PlaneHunter
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The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sat May 29, 2010 9:38 am

The Dead Slow Transfer:
Beijing - Munich on Air China A330-200




Intro
Having hypermodern terminals is one thing, but running them efficiently is another. I had always been impressed by the new Terminal 3 at Beijing Capital Airport - until I had to change planes there. The last part of my latest trip report series will show how unpleasant a transfer can be there - and it will go into detail about the product and services offered in Economy Class on an Air China A330-200 flight from Beijing to Munich.

If you have missed parts 1, 2 & 3 you simply need to click here:
The Next 5* Carrier? MUC-MCT-DXB, Oman Air A330
A380 Cacophony, 777 Star Livery: DXB-SIN-HKG on SQ
Cancellation Brings Joy: HKG-PEK on Dragonair A330



Background
In early January my brother and I decided to go on a sightseeing trip to Asia by the end of February. Our focus had been on Hong Kong from the very beginning, but we also wanted to enhance a possible trip by another city. My brother suggested to pick Dubai so that we could visit the new Burj Khalifa. I agreed and started searching for the most interesting flight options. It didn’t take very long until I found an unbelievable fare offered by a most interesting carrier: Munich-Muscat-Dubai return on Oman Air for 260 Euro!

We decided to try Oman Air and then I started searching for adequate flights between Dubai and Hong Kong. The plan was to spend one night in Dubai each time on the outbound journey and the inbound journey. The whole trip shouldn’t last more than one week, so it was clear we wouldn’t be able to spend more than three nights in Hong Kong. It wasn’t difficult at all to find interesting and affordable flights between Dubai and Hong Kong. In contrast, satisfying options were rare between Hong Kong and Dubai. Problematic were either high fares or unfavorable flying times. Leaving Hong Kong too early would have drastically reduced the sightseeing options - and leaving too late would have been risky regarding the onward flights between Dubai, Muscat and Munich. We also couldn’t just add one day due to the limited frequencies between Muscat and Munich. In the end we decided to fly back from Hong Kong to Munich without stopping again in Dubai - it was the most convenient option and absolutely free of risk.

While searching for flights between Dubai and Hong Kong, Singapore Airlines soon caught my attention by offering a one-way connection for 318 Euro - including an A380 flight. My brother hadn't flown on the A380 yet and I was very interested in getting on the bird for the second time (after the premiere on Emirates). Great service and high-quality catering were further arguments for SIA. Unfortunately, the low fare suddenly disappeared and SQ wanted 350 Euro - at least for the A380 combo. We decided it would be worth it.

In addition to the Oman Air and Singapore Airlines flights we selected a Hong Kong-Beijing-Munich connection on Air China (A321-200 and A330-200) for only 290 Euro. I had never flown on Air China before and I knew the A330-200 on the long-haul sector would be equipped with personal IFE screens - so it was worth a try. Even though the final itinerary consisted of only six flights, it included two new airlines and four widebody jets. Well, so much for the plan...




Transfer at Terminal 3
After stepping off the Dragonair plane at our Terminal 3 gate we were expecting a smooth transfer. Due to the switch to Dragonair we had arrived 30 minutes earlier than originally planned. I was quite optimistic to be able to log many registrations during that 145-minute layover…

The roof construction enables natural light to flood the spotlessly clean terminal:


First of all some officers collected a kind of "health form" which we had filled out on the flight. The form asks about numerous disease symptoms including even minor ones such as headache. The questioning was also technically supported by infra-red cameras - good to see the authorities take disease control serious. Then we continued to the "International Transfers" desks in order to pick up our Air China boarding passes:


Only one counter was open, but the number of waiting passengers was limited. However, after a few minutes I realized that the queue was stuck. It was soon obvious that some Russian passengers, apparently booked on an S7 Airlines flight, were having trouble. Passports were being handed back and forth and while a Russian lady looked quite stressed, the older female Chinese agent behind the counter appeared quite unmotivated while talking on the phone all the time. An S7 representative repeatedly being involved in the discussions seemingly couldn't help to solve the problem either.

