In early 2012 my brother and I decided to go on another Asia tour. Our focus was on Dubai and Bangkok, but later we also decided to include a short stay in Taipei in order to visit the Taipei 101. We had planned to combine one-way flights from the beginning to the end, but it turned out to be much cheaper to return to Dubai again before going home. As usual, I tried to include as many new carriers as possible.
First of all, we booked a very cheap Munich-Doha-Dubai roundtrip on Qatar Airways, an airline which I had wanted to try for a long time. In order to get from Dubai to Bangkok, I would have preferred Gulf Air as it would have been another new carrier, but there was no service to Bangkok on the desired day of travel. So we chose SriLankan Airlines which had impressed me back in 2006. Finally, we decided to fly China Airlines, another new airline for me, from Bangkok to Taipei. Details about the last two sectors will follow in the next part. In the end, we had booked nine flights (both Business and Economy Class) on five different airlines, including three new ones. This is what the final itinerary looked like:
After having spent a nice day in Dubai, we took a taxi to the airport more than two hours before departure. We didn't have to wait more than five minutes in queue, but the check-in process took much longer than expected. After the young agent had entered our data, nothing happened for a while. Then she wanted to see our visas, but I told her that we didn't need any in order to enter Thailand.
Some more minutes passed without any notable progress and after I had asked whether there was a problem, she referred to a "missing entry" in our reservation. Then, after talking to an older colleague, she asked for my credit card for verification. I gave it to her, but apparently the system didn't accept it. I was slowly getting annoyed, but finally everything worked out and she could print our boarding passes.
I had already pre-reserved our seats, but that hadn't been easy either. During the booking process on SriLankan's website, I had been able to select seats for both flights, but the assignments had changed when I checked the reservation again later. Interestingly, on one sector we had been moved to a row which didn't exist according the seat maps on the carrier's website. So I tried to select new seats, but the system only accepted changes on one sector - an error message showed up when I tried to change the other seat assignments.
After several failed attempts - spread over two weeks or so - I finally called SriLankan's worldwide hotline. The young male agent wasn't overly friendly and his English wasn't great either. However, I was finally able to get the desired seats (window and aisle in the back, just before the fuselage curvature) on both sectors.
Back to Dubai Airport. We had plenty of time left, so we kept walking through the terminal for a while. There's a very interesting exhibition about the development of aviation in Dubai in the passage between Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. But something's fundamentally wrong here:
Any idea? The first user with the right answer gets a free ginger ale (or another drink) during a future meeting.
As mentioned above, I had four nice flights on SriLankan Airlines A330-200s and an A340-300 in 2006 (report can be found here). Now I was certainly hoping that I wouldn't get the same aircraft (4R-ALB/ALC & 4R-ADA) again. Actually I was even hoping to get one of the new fleet additions. Since 2006, UL had added three used A330-200s (formerly operated by bmi, Yemenia and Thomas Cook Airlines) as well as one A340-300 (formerly operated by Cathay Pacific).
The plane, inbound from Kuwait, arrived on time, but I was very disappointed when I discovered a "B" over the cockpit windows...
4R-ALB is one of seven A330-200s in the fleet and flew me from Frankfurt to Colombo in 2006.
Unfortunately, boarding didn't commence as planned and after the scheduled departure time (22:50) had passed, I was getting a bit concerned. But then a gate agent announced that boarding would start at 23:10, referring to "congestion at the airport" - which didn't make any sense.
Boarding finally commenced at 23:15 and we stepped on board a few minutes later. We received a friendly welcome, but the crew couldn't really impress me later during the flight. Many seats were already occupied by passengers originating from Kuwait and it was obvious that most people on this flight were guest workers.
4R-ALB used to be equipped with comfortable turquoise seats back in 2006, but now those were rock hard and looked totally different:
Additionally, the lumbar support was inflated which didn't feel good at all. I pressed the button to deflate it, but it didn't work.
The seat back confirmed that UL had only replaced the covers. My PTV would remain black throughout the whole flight:
What I found disappointing as well was the reduction of legroom - the 32 inch pitch which I had enjoyed in 2006 was gone, while the large IFE box was still there:
While the reduction of legroom didn't bother me so much, my brother (who is taller than I) felt totally cramped.
