NAY flight only landed 6 minutes before us.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF8670.jpg

Glittery
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF8671.jpg

Bags don’t take too long, and I’m soon in a taxi heading for the city.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF8673.jpg

Chengdu was the meeting point for a friend I went to uni with, where we’d be starting our 3 week tour of China. After many Skyping sessions, we decided on a route around Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, before heading back to Beijing for a reunion with a few more uni friends. She flew in from CDG via PVG on a combination of Air China and Chengdu Airlines…her PVG-CTU flight was 2 hours late as well, with no particular excuse given.

First stop on our itinerary was Jiuzhaigou (geo-jai-go, 九寨沟), somewhere I’ve been wanting to visit for years. To sum it up: stunning, expensive, busy. Worth going to? Definitely. There are some great walks you can do through the valley, and if you try hard, you can escape the crowds (who like to stay on their tour buses). Some photos:

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF8728.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF8786.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF8803.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF8868.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF8896.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF8930.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF8981.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9076.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9127.jpg

Day 2, the sun came out!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9301.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9329.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9371.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9513.jpg

And my favourite photo of the 2,000+ I took over 2 days….
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9555.jpg

So, pretty nice, huh? the place is pretty remote, so we ended up taking a 10 hour bus to get there and back. A flight would have only taken 30 mins, but the cost was really quite outrageous. Having done the return trip, I think I’d plump for the plane in future, as the ride was scary.

First off, the driving was awful. We passed lots of crashes.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1670.jpg

Drivers showed no mercy or compassion. Why help the driver how’s truck has hit a bus, when you can force your way past (blocking off the road to oncoming traffic)?


The scenery was amazing, but also terribly inhospitable. This was the area hit by the 2008 earthquake. I can understand now how 70,000 people died, and 5 million left homeless. When an earthquake strikes and you’re in a valley with a raging river, there’s nowhere to run to. The bridge in the middle is one of many still lying broken.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1680.jpg

Continuing, some photos of Chengdu:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9620.jpg

The famous “mask changing” of Sichuan
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9684.jpg



The diablo is a national pastime here (and where better to do it than in a bamboo grove?!)
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9734.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9736.jpg

The next stop on our trip would be Zhongdian, or better known in the west as Shangri-La. Well, this is what the Chinese have decided is Shangri-La at any rate. There is one daily flight from Chengdu, operated by China Eastern, sadly at night, so no nice views.

The nice exterior of CTU
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9740.jpg

Queuing at the communal check in. The queue was long, but moved quickly.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9744.jpg

When I first came to China, the CAAC was busy amalgamating all the various regional airlines into just 3 (CA, MU and CZ). Today, the policy of “just three big airlines” has clearly been thrown out of the window. How many codes do you recognise? I’ve flown 10 of them. More appear every time I go back to China.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9743.jpg

The view over departures
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9745.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9746.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9748.jpg

We paid a quick visit to the food hall on the upper level….a beer and some wonton soup
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9751.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9749.jpg

FIDS…another day, another delay
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9754.jpg

The CA flight to “Mengmai” is actually to Mumbai (BOM)….clearly the FIDS person didn’t know what to translate it to…not terribly useful for non-Chinese speakers.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9753.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9752.jpg

We headed through security, and down to the gate
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9755.jpg

Xianggelila (aka Shangri-La)…”no time”, not a good sign, especially as it was quite a late arrival anyway
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9758.jpg

We were handed a bottle of water and some biscuits at the gate


About an hour after our STD, a plane taxied on stand…not too bad a delay I guess
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9759.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9762.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9764.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9765.jpg

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2012-10-15 03:45:52 and read 11977 times.

September 2012
Chengdu (CTU) – Shangri La (DIG)
China Eastern MU 58585
Scheduled: 2120-2230 (1h10m)
Actual: 2246-2354 (1h08m)
Boeing 737-700 B-5276
Economy Class



Finally, an hour after our STD, boarding starts
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9767.jpg

What a nice surprise….our plane is young and fitted with the new Boeing interior
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9771.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9773.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9772.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9779.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9804.jpg


The view outside
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9770.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9777.jpg

The magazine. The content was all in Chinese, but there were some very interesting articles. This was MU’s Yunnan branch’s magazine, and focussed on shorthual international routes.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9775.jpg

A special safety card for just 4 planes
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9778.jpg

Once everyone’s sat down and the bags stowed (which took a while), the crew (whom look exhausted) make sure everyone’s strapped in, and off we go

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9780.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9784.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9797.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9800.jpg

Catering on this sector consists of just a small bottle of water


Peaceful cabin
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9807.jpg

Approach to Shangri-La….in daylight it would be spectacular!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9810.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9815.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9827.jpg

And off we get
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9828.jpg



There’s a shop in baggage reclaim in case you are unprepared for the weather at over 10,000 feet (3,200m)
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9831.jpg

Anyone for oxygen? Or some red-spotted stonecrops!?


Arrivals
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1683.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1684.jpg


Thankfully our prearranged taxi is still waiting, and we’re soon in our cosy room in the old town
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9834.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9849.jpg

View from the room
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF0210.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF0276.jpg


Some photos of Shangri La
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9859.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9861.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF0225.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF0265.jpg



Off on a countryside cycle
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9883.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9884.jpg

The plane that brought us to DIG yesterday flew overhead
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9889.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9890.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9897.jpg

Old and new generations
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9936.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9969.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF9982.jpg

Up the top of “Snow Mountain”…very cold and windy
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF0044.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF0048.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF0060.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF0116.jpg

A fake local BMW
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF0147.jpg

At the Songzanlin Monstery
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF0131.jpg



From Shangri La, we took a local bus through the mountains to Baishuitai, Yunnan’s answer to Pammukale
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF0312.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF0353.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF0369.jpg

Our plan from Baishuitai was to drive to Lijiang for the night….however, a landslide in Tiger Leaping Gorge meant we’d be stuck in the gorge overnight….still, it was scenic
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF0479.jpg

Our hotel is next to the bridge
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF0509.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF0540.jpg

The next day, we made the most of being stuck there to walk down to the raging torrents of the Yangtze
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF0590.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF0648.jpg

To get out of the gorge (without a 400 mile detour), we had to get past the landslide
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1689.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1691.jpg

As you can see, it was quite a large landslide, with a nice 200m drop straight into the river.

Thankfully, neither of us slipped, and we made it to Lijiang. I used to love Lijiang, but’s it’s famed vistas have caught the attention of massive numbers of Chinese tour groups that have overrun the town.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF0699.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF0717.jpg

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http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF0858.jpg

From Lijiang, it was down to Dali. Sadly this too has been a victim of its own success and is also terribly busy. We escaped the town for a day and did a very nice walk through the mountains though.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1006.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1007.jpg

The famous Dali Pagodas
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1020.jpg

From Dali, we headed to the provincial capital of Kunming for a night, before heading to the brand new Kunming airport the next day for our flight up to Beijing. Of course, it was left to me to book our flights. When researching our options, MU had the best fares, with nearly all of their flights being the same price. One in particular caught my attention, MU 5721 as it had a stop in JIQ. Never heard of JIQ have you? I actually had to email GC Mapper to get them to add it to the database as it’s pretty new and gets very little traffic. It’s not far from Chongqing, and uses Wulingshan, Qianjiang and Zhoubai as it’s name (depending on where you’re looking, none of which seem to have a relative to the letters JIQ!). Of course, I wanted to get a free stopover here, so presented the arrivals times only to my friend, whilst kindly suggesting this flight…she said ok. Wonderful.