After 15 minutes I asked two airport employees standing close whether this was the right queue for Air China transfer passengers and the young man confirmed. "Sorry, only one line", he added. Meanwhile some 40 people had joined the queue behind us and it was getting longer every minute. A lady behind us soon addressed the two employees, too, but she got the same answer. After 15 more minutes without any progress the young employee informed us that staff for a second counter had been called...that was overdue considering that numerous Air China long-haul flights would depart in the early afternoon. Finally, after a total waiting time of roughly 40 minutes, the unfriendly second agent handed out the boarding passes to us. At least the pre-reserved seats hadn't been changed...

The next bad surprise followed just a few minutes later: Dozens of passengers were waiting in a long and unorganized queue in front of two passport control counters.  Yeah sure The two officers checked boarding passes and passports carefully and the queue behind us was growing quickly. After a few minutes it happened again: the queue was stuck. And again it was a Russian being in trouble. I remembered the guy from the other queue where I had overheard a conversation that he and his family were booked on an Air China flight to Moscow. The young Chinese officer either rejected the passport or the boarding pass and tried to send the Russian away. However, the man's family members had already passed the counter, so he didn't go anywhere and started arguing with the officer. The latter wasn't interested in a discussion, pointed towards the end of the queue and told the Russian to go away.

When the officer called the next passenger in line, the Russian loudly shouted: No, I will not go away! I want to go to my gate!" The officer ignored him and the Russian freaked out: He started to hit a metal barrier with his fists! Now I was expecting several security officers to show up, but nothing happened. Then an Asian passenger waiting in queue accused the Russian of delaying the whole process. "I do not want to delay anyone!", the man shouted back.

The Russian then started talking insistently to the older officer at the other counter. I heard the Russian mentioning the shoulder marks, so it seems he was hoping that the higher-ranking officer could help. The Russian repeatedly asked the older officer to call "his chief" - and after a few minutes the officer really took up the phone. Two minutes later a young, but high-ranking officer showed up, talked to the Russian and checked his documents. And what happened? Not even five minutes later the Russian was allowed to go to his gate!  Wow! So maybe his outrage had been absolutely justified? Who knows what went wrong. After a total waiting time of roughly 30 minutes we got our passports stamped and could continue to the security checkpoints.

Almost 80 minutes after joining the first queue we were able to enter the gate area - absolutely unacceptable for a major hub. If we hadn't been rebooked to the earlier HKG-PEK flight we would have been very concerned about catching our flight to Munich.




Wednesday, 3 March 2010
Beijing (PEK) - Munich (MUC)
Air China CA961
13:40-17:30 (14:04-17:41)
Flying time: 10:08 (hrs)
Economy Class, Seat 52L

Airbus A330-243
B-6080 (MSN 815)
Delivered in 02/2007


1st flight on B-6080
13th A330-200 flight
21st A330 flight
90th airline



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Photo © Wongwei
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Photo © Yang Wei



The crowd at our gate, mostly consisting of young Chinese passengers, indicated that the flight would be full. B-6080, one of 20 A330-200s in the fleet, was built in January 2007 and delivered one month later.



Taking pictures through the glass was tricky:



Parked at the adjacent gate was Boeing 747-400 B-2469:



I was still able to log 23 new registrations in the remaining time. One of the most interesting planes was Air China A321-200 B-6361 painted in the "Beautiful Sichuan" (mouse) color scheme:



Finally it was time to step on board. Two flight attendants kindly welcomed us, but others didn't look at us while we were passing them. Interestingly, the Air China interior is absolutely identical to the interior on Hainan Airlines' A330s - except for the colors, of course. The seats were very comfortable:



Seat features: Decent-sized video screen, seatback-mounted handset and cupholder:



Seat pitch was quite generous, but the IFE box took away some legroom:



Reflections made it tricky to take a shot of the welcome screen:



It hadn't become busier at Terminal 3 since our arrival:



After boarding had been completed we were surprised by the welcome message from the flight deck - it was presented in English by a pilot with German accent. Much later, after landing, he presented a farewell message in German and then it was clear he was from Switzerland. He was a captain, but there was at least another (Chinese) captain on the flight, too. So I don't know who had been in command of the flight after all.

We left the gate 24 minutes behind schedule and taxied to runway 36R. We had to wait for five inbound planes, including an Air China A320...



...and a China Southern A321:



Finally the runway was clear and B-6080 started a powerful takeoff roll:



Goodbye, lousy Beijing weather!