The whole cabin looked worn - and so were the tables which fell down on our legs after unlocking:
My handset's front side still looked fine...
...in contrast to the back side:
I cannot say much about the headphones which I didn't use due to my inoperative PTV:
Inflight magazine and safety card:
I couldn't find an IFE guide in my seat pocket, but it would have been obsolete anyway.
At 23:25, after boarding had been completed (load factor somewhere between 90 and 100 percent), the captain made a welcome announcement which was hard to understand for acoustic reasons. According to him, we wouldn't be able to leave the gate earlier than "30 minutes from now". He also mentioned something about "ATC" and "Muscat", but I didn't understand the whole sentence. However, there was no reason to be concerned about because we would still have plenty of time for the transfer at Colombo. After the announcement, the flight attendants distributed cold towels.
We finally left the gate a bit earlier than announced and took off shortly before midnight. Tasty nuts and drinks were offered about 30 minutes after takeoff. I was glad that SriLankan still had Schweppes Dry Ginger Ale but I didn't get the whole can:
Hot meals were served shortly after the snack service. SriLankan still provides pretty menu cards (which get distributed and recollected again):
One cannot complain about the bar service:
SriLankan still offers a choice of three main courses - and the food descriptions sounded very promising:
My brother wasn't hungry and rejected his meal, while I decided to try the lamb. Very nice tray:
I was totally impressed by the main course - meat, rice and sauce tasted very good. However, the salad had been spilled with a disgusting sauce and the pistachio cake was extremely sweet.
After dinner, I tried to get some sleep, but failed. About one hour before arrival, I was totally shocked after opening a lavatory door - it looked so horrible in there that I immediately shut the door again and went to another lavatory. Don't ask me to go into detail any further...
Well, the other lavatory was in acceptable condition and I was able to lock the door, but, as I found out later, the sign "vacant" was stuck.
There wasn't much to do for the rest of the flight behind my black screen:
My brother's IFE didn't work properly either, but at least he could watch the airshow channel:
Airshow channel also running on the overhead screens:
Surprisingly, the front camera view appeared on the screens during final approach.
We touched down in darkness after a flying time of 3 hours and 51 minutes and taxied to a remote parking position next to some other SriLankan aircraft. Many passengers jumped up and started pushing and shoving in the aisle...probably they were in great fear that the busses would leave them behind on the apron.
Anyway, there was no reason to hurry, so I took some more cabin pictures. The interior is very similar to the one on Emirates' A330-200s:
I'd have preferred to fly on sister ship 4R-ALA in the background:
Monday, March 2012
Colombo (CMB) - Bangkok (BKK)
SriLankan Airlines UL422
Scheduled times: 07:20-12:15
Actual times: 07:21-12:39
Flight duration: 03:31 (hrs)
Distance: 1487 miles
Economy Class, seat 60H
4R-ADA (MSN 032)
Delivered in 09/1994
2nd flight on 4R-ADA
12th A340-300 flight
17th A340 flight
Back in 2006, I had been impressed by the nice and clean terminal building. This time, however, it didn't appear well-kept any longer and the restrooms were filthy.
There was only one A340 parked at a gate position - and that gate turned out to be ours. My worst fear came true when I identified the plane. There are six A340s in the fleet, but I got 4R-ADA again which flew me from Colombo to Frankfurt in 2006...
Two "old friends" in a row, that's what I call bad luck...but I was too tired to bother. We passed security once the gate had been opened and I took a seat. Spotting opportunities were limited, but I at least I can say that I logged Mihin Lanka's entire fleet...which consisted of one A320 and one A321 back then.
This is SriLankan A320 4R-ABO, one of eight frames in the fleet:
Numerous tourists from Europe kept filling up the gate and I was expecting another packed flight. Boarding commenced on time and we soon received a friendly welcome again - and this time the entire crew turned out to be nice.
