Topic Author
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Chek Lap Kok Disappointment

Mon Apr 17, 2000 12:45 pm

I came the first time to Hong Kong's new Chek Lap Kok airport last week and I was quite disappointed.

The range of shops in the transfer area is very limited, there is one chain selling parfumes, one chain selling alcoholics and tobacco products, one chain selling books, and so on. No competition, high prices. No fast food restaurants, no supermarkets. And the windows reflect all the lights from inside, so when it starts to get dark there is no chance of seeing any planes outside any more. Almost impossible to even see the registration of an aircraft parked directly at the gate in front.

Are there similar opinions?
Can anybody give me a tip what to do in those 3,5 hours transfer time on my way back?

Me & You & a Plane Named Blue...
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RE: Chek Lap Kok Disappointment

Mon Apr 17, 2000 3:43 pm

Udo, I will be in CLK in a few days...could you (or others) give me some good ideas on where to go to spot while waiting for my flight to depart (both in and out of the terminal)?

Thanks much!

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RE: Chek Lap Kok Disappointment

Mon Apr 17, 2000 4:00 pm

Thanks for the 'heads up',

I'm due to fly out to KH for the first time also in 2 weeks & was wondering what the airport is really like.

That does sound like a BIG disappointment.

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I Don't Agree!

Mon Apr 17, 2000 4:10 pm

First of all, you mentioned that the range of shops is very limited. But , if you visit other international airports in the world, such as Heathrow, Zurich, LAX.......(I have been to many of them), you can only find a SMALL NUMBER of shops( most of them have less than 20) at the departure terminal, while the HKG have around100 shops at the departure lounge, When comparing to other 'International' airports, does it mean that they have LESS competition???? I wondered!
No fast food restaurant?? I think you haven't been to all the places at the airport and I can tell, there are abundant of fast food restaurants around the whole airport!
Are you kidding of having a supermarket in a airport??????????? I have never never seen a airport with supermarket inside! I don't think the passengers want or need to buy some fruit or meat from the supermarket and it is illegal to export fresh food from any countries! Right??
I can only admit that the quality of the windows are not good enough since the contractor have admitted of placing poor quality windows at the new airport. in the HK newspaper.

An aircraft lover from Hong Kong

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Udo And Fly777UAL

Mon Apr 17, 2000 4:22 pm

I've flown twice thru CLK in recent months and years and I can attest to some of the difficulty some can encounter there.

For starters the airport has signage that is a bit smallish and difficult to understand. Placed far too infrequently and not large enough in some ways. For tired eyes walking off a long haul Pacific run connecting onwards to an Asian destination, CLK can be a test of one's tired vision and acumen to steer one to the correct gate to the extreme.

Above that, bathroom comfort facilities seem to be placed at odd locations and/or in capacity sizes that are ridiculously small for a high traffic area or incredibly large for a not so well traveled area for the airport terminal. You have to see that for yourself. It seemed very very odd.

Food outlets ARE indeed expensive. I went thru $70 HKD for a plate of roast duck and a ball of rice in less than a minute at the Chinese food court upstairs which seemed to be the -cheapest- outlet available. Nothing really worth raving about I might add as well. The sit-down restaurants like the one featuring Maitre'D service next to the Chinese Food buffet area we sat at boasted a menu priced on a par I could compare with the Peninsula Club downtown.  

Airplane spottingwise.

I'd suggest the southernmost areas in the main terminal facing the NE/SW runway on that side. The downside is there are no moving sidewalks heading back to the terminal center. Whoever thought of this "feature" ranks up there with "Frank Lloyd Wrong" in terms of use a passenger can look forward to, as it's skewed to the outbound passenger and not arriving, let alone the frequent gate changes one encounters at CLK.

Other than that I must say that it's a spectacular airfield facility overall..but I must confess the best has got to be Singapore's Changi Airport...that place is absolutely -marvelous- and passenger friendly.

HKG's CLK airport needs a -large amount of study- to really use and take advantage of before time, versus SIN's airport which is extremely easy to use.
I sincerely feel that SIN can be mastered upon arrival..whereas CLK needs at least a trip or two into and out of it and with a great deal of time on the ground before one really -begins- to make sense of it.

It's arhcitecturally beautiful..but passenger-ease-of use-speaking..It's absolutely *Chaotic* in a word. The way it's planned out interiorwise for passengers really *breaks it* in some regards. It's perfect for airplanes of all sizes, but it's difficult for *people* to use. Compare it to SIN and you will absolutely understand what I mean.

Airport engineers that specialize in airside passenger amenities and their ease of use will sincerely -wince- when it comes to CLK..I absolutely believe that.

It's got a boat-load of of potential..but it's not there yet.

