Background Info: For the past six years I've studied Mandarin Chinese and achieved a B grade at GCSE which is quite good for an English Person with no prior knowledge. Last Summer i decided to visit China with my friend to teach English at the school our Mandarin teacher worked at before she moved to Britain.
This is the domestic flight we did at the end of our trip before taking us back to Beijing from Taiyuan where we would spend four nights sightseeing before flying home on Aeroflot PEK-SVO-LHR.
Taiyuan airport is about a 30minutes car journey from WuYi square in the centre of Taiyuan. The airport is a basic but modern facility with arrivals on the ground floor and departures on the first floor. The headteacher of the school we had been working at booked our tickets and we were travelling on Hainan Airlines. We made our way to the check in desk which had signs reminding us to "Check-in all alcoholics" I think this meant no alcohol in your hand luggage.
The check in agent giggled at us and laughing at their bad signs everywhere and handed us our boarding passes.
At this point we said goodbye to the headteacher and his assistant who had looked after us so well in Taiyuan and made our way to the security point. The security agents didn't look very interested in their job and just shouted to us "Liquid?" and when we replied "no" they waved us through and we got our bags from the x-ray belt.
The departure lounge at Taiyuan airport is basic. There are a few plastic chairs and a few shops selling the usual stuff most Chinese seem to buy at airports such as tea, dried mushrooms and Beijing 2008 merchandise. We managed to find 2 seats in the packed terminal.
There were around 5 gates and everyone had a flight departing around the same time which created a very busy terminal. Being the only two westerners in the whole airport, we became quite an attraction with most passengers going out of their way to look at us and point or push their children towards us trying to get them to practise English with us.
After about 30minutes our flight was called and every passenger automatically jumped up and made their way towards the door, despite the crew asking repeatedly for only business class passengers. The flight was 100% full in both cabins and would be operated by a Boeing 737-300. There are at least 10 flights between TYN and PEK each day operated by CA, MU and Hainan Airlines with aircraft ranging from the Dornier 328Jet to Boeing 737-800.
As we boarded, we were handed a scratchcard by the stewardess, once in our seats we scratched it but couldn't work out how you could tell if you had won and the stewardesses came round checking. The passenger next to us has won 100Yuan (about £7) and was over joyed and kept looking around the cabin as if to show off.
The captain made a brief announcement in Chinese and we began pushing back, The crew then made an announcement and all four female crew bowed at the front of the cabin and again in the middle and then proceeded with the safety demonstration.
Once this was completed in Chinese, one stewardess tried her best to do it in English on our behalf but it wasn't really understandable English.
The flight is only an hour and shortly after take off, the crew came round with bottles of water and a packet of dried beans. Many Chinese took 3 or 4 packets and put them in their bags along with everything else they were offered.
The flight came into land at PEK on time and taxied to a remote gate from where we would be bused to the terminal.
I took a few pictures on the tarmac but got some strange looks as you can see:
We boarded the bus which took us to Terminal 2 collected our bags and headed out side to catch a taxi. Overall the flight was fine, no problems at all not as good as other domestic flights I've had with MU.
Some pics from our month in China:
Our Class we taught in Taiyuan.
Typical chinglish sign:
Busy and hazy Tian'anmen Sq.
Snack st in Beijing. Anyone for Starfish on a stick??
Thanks for reading! My next trip report will be LHR-HKG-LHR on CX in a couple of weeks time and i will make sure i take more photos on board!
[Edited 2008-07-08 09:14:21]