The interior was in better overall condition, but everything looked worn. Seat colors hadn't been changed since 2006:
Both PTVs in our row were working this time:
As expected, the seats were hard again, but there was even less legroom:
As seat pitch was slightly more generous in the window seat, I let my brother move there. Otherwise the flight would have been a torture for him.
In addition to the usual magazines, I also found an IFE guide in my seat pocket this time - however, I didn’t check whether all advertised entertainment options were indeed available:
What I noticed with disgust was a bad smell in the cabin. And what I found even more disgusting was the fact that one lavatory apparently hadn't been cleaned properly before boarding.
In his welcome speech, the captain announced an on-time departure and a flying time of 3 hours and 15 minutes. We were indeed pushed back almost on time, taxied straight to the runway and started a typical A340 Classic takeoff roll:
Menu cards were also distributed on this flight:
Interesting options once again:
My brother and I ordered the omelette...
...which turned out to be fine, just like the potatoes and the mushrooms. But I didn't like the "grilled signature chicken sausage" - and the fruit pieces didn't taste fresh. This time my cold drink was served in a glass - that had already impressed me back in 2006. Unfortunately, the coffee tasted burned.
The seat belt signs had already been switched on before breakfast service, but nothing had been happening for 30 minutes or so. But just after we had finished our drinks, the plane suddenly dropped - which felt like being hit by something. There was total silence in the cabin as people were paralyzed for a short moment. And then I discovered numerous people with wipes in their hands cleaning walls and overhead ceilings because their drinks had splashed upwards! Well, one should never underestimate the Bay of Bengal!
Less than a minute after the event, the captain made an announcement, referred to sudden turbulence and advised passengers to remain seated with seat belts fastened. However, the seat belt sign was switched off again after a while. Perfect opportunity for a cabin shot:
As usual, I had been watching the airshow channel most of the time. Almost there:
After circling for a while, we finally touched down after a flying time of 3 hours and 31 minutes. Taking approach and landing pictures through the dirty window had been a bit difficult, so here's just one - Transaero's 747-400s are frequent visitors at Bangkok:
We arrived at the gate 24 minutes late and once we had left the plane, we walked straight to the immigration hall. Apparently, numerous other flights had just arrived, too, because huge queues had formed - and they were moving very slowly. So we were stuck for at least an hour, probably much more. Of course we weren't happy to find ourselves in such a situation again after the bad experience at Dubai Airport...and this time it was much warmer in the "waiting area".
PlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6498 posts, RR: 78 Reply 1, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 16555 times:
Two Nights in Bangkok
After grabbing our luggage, we walked straight to the taxi stand. There are cheaper ways to get into Bangkok, but we preferred the comfortable ride direct to the hotel door. The driver turned out to be very nice, spoke relatively good English and told us some interesting things about the city. Due to low traffic, we reached the exclusive Le Méridien Bangkok in the city’s Silom area in about 40 minutes. Very friendly receptionists welcomed us and quickly handed out the key cards. Very elegant lobby:
Cool design - never seen such a hotel entrance:
The room was nice...
...but I just didn't like the aircon blowing air directly towards the beds. There should be a better solution in a 5-star hotel.
Information material with delicious chocolate bar and coffee bar coupons on each bed:
Views from the room:
Nice pool area - too bad we didn't have enough time to relax there:
In the early evening we decided to try the dinner buffet in the hotel's Latest Recipe restaurant. There was wide range of high-quality food - and only few other guests had decided to eat there, so it felt very private.
After our extended dinner, we explored the surrounding area. You just have to walk a few steps to immerse in the life of the city:
You cannot miss the hotel when on tour in the neighborhood.
The infamous Patpong entertainment district with its large night market and countless bars begins just across the street. Some impressions:
On the next day, we visited the Grand Palace which is one of Thailand's most popular attractions. When our tour guide picked us up, we were surprised to hear that the two of us were the only participants. We were stuck in traffic again and again, but that gave me the opportunity to take some pictures:
The Grand Palace is made up of numerous stunning buildings, halls, pavilions, gardens and courtyards. Here's just a small selection of pictures which we took on the site:
After the tour was over, we asked the driver to drop us off at the Baiyoke Tower II which is Thailand's tallest building. You need to be patient when driving in Bangkok...