It took less than 20 minutes until we were cruising over sparse mountainous terrain:



The flight attendants started serving the first round of drinks less than 30 minutes after takeoff. I ordered a Chinese beer and was glad that Air China did have a local brand. It tasted quite good:



Lunch was served subsequently and I chose the fish over the beef option:


While the quantity was suboptimal, the quality of the meal was absolutely satisfying. The pieces of fried fish, the sauce and the rice in particular tasted really good. The salad, covered by a slice of salmon, and the melon pieces weren't bad either. Another round of drinks was served while we were eating, another round followed shortly after lunch.

After the trays had been collected it was time for a cabin shot:


While hanging around in the galley for a while I decided to ask a male flight attendant how long the crew would stay in Munich before going home again. "10 hours", he answered and smiled. Ok, I asked him again and I got the same answer again. Then I gave up. It was obvious he was talking about the flying time - but I'm wondering whether he simply didn't understand me or whether he didn't want to answer my question for whatever reason.

Cruising over the Gobi Desert:



This is Ulan Bator:



Two hours after takeoff it was time to explore the audio/video on-demand IFE system. After three years in service the black navigation button on the handset was totally worn out and it was difficult to navigate.



First of all you had to choose between three languages:



The menu was structured well and it was quite easy to find the desired features. Almost 80 different movies and TV features were available, as well as 12 games and 12 audio channels.





Interesting features could be found in the "Services" submenu...



...including the Air China timetable:


I had never seen such an IFE feature before. However, I'm not sure how old the data was - the departure and arrival times indicated that it wasn't the winter 2009/2010 timetable.

The submenu "Meals / Drinks & Beverages" even contained some drink descriptions - but I don't know whether all these drinks were really available on the flight. Probably in Business Class? Anyway, some of the features in the "Services" submenu weren't working.



As usual, I watched the airshow most of the time:







3.5 hours later:



When drinks were offered prior to dinner I decided to try Air China's tea - which wasn't a good idea at all. I would describe it as pale yellow and tasteless hot water:



Some minutes later I had the choice between seafood and chicken and I ordered the latter:


The rice was good again, but the fatty sauce tasted terrible. The meat was ok, but covered with the awful sauce. I was hoping that the dessert would help my taste buds to recover, but the green tea pudding (?) tasted just...strange. What a disappointing meal!  thumbsdown 

Snowy Polish landscape:



We left our cruising altitude about 30 minutes prior to landing and after more than 9.5 hours in the air I was glad that I would able to leave that cabin soon. The major reason for that attitude was the permanent intensive coughing and sputtering in the rows around us. Some Chinese passengers were real experts on that subject...  Embarrassment
Btw - I wasn't amused either about the condition of the lavatories towards the end of the flight.

The Danube and the city of Straubing (at lower left):



Isar 1 and Isar 2 nuclear power plants near Landshut:



The city of Landshut:



Nice view of the Alps:



Final approach to runway 08L:





Lufthansa A320 ready for departure:



10 hours and 8 minutes after takeoff we touched down and taxied to our gate at Terminal 2...


...where we arrived 11 minutes behind schedule. After disembarking we were surprised to see two Bundespolizei officers (federal police, formerly known as border police) checking passports and IDs in the middle of the passage behind the jetway. It was a totally unorganized procedure and I wasn't sure about the purpose considering that all passengers had to pass the regular passport control counters anyway. After ten minutes we were able to continue to the counter area where about 200 passengers were lined up in two queues. Many Chinese passengers were waiting in the "EU citizens" line which was not surprising considering the small size of the signs - those are not easy to read. And the police didn't care about that, most likely due to a shortage of staff. So we had to spend another 15 minutes in line...welcome to Germany.  Yeah sure



Conclusion
After reading numerous negative comments and reports about Air China prior to the trip my expectations hadn't been very high. However, the flight was much better than expected. The cabin was clean and in relatively good shape, the seat was comfortable and the legroom was generous. Even though the IFE system cannot match many other carriers' systems, it's still sufficient for long flights. The catering was not bad in general, but it needs to be improved. Air China should also enhance its crew training because some flight attendants weren't friendly and didn't smile at all. Anyway, I wouldn't mind to fly on Air China’s PTV-equipped planes again (A330-200 and A330-300) as long as the fare is attractive. However, I would avoid tight connections at Beijing. Both the airport and the airline really have to make sure that transfer passengers don't have to wait an hour or even longer in various queues.

