Hangzhou's airport is very new and modern - though a bit far from the city. The only way to get there is by taxi as there is no train or public airport bus. Taxis cost RMB100 which is quite a lot for a small city like Hangzhou.
The terminal was quite busy as expected, as there were plenty of domestic departures. There were no international departures this evening so that area of the terminal was sectioned off. I believe all the international flights operate during the morning/afternoon time.
Check-in was swift and the female agent was courteous and surprise, surprise - very good English! The flight was originally supposed to be operated by a B737-800 however there was a substitution and the new a/c was a B767 - probably due to heavier than expected loads.
I then proceeded to wander around the airport shops and purchase my "Airport Construction Fee" ticket which was RMB50.
After clearing security, my assigned gate was directly in front of me - Gate 16. I had a look at the information monitors, quite a few flights were delayed - i was hoping mine wasn't one of them. A China Northern MD80 had just completed boarding at my gate. After that a/c pushed back, a Xiamen Airlines B737 pulled into the gate. I was certain that my flight was going to be delayed! However, I was proven wrong as the CA 767 pulled into Gate 15 which is actually designated as an International Gate. Boarding commenced shortly thereafter. We boarded from Gate 16, but had to walk towards the airbridge of Gate 15.
Another full flight in Business and Economy. First class only had two passengers onboard. Air China is certainly a step down compared to China Southern in terms of inflight service. For a two and a half hour flight during dinner i was expecting to get a hot meal. However, the food that they served us was quite horrible and totally inadequate. Though it seemed everyone around me seemed to enjoy it! I was however surprised by the Bitburger beer! Inflight entertainment consisted of the AirTV channel which alternated with the satellite navigation display. No music channels were available.
During the flight we encountered some heavy turbulence which lasted on and off for about 20 mins. Because of this there was only one drink run. I have recorded one of the announcements. The English ability of this crew was quite limited.
Smooth touch down on-time at PEK. Was surprisingly warm in Beijing tonight - was expecting around 10degrees celsius but was actually around 26!! Was a very long walk from the gate to the baggage claim area - many people were running! Bags took quite a long time to arrive - perhaps after 30 mins of waiting at the belt. Took a taxi to the Holiday Inn Lido and was in bed by midnight!
Overall Verdict - 6/10
Good Points : B767 instead of B737, Bitburger Beer, Ontime departure and Arrival!
Bad Points : Horrible catering, delay in baggage retrieval.
Ryanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4770 posts, RR: 25
Reply 1, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 4659 times:
This is a very good insight into the Chinese domestic scene, something we do not get much of on this forum. I was truly impressed with the way you recorded the turbulence announcements, even though all I could understand was "seatbelt" and "thank you". At least the bother with English announcements on a domestic flight!
I did read in a review about Chinese domestic carriers some years ago that MU and CZ were one of the best Chinese carriers when it comes to service. How true is that?
Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
Carnoc From China, joined Oct 2001, 875 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 4621 times:
Thanks for such a detailed report, Milehighclub. Certainly something worth reading and overall a terrific job.
It seems the inflight catering & English skills of their cabin crews are something that Air China needs some serious improvements. Although their standard of inflight services largely vary from flight to flight, so are other Chinese carriers.
All in all, nice to know how is Air China doing on its domestic routes from a passenger's perspective and hopefully you had a great time there in China, Milehighclub.
9V-SVC From Singapore, joined Oct 2001, 1799 posts, RR: 10
Reply 4, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 4247 times:
I agree with you with the inflight service, I flew on MU, CA and CZ and I think CZ has the best inflight service among all 3 carriers I flown. About MU ? The cabin crews are pretty rude on one of the flights and that makes me fly CZ after that particular flight.
Singapore 777 From Australia, joined May 1999, 1024 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 4195 times:
Haha, I really loved reading your trip report, especially the part with the sound bite.
Milehighclub, I think the announcement translates to something like -
"Ladies and gentlemen, we have encountered some turbulence. Please remain in your seats and fasten your seatbelts. .....until the seatbelt sign is on. Thank you."