Baiyoke Tower II rises 328 meters and contains the Baiyoke Sky Hotel, the tallest hotel in Southeast Asia and the fourth-tallest all-hotel structure in the world:
The building has 85 floors, with a public observatory on the 77th floor, a bar on the 83rd floor and a 360-degree revolving roof deck - and the latter is where we headed to. The views were stunning in the late afternoon sun:
This is the Siam Paragon mall, our next destination:
If you want to buy something which you cannot find on the city's markets, I recommend to visit the Siam Paragon, one of the largest shopping malls in Asia:
Due to the early departure time, we left the hotel before 06:00, but traffic was low and we reached the airport well in time. I had already selected our seats in the second last row (two-seater) during the booking process, so there was no need to worry. There were only few people waiting in queue and a friendly agent soon entered our data. Then she wanted to know what our next destination after Taipei would be and she asked to see the e-ticket printouts. "Oh, you live in Dubai?", she said somehow euphorically after I showed her our itinerary for the next two days. I denied, but didn't go into any further detail. We finally got our boarding passes and went airside.
S7's green aircraft, such as 767-300ER VQ-BBI, stand out everywhere. There's also a Nordwind 757-200 in the background:
The most exotic plane at BKK on that morning was 747SP A9C-HAK of Bahrain Royal Flight:
And there's the tail of our China Airlines 747-400 which had arrived from Amsterdam:
Of course I had been hoping to get one of these birds, oh well...
Our plane was B-18201, the second oldest frame in the 13-strong 747-400 (pax) fleet. Just look how dirty the plane was:
We didn't see a reason to line up with the crowd, so we belonged to the last passengers to step on board. Friendly flight attendants welcomed us, but the good first impression was gone soon. The interior was old and worn - and there were large spots on the seats:
No PTVs in this retro cabin:
While the old seats were remarkably comfortable, legroom was tight:
According to Seatguru, China Airlines has a pitch of 32 inches on the 747 fleet, but this was clearly not the case in our row. Since there was slightly more legroom in the window seat, I let my brother sit there. I was very disappointed by China Airlines' hardware - I wouldn't want to take a long-haul flight on such a plane.
Inflight magazine and safety card:
My headphones remained unused:
S7 Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Air India and China Southern:
We left the gate 3 minutes early and soon passed Thai Airways A330-300 HS-TEE...
...as well as ANA Cargo 767-300ERBCF JA8286 and a Volga-Dnepr An-124-100:
Another interesting visitor was Avient Aviation's sole MD-11F, Z-BVT:
The massive An-124 again:
Liftoff after a powerful takeoff roll:
Dirty windows were another annoyance on this plane:
Hot meals were served about an hour after takeoff. I chose chicken over fish and got a nice-looking tray:
However, the quality of the meal was below average. Rice, vegetable and fruit were okay, but the breaded chicken pieces, the (strange) salad and the coconut cream dessert tasted terrible. It was probably the worst meal I have ever received on an Asian carrier. And no, that artificially colored fruit juice (or punch or whatever) wasn't great either.
Btw - the flight attendants working on our side weren't overly charming either. And what I found totally unacceptable was an older male flight attendant rushing through the aisle with coffee and tea pots - he was moving so quickly that he must have missed some requests. And when he filled up a cup, he made it so quickly that he spilled some drops onto the trays or elsewhere. Very unprofessional!
This cabin looks very retro:
About 20 minutes before landing, we dived into dense clouds and it was almost impossible to see the wingtip any more:
The ground appeared only shortly before touchdown which happened after a flying time of 3 hours and 5 minutes. What a bad weather at Taipei:
China Airlines meets Air China:
Due to reconstruction work, we had to walk through dark corridors and finally arrived in an old hall where we had to line up at immigration. 20 minutes later, we could step outside and were surprised how cool it was compared to Bangkok. The next bus to the city center was about to leave in five minutes which we were very glad about. However, we were still disgruntled about the terribly bad weather considering that we were planning to visit the Taipei 101 later in the day. Story to be continued...