No doubts, the whole trip was a huge success from an enthusiast point of view. I flew on three new airlines and six new planes, including five widebody aircraft, and logged a total of 108 new registrations. I also thoroughly enjoyed the non-aviation parts of the journey - it's always a great pleasure to visit the Gulf States and South-East Asia. I can't wait to go again.


Best Regards,
PlaneHunter



P.S.: Just in case you missed them - other more or less recent reports:
Cancellation Brings Joy: HKG-PEK on Dragonair A330
A380 Cacophony, 777 Star Livery: DXB-SIN-HKG on SQ
The Next 5* Carrier? MUC-MCT-DXB, Oman Air A330
Turkey For 1.5 Hrs: Daytrip To AYT On Sky Airlines
CO Scores Again: ATL-IAH-EWR-FRA On ERJ, 752 & 764
Riding The Ultra Long-Haul Twin: Delta 777-200LR
Pacific Coast Jaunt: 3 Carriers, E120, E140 & Fog
The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER
Bye Bye, Hell! TRD-OSL-TXL-NUE - DY/AB/HE DH4
My Trip To Hell: NUE-CPH-OSL-TRD On Cimber & SAS
SFO-YUL-FRA: Map- & Sleepless On Air Canada's 77W
Sin City Gloss & Virgin America's Chic First Class
Seat Dilemma & Canyon Glamour: FRA To LAX, AC 763
On Par With Air France? DTW-AMS-MUC, KLM A330
Goodbye, Red Tails! DC-9-40/50 & Chicago Tour
Champagne & World Of Coke: Air France A340 To ATL
"Mission A380": Disappointing Legs On BA/BD/EI
Delights Of Doha, 773 & 77W: DOH-DXB-LHR On EK
A380 Really a Step Forward? LHR-DXB-DOH On EK
Quality & Style: HKG-LHR On Air New Zealand 744
Taiwan Trio: TransAsia, UNI Air And The Taipei 101
"The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi
SHA-SZX, Shanghai 757: Delayed By The Military
PEK-SHA, China Eastern A330 & Shanghai At Night
Striking Newcomer: Berlin-Beijing On Hainan A330


[Edited 2010-05-29 03:12:58]
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
AI151
Posts: 287
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 3:20 pm

RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sat May 29, 2010 10:21 am

Hi PH, great ending to you're trip to the Middle East and Asia. I have to ask though out of all the airlines you travelled, which one was the best?...I have an inkling that it might be Oman Air?

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
The Russian then started talking insistently to the older officer at the other counter. I heard the Russian mentioning the shoulder marks, so it seems he was hoping that the higher-ranking officer could help. The Russian repeatedly asked the older officer to call "his chief" - and after a few minutes the officer really took up the phone. Two minutes later a young, but high-ranking officer showed up, talked to the Russian and checked his documents. And what happened? Not even five minutes later the Russian was allowed to go to his gate!   So maybe his outrage had been absolutely justified? Who knows what went wrong. After a total waiting time of roughly 30 minutes we got our passports stamped and could continue to the security checkpoints.

Thus happened to my parents and I when I was 15 and we were coming back from Vienna of all places back to the UK. All British citizens and I was born in London as well but the security officer told us to go to 'Other Passports' when my Dad lost it and started shouting! Like what happened in you're TR, a senior official came and sorted it out as well as telling off his colleague and rightly so!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
I had never seen such an IFE feature before. However, I'm not sure how old the data was - the departure and arrival times indicated that it wasn't the winter 2009/2010 timetable.

The closest thing I've seen is the connecting gates information on SQ and CX but agreed never a timetable.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
The major reason for that attitude was the permanent intensive coughing and sputtering in the rows around us.

Hope you didn't catch a cold or anything?

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
After disembarking we were surprised to see two Bundespolizei officers (federal police, formerly known as border police) checking passports and IDs in the middle of the passage behind the jetway. It was a totally unorganized procedure and I wasn't sure about the purpose considering that all passengers had to pass the regular passport control counters anyway.