The new Kunming Changshui airport only opened in June this year, so we have hit it within it’s first 3 months of operations. The old KMG was small and old, but mercifully close to the city (just 5km or so). The new KMG is clean, new, beautiful, but fairly remote. Still we arrived in plenty of time for our flight.

The gorgeous new exterior…even my friend agreed with me for once that the airport was nice
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1107.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1109.jpg

FIDS…we’re on the Qianjiang flight. I had to feign horror to my friend when we “discovered” it was a stopper in the middle of nowhere.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1116.jpg



In Chinese
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1117.jpg

All flights
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1119.jpg

Earlier flights


The rather interesting International board…note the A330 flight to Medinah. It was also interesting to see a flight to Surat Thani. Yunnanese headed to the Full Moon Party?
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1128.jpg

Lots of relatives seeing people off ahead of their Saudi pilgrimage
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1113.jpg

A view from outside
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1122.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1123.jpg

There was no queue at the dedicated PEK/PVG check in desks, and we were soon through security.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1129.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1130.jpg

How many of these have you flown?
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1131.jpg

The Medinah flight
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1133.jpg

Not our plane
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1132.jpg

Our plane….as old as they get in China. This is the price to pay to get a stopover somewhere you’ve never heard of.


Boarding on time
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1137.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1138.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1139.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1140.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1142.jpg

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2012-10-15 03:47:22 and read 11949 times.

September 2012
Kunming (KMG) - Wulingshan (JIQ)
China Eastern MU 5721
Scheduled: 1310-1450 (1h40m)
Actual: 1341-1503 (1h22m)
Boeing 737-300 B-2986
Economy Class



Interior….old and uncomfortable. The seats felt like you were in a cheap and broken deck chair.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1143.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1144.jpg

Once boarding is completed, the crew drag a trolley to the front, and pass out bottles of water….not a good sign. I predict a delay to my friend. A few seconds later, a delay is announced with neither a reason or an ETD.


Thankfully half an hour later, we push back, and head off through the rain.

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1148.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1149.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1151.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1156.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1157.jpg

No views for them today. I hope they have good ground radar.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1158.jpg

Great scheme from CA
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1159.jpg

It’s not all new and shiny
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1160.jpg

Another option on the PEK route
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1162.jpg

Rotate!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1173.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1179.jpg

Sunny above the clouds
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1181.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1183.jpg

As they’d already handed out the water, the only thing left to offer was a packet with 4 Smint sized “sweets” in. I tried one…revolting.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1186.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1192.jpg

Thankfully, the views upon approach to JIQ were worth the discomfort of the seats and catering.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1193.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1195.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1197.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1198.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1204.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1206.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1207.jpg

Welcome to Wulingshan/Zhoubai/Qianjiang. I think the characters actually say Qianjiang. My 44th Chinese airport. Unsurprisingly, we’re the only aircraft here.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1211.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1212.jpg

To my friends disgust (and my delight) everyone is forced to disembark. After the cold and damp weather of Kunming, it’s nice and humid here.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1215.jpg

Cameras out! Nearly everyone takes a photo or two on the tarmac. I even convince my friend to take one of me, then force her to pose for one too! I’m trying to infuse an a.net spirit!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1218.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1219.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1220.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1229.jpg


The majority of passengers are in transit
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1226.jpg

The terminal is compact and uninteresting. My friend sums up the shop as selling “duvets and pot noodles”…perfect. Time to reboard?
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1231.jpg

More photos on the way back
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1232.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1234.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1235.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1238.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1240.jpg


September 2012
Wulingshan (JIQ) – Beijing (PEK)
China Eastern MU 5721
Scheduled: 1530-1805 (2h35m)
Actual: 1549-1804 (2h15m)
Boeing 737-300 B-2986
Economy Class



They held back pax boarding here until all the transit pax were back onboard
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1242.jpg

Off we go again. The flight is completely full now, so we lose our empty middle seat. Initially there is a woman who looks like she is about to use the sick bag for its intended purpose. Thankfully, after take-off she swaps with her husband in the row behind and she cheers up a lot. I think she was just sad to be lumbered with the only foreigners on the plane.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1251.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1254.jpg

Before long a real snack is served
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1256.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1257.jpg

I go with the rice and beef this time
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1258.jpg

Aviation food indeed
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1259.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1260.jpg

Still no beer…another lukewarm tea please!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1261.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1262.jpg


The meal is pretty awful. A full and direct quote from my friend summing up the meal..…”gross”. I concur.

We spend the rest of the flight playing cards
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1266.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1271.jpg

Thankfully, Beijing soon comes into view. Again, thankfully, the clear skies are still as they were when I left 2 weeks previously.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1280.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1281.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1283.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1285.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1287.jpg

CZ A380
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1289.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1291.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1294.jpg

We disembark quickly and head down to arrivals.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1295.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1296.jpg

Baggage claim 15 for us.


Beijing airport has decided the stopover airport is called Zhoubai
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1300.jpg

We debate taking the airport train, but in the end decide to go for a taxi instead…big mistake. This was the Friday evening before China’s Golden Week. The traffic into town is the worst I have ever seen. At one stage we are stationary for 30 minutes.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1301.jpg

It takes up 90 minutes to cover the 25 km to the hotel. Mercifully the hotel was worth the wait. I found an amazing deal on Expedia for the Peninsula. 5* for £100/night. The beds are amazingly soft...possibly the best bed I've ever had the fourtune to sleep in. Delicious.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1305.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1309.jpg


The pool
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1763.jpg

Some moon cakes left in the room for Mid-Autumn Festival
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1434.jpg

A few photos of Beijing
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1338.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1469.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1503.jpg

Tiananmen Gate
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1514.jpg

The Great Hall of the People
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1524.jpg

The side of the Forbidden City
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1540.jpg

A great place for Beijing Duck
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1727.jpg

Some modern Art in Dashanzi 968



The top floor of the Emperor Hotel, a great place for a drink with views of the Forbidden City…and they even had Pimms!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1350.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1370.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1375.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1391.jpg

After a very nice few days in Beijing catching up with old friends, it was time to head down south to catch my onward flight to Taipei from Hong Kong. I had numerous choices available to me. I wanted to visit a new airport, and/or use a new airline. My preference was for a flight from Tianjin (30 mins from Beijing) down to Guilin, but the fares were too high. In the end I settled for a flight from Beijing to Nanning (new) on Grand China Air (new), one of the many offshoots of Hainan Airlines.

I caught the airport express train from Sanyuanqiao back out to the airport. I’m not a fan of this train (unless the roads are completely clogged) as does a really slow loop stopping at first T3, then T2, so whichever terminal you’re going to, the chances are you will have to take a 10 minute detour either on arrival or departure. The trains are also not frequent enough and there is nowhere near enough seating or luggage storage space. To top off my frustrations, a nasty hangover from the 2008 Olympic security regulations are the annoying bag scanners in all the metro stations. If it wasn’t enough that the staff insist you use them even though 90% of the time, the person behind the screen is playing on their mobile phone, the airport express train stations have the same small hand luggage scanners 3 foot off the ground. Got a big bag? You just have to lift it up, and squish it through. Annoying!

However, I took it as I happened to be staying my final night just 50 m from the station.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1769.jpg

Hainan Airline company airlines fly from Terminal 1, so I had to alight at T2, then walk.