Both airlines performed worse than expected and I'm particularly disappointed by SriLankan Airlines because I had some nice flights on that carrier back in 2006. The A332 cabin was in terrible condition and seating was extremely cramped on both types. Cabin crews were partly nice, but not overly impressive either - at least the catering was still good. I would fly SriLankan again, but only after all widebodies have received the rather promising new interior.
Old and worn cabin, seats with big spots, tight legroom, below-average catering, unimpressive service - that China Airlines flight was a major disappointment. What I found very irritating is the fact that planes with that old interior are also used on the carrier's longest routes. At least the booking process (including seat selection) on the carrier's website had been convenient. However, I wouldn't fly on a China Airlines 747 again until all planes have been refurbished.
win1290 From Thailand, joined Jan 2012, 276 posts, RR: 2 Reply 3, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 16273 times:
I only just started reading this, but want to make a guess on your question
Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter): Back to Dubai Airport. We had plenty of time left, so we kept walking through the terminal for a while. There's a very interesting exhibition about the development of aviation in Dubai in the passage between Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. But something's fundamentally wrong here:
Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter): Any idea? The first user with the right answer gets a free ginger ale (or another drink) during a future meeting.
Well, I think the Dubai-LA was operated by 777-200LR, rather than the E6-EMK which was 777-200ER as pictured, as the 777-200ER version doesn't have the range for the flight.
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 1): I can say that I logged Mihin Lanka's entire fleet...which consisted of one A320 and one A321 back then.
UL are a bit cheeky in their deployment of Mihin flights. E.g. DXB-CMB-CGK, the longer CGK leg is operated by Mihin, and the information on this is tiny in the booking search engine. Suppose it is the same as my mate who booked EY RUH-ABU-DHABI-HKT and got AirBerlin for the longest Phuket sector. Bummer...
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 1): only few other guests had decided to eat there, so it felt very private
Eeek, what a waste of food this could be. Did look great though, and I am surprised you had the energy to explore afterwards.
PlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6498 posts, RR: 78 Reply 7, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 16132 times:
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 5): As for your pub quiz, I am in no doubt that the more eagle-eyed spotter will have guessed it already... but is that really DXB? Perhaps a diff airport. Anyway,
Hi Luke! The question was answered faster than I had expected! I guess I need to find something more diffcult next time.
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 5): Excellent report. You said you were easing back on the detail of your reports, but as far as I am concerned, this report seems to be business as usual; i.e. Excellent and well presented.
Many thanks. Well, I used to write more about flight planning etc. And I only write when I take pleasure in doing so.
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 5): I was expecting this UL let down, after you mentioned caution. Now, what has begun this sliding of standards?? As more time has passed since EK was off the scene>?
I'm not sure when it has begun, but EK's withdrawal certainly didn't help. However, I'm hoping UL will improve again. The new interiors are a big step in the right direction.
Luxair747SP From Germany, joined May 2010, 483 posts, RR: 18 Reply 8, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 16089 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW FORUM MODERATOR
Very nice TR about your Asia travel!
Quite retro cabins on all of your flights in this report!
Sometimes I like that retro feeling in the world of modern aircraft with endless IFE options.
The food looked great on UL!
Your CI flight indeed looked quite below average, but on the other hand, without PTV, one can fully enjoy the flying!.
deltamartin From Sweden, joined Dec 2010, 1060 posts, RR: 7 Reply 10, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 16046 times:
Very interesting to read about your UL and CI experience. I especially enjoyed the China Airlines bit, since I will be flying EVA Air next month on a similarly long route, so it was nice to see what the competition has to offer.
Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter): There are six A340s in the fleet, but I got 4R-ADA again which flew me from Colombo to Frankfurt in 2006...
Shame that you got two regs you had already flown.
Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter): As seat pitch was slightly more generous in the window seat, I let my brother move there
The one in the Boeing livery is really stunning, the flower on the stabilizer doesn't make it any worse either. The Skyteam one is also a good looking bird, of course.
Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter): Hot meals were served about an hour after takeoff. I chose chicken over fish and got a nice-looking tray:
That does indeed look very good, shame it didn't taste as good.
Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter): However, we were still disgruntled about the terribly bad weather considering that we were planning to visit the Taipei 101 later in the day. Story to be continued...
Very much looking forward to the next part featuring Taipei, since I'll spend a couple of days there before my EVA Air flight.
PlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6498 posts, RR: 78 Reply 11, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 16032 times:
Quoting deltamartin (Reply 10): Great report!
Very interesting to read about your UL and CI experience.
Hi Martin, thanks a lot for your feedback!
Quoting deltamartin (Reply 10): I especially enjoyed the China Airlines bit, since I will be flying EVA Air next month on a similarly long route, so it was nice to see what the competition has to offer.
Superfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39408 posts, RR: 76 Reply 12, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 16013 times:
Wonderful trip report!
Looks like were in the exact same spot in more than one occasion on your trip.
The Sri Lankan A340 interior looks warm and inviting but too bad to hear about the seats being hard.
Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter): My brother wasn't hungry and rejected his meal, while I decided to try the lamb. Very nice tray:
That looks delicious!
Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter): the plane suddenly dropped - which felt like being hit by something. There was total silence in the cabin as people were paralyzed for a short moment. And then I discovered numerous people with wipes in their hands cleaning walls and overhead ceilings because their drinks had splashed upwards! Well, one should never underestimate the Bay of Bengal!
Would have been cool if you could have got a photo during the drop with coffee cups and sausages rising in the air.
win1290 From Thailand, joined Jan 2012, 276 posts, RR: 2 Reply 14, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 15950 times:
Hi again PH!
Very nice and interesting report! The cabin from Both Sri Lankan Airlines and China Airlines look very retro indeed, and not so well maintained. But the food on UL looks rather good with three options! and I quite like the menu with drink lists as well.
Great pictures during your visit to my home city as well. I love the pictures you took at the Grand Palace, a spectacular attraction in my opinion. The hotel looks great! and the food at the hotel makes me hungry again . Patpong! I have never visited the area, that name scares me haha.
Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter): Hot meals were served shortly after the snack service. SriLankan still provides pretty menu cards (which get distributed and recollected again):
The menu looks absolutely nice! and the main dish looks delicious too.
Haha! The modern interiors are to be appreciated but I wouldn't consider China Airlines old interiors that old. Keep in mind, I've gone out of my way to fly Cubana, Aeroflot, Orient Thai, Nok and Philippines Airlines.
FLIEGER67 From Austria, joined Sep 2003, 4759 posts, RR: 56 Reply 21, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 15626 times:
good to follow something more from you´re hand.
Nice pictures all around, well done.
Bad luck with SriLankan, but that happens from time to time, I´am sure, you know.
Hah, that CI 744 looks indeed not that really welcoming.
I will see hopefully another reg. on AMS-BKK-TPE in a couple of weeks.
foppishbum From Taiwan, joined Mar 2006, 765 posts, RR: 0 Reply 24, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 15271 times:
I'm surprised that China Airlines uses the old 744 for AMS via BKK route. I fly China Airlines all the time to TPE from LAX or SFO and all flights have been on newer (or at least refurbished) interiors with nice PTVs, etc. I guess since LAX and SFO are the two largest long-haul markets for China Airlines, they put the newer planes with nicer interiors on those routes.
Thanks for sharing the trip report. Nice pictures, too!
TAIWAN Pride! 臺灣國萬歲！
25 767747: Another great report, PH! Great to hear from you again. Sorry you did not have a more memorable experience with either airline; The China Airlines 747
26 coolfish1103: There are no more old birds in CI that are flying now so you won't be seeing anymore of them. Though the refurbish also got rid of the comfy headrest,
27 PlaneHunter: Thanks, Wesley! Hi Matthew, thanks a lot for your feedback! Yes, there's no excuse for such dirty seats. I can only recommend to go there. Very good
28 Superfly: Did this happen within the last few days? I flew them last month and had an old interior between Taipei and Bangkok. The older style headrest were ve
29 PlaneHunter: Good question. I just found a Bloomberg article from 2011 suggesting that the 747 refurbishment programm was planned to be complete by May 2012. PH
