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China Airlines To The Star Flyer (PHX-HKT)  
User currently offlineAirCop From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (9 years 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 8416 times:

On March 7, 2007, the wife and I left on our long awaited cruise that would be leaving on a two week trip aboard the SPV Star Flyer from Phuket, Thailand and sailing to various stops in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand before returning to Phuket. We booked China Airlines due mainly for the cost savings of nearly $700 per ticket from PHX. The airfare was $930. 30 days prior to departure, I was searching the China Air website and notice the flight from TPE to HKT was listed. I call them and found out the flight was cancelled. Of course they routed us through BKK instead of the one-stop via HKG on TG so it ended up being a long trip across the Pacific.

First the stop the US Airways check-in counter at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. It was painfully obvious the passenger service agent was unfamiliar with international check-in, as she had to get a supervisor to help her. At this point, I learned that US Airways can only check bags onto 3 flights total, which meant that we would have to pick up the bags in BKK and recheck them.

US Airways Flight #34 3/7/07
319 - N830AW - Gate A6
Seat 20C
PHX-LAX Scheduled Departure 7:10pm - On Time

Flight was maybe half full if that. Plane was clean and comfortable, a very enjoyable flight over to LAX, good cabin crew the arrival was on-time allowing more than enough time to walk over to the Tom Bradley Terminal. Once in the TBIT, I again noticed how dumpy the terminal was. Checked-in at China, got our boarding pass, made our way over to the TSA line. My other half got pulled aside, seems something was in her bag, that passed inspection in PHX but not in LAX, (fingernail clippers).

China Airlines #7 03/07/07
744- B-18025
Seat 45G Scheduled Departure 11:10pm - Wheels up was at 11:55pm

What a zoo at check-in. Since we were being bused to a remote gate, once they called the flight, suddenly the Asians rushed the gate attempted to get on the bus even though their row wasn't called yet. Finally every one is on board and we taxied all over finally arriving at the south runway and then airborne for a long bumpy ride across the pacific.

This aircraft was one of China's older 744's, had the older interior and did not have the IFE system. The flight was 100% full. Movies offered were Dreamgirls, and Rocky. The main dinner meal was halibut which was half way bad for an airline dinner. I did noticed that there was alot of Vietnamese passengers on the flight. One elderly (81 year old) Vietnamese passenger developed breathing problems about 12 hours into the flight, and the flight attendants requested a physician, my wife responded and got the individual on oxygen which save a diversion to Japan or Korea. The F/A gave her a bag of goodies from the duty free stuff as a thank you. The F/A's reminded me of the movie the Stepford's Wife, everyone looking perfect, always in full uniform.

After a long night we arrived twenty minutes late into Tawain at 6:00am. Made our way over to Terminal 1 was not has nice as Terminal 2. The terminal was very chilly and one could feel the dampness from the rain and fog outside.

China Airlines #693 3/9/07
744 - N168CL
Seat 30J
TPE-BKK - Scheduled Departure 9:35am - ontime

This aircraft is the one american registered airframe in the China fleet. The outside was dirty, which made some of Air France's aircraft seemed clean. Inside the aircraft was clean, the flight was approximately half full, which made a comfortable 3 1/2 hour flight to BKK. Again no IFE, movie offered was Night in the Museum. A chicken lunch was offered, no problems at all, and it was a on-time arrival into BKK.

Cleared customs in BKK, reclaimed our bags and rechecked them all within an hour. First time to the new BKK airport , I thought it was very pleasant, although I would describe it was a shopping mall with an airport added.

Thai Airlines #643 3/9/07
333 - HS-TEB
Seat 52A
BKK-HKT - Scheduled Departure 3:45pm Actual Departure 4:20pm

Bused to a remote stand. Once on aboard the flight crew announced first a 10 minute delay, then a 30 minute delay. Once the second delay was announced, the flight crew apologize for the delay and started to serve a box snack. Soon we were airborne for the short flight to Phuket. Upon arrival at HKT, I noticed the following international carriers at various gates, 757's of Finnair, Air Finland, a 319 of Silk, and a 332 of My Travel.

The next day were boarded the SPV Star Flyer for a two week cruise. The Star Flyer is a 4 mast sailing vessel design based on the old clipper ships. The ship can accommodate 170 passengers, and for this sailing there was approximately 156 on board. Stops included the Surin, Similan, and Batong Group Islands in Thailand. Malaysia stops included Langkawi, Malacca, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The water in Thailand was crystal clear which made for great scuba diving, but once into Malaysia the water was dirty and full of junk.

Some side notes the entrance into Singapore harbor looked like the 405 in California. Apparently 400 ship movements a day in the harbor, and Malacca straights its required to have a night watch just to look for pirates. The anti-pirate system on this ship was having the sports team out with fire hoses overnight. In Kuala Lumpur it was national police day, and some clown decided that would be the best day to attempt to become spider man and climb the Twin Towers (88 stories), he was at the 22 floor when I saw him.

Has with all good trips it had to end, and the start back across the Pacific to home.

Thai Airline #630 3/24/07
333- HS-TEE
HKT-BKK - Scheduled Departure 12:45pm -Pushback 1:10pm
Seat 45J

Tired looking 333. Once inside the plane was clean, the flight was full. Sitting around us was students attending an international school in Hong Kong that were down in HKT working on a Habiat for Humianity project. Short flight, a snack lunch.

Once we arrived at BKK we must have parked at the furthest north gate there is. A Thai 743 was parked on the ramp a few yards away. This is where I discovered how big BKK is. It was 1.3 miles from our gate to the transfer desk for China Airlines. Do you realize how hard it is to keep one's spouse out of the stores during that trek?