I saw this happening at LHR when a flight from Colombia came in, they were checking if passengers had the right documentation as well as if the passports were genuine or not.

Sandeep (AI151)
Modern Vision. Timeless Traditions...
 
PlaneHunter
Topic Author
Posts: 6512
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:17 am

RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sat May 29, 2010 10:50 am

Quoting AI151 (Reply 1):
Hi PH, great ending to you're trip to the Middle East and Asia.

Hi Sandeep, thanks for your comments!

Quoting AI151 (Reply 1):
I have to ask though out of all the airlines you travelled, which one was the best?...I have an inkling that it might be Oman Air?

That's a difficult question. Oman Air definitely belongs to the best long-haul carriers I have flown on - together with Air New Zealand, Emirates and Singapore Airlines. However, in my opinion, EK and SQ can only match WY if you get the latest cabin product.

Quoting AI151 (Reply 1):
Like what happened in you're TR, a senior official came and sorted it out as well as telling off his colleague and rightly so!

Bad to hear. It may be necessary to get loud sometimes, but it can also provoke even more trouble.

Quoting AI151 (Reply 1):
Hope you didn't catch a cold or anything?

No, definitely not. I guess some of these guys weren't really sick - probably just bad habits.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
ChrisCruise
Posts: 91
Joined: Wed May 19, 2010 6:46 am

RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sat May 29, 2010 10:57 am

Hi PH,

Very nice serie of reports covering your trip to Asia. It is unbelievable how such a large hub as Beijing is not able to handle passengers in a fluent way.

One of the things that irritates me most when travelling is the lack of willingness and conciousness with some airport/airline staff to assist travellers in reaching their destination or connecting flight. Luckily you made it!!

Adios,

Christian
Flown:319, 320, 321, 343, 388, 733, 738, 742, 744, 752, 763, 764, 772, 77W, CR7, CR9, DC9-31, E70, E90, F70, F100, MD11
 
PlaneHunter
Topic Author
Posts: 6512
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:17 am

RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sat May 29, 2010 11:22 am

Quoting ChrisCruise (Reply 3):

Very nice serie of reports covering your trip to Asia.

Thanks, Christian!

Quoting ChrisCruise (Reply 3):
It is unbelievable how such a large hub as Beijing is not able to handle passengers in a fluent way.

Well, the new terminal is very capable, authorities and airlines should simply deploy more staff during rush hours.

Quoting ChrisCruise (Reply 3):
One of the things that irritates me most when travelling is the lack of willingness and conciousness with some airport/airline staff to assist travellers in reaching their destination or connecting flight. Luckily you made it!!

Yes, a lack of service orientation is always annoying.


PH

[Edited 2010-05-29 04:23:52]
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
User avatar
airbuseric
Posts: 3560
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sat May 29, 2010 11:49 am

Hi PH,

a very nice continuation of your recent travel reports. Good pics, nice writing. Completely agree with most of your findings.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Almost 80 minutes after joining the first queue we were able to enter the gate area - absolutely unacceptable for a major hub.

So true. CA should be really concerned about this, since they want to be a high-rated airline and as member of Star Alliance. Maybe it's acceptable for the 'average Chinese passenger', but definitely not for you or me. Although we can think about things like 'you are in China, so accept it', still flying CA would mean a faster and better service in my opinion. Here the airport/authority is to blame, but CA should use the customers' power to get improvements done.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
After disembarking we were surprised to see two Bundespolizei officers (federal police, formerly known as border police) checking passports and IDs in the middle of the passage behind the jetway.

Oh yeah, happened twice to me at MUC after coming in from AMS. Also, it happened at AMS also, same procedure as you described. The flights are randomly choosen. After a longhaul arriving in AMS, and your gate is E22, you can be almost sure to undergo such procedure btw.

Despite the not good looking meals, it seems CA A330's suit well for these long flights. Nice IFE, good legroom, and a window. That's all you need.

Regards,
Eric
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
 
PlaneHunter
Topic Author
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sat May 29, 2010 1:23 pm

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 5):
a very nice continuation of your recent travel reports. Good pics, nice writing. Completely agree with most of your findings.

Hi Eric, thanks for your feedback!