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RE: StarAlliance

Mon Apr 17, 2000 4:28 pm

Have to disagree with you with regards to a pucity of shops at LHR - its simply not true!!

I have been in every terminal except T2 in the last 6 months and have to say that the range of shops at T1, T3 and T4 are amongst the best in the world. T1 has about 30 stores airside, from Dixons (electronics) to the Disney Store. T3 has Dixons too, plus Thomas Pink (London shirtmaker), Bally (shoes), Harrods, Booksplus, plus many more. T4 also has about 40 shops including all the ones in T3 plus Asprey Jewels.
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RE: Chek Lap Kok Disappointment

Mon Apr 17, 2000 4:32 pm

I agree, C L K is a MAJOR disappointment for spotters and photographers. The shops are okay, but just one chain and not enough diversity. (When they have so many shops, they should have different companies operating them). The windows and the lighting make it very difficult to take pictures from inside the terminal, pictures get backlit and reflections. There's no observation deck and the roadway up to Departure level is okay, but Security comes really quick. Theres is one restaurent where you have very limited view of the planes, Windows Of the World. There are a lot of restaurents but not much fast food and from what I recall no chain like McDonald's, Burger King etc. The best spot I found was in my hotel room at the Regal Airport Hotel. It's very expensive but I got airline discount. I had a very nice view facing the southern part of the terminal. There is a parking structure next to the hitel and that may work to see/get pictures of arriving aircraft. If they fly from the south towards China, then it may be possible to get pictures at HAECO maintenence. You would have to take a bus to get there. The airport is very nice for the traveller in fact better than Changi or KLIA but a nightmare for the spotter/photographer. The777Man
Boeing 777s flown: UA, TG, KE, BA, CX, NH, JD, JL, CZ, SQ, EK, NG, CO, AF, SV, KU, DL, AA, MH, OZ, CA, MS, SU, LY, RG, PE, AZ, KL, VN, PK, EY, NZ, AM, BR, AC, DT, UU, OS, AI, 9W, KQ, QR, VA, JJ, ET, TK, PR, BG, T5, CI, MU and LX.. Further to fly.. LH 777
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Which Terminal At Sin?

Mon Apr 17, 2000 4:48 pm


I'm just wondering which terminal at SIN you have traveled through? The older facility of the newer SIA facility?

SIA's New terminal was a shopper and traveler's paradise, Shops literally everywhere..It seemed like I was in a fancy version of the Galleria than an Airport terminal  

The Concourses at SIN are populated with all sorts of neat shops of all sizes and tastes offered. I enjoyed the ability to buy model airplanes and t-shirts in one store, step outside to grab a Strait Times..then over to catch a quick Tiger Beer & Grilled Satay in the next.  

I really enjoyed that.

Each gate is remotely secured in glass which makes it more localized and easier to control in terms of security and gate checkin (after passing thru the main checkpoint in the terminal of course) and makes the shopping easier actually, spreading it out and more available. The centralized nature of CLK is the opposite of this concept.

SIN seemed extremely *well* proportioned in terms of amenities, security and enjoyment it seemed. At SIN there is an awesome outdoor photographer's deck on top of the whole thing. I absolutely *LOVED* SIN but I cant say the same for CLK. CLK seems to be designed from a very different school of thought architecturally speaking.

Like to hear your thoughts on this.

Topic Author
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RE: Chek Lap Kok Disappointment

Mon Apr 17, 2000 4:54 pm

To clear any misunderstandings: The number of shops is high, but not the number of shopowners.
There is only one single chain for parfumes, one single chain for clothes and so on. And that's the problem as one chain for any kind of goods means same prices all over the place. High prices...
Look at Changi, or London (LHR), there is not only a high number of different shops but also shopowners.

I walked around the whole transfer area and I didn't see any fast food restaurant, I mean any restaurant at affordable prices. Not everybody is a rich Business Class flyer with tons of money in the pocket.

Me & You & a Plane Named Blue...
Topic Author
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RE: Chek Lap Kok Disappointment

Mon Apr 17, 2000 4:59 pm

To add anything to my last post, especially for StarAlliance:

I don't want to buy anything like fresh fruit in an airport supermarket, but what about a big variety of soft drinks, some chocolate bars or anything similar? Tell me the place at CLK where I can find that and I will forget my criticiscm.

By the way, I have seen many stores similar to supermarkets at airports so far...

Me & You & a Plane Named Blue...
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RE: Chek Lap Kok Disappointment

Mon Apr 17, 2000 11:46 pm

Here in Toronto, all we got is the duty-free shop, a smoke shop, a shop to get a snack, and a shop to get a drink. For 30,000,000 passengers. What more do you need? And you want more than that? You're looking for multiple chains of stores, even supermarkets?