T 2
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1770.jpg

A scenic walk from T 2 to T1.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1771.jpg

The check in area was nice and spacious. HU and CN share check in desks. I asked the woman for an emergency exit row. Her immediate response was “no”. I asked her why. “No”. She refused to enter into any dialogue at all on the matter in either English or Chinese. How rude. She did check me in, however, and tagged my bags correctly.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/IMAG1774.jpg

As the check in agent was incapable to any sensible/civil conversation, I headed over to the empty First Class desk to ask if the flight was full…”fairly”. Ok, now were getting somewhere. “Can I have an emergency exit?”….some typing later, “sorry, they’re all full”. Ok, fair enough. “Are you able to block the middle seat next to me?”. Hmmm, a muffled phone call to somewhere. “Ok, no problem”. Excellent!

As I headed towards security I stopped by this machine that will, upon scanning your ID, issue you with a 1 hour pass to use the wifi.


The other side of security I saw this poster for the now defunct LGW-HKG premium service. I would have loved to try it out. I tried a few times to search for fares, but their website was so poor I couldn’t work out if it was for their Y+ or C seats. It was bound to fail really. Why fly HK Airlines from LGW when there are already 4 established airlines on the London - Hong Kong (BA/VS/NZ/CX) all with excellent business classes?
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1568.jpg

Airside
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1569.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1570.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1572.jpg

PEK is pretty busy now, having climbed steadily up the ranks of passenger number tables over the years. In 2001, PEK handled 27 million pax (#26 in the world). In 2011, just ten years later, PEK handled 77 million (taking it to #2 in word rankings). That’s nearly a 300% increase in a decade! ATL (#1 this year) has increase by 22%, and LHR (#3 this year) by 15% in comparison.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1574.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1581.jpg

Capital Airlines
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1582.jpg

FIDS
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1580.jpg

My plane, B-2637
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1585.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1588.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1589.jpg

Departure lounge
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1590.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1592.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1596.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1594.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1595.jpg

After a little delay, everyone boards. I decide to leave the others to push on first, boarding right at the end.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1598.jpg

[Edited 2012-10-15 03:58:39]

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2012-10-15 03:49:14 and read 11951 times.

Beijing (PEK) – Nanning (NNG)
Grand China Air CN 7157
Scheduled: 1350-1715 (3h25m)
Actual: 1350-1651 (3h01m)
Boeing 737-800 B-2637
Economy Class



I’m fairly surprised to see upon boarding that a) it’s about +95% full in Y, and b) I’ve had 3 seats blocked for myself. Brilliant! Of course, before takeoff, someone moved to the aisle seat, but that was expected.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1603.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1599.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1605.jpg

Pushing back
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1604.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1606.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1609.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1614.jpg

Another surprise, we take off bang on time.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1620.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1622.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1624.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1626.jpg

This was the first time I saw the Great Wall from the plane…it’s the faint white line. Clearly, this cannot be seen from space! (in case anyone still believed that myth!)
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1632.jpg

Sadly, despite being scheduled at over 3 hours around lunchtime, the ubiquitous choice of “rice of noodles” had been substituted for “sandwich or nothing”……”sandwich please!”. There wasn’t even a cardboard box with any little delicacies to accompany it. And of course, no beer. Another tea for me.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1635.jpg

Well, the sandwich wouldn’t win any prizes (at least not from an Englishman), but it’s acceptable.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1636.jpg

Safety card
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1640.jpg



One thing that is very good on this flight is the magazine (actually that of parent company HNA Group/HU)
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1644.jpg

Before the flight I was trying to count the airlines under the HNA banner….I counted 6. Apparently there are 13! Why on earth would you need 13 airlines? Ridiculous!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1645.jpg

Maps
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1646.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1647.jpg

Interesting articles IN ENGLISH! Not a common occurrence in Chinese in flight magazines.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1648.jpg

Cabin in cruise mode
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1649.jpg

View
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1650.jpg

I’m so glad I brought these along with me


30 minutes before arrival, there is a truncated drinks service, so I get another cup of tasteless tea


Working on my report
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1655.jpg

Beginning our descent
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1662.jpg

The crew thanking us for flying CN. They bow in unison
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1665.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1668.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1671.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1678.jpg

Welcome to Nanning. Another surprise…we’re early! And by a whole 24 minutes. Finally, I’ve broken the chain of super delays! Over the past 4 flights, the cumulative delay has been 137 minutes, breaking down to a 24 minute delay per flight. The figures are worse if you look at departure delays.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1682.jpg

Taxiing in
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1688.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1689.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1697.jpg

My bag coming off…easy does it.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1702.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1705.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1706.jpg

And onto the tarmac. The first bus is full so I had to wait for the second.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1708.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1709.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1711.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1715.jpg

The drive over the tarmac is fairly unspectacular, but I did spot an MU CRJ preparing for a flight to somewhere in South East Asia, and a Jetstar arriving from Singapore.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/2012AutAsia3/DSCF1716.jpg

Thanks to the early arrival, I’m in a bus heading for the city (and nearly at my hotel) by the time the ETA comes around. Thank you Grand China Air!

So, my conclusions? As far as aviation goes, things aren’t exactly wonderful. Standards have fallen, and fares have risen. Delays (often long ones) seem to be a standard feature nowadays. Crews generally seem grumpy (and probably overworked), and catering is lacklustre. On the plus side, new planes are making their way into fleets, and glittering new terminals continue to open across the land.

China itself is changing as well. The amazing sights of this continent-sized country continue to draw the crowds…get here before they get even busier! (and the RMB gets too strong!).

Future reports include:

CX HKG-TPE B744 F
TZ TPE-SIN B772 Y
MH KUL-DAC A330 Y
AI CCU-DEL B788 Y
AI IXM-MAA-BLR A32S Y
SV BLR-DMM-JED-LHR A330/B773 Y

No doubt more flights will be added over time!

As always, all comments and questions welcome!

Some of my other TRs:

Asia Part 2: JALing it to Beijing. JL HND-PEK 772 Business
Asia Part 1: Limoncello with Alitalia. BA/AZ LHR-MXP-FCO-NRT
Va BeNe with Cityjet. RTM-LCY Fokker 50
Truly Great Britain: FlyBE EDI-IOM on Saab 340 & BA IOM-LCY on Saab 2000
Cyprus with Aegean. Business on the A321, LHR-LCA-LHR
Scotland In A Day: FlyBE GLA-BHD-LGW. DH8 & E190
Tegel A.Net Meet. SN LHR-BRU-TXL, LH TXL-BHX
Bye Bye Baby: easyJet LTN-BFS, bmi Baby BHD-BHX
Air One and Alitalia to Sicily – LGW-MXP-PMO-LIN-LHR
Part 12: Sun Air of Scandinavia & BA, DUS-BLL-MAN-LHR on the J31, D328 and A320
Part 11: Thai Airways BKK-FRA, B77W First Class & LH FRA-DUS Business
Part 10: Thai Airways Kathmandu-Bangkok, B772 Business Class
Part 9: Yeti Airlines “Everest Express” on the J41
Part 8: Biman Bangladesh A310 Dhaka-Kathmandu
Part 7: United Airways ATR Dhaka-Cox’s Bazar & Regent Airways Dash Chittagong-Dhaka
Part 6: Biman Bangladesh DC10 Calcutta-Dhaka
Part 5: SpiceJet B739 & Jet Konnect B738 Calcutta-Bagdogra rtn, with Darjeeling
Part 4: Singapore Airlines A330 Business Class Singapore-Calcutta
Part 3: Sriwijiaya Airlines & Lion Air Boeing 737-900ER Banda Aceh-Medan-Jakarta-Singapore
Part 2: Valuair/Jetstar Asia SIN-MES and Garuda MES-BTJ
Part 1: U2 LTN-BCN, SQ BCN-SIN 77W Business
Africa Part 7: British Airways Club Europe B767, LCA-LHR
Africa Part 6: LX ZRH-ATH, A3 ATH-LCA. A Greek Tragedy
Africa Part 5: Dar es Salaam – Nairobi – Zurich with Swiss First
Africa Part 4: Fly 540 DAR-ZNZ in Y, and Zanzibar photos
Africa Part 3: ET KGL-EBB-ADD-DAR-ZNZ, A to Z with Ethiopian Airlines in C
Africa Part 2: SN BRU-BJM, SA BJM-KGL, Business to Burundi and Rwanda
Africa Part 1: BD LHR-CMN, TP CMN-LIS, SN LIS-BRU in Y and C
A.net meeting in snowy Tallinn. U2/FR STN-TLL-LTN
easyJet and bmi up to Aberdeen, LTN-ABZ-LHR
The Costa del Sol with British Airways. LGW-AGP-LCY
Mysterious Moldova (and Transnistria). Lufthansa LHR-MUC-KIV
BA to the Austrian Alps. LHR-MUC, INN-LGW
I can't get no Jetisfaction: LH LGW-FRA inaugural
Colombia Part 4: Colombia to London via FRA/MUC/HEL on LH & BA
Colombia Part 3: Colombia with Avianca (AV). SMR-BOG-MDE-BOG
Colombia Part 2: Colombia with Avianca (AV). BOG-MDE-CTG
Colombia Part 1: London to Colombia via ARN/MUC/FRA on BA & LH
USA and Mexico Part 4, British Airways Mexico City – London, World Traveller Plus
USA and Mexico Part 3: Around Mexico with Aereo Calafia Cessna 208B & Viva Aerobus B733
USA and Mexico Part 2: Sightseeing tour of SAN, and AA San Diego - LA – Dallas - San Jose Cabo
USA and Mexico Part 1: easyJet Luton to Paris, and BA Paris to San Diego via LHR in World Traveller Plus
British Airways to Scandinavia (LHR-CPH,GOT-LHR)
Where’s my bag? British Airways, Milan to London
What airline am I flying again? Bmi/Lufthansa Italia LHR-MXP
Albania and Macedonia: Austrian LHR-VIE-TIA, Macedonian Airlines SKP-ZRH, Swiss ZRH-LCY
Part 1, Lufthansa London-Munich-Frankfurt-Nanjing, Economy Class A321 and A343
Part 2, Cathay Pacific Shanghai to Tokyo via Hong Kong, Business Class A330 and B747-400
Part 3, ANA Boeing B767 Tokyo to Shanghai, & Air China Airbus A340 Shanghai to Beijing, Business Class
Part 4: Chinese domestics, inc. Joy Air Xi’an MA60, Tianjin Airlines ERJ, and China Express Airways CRJ
Part 5: Lufthansa Beijing-Frankfurt-London City, Economy Class A388 and E90
5 Countries, 5 Flights, 5 Days, with Ryanair (FR)
bmiFriday: Welcome to Sunny Norway, London to Bergen, A319)
Royal Jordanian, London to Aqaba via Amman. A330 and A320
Royal Jordanian, Amman to London, A330
London City to Antwerp with Cityjet and the Fokker 50
Croatian Airlines, LHR-ZAG,PUY-ZAD-ZAG-LHR, A319 and Dash 8
British Airways, Iberia & Binter to Tenerife and Gran Canaria, LHR-MAD-TFN-LPA-MAD-LHR, A320,ATR, A321
British Airways, London To Amsterdam, LGW-AMS-LHR, B737 & A321
British Airways up to a snowy Glasgow, with a change of flights and delay, LHR-GLA-LCY A321 and E90
Turkish Airlines Business Class from London to Istanbul. From Terrible To Fantastic
Turkish Airlines Business Class from Istanbul to Batumi (Georgia). Not again!
bmi Business Class, Tbilisi to London via Azerbaijan
Tallinn to London, with Estonian Air and BA, via ARN
Cuba! BA/IB London-Madrid-Havana, Business Class
Aerocarribean, Baracoa to Havana
Asia Trip, Pt 1: Qatar Airways Business Class (LHR-DOH-ICN)
Asia Trip, Pt 2: China Southern and Hainan Airlines (A321/A346)
Asia Trip, Pt 3: Malaysia Airlines, Hong Kong to Penang
Asia Trip, Pt 4: Qatar Airways Economy (HKG-DOH-LHR)
A weekend in Transylvania with Blue Air (LTN-SBZ)
Helsinki for the weekend on BA and KF
Easter in Ukraine with Austrian
UAE and Oman with BA and Air Arabia. Y & Y+
HKG-LHR-HKG Air New Zealand, Premium Economy and Economy
US Airways LGW-DCA-MSP-LGA-LGW
London Heathrow - Zurich - Venice on Swiss Business for the weekend
Chasing the Eclipse on China Eastern
Taiwan: EVA Air (HKG-TPE rtn), UNI Airways (TSA-HCN), Daily Air (TTT-KYD rtn)
UA HKG-SIN-HKG Y Class, SQ KUL-SIN C Class
Bangkok to Beijing, Egyptair Business Class
Air China Beijing to Harbin, B777 Economy outbound, A330 First Class return
Tiger Airways, Singapore to Darwin return
A selection of Chinese Domestics; China Eastern, Air China and Shenzhen Airlines
Hong Kong to London on Singapore Airlines (744/380/77W)
Qatar Airways Beijing-Doha-London Heathrow (A330/A340)
Air China First Class. Beijing-Guilin via Xi’an
Armenia with Austrian Airlines. LHR-VIE-EVN
Round Asia Trip. URC-HTN,OSS-FRU,ALA-URC-LHW-KMG-JHG-KMG-SYX,HAK-NKG-PEK-NRT-LHR,
Hainan Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Lucky Air, ANA, Economy and Business Class.

SAS and Lufthansa Business Class, LHR-OSL-FRA-FRA, B73G and B744

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: lychemsa
Posted 2012-10-15 04:40:27 and read 11730 times.

Fantastic. Makes me want to go to China.

Did you need any shots / vaccinations?

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: sultanils
Posted 2012-10-15 04:45:47 and read 11723 times.

Hi Gabs,

Nice and interesting stuff containing tons of exotic airplanes and airlines, for me at least! China seems to be your 2nd home, you know the place so well.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
The crew are all in MU uniforms, but announcements are all as per KN

With your perfect and fluent Mandarin(?) language skills, you were for sure able to understand all announcements?

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Our rather haphazard route out of the Beijing area.

Perhaps to clear any mountains?

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
So, pretty nice, huh?

Yes, it looks beautiful.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
The view over departures

What a grand looking departure hall.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
but’s it’s famed vistas have caught the attention of massive numbers of Chinese tour groups that have overrun the town.

OMG, those crowds are insane  Wow!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
How many of these have you flown?

None, zero, zilch,...

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Well, the sandwich wouldn’t win any prizes (at least not from an Englishman), but it’s acceptable.

It looks rather inedible in that plastic wrapping.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
They bow in unison

Nice gesture. Is that customary on Chinese airlines or just an occurence on this flight?

Sultanils

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2012-10-15 04:53:33 and read 11711 times.

Thanks for the replies!

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 4):
Fantastic. Makes me want to go to China.

Thanks! You should go, it's great!