30 Superfly: Bloomberg often is inaccurate. My B-18201 flight with old interior was on August 1st, 2012.
31 PlaneHunter: I don't follow Bloomberg very often, so I don't know. I guess they only published what they got froom CI last year. But it seems the refurbishment pr
32 abrelosojos: Thanks a lot for your report PH. To be honest, I am not particularly surprised by UL's decline. I have spoken to quite a few people who have had simil
33 PlaneHunter: Hi Alex, thanks for your feedback! That's really bad - so I guess a few other planes aren't in great shape either. Yes, I really hope so. UL used to
34 debonair: As you can see in my previous reply (no 23), I posted a link to CI's press release in German... You will read, I will try to translate: "The reconfig
35 Superfly: I try not to follow Bloomberg either. No need to. I was on one of their old planes last month. Typhoon Saola On China Airlines 747 Bangkok-Taiwan (by
36 PlaneHunter: Not in any case, as Superfly's experience has shown. PH
37 The777Man: Hi PlaneHunter! Thanks for an excellent report with excellent pictures ! Too bad UL was a disappointment and it seems they have gone downhill quite a
38 PlaneHunter: Hi Lars! Thanks a lot for your nice comments! This needs to be stopped. Yes, I can only agree. And six other A332s...but bad luck strikes sometimes.
39 The777Man: Well, I haven't done any closer inspection other than seeing the ones here at LAX when they go thru immigration....but most of them are VERY attracti
40 PlaneHunter: Well, LAX seems to be a premium destination for CI - new interiors, most attractive FAs? Good to hear! PH
41 Superfly: Speak of the devil. That very Bahrain 747SP just climbed out of Don Mueang, rumbling over my condo about a minute ago. I should have gone to play gol
42 PlaneHunter: Interesting. Where do most VIP operators fly to DMK or Suvarnabhumi? Nice, I guess planes would always distract me from playing. Well, I can also rec
43 Superfly: Increasingly Don Mueang. Suvarnabhumi is already crowded. There is plenty of space at Don Mueang. In fact, Don Mueang is becoming a spotters paradise
44 PlaneHunter: Good to hear. Really interesting stuff! Oh no, just regular chairs. But nice hotel staff... PH
45 SRQKEF: Hi PH, great report! Not good service at all by UL. Would've expected something better than this, way too complicated. I saw it right away: A6-EMK is
46 PlaneHunter: Hi Sveinn, many thanks for your feedback! The booking process itself was easy and convenient, but then the problems started. SriLankan and PlaneHunte
47 jwhite9185: Hi PH, Nice continuation of your report there. Ahh I was wondering where the other BMI bird was now flying - last i heard it was with SAA. I was also
48 PlaneHunter: Hi James, thanks for your comments! That's true. One must be aware that both planes have also been operating to Europe. Horrible! It's a shame - UL a
49 ba319-131: Nice report and pictures PH, thanks for posting. - What a great itinerary! - I tend to 'loose' menu cards when on a plane - Good looking meal. - That'
50 PlaneHunter: Hi Mark, many thanks for your reply! Well, it took me a while to work that out. Sounds good. But I guess it can become boring due to limited traffic.