China Airlines #696 3/24/07
333- B-18303
BKK-TPE - Scheduled Departure 5:25pm - Pushback 5:45pm.
Seat 27A

Very nice aircraft; new seats with the IFE and other goodies, such as the nose camera. First time I was on an aircraft with this device. Was able to watch the entire departure and arrival from your seat. Now add channel 9 and it would be perfect. Flight was 90% full, the meal didn't look all that great so I passed. Nice flight with an late arrival into a rainy (again) TPE. Quick transfer from terminal 1 to 2.

China Airlines #8 3/24/07
744 - B-18211
TPE-LAX - Scheduled Departure 11:25pm - Ontime
Seat 57D

744 with the new interior, new seats which were very comfortable even in coach. Again this flight was full. IFE at every seat which offered a number of options to keep one busy during the long flight. This aircraft also has the nose cameras, watching the departure on a rainy night in TPE was interesting Watched Dreamgirls and some other movie which was so good I forgot the name of it. Turned the cameras on again once we passed over the California coast and was able to watch the arrival into LAX. Arrived approximately 20 minutes early. Hit customs during Asian/Mexico rush hour, but was able to clear everything within 45 minutes.

Now over to Terminal 1, where I suffered the wrath of TSA because I took my shoes off. They had this machine where they puffed air on you, if your shoes are off, it fouls up everything. TSA is not my favorite federal agency ranks just above the IRS.

US Airways #36 3/24/07
LAX-PHX - Scheduled Departure 9:45pm Actual Departure 10:50
Seat 15C

Last flight of the day, and get the cabin crew from hell. First of all the interior is in bad shape, not a big deal since its only about an hour flight. But the flight attendants, once was brand new and his english was very poor, one was overweight and kept hitting people as she walked the aisle, and then there was Mother Superior who has challenging most of the passengers carry on's. By this time I didn't care about any inflight service I just wanted to get home, the last thing I did remember was that Mother Superior gave the Phoenix time as Mountain Daylight Time. Wonder what rock she has been under the pass 80 years? Phoenix doesn't switch to daylight time. Anyway we made it, took 40 minutes for luggage (we were the only flight arriving at that time), took a cab took.

Remarks about China Air. Personally not to the standards of Singapore, but for the price the service was still better than the american carriers offer.

[Edited 2007-04-11 22:31:58]

[Edited 2007-04-11 22:32:48]

7 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineRyanair!!! From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (9 years 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 8181 times:

Quoting AirCop (Thread starter):
The F/A's reminded me of the movie the Stepford's Wife, everyone looking perfect, always in full uniform.

Whenever this happens, you know you are flying an airline that cares about customer service. It is all about pride in presentation. I must add that the CAL ladies look good in their deep-purple cheong sams.

Quoting AirCop (Thread starter):
What a zoo at check-in. Since we were being bused to a remote gate, once they called the flight, suddenly the Asians rushed the gate attempted to get on the bus even though their row wasn't called yet.

It happens everywhere I guess! Imagine if this was a LCC...

Quoting AirCop (Thread starter):
Do you realize how hard it is to keep one's spouse out of the stores during that trek?

You wife is an airport planner's dream come true.

What an interesting journey you have had. What did you think of CAL's inflight service? It would be interesting to know because you know the bad spate of press they garnered for themselves during the last decade and people from this forum seemed fixated to stay away from them.

User currently offlineAirCop From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (9 years 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 7752 times:

Regarding the inflight service provided by CAL, I was pleasantly surprised. I wasn't expecting much as it was coach, but with any concerns all one had to do was ring the call button and a F/A was right there. The food was served warm, on real plates, with real silverware. As these were late night flights, the F/A's didn't go out of their way to disturb you either if you were sleeping. On the older aircraft a little more leg room would have been nice, but with the new seats it seemed to work out. It wasn't Singapore, but the last time I flew overseas I flew AA to ZRH, the cabin service on CAL far exceeded that of AA. Several couples on the cruise flew Business Class on CAL, and had nothing but good things to say about the cabin service. Bottom line, I saved quite bit of money (which my wife spend on other things) , I got there and back, and I enjoyed the flights. As a low cost option to Asia, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend CAL.

Edit for some grammer!

[Edited 2007-04-12 21:01:04]

User currently offlineAirbus3801 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (9 years 2 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 7712 times:

Quoting AirCop (Thread starter):
I again noticed how dumpy the terminal was.

So so true. TBIT is a disgrace for an airport like LAX~!

User currently offlineRyanair!!! From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (9 years 2 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 7594 times:

Quoting AirCop (Reply 2):
Edit for some grammer!

Grammar  Smile

User currently offlineAirCop From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (9 years 2 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 7579 times:

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 4):

NIght shift is getting to me, been up way to many hours now. Thats my excuse and I'm sticking to it.  box 

User currently offlineAndaman From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (9 years 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 7108 times:

Hi, thanks for the report! It was interesting to read your opinion about China Airlines, they often are one of the inexpensive choices from Europe to BKK.

Upon arrival at HKT, I noticed the following international carriers at various gates, 757's of Finnair, Air finland, a 319 of Silk, and a 332 of My Travel.

Both Finnair and Air Finland with their 757 charters are regular visitors at HKT, Helsinki-Phuket is a busy charter route in winter. Never tried them to Phuket though, it's a 12h flight, with a stop in Arab Emirates or India.
TUIfly Nordic flies the route non stop with 747.

User currently offline9MMAR From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (9 years 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 6920 times:

Thanks to this trip report. Star Clippers looks AMAZING!  eyepopping 

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