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 4):
Did you need any shots / vaccinations?

TBH, I have no idea. There's no malaria. I stopped checking stuff like that a while ago.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
China seems to be your 2nd home, you know the place so well.

Yes, I guess it is. I've been to every province which is much more than I can say of the UK (or anywhere else)

Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
With your perfect and fluent Mandarin(?) language skills, you were for sure able to understand all announcements?

Ha, not quite perfect. I tend to zone out when on planes as all they do is waffle (in all languages) anyway.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
Perhaps to clear any mountains?

No, I don't think do

Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
None, zero, zilch,...

I guess it's time for a trip out to China for you then Nils!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
Nice gesture. Is that customary on Chinese airlines or just an occurence on this flight?

Nearly always happens

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: lukeyboy95
Posted 2012-10-15 07:58:32 and read 11403 times.

HI Gabriel,

Many thanks. Beautiful report with a great insight into this country. Is it your favorite country to fly around? You have explored alot of it.

Now, I might have to consult with you, as I am planning on spending a nice month in China (destination Kazakhstan) in about March. Rather excited really... Only a shame I can only get a months visa.

Clearly the standard of Chinese internals seems to be dropping? Delays, shoddy catering, rude personnel and still a clear language gap....

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Sadly, despite being scheduled at over 3 hours around lunchtime, the ubiquitous choice of “rice of noodles” had been substituted for “sandwich or nothing”……”sandwich please!”. There wasn’t even a cardboard box with any little delicacies to accompany it. And of course, no beer. Another tea for me.

Well disappointed in Hainan! Thought they would have put something in there to differentiate their service. Though, other than catering, the rest looked really good.

Amazed at those huge new airports and impressed by how well designed they are.

Taking a back-seat on TR's whilst travelling, so don't be disappointed by sparse replies.

Luke!

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: je89_w
Posted 2012-10-15 08:03:43 and read 11398 times.

A gem of a trip report! Thank you for posting.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
And something a little different

What a catch. Something you probably wouldn't find at PEK or PVG. That's what makes Nanyuan Airport so interesting. Seems like you didn't have any problems with photography either?

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
So, pretty nice, huh? the place is pretty remote, so we ended up taking a 10 hour bus to get there and back. A flight would have only taken 30 mins, but the cost was really quite outrageous. Having done the return trip, I think I’d plump for the plane in future, as the ride was scary.

Wow, really nice photos! In fact, it was quite refreshing to see all your non aviation photos, but I really loved your pictures from the Sichuan and Yunnan provinces.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
A special safety card for just 4 planes

A safety card I'm sure many would love to have.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
One in particular caught my attention, MU 5721 as it had a stop in JIQ. Never heard of JIQ have you? I actually had to email GC Mapper to get them to add it to the database as it’s pretty new and gets very little traffic. It’s not far from Chongqing, and uses Wulingshan, Qianjiang and Zhoubai as it’s name (depending on where you’re looking, none of which seem to have a relative to the letters JIQ!). Of course, I wanted to get a free stopover here, so presented the arrivals times only to my friend, whilst kindly suggesting this flight…she said ok. Wonderful.
Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I had to feign horror to my friend when we “discovered” it was a stopper in the middle of nowhere.

Ah, the typical A.netter! 
Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
It’s not all new and shiny

Glad to see it found a spot at the new airport! It seemed quite active on my last visit to Wujiaba Airport.

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2012-10-15 08:18:04 and read 11374 times.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 7):

Many thanks. Beautiful report with a great insight into this country

Thanks Luke! Glad you liked it!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 7):
Is it your favorite country to fly around? You have explored alot of it.

Um, it's one of the better ones (mostly through being so photo friendly, and having such a diverse network. I also highly rate Colombia and New Zeland

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 7):
Now, I might have to consult with you, as I am planning on spending a nice month in China (destination Kazakhstan) in about March. Rather excited really... Only a shame I can only get a months visa.

Oh yes, do get in touch, I'll do you an itinerary!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 7):
Clearly the standard of Chinese internals seems to be dropping? Delays, shoddy catering, rude personnel and still a clear language gap....

I think they're just suffering growing pains...expanding too quickly and all

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 7):
Well disappointed in Hainan! Thought they would have put something in there to differentiate their service. Though, other than catering, the rest looked really good.

Well, I wasn;t on Hainan, I was on Grand China! IIRC, HU is the "full service" brand, and I guess CN and all the others are slightly lesser (although God knows where they all come in the pecking order).

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 7):
Taking a back-seat on TR's whilst travelling, so don't be disappointed by sparse replies.

Ah, you can travel and TR simultaneously! (are you travelling with a laptop?) Either way, you can still comment!

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: roberts87
Posted 2012-10-15 10:16:44 and read 11206 times.

Hello Gabriel,

Another great report as always! I really like reading about your trips to those off the beaten path places. And the scenery in the CTU area looks absolutely astonishing!

Looking forward to the next part as usual, safe travels!

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: OA260
Posted 2012-10-15 14:58:33 and read 10923 times.

Wow Gabriel  

Fantastic report and amazing photos of China. Makes me want to go back . Was there over 10 years ago .

Really enjoying this series looking forward to the next part so much.

Regards

Philip  

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2012-10-15 19:15:47 and read 10771 times.

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 10):


Another great report as always!

Thanks Robert!

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 10):
I really like reading about your trips to those off the beaten path places. And the scenery in the CTU area looks absolutely astonishing!

Yes, the scenery in China is quite something. As you'd expect of a country that size, it's pretty varied as well

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 10):
Looking forward to the next part as usual, safe travels!

Thanks

Quoting OA260 (Reply 11):
Fantastic report and amazing photos of China. Makes me want to go back . Was there over 10 years ago .

Thanks Phil. A lot has changed in the past 10 years, you'll hardly recognise the place.

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: justinlee
Posted 2012-10-16 13:11:51 and read 10150 times.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
The rather interesting International board…note the A330 flight to Medinah.

It's a Hajj Flight. Yunnan Province actually has a large Muslim population.

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2012-10-16 20:51:53 and read 10004 times.

Quoting justinlee (Reply 13):
It's a Hajj Flight. Yunnan Province actually has a large Muslim population.

Yes, I know it was a Hadj. I Hadn't realised how many Muslims were in Yunnan though. Nice to have this sort of route, gives the departure board a more exotic twist!

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: justinlee
Posted 2012-10-17 06:34:06 and read 9817 times.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 14):
Yes, I know it was a Hadj. I Hadn't realised how many Muslims were in Yunnan though. Nice to have this sort of route, gives the departure board a more exotic twist!

According to the China Census 2000, there is 643,238 Hui people (or Muslim Chinese) in Yunnan Province and 168,734 in the nearby Guizhou Province and 109,960 in Sichuan. They are basically the descendants of Genghis Khan's Arabian or Persian Allied Army during their invasion of Yunnan. 1 million Muslim population can really support some Hajj flights!

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2012-10-17 21:16:45 and read 9617 times.

Quoting justinlee (Reply 15):
According to the China Census 2000, there is 643,238 Hui people (or Muslim Chinese) in Yunnan Province and 168,734 in the nearby Guizhou Province and 109,960 in Sichuan. They are basically the descendants of Genghis Khan's Arabian or Persian Allied Army during their invasion of Yunnan. 1 million Muslim population can really support some Hajj flights!

Interesting stats there! Shame there aren't any scheduled flights! SV don't fly to China at all I don't think - maybe it's time for them to start?