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 5):
CA should be really concerned about this, since they want to be a high-rated airline and as member of Star Alliance. Maybe it's acceptable for the 'average Chinese passenger', but definitely not for you or me.

Yes, international standards must be applied.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 5):
Here the airport/authority is to blame, but CA should use the customers' power to get improvements done.

I can only agree.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 5):
Oh yeah, happened twice to me at MUC after coming in from AMS.

Well, there's no general ID check when arriving from Schengen countries, so they may make random checks sometimes. But what's the purpose of these checks in the gate area if all passengers have to pass the control counters anyway?


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
akhmad
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sat May 29, 2010 1:49 pm

Hi PH,

Nice conclusion of your Middle Eastern and Asian round trip. Good to know you have had a better experience with CA in Y than Alex when he flew them on FRA-PEK. Did you buy a CA return ticket from HKG?

It surprises me that your transfer in PEK was such horrendous. Has PEK not been awarded by Skytrax recently for the best airport security processing? So what's the point to get an accolade on this one?

Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed it.

Cheers,
Suryo
Friends forever
 
ba319-131
Posts: 8151
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2001 1:27 pm

RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sat May 29, 2010 1:57 pm

Hi PH,

Nice final installment, a good read and nice pix, most welcome on this wet saturday afternoon.


Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
I had always been impressed by the new Terminal 3 at Beijing Capital Airport - until I had to change planes there

- Indeed is impressive. I've changed planes here too, from NRT to HKG, thankfully had no issues, perhaps down to the time of day.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
detail about the product and services offered in Economy Class on an Air China A330-200 flight from Beijing to Munich.

- Excellent, will be interesting reading.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
after a total waiting time of roughly 40 minutes, the unfriendly second agent handed out the boarding passes to us

- Yikes, too long especially if you want to log new planes!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
After a total waiting time of roughly 30 minutes we got our passports stamped and could continue to the security checkpoints

- Seems like this has been a real drama.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
it was time to explore the audio/video on-demand IFE system
Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
including the Air China timetable:

- Now that is an interesting feature, like the idea.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
After disembarking we were surprised to see two Bundespolizei officers (federal police, formerly known as border police) checking passports and IDs in the middle of the passage behind the jetway. It was a totally unorganized procedure and I wasn't sure about the purpose considering that all passengers had to pass the regular passport control counters anyway

- I had the same experience when I flew Air China from ATH-CDG a few years back.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
No doubts, the whole trip was a huge success from an enthusiast point of view. I flew on three new airlines and six new planes, including five widebody aircraft, and logged a total of 108 new registrations. I also thoroughly enjoyed the non-aviation parts of the journey - it's always a great pleasure to visit the Gulf States and South-East Asia. I can't wait to go again.

- Indeed, sounds like it was a worthy trip! -Makes me want my next big trip to roll around quicker!

Cheers

Mark
111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
 
PlaneHunter
Topic Author
Posts: 6512
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sat May 29, 2010 2:05 pm

Quoting akhmad (Reply 7):
Nice conclusion of your Middle Eastern and Asian round trip.
Quoting akhmad (Reply 7):
Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed it.

Many thanks, Suryo!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 7):
Good to know you have had a better experience with CA in Y than Alex when he flew them on FRA-PEK.

Yes, I remember his report. He flew on a 744 with a worn interior and only basic IFE offerings. I would avoid those birds.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 7):
Did you buy a CA return ticket from HKG?

No, it was a one-way ticket.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 7):
Has PEK not been awarded by Skytrax recently for the best airport security processing? So what's the point to get an accolade on this one?

I don't know, I have to check that.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 8):
Nice final installment, a good read and nice pix, most welcome on this wet saturday afternoon.

Hi Mark, thanks a lot for your comments! The weather is better here, but I guess the rain will be back soon.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 8):
- Yikes, too long especially if you want to log new planes!

It wasn't amusing at all seeing various planes taxiing in the distance and not being able to log them...

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 8):
Seems like this has been a real drama.

Yes, that's an appropriate term.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 8):
Makes me want my next big trip to roll around quicker!

When is it planned?