51 sultanils: Hello PH, Phew, am I glad that the not so positive title didn’t cover the contents of your report, trust me, it wasn’t a letdown, it was yet again
52 PlaneHunter: Hi Nils, thank you very much for your nice comments! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Well, I had indeed expected much better flights. The new interior on at
53 OA260: Hi Udo Nice report as always . I loved those cabins and UL was really good back then . I had a few lovely flights on them and prior to that I flew the
54 PlaneHunter: Many thanks for your reply, Philip! Good to hear you enjoyed the report. Yes, it's a shame. The airline used to have a good reputation. Absolutely. I
55 gabrielchew: Nice report Udo. Shame UL and CI weren't up to the job. Still, they both got you there in a safe and timely manner. It's true. Always stay strapped in
56 PlaneHunter: Thanks, Gabriel! Yes, better safe than sorry. I remember your report about Bangkok. Usually you cannot go wrong with Le Méridien. PH
57 flightsimboy: Hey PH, Great to see the next installment of your trip!! A pity indeed that UL did not meet with your expectations, which was surprsing especially lik
58 Lufthansa747: Nice report PH, especially after a perfect flight on HS-TJG BKK-SIN a few hours ago. I miss my time in BKK, and TG blows the lackluster service and po
59 win1290: Thats sounds great too. hmm, difficult choice Cheers Nils Thanks, Win
60 coolfish1103: It was originally set for Mar. 2012 by China Airlines but they do have those infinite delays so it was never trustworthy unless the aircraft is actua
61 PlaneHunter: Hi flightsimboy, great to hear from you! Thannk so much for taking the time to write such an extensive reply! This is really appreciated! Yes, I'm wo
62 The777Man: Mostly 77L with a 77W only once every ten days or so at best. Only one flight now. The777Man
63 coolfish1103: I got the B-18201 and 18202 mixed around. B-18201 is the one that's in the hanger now. No new bins in Economy. Business sector new bins in the middle
64 PlaneHunter: Interesting, thanks for the update. Alright, good to know. PH
65 Superfly: Now I can brag about being on the 'old' China Airlines. I got a taste of the old and new on my last trip to Taipei.
66 MSS658: Hello PH Another great report, thanks for sharing it with us. Impressive is indeed a word that cannot be used, thrice the same registration isn't fun
67 LH4532: Hello PlaneHunter, great to see another of your Trip Reports. A friendly welcome is something important for me before a flight. I don´t think many ai
68 coolfish1103: Taiwanese like direct flights. Also, CX is not that friendly in terms of service when you speak Mandarin. If you speak superb English then you will b
69 PlaneHunter: Always good to know two sides of a coin. Well, I could only experience the old CI. Thanks for your feedback, Marc! No, no, only twice...that's alread
70 akhmad: Dear PH, Fantastic report with many great pictures! I just had to read and re-read it several times as I did not want to miss anything. What a shame a
71 PlaneHunter: Hi Suryo, thanks so much for your kind words! Great to hear! Good point. I still need to try that. Yes, the turquoise color is so much nicer. Very go
72 akhmad: My bad! I was not yet involved in trip reporting scene at that time. [Edited 2012-09-29 05:03:59]
73 roberts87: Great report as usual PH! Interesting to read about these not so common airlines. Too bad both were such a bad letdown. Looking forward to the next ep
74 adamspotter: Hi PH! Another great report with great pictures, as usual! Very enjoyable From the looks of it SriLankan and China Airlines really need to refurbish t
75 PlaneHunter: Ah, okay. Good to have you in the scene now, Suryo! Thank you, Robert! Many thanks for your feedback, Brendan! It's done in CI's case, but I have no
76 airbuseric: Udo, great reading here. It took me a while to reply but a good story! And good pics as usual. I totally agree with your opinion and view on both carr
77 FlyingFinn76: Hi PH, Finally got around reading the second part of your latest trip-report-in-progress. Not terribly good experiences this time on UL and CI. Doesn'
78 CaptainRed: Hi PH, good to read another report from you, and a very interesting as well. Sorry to read that all three flights were somehow disappointing. Especial
79 PlaneHunter: Hi Eric, thanks for your reply! No worries! You have been very busy with CX rides recently... It's done now. The flight between BKK and TPE wasn't ch
80 SR 103: Thanks PlaneHunter for a great report. Shame to hear about your SriLankan experience. I had hoped my rather unimpressive experience earlier this year
81 eastafspot: Hey PH Nice report on a negative experience though. Unlucky or UL standards are decreasing? IIRC, your signature was previously " Never fly the same r
82 infodesk: Hi PH, I must have missed this one when you posted it as I was on holiday. It’s clear where your title came from, what a disappointment indeed on bo
83 PlaneHunter: Thanks for your comments, SR 103! Yes, it's a shame indeed. But I'm still optimistic that it may change again. Hi Léo, many thanks for your feedback
84 eastafspot: You are welcome! Do you have any idea why? That's much better with your footer now regards
85 PlaneHunter: EK's withdrawal may have been a reason. But I still hope it will change again. The new products look promising. PH