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: justinlee
Posted 2012-10-18 07:00:59 and read 9469 times.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 16):
Interesting stats there! Shame there aren't any scheduled flights! SV don't fly to China at all I don't think - maybe it's time for them to start?

I think they are pretty low-yield and MU has a KMG-DXB already. I really doubt whether SV can make money in Saudi-China routes because Gulf Carriers are dumping too much capacity!

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: abrelosojos
Posted 2012-10-18 21:44:23 and read 9325 times.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
So, my conclusions? As far as aviation goes, things aren’t exactly wonderful. Standards have fallen, and fares have risen. Delays (often long ones) seem to be a standard feature nowadays. Crews generally seem grumpy (and probably overworked), and catering is lacklustre. On the plus side, new planes are making their way into fleets, and glittering new terminals continue to open across the land.

= Oh no. That's bad to hear. I just got back from China and felt the same way.

Thanks a lot for the reports. You're becoming quite the resident A.Net expert on internal Chinese flights. Are you treated differently being an ethnic Chinese?

It makes me sad looking at the airport - they all look so generic and Hongkong-like. I guess I rather have a balance of local color than these cookie cutter stuff.

Thanks again.

Saludos,
A.

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2012-10-19 02:44:22 and read 9281 times.

Quoting justinlee (Reply 17):
I think they are pretty low-yield and MU has a KMG-DXB already. I really doubt whether SV can make money in Saudi-China routes because Gulf Carriers are dumping too much capacity!

Does SV operate to make a profit? Their faresa are dirt cheap oiut of India (I booked BLR-LHR for less than $200 o/w.)

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 18):
= Oh no. That's bad to hear. I just got back from China and felt the same way.

At least you can still be liberal with the photography in China!

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 18):
Thanks a lot for the reports. You're becoming quite the resident A.Net expert on internal Chinese flights.

Glad you like them. Any questions about domestic Chinese flights, I'm your man!

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 18):
Are you treated differently being an ethnic Chinese?

Actually, i'm not ethnically Chinese, although some might think so (I'm a fabulous mix people can only begin to guess at!). I have a policy of speaking English in Chinese airports (and 5* hotels)...generally helps, although it didn't help me get a beer this time!

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 18):
It makes me sad looking at the airport - they all look so generic and Hongkong-like. I guess I rather have a balance of local color than these cookie cutter stuff.

Well, the new ones are a hell of a lot better than the old 70/80s ones.

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2012-10-20 00:49:58 and read 9146 times.

Hi Gabriel,

really interesting report with good destination pictures. Nice to see you flew on China Eastern Yunnan and Grand China Air. I've been trying to find out for a while if China Eastern Yunnan has an own AOC or not - any idea?

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Sadly, all Chinese airlines have now stopped serving watery Chinese beer on domestics, so I go with a glass of lukewarm tea.

Do you also mean Tsingtao? I found that quite good, similar to certain German beers.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Today, the policy of “just three big airlines” has clearly been thrown out of the window.

Good!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):

A fake local BMW

Awful!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Our plane….as old as they get in China.

That was a rather new 737-300, built in 1997. There are hardly any old planes in China (20 years or older).

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Before the flight I was trying to count the airlines under the HNA banner….I counted 6. Apparently there are 13! Why on earth would you need 13 airlines? Ridiculous!

Variety is good for spotters and travellers!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 6):
I stopped checking stuff like that a while ago.

Even when you were on tour in Africa?


PH

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: MSS658
Posted 2012-10-20 08:48:35 and read 9054 times.

Hello Gabriel

Great and interesting report thanks for sharing.
As far as aviation goes China looks quite mediocre, not USA-style but not one of the best neither. The MU 737's really look old-school. Landside facilities look good however!

China itself looks very nice, really amazed about the crystal blue water and waterfalls.

Greetings
Marc

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2012-10-20 21:06:52 and read 8958 times.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 20):

really interesting report with good destination pictures

Thanks Udo!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 20):
Nice to see you flew on China Eastern Yunnan and Grand China Air. I've been trying to find out for a while if China Eastern Yunnan has an own AOC or not - any idea?

No idea...how would one check?

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 20):
Do you also mean Tsingtao? I found that quite good, similar to certain German beers.

Well, Tsingdao is ok (it was established by the Germans!), but it's still terribly weak/watery compared to European and South East Asian beers.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 20):
That was a rather new 737-300, built in 1997. There are hardly any old planes in China (20 years or older).

Yes, the Chinese have been good at updating their fleets

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 20):
Even when you were on tour in Africa?

Well, I did a quick check with that. My sister's a Dr, so got my malaria drugs for me. Having said that, I'd rather wear DEET than use anti-malarials again

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 21):
Great and interesting report thanks for sharing.

Thanks Marc

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 21):

As far as aviation goes China looks quite mediocre, not USA-style but not one of the best neither

Yes, not great, not awful

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 21):
The MU 737's really look old-school.

They do have some brand new planes too! I think I got one of the oldest, and one of the newest

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 21):
China itself looks very nice, really amazed about the crystal blue water and waterfalls.

Well, not all of China is like that, but it does have a few gems!

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: palmjet
Posted 2012-10-21 01:29:43 and read 8869 times.

Hi Gabe

Fantastic report - a perfect start to my Sunday!

I really enjoyed all of the destination pics, as usual. Some amazing scenes. Thanks for posting these too in addition to the flights.

I did not know that China Eastern's Yunan division aircraft carried titles on the outside of the aircraft - I noted the "Yunan Gongsi" characters at the back of your 733.

Seems like heavy delays on domestic flights in China have become the norm. With the sheer volume of planes now plying the skies above China, I wonder how things are going to be in the next 10 years or so.

I really need to do a repeat trip to China. I will be sure to ask you for some tips as you seem to have all the background knowledge on how to make travel in China as seamless as possible!

Looking forward to the next part.

Cheers
Palmjet

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: I39OO
Posted 2012-10-21 03:54:15 and read 8834 times.

Gabriel,

it was a most compelling read. My ignorance towards China is, I'm not afraid to say, boundless, but reading this TR has given me a taste of how a small, albeit nice, corner of this huge country might look like. Yunnan province looks like an interesting place to visit! Many thanks as well for the small hints at the Chinese cultural heritage (such as the various festivals or recent Chinese history).

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 4):
So, my conclusions? As far as aviation goes, things aren’t exactly wonderful. Standards have fallen, and fares have risen. Delays (often long ones) seem to be a standard feature nowadays. Crews generally seem grumpy (and probably overworked), and catering is lacklustre. On the plus side, new planes are making their way into fleets, and glittering new terminals continue to open across the land.

That's sad to hear. Airports generally look awesome and are a useful way to gauge this country's limitless capabilities, but it's bad to see that the habit of cutting corners as far as service goes is catching up in China as well. I wonder what the root cause of the delays was, can it be that the Chinese ATC system is struggling to cope with the surge in air traffic demand?

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2012-10-21 09:51:17 and read 8759 times.

Thanks for the comments!

Quoting palmjet (Reply 23):
Fantastic report - a perfect start to my Sunday!

Thanks!

Quoting palmjet (Reply 23):
I really enjoyed all of the destination pics, as usual. Some amazing scenes. Thanks for posting these too in addition to the flights.

No problem, glad you liked them

Quoting palmjet (Reply 23):
I did not know that China Eastern's Yunan division aircraft carried titles on the outside of the aircraft - I noted the "Yunan Gongsi" characters at the back of your 733.

Ha, I didn't realise they did until you just pointed it out!

