Beijing – Taiyuan
I made my way from the Grand Hyatt Beijing to Beijing terminal 3 at around 5am! The hotel offer a chauffeur driven car service between the hotel and airport and as it was so early I booked this. The Audi A6L pulled up outside the hotel, my luggage was loaded up and off we went.
My room at the Grand Hyatt Beijing.
As we arrived at the departures level of Beijing Airport Terminal 3, the car stopped and a well dress woman opened the door for me. She introduced herself and asked my flight details. She then said she would escort me and make sure I made my flight. She took me down to the Air China Domestic First Class Check In.
Staff were still setting up so she told me to take a seat, while she waited and she said she would call me over when the staff were ready. Within a couple of minutes however check in was open and I was assigned seat 2K.
She then took me to the security check point and we walked through the First/VIP section which didn’t seem to have anybody there.
As soon as you pass through the security check point there is an elevator, which you take up to the next floor. This is where my escort said she would leave me in the capable hands of Air China ground staff. The agent on the first class lounge entrance took my boarding pass, scanned it and told me there were no problems with my flight this morning.
I made my way into the lounge which was completely empty. I was the only person inside the entire lounge. The entire upper floor of the airport was empty apart from me and it stayed this way for about an hour.
The view from the lounge.
The empty lounge.
The food options here were very limited – some packaged cakes, sweets and biscuits as well as drinks but apart from this no hot food option.
My flight was scheduled for 7:30 with boarding at 7:00, so around 6:50 I made my way down to look for my gate and have a wander around Beijing’s huge terminal 3. The airport is very similar to Hong Kong International Airport with less high end shops.
I found the gate and was surprised at the number of other westerners at the gate. On my visits to Taiyuan previously I have been the only westerner on the plane and the only one I’ve seen in the City.
Boarding was soon called however there was no premium boarding. Once onboard I was greeted with “Ni Hao” and shown to my seat. The crew passed me a copy of China Daily and asked if I would like Orange Juice or water. I took a glass of fresh orange juice.
This flight was 100% full in Economy and 80% full in First. This Air China Boeing 737-300 looked rather old and tired but the service more than made up for the old aircraft.
The line up of domestic departures at Terminal 3.
The flight time between Beijing and Taiyuan is a little over one hour, however I was surprised to see crew asking if any of the First passengers would like a Blanket. Pillows were already on the seat.
We pushed back on time and taxied straight out onto the runway for takeoff.
As soon as the aircraft levelled out, the crew asked those passenger who were awake If they wanted breakfast. Out of the six first passengers, only two were awake and we both took the breakfast.
There was no option and the stewardess bought over a tray with a small fruit salad and noodles with Chicken.
The food was very good. I was surprised at how nice it was. A female passenger asked for another portion and the crew gladly fetched another plateful from the galley.
Soon after finishing the crew cleared the plates away and the captain announced we were about to descend.
We landed and taxied past various domestic Chinese carriers included a China Eastern B737-800 to Shanghai, Grand China Boeing 737, Hainan Airlines B737 & A319 and Deer Air A319. As we pulled into the gate I noticed a Sichuan Airlines A320 land behind us.
Taiyuan Wuxi Airport has recently had a new terminal constructed and this was much more modern than the previous terminal.
I made my way down to the baggage reclaim where the bags were just starting to come out. I collected my luggage and walked out to meet my friend and enjoy my first trip back to Taiyuan in two years.