(Shanghai Hongqiao) – LZH (Lizhou)
Welcome to the new format of my Trip Reports! I figured if I was going to share more of my flights I might as well standardize it a bit so that it makes it easier and faster for me to write.
This was a last minute trip organized by my boss for me and one of my colleagues to go and visit a potential customer. The trip was supposed to have taken place two or three weeks prior, and hence we booked our tickets the afternoon before.
I woke up at 5:30am and quickly packed a backpack with clothes, toiletries, chargers, and all my electronic gear. A backpack was enough since I was only going there for a day. I did at the last minute find a clear plastic bag to put my toiletries in, even though in China they never really care.
At 6:30am a black Buick Regal picked me up and we drove to SHA
. Most of the way we had no traffic, except for the last mile or so, because the road into SHA
goes from three lanes to one in the space of only a few meters, so this obviously created a lot of confusion.
Leaving my apartment complex at 6:30am
On the Buick to the airport
Reading about West Shanghai and how hip it is supposed to be
Traffic approaching Hong Qiao
I went to the check in area C, which was the so-called “First Class / Gold Card” check in area. I figured since Shanghai Airlines is now part of China Eastern but still part of Star Alliance, I should be able to use the desks. Either way, no one checked.
At the check in desk I told the agent I was going to Liuzhou and asked for a window seat. I also asked if I was able to get SQ
KrisFlyer miles since it was a FM
code-share flight, but she said no, so instead I opted to get CX
Asia Miles. She then printed my boarding pass and directed me to the security area.
First Class / Gold Card check in desks
SHA check in area
Security / Immigration
I headed to the documents check desk and lined up behind the shortest line, without knowing it was a VIP lane. Then someone came to check my ticket and said I couldn’t use that lane. I told them it was a Shanghai Airlines flight and I was Star Gold, but of course they didn’t understand what that meant, and told me I had to get someone from the check in desk to personally bring me to the VIP line. How stupid! I knew I could easily go to another lane, but since I was next in line to get my documents checked, I figured he would let me go. Not so. I played dumb, but in the end I had to change lanes. No problems, though, since I had plenty of time before my flight.
After my documents went checked I went through the security check point. One of the officers wanted to open my bag after it went through the X-ray machine, and I obliged. Then she took the lower half of my Philips Sonicare toothbrush and asked me what it was. So I took the top half, assembled it, and pretended to brush my teeth. She was still not convinced this was a toothbrush, and had to ask her colleagues whether or not she could let me go with this potential weapon. Luckily one of the other officers had apparently seen one in his life, so I was let go without a fuss.
Our 73G to LZH
Gate 56 with flights to LZH, PEK, and SZX
No lounge access granted.
I walked to gate 56 to board my flight. Once there, I gave a quick wake up call to the ladywife-to-be and then met up with my colleague. We chatted for a bit about the purpose of our trip and 5mins later we started boarding. My seat mates in 4B and C, a grandmother and her grandson, were already settled. They got up and I sat on 4A. The young boy, probably about 4 years old, looked like he had never seen a non-Chinese person before as he didn’t take his eyes off me for the entire flight. Boarding was done very fast and we pushed back one or two minutes early.
Typical seat cover with some sort of Ad
Parked next to a company A330
In flight mag
View towards First Class
First Class seat
I’m not too familiar with SHA
’s runways, but we headed to the left active runway as the right one was being used for arrivals. A CA
747 to PEK
as well as a FM
A320, and Juneyao (code?) Airlines A320 were in front of us. Once this aircraft took off it was our turn. We took off to the north and a few moments later we made a very sharp turn towards the southwest. As usual the pilot never came on the PA and most of the announcements for take-off, etc, were pre-recorded in Mandarin and English.
CA to PEK
FM and MU in front
More traffic behind
Company 73G to… somewhere
You can see a FM 767 in Star Alliance theme… Probably not for long
After the sharp turn to the southwest, we continued climbing for another 15 – 20mins until we reached our cruising altitude. For the first part of the flight the weather was very good, with clear skies and a surprisingly clear, smog-free view of the earth below.
Just as we levelled off, the F/As first came around the cabin offering pillows and blankets (for free, of course). After this the meal cart came around and we were all offered a meal box. The contents were some sort of sausage stuffed in a bun (somewhat similar to a hot dog), a small piece of cake, a pack of apple chips, and a pack of pork floss (it’s like eating pork-flavoured thread). There was a small cup of water that came with the box. Only after all the boxes were distributed did the F/As come offering drinks. I had a coffee, which as usual on Chinese airlines it’s one of those Nestle 3-in-1 instant coffees (coffee, creamer, and sugar). I was a bit peckish, so I also ate the contents of the box, save for the pork floss, which I didn’t care for.
The rest of the flight was pretty quiet. Not much turbulence or movement in general. The overhead screens came down and repeatedly played a Shanghai Expo advertising video.
F/As serving breakfast
Meal box contents
At abour 10:05am we started our descent to LZH. The skies were not clear anymore and as we went through the thick layer of cloud it got slightly bumpy. The scenery was quite nice on the approach. A lot of farms and these very interesting mountain formations. They look similar to those found on the thousands of islands in Halong Bay, in Vietnam, or in Guilin, which is just north of Liuzhou. They are basically tall but narrow limestone formations. Quite nice to see.
We landed on runway 32 and then made a 180 degree turn to backtrack the runway on our way to the terminal. There were quite a few military planes on one of the aprons, although they looked very old and unused. However, on the return I saw about 3 or 4 of them landing in LZH with open parachute and all.
The terminal in LZH is on the older side. Maybe 20 or 39 years old. It is well maintained, but obviously LZH has not yet received the money to build a brand new, modern, airy terminal as have many other cities in China.
LZH tower and terminal
Ramp (on the return leg)
Baggage Claim / Immigration
We didn’t check any bags, but since the airport is so small, I took the opportunity to snap some pics before we met our hosts and headed off to Laibin, another city about an hour north of Liuzhou.
Gate waiting area
Check in area
Another day, another pleasant domestic flight in China. The CA
crew are nothing out of the ordinary, but they generally perform the service efficiently and with a smile. If anything, flying domestically within China is more pleasant than in the US. No big fuss at security, a meal even on 1 hour flights, etc.
As always, comments are appreciated!