Quoting palmjet (Reply 23):
Seems like heavy delays on domestic flights in China have become the norm. With the sheer volume of planes now plying the skies above China, I wonder how things are going to be in the next 10 years or so.

Hopefully they'll start flying larger aircraft less often, but who knows how they're going to handle everything.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 23):
I really need to do a repeat trip to China. I will be sure to ask you for some tips as you seem to have all the background knowledge on how to make travel in China as seamless as possible!

Yes, I am the font of all China knowledge (well, I like to think so!). Ask away!

Quoting I39OO (Reply 24):

it was a most compelling read

Thanks!

Quoting I39OO (Reply 24):
My ignorance towards China is, I'm not afraid to say, boundless, but reading this TR has given me a taste of how a small, albeit nice, corner of this huge country might look like. Yunnan province looks like an interesting place to visit! Many thanks as well for the small hints at the Chinese cultural heritage (such as the various festivals or recent Chinese history).

Well, I'm glad I can spread the good word about China!

Quoting I39OO (Reply 24):
That's sad to hear. Airports generally look awesome and are a useful way to gauge this country's limitless capabilities, but it's bad to see that the habit of cutting corners as far as service goes is catching up in China as well. I wonder what the root cause of the delays was, can it be that the Chinese ATC system is struggling to cope with the surge in air traffic demand?

The military controls the ATC, so perhaps the PLA are ramping up for some international action?!

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: eastafspot
Posted 2012-10-21 13:22:40 and read 8712 times.

Hey Gabriel

Very interesting TR, from places that look amazing, and really traditional. i like your pictures of Jiuzhaigou a lot.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 2):
Interesting articles IN ENGLISH! Not a common occurrence in Chinese in flight magazines.

Thanks god for a relatively major airline. after all those Asian trips, how good is your Chinese level?


It is surprising so see all those passengers making pictures of the aircraft


thanks for sharing

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: jwhite9185
Posted 2012-10-22 13:08:52 and read 8538 times.

Great report as usual Gabriel, very interesting. Glad I finally got round to reading it finally!

China looks very interesting. In my mind, it was always Beijing, Shanghai and not much else - well you've proven me wrong there.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1):
Finally, I’ve broken the chain of super delays! Over the past 4 flights, the cumulative delay has been 137 minutes

I've got you beaten there - 415 minutes in 7 flights (all in a week), so roughly an hour per flight give or take. Still waiting to break my chain... Guess that sums up your conclusion that there's more delays these days.

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: The777Man
Posted 2012-10-22 14:27:17 and read 8515 times.

Hi Gabriel!

Thanks for another great installment in this Asia series!

Stunning pictures from Yunnan! Looks very scenic!

I just came back from a few days in Beijing and had a great time.

I also noticed the delays on a lot of flights on the departure boards. I had a great time and may go back soon since I have a multi entry visa.

Looking forward to the next part!

The777Man

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: AlwaysOnAPlane
Posted 2012-10-22 14:33:56 and read 8513 times.

Hey Gabe.

Man, you are really getting my appetite aroused for travel. The pictures you are sharing are just amazing. Those crystal clear lake waters like nothing I have ever seen before.

That landslide and the truck wrecks must have had your heart rate climbing fast.

Sure, the service on these flights looks very basic but it's all for the experience.
The booming aviation scene in China looks like it's own worst enemy with these constant delays.

Can't wait for more in this tour Gabe.
Happy travels.
Lee.

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2012-10-23 08:50:23 and read 8323 times.

Thanks for all your comments!

Quoting je89_w (Reply 8):
A gem of a trip report! Thank you for posting.

Thanks, glad you liked it (and sorry for not seeing your comments a week or so ago!)

Quoting je89_w (Reply 8):
Seems like you didn't have any problems with photography either?

No, was ok in NAY, although there were lots of signs saying no photos, something you don't normally see in China

Quoting je89_w (Reply 8):
Wow, really nice photos! In fact, it was quite refreshing to see all your non aviation photos, but I really loved your pictures from the Sichuan and Yunnan provinces.

Thanks

Quoting je89_w (Reply 8):
A safety card I'm sure many would love to have.

Ha, shame I've stopped collecting!

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 26):
Very interesting TR, from places that look amazing, and really traditional. i like your pictures of Jiuzhaigou a lot.

Thanks

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 26):
Thanks god for a relatively major airline. after all those Asian trips, how good is your Chinese level?

Not too bad!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 27):
China looks very interesting. In my mind, it was always Beijing, Shanghai and not much else - well you've proven me wrong there.

Well, China covers the same space as Europe, so there's plenty more than B and S!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 28):
Thanks for another great installment in this Asia series!

Thanks!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 28):
I also noticed the delays on a lot of flights on the departure boards. I had a great time and may go back soon since I have a multi entry visa.

There are plenty of interesting flights out there. Was it easy to get the multi-entry visa?

Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 29):

Man, you are really getting my appetite aroused for travel.

Get travelling Lee!

Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 29):
The pictures you are sharing are just amazing. Those crystal clear lake waters like nothing I have ever seen before.

Thanks. There's so much amazing stuff to see out there

Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 29):
That landslide and the truck wrecks must have had your heart rate climbing fast.

At one stage we drove into a dark tunnel with smoke and water coming out of it....I nearly got off the bus (and my friend (and a lot of other pax)) were nearly in hysterics....not fun!

Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 29):

Sure, the service on these flights looks very basic but it's all for the experience.
The booming aviation scene in China looks like it's own worst enemy with these constant delays.

Yes, modernising at a rate of knots

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: The777Man
Posted 2012-10-23 10:00:07 and read 8291 times.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 30):
Was it easy to get the multi-entry visa?

I got it without asking.....same cost for US passport holders for single or multiple entry so I guess they usually issue multiple entry.

The777Man

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: taloush
Posted 2012-10-24 01:39:44 and read 8170 times.

Really great report, as is to be expected from you!

To be honest, China (with the exception of Hong Kong) is one of the very, VERY few places in the world for which I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to visit. Going through your pictures was a rollercoaster ride of "Oh-that-looks-nice-maybe-I-should-go" highs and "Yeah-I'm-never-setting-foot-in-that-country" lows; it was quite funny, actually!

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: CaptainRed
Posted 2012-10-24 13:10:13 and read 8066 times.

Hi Gabriel,

again a wonderful report here, nice to read about all these exotic (at least for me, hey, I didn't even know that a place with the name Shangri-La does really exist) places and about these Chinese airlines.

Absolutely stunning destination pics here. Really makes me want to visit China as well some day, even though road travel seems to be quite adventurous.

Greetings
CaptainRed

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2012-10-25 07:46:54 and read 7926 times.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 31):
I got it without asking.....same cost for US passport holders for single or multiple entry so I guess they usually issue multiple entry.

Ah, that makes sense then. It's really hard to get a tourist multi entry for most countries without a letter of invitation.

Quoting taloush (Reply 32):
Really great report, as is to be expected from you!

Thanks!

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 33):

again a wonderful report here

Thanks!

Quoting taloush (Reply 32):
To be honest, China (with the exception of Hong Kong) is one of the very, VERY few places in the world for which I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to visit. Going through your pictures was a rollercoaster ride of "Oh-that-looks-nice-maybe-I-should-go" highs and "Yeah-I'm-never-setting-foot-in-that-country" lows; it was quite funny, actually!
Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 33):
Absolutely stunning destination pics here. Really makes me want to visit China as well some day, even though road travel seems to be quite adventurous.

Well, there are plenty of agents that can book you a "see the sights, not the country" type tour...5* all the way!