Why not Home Depot? You know, a place to buy some lumber and drywall before your next flight. Considering that airport stores are the most expensive places in the world to buy anything, why would you want more stores to do shopping?

An optimist robs himself of the joy of being pleasantly surprised
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RE: Chek Lap Kok Disappointment

Tue Apr 18, 2000 12:32 am

I've never really check out what's available airside with regard to food (I head straight to the gate everytime I flew), so I'll just talk about things that are landside, before security check. Yes, all those food outlets on the departure level are indeed overpriced -- no arguments from me. However, just take an escalator or elevator ride downstairs to the arrival level, and you'll see the more down-to-earth outlets in the greeting area -- McDonald's, TCBY, several other local chains, and a Circle-K convenience store. For most parts, these guys charge "regular" prices.

As far as spotting/photo-shooting goes, I can think of a couple of "outside" spots where you can go if you don't want to venture too far from the terminal building (or don't have the time). Both of those spots however, are basically only good for landings when runway 25 is in use. Virtually all of the landing action will be on the northern runway though (25R/07L), with departures only on the southern runway (25L/07R). Cargo flights land on the southern runway.

One of those spots is the departure level curbside, where buses and coaches pull in to drop-off passengers. From the departure level of the terminal building, its whereabouts should be quite obvious. You can go to either end of this very long curbside, depending whether you want to catch the landing action on 25R or 25L. A lens that zooms to 400mm is needed to cover the smaller aircraft (737 & 320). Watch out for lampposts that might get in the way though.

Another spot takes you quite close to aircraft landing on 25R, where a 80-200 zoom should be able to take care of everything. From the arrival level, follow instructions to the Regal Airport Hotel. The hotel is linked to the arrival level by a cover walkway. Go straight into the hotel, go down two flights of escalators, and exit the hotel again onto street level from the glass doors right in front of you. Cross over to the other side of the street, turn right and continue down the sidewalk. You'll immediately come upon a sign that say "NE Maintainence Area" and also an intersection with a street to the left (Cheong Yip Road). Turn left into this street, and then a right at the next intersection into Cheong Wing Road. Within moments, the spot should become obvious on your left. It is right by the water, and you should be able to take shots like this:

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Alan Tsui

E-mail me if you want info. on other spots, as the directions could get long and complicated!

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RE: Chek Lap Kok Disappointment

Tue Apr 18, 2000 4:11 am

Hi Mac_Veteran!!I must have confused you with the end of my post. I do like KLIA and SIN much better for shopping and spotting/photopraphy wise than CLK/HKG. CLK/HKG has a very convenient rail connection which both SIN and KLIA currently lacks. HKG also has one terminal and is less confusing than SIN. It is very frustrating with such a nice airport there's not much for the airline enthusiast. I stand corrected by N949WP that there are fastfood restaurents, but there none of these on departure level or airside. I didn't go to the spot N949WP mentioned but my spot in the Regal Hotel was much better, for spotting at least. The777Man
Boeing 777s flown: UA, TG, KE, BA, CX, NH, JD, JL, CZ, SQ, EK, NG, CO, AF, SV, KU, DL, AA, MH, OZ, CA, MS, SU, LY, RG, PE, AZ, KL, VN, PK, EY, NZ, AM, BR, AC, DT, UU, OS, AI, 9W, KQ, QR, VA, JJ, ET, TK, PR, BG, T5, CI, MU and LX.. Further to fly.. LH 777
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Tue Apr 18, 2000 4:58 am

Loads of airpots I have been to have supermarkets. Thses include Geneva (in the railway station "Migros")
Zurich (in the railway station) and Dublin (in the car park "Spar") There are many other too.

Jeremiah Teahan
Goodbye SR-LX MD-11 / 6th of March 1991 to the 31st of October 2004
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RE: Supermarkets

Tue Apr 18, 2000 6:04 am

Also, I've seen a supermarket(It's actually not huge, just the same size as a 7-Eleven or something like that) in Okinawa, Japan(OKA)'s new domestic terminal(Which is great---My 2nd favorite airport). It is called FamilyMart, which is a large chain in Okinawa Island.
Northwest Airlines - Some People Just Know How to Fly
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RE: Supermarkets

Tue Apr 18, 2000 11:10 pm

As some said that CLK is too small and lacked space and toilet facilities, I don't think so. I haven't waited for a single second when using the toilet, and if you say the spaces are too small, I would wonder how tall you are.
Speaking of shopping at the airport, that best place I had ever been to is at the Sapporo airport (in northern Japan). There is a whole shopping mall (yes, a shopping mall) in the airport, called something like Shopping Paradise, and sells all types of things-fresh food, sea food, toys, models, gifts, plants etc.
THAT is an airport for shopping.

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