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: Widebodyroga
Posted 2012-10-26 11:47:25 and read 7752 times.

Hey Gabriel.

I'm being very slow at reading TRs lately so it took me a while to get down to read your chinese series. I must say that China has never been high on my list of desired destinations (I do acknowledge its natural and cultural beauty but I always find other destinations that are more interesting by my standards) but your photos have made me reconsider. Stunning landscaped indeed.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
The map, courtesy of GC Mapper, of this report:

This has to be one of the most bizarre patterns ever. At least visually  


Great stuff man. I'm looking forward to more.

S.

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: airbuseric
Posted 2012-10-26 16:31:14 and read 7705 times.

Finally time to read! Great stuff Gab. Makes me want to go to inside China. Lovely pictures in the mountains. Great nature it seems, clear waters, beautiful colours.
I must say that the Chinese airlines offer a nice enough product for us, westerners. A meal, or snack, more then we're used to. Can't judge about the taste though.

Regards
Eric

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2012-10-27 07:15:05 and read 7554 times.

Thanks for the comments guys!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 35):

I'm being very slow at reading TRs lately so it took me a while to get down to read your chinese series

I hope you've enjoyed them!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 35):
I must say that China has never been high on my list of desired destinations (I do acknowledge its natural and cultural beauty but I always find other destinations that are more interesting by my standards) but your photos have made me reconsider. Stunning landscaped indeed.

I seem to be inspiring a lot of comments like that!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 35):
This has to be one of the most bizarre patterns ever. At least visually

Ha, thanks?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 35):
Great stuff man. I'm looking forward to more.

Part 4 is coming (slowly!...i've got to cut down on my drinking!)

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 36):
Great stuff Gab.

Thanks Eric!

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 36):
Makes me want to go to inside China. Lovely pictures in the mountains. Great nature it seems, clear waters, beautiful colours.

Go go go! It's a great country!

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 36):
I must say that the Chinese airlines offer a nice enough product for us, westerners. A meal, or snack, more then we're used to. Can't judge about the taste though.

Well, the taste is....varying!

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: adamspotter
Posted 2012-10-27 17:56:26 and read 7420 times.

Hi Gabriel,

Great addition to your series here with lots of nice aviation and non-aviation pictures, really enjoyed it.
Its amazing how many different chinese carriers you have and its great to get an insight on some of them.
Flying in China seems to be quite a mixed bag: Lots of delays, not very tastefull looking catering and old planes. The brand new airports sure look outstanding though and always nice to get a sky interior, such a difference to the other flights!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
The view over departures

Amazing!

cheers,

Brendan

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2012-10-28 19:55:41 and read 7244 times.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 38):
Great addition to your series here with lots of nice aviation and non-aviation pictures, really enjoyed it.

Thanks Brendan!

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 38):
Its amazing how many different chinese carriers you have and its great to get an insight on some of them.

Yes, and every week a new one seems to come along! More of the same sadly, there's very little innovation in the market.

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: deltamartin
Posted 2012-10-29 05:35:24 and read 7145 times.

Hello Gabriel!

I finally got around reading this part of your TR, and what a read it was! Some very nice pictures from China, some really stunning scenery. I really should go visit the mainland some day too!
Aviation wise it was quite exciting as well, too bad about the numerous hefty delays, and a shame to hear that service has gone in the opposite direction than the direction of the fares.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
First stop on our itinerary was Jiuzhaigou (geo-jai-go, 九寨沟), somewhere I’ve been wanting to visit for years. To sum it up: stunning, expensive, busy. Worth going to? Definitely. There are some great walks you can do through the valley, and if you try hard, you can escape the crowds (who like to stay on their tour buses). Some photos:

Great looking scenery! Sure seems well worth a visit.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
What a nice surprise….our plane is young and fitted with the new Boeing interior

That was somehow very unexpected. But then again why? The Chinese airlines has a lot of new aircraft with more coming.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
The gorgeous new exterior…even my friend agreed with me for once that the airport was nice

That does look like one very impressive airport.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
More photos on the way back

Great scenery there as well! I can see why even non-a.netters took photos there!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Why fly HK Airlines from LGW when there are already 4 established airlines on the London - Hong Kong (BA/VS/NZ/CX) all with excellent business classes?

Agreed. Would have been nice if they had offered a proper economy product to a competitive price as well. As I mentioned to you, the hardware on my HKG-TPE flight was good enough for sure. Not sure if they would have been able to make the route work even in such a scenario though.

I'll get around reading part 4 one day as well, but I got a huge backlog of TR's to read right now!

Martin

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2012-10-29 09:38:24 and read 7106 times.

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 40):

I finally got around reading this part of your TR, and what a read it was!

Thanks Martin!

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 40):
Some very nice pictures from China, some really stunning scenery. I really should go visit the mainland some day too!

Thanks. You should check it out sometime

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 40):
Great looking scenery! Sure seems well worth a visit.

Definately. One of the most beautiful places I've even visited

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 40):
That does look like one very impressive airport.

It was. Very pretty

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 40):
Agreed. Would have been nice if they had offered a proper economy product to a competitive price as well. As I mentioned to you, the hardware on my HKG-TPE flight was good enough for sure. Not sure if they would have been able to make the route work even in such a scenario though.

Yes, going all C was an odd business decision

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: N178UA
Posted 2012-12-02 21:25:45 and read 6371 times.

Hi Gabe

I read your TR with great interest, because they are quite different to the other ones on the forum, you certainly travelled to many places off the beaten track! Kudos to your spirit of travel and bring us the culture closer!  

I am really impressed to your photo of Jiuzhaigou and would like to know about the place. Did you take a bus or board a flight from Chengdu? I believe the place is accessible year round now. How many nights did you stay there?

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
First stop on our itinerary was Jiuzhaigou (geo-jai-go, 九寨沟), somewhere I’ve been wanting to visit for years. To sum it up: stunning, expensive, busy. Worth going to? Definitely.

If I have only very limited time on hand, compare with Dali, Zhongdian, Lijiang, do you think Jiuzhaigou is the best to visit?

thanks
Sam

Topic: RE: Asia 3: Around China With KN, MU & CN
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2012-12-05 10:01:47 and read 6097 times.

Quoting N178UA (Reply 42):
I read your TR with great interest, because they are quite different to the other ones on the forum, you certainly travelled to many places off the beaten track! Kudos to your spirit of travel and bring us the culture closer!

Thanks Sam, kind words!

Quoting N178UA (Reply 42):
I am really impressed to your photo of Jiuzhaigou and would like to know about the place. Did you take a bus or board a flight from Chengdu? I believe the place is accessible year round now. How many nights did you stay there?

We bussed both way (10 scary hours), but there are also plenty of flights to choose from (30 mins) from Chengdu, Chongqing and Beijing (and probably a few others as well). The park is open year round (and much chaper in Nov/Dec/Jan/Feb, but pretty cold). I guess in the winter, it's better to fly as the roads are probably awful. We stayed for 3 nights, so had 2 full days in the park, which I think worked out well.

Quoting N178UA (Reply 42):
If I have only very limited time on hand, compare with Dali, Zhongdian, Lijiang, do you think Jiuzhaigou is the best to visit?

I thought Jiuzhaigou was the best, as the scenery was just stunning. I don't like Lijiang and Dali anymore, as I know how nice they used to be (before all the tour groups arrived). Still, my friend, who hadn't been before, loved them both. Zhongdian/ShangriLa old town is what Lijiang and Dali used to be like. PM me if you need more info!


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