PH

[Edited 2010-05-29 07:06:17]
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
airpearl
Posts: 849
Joined: Tue May 01, 2001 7:42 pm

RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sat May 29, 2010 2:08 pm

Hi PH

Fantastic conclusion to your trip. Thank you for this final installment - but sorry to hear about your clearly frustrating transfer through PEK Terminal 3. In the past, changing planes at Chinese airports had never been particularly enjoyable affairs but I thought that'll change somewhat after the spanking new terminal in Beijing. I'd heard of better experiences at PEK but from this TR, it does look like it's a bit of a hit-and-miss affair.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Finally, after a total waiting time of roughly 40 minutes, the unfriendly second agent handed out the boarding passes to us. At least the pre-reserved seats hadn't been changed...

Wow, the waiting time is really unacceptable - and considering you were close to the front of the queue, I can't imagine the wait for those at the back. I will bear that in mind should I decide to give the LH A380 a go later this year... I presume a 85 minute transit is a sure way of missing it  
Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Dozens of passengers were waiting in a long and unorganized queue in front of two passport control counters.

I didn't realize you had to clear passport control even on an international-to-international transfer. That's really not so great.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
the Air China interior is absolutely identical to the interior on Hainan Airlines' A330s - except for the colors, of course. The seats were very comfortable

It doesn't look so bad at all. I think I could consider my first flight on CA  
Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
The major reason for that attitude was the permanent intensive coughing and sputtering in the rows around us. Some Chinese passengers were real experts on that subject..

Haha... you notice it more because you hadn't been travelling around China at all this round - otherwise I think there's a good chance you could be immune to it...

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
I also thoroughly enjoyed the non-aviation parts of the journey - it's always a great pleasure to visit the Gulf States and South-East Asia. I can't wait to go again.

Please do. Enjoyed the journey with you, including lots of the non-aviation parts. Thanks for sharing it all with us. Look forward to your next!

Cheers,
airpearl
 
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sat May 29, 2010 2:31 pm

Quoting airpearl (Reply 10):
Fantastic conclusion to your trip. Thank you for this final installment

Thanks a lot, Airpearl! Good to hear you enjoyed it.

Quoting airpearl (Reply 10):
Wow, the waiting time is really unacceptable - and considering you were close to the front of the queue, I can't imagine the wait for those at the back.

I'm really wondering whether all these people were able to catch their connecting flights.

Quoting airpearl (Reply 10):
I will bear that in mind should I decide to give the LH A380 a go later this year... I presume a 85 minute transit is a sure way of missing it

Sounds like a great plan! But make sure you have enough time for the transfer.

Quoting airpearl (Reply 10):
I didn't realize you had to clear passport control even on an international-to-international transfer. That's really not so great.

Well, that's how it works in the US and Canada, too. I wasn't much surprised about that. However, I was surprised that only two officers were on duty.

Quoting airpearl (Reply 10):
Haha...you notice it more because you hadn't been travelling around China at all this round - otherwise I think there's a good chance you could be immune to it...

Yes, I have thought about that.

Quoting airpearl (Reply 10):
Please do. Enjoyed the journey with you, including lots of the non-aviation parts. Thanks for sharing it all with us. Look forward to your next!

The next reports will feature trips within Europe - haven't planned another long-haul trip yet. But I have numerous ideas...


PH

[Edited 2010-05-29 07:35:00]
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
ba319-131
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sat May 29, 2010 2:59 pm

PH,

Next Feb, MEX, BOG and a few airports in Brazil.

Rgds

Mark
111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
 
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sat May 29, 2010 3:07 pm

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 12):
Next Feb, MEX, BOG and a few airports in Brazil.

Sounds great. South America ranks high on my to-do-list. Many interesting sights, airports and airlines...


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
ba319-131
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sat May 29, 2010 3:55 pm

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 12):
Next Feb, MEX, BOG and a few airports in Brazil.

Sounds great. South America ranks high on my to-do-list. Many interesting sights, airports and airlines...


PH

Indeed, think it's time to go now, Asia and the US have been travelled many times so figured it was a good time.

Cheers

Mark
111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
 
The777Man
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sat May 29, 2010 8:09 pm

Hi PlaneHunter!

Great conclusion to this great trip! Very nice pictures!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Almost 80 minutes after joining the first queue we were able to enter the gate area - absolutely unacceptable for a major hub

That's very bad. I think it depends a lot on which country passport people are holding. I know it's going to take a long time if I get stuck behind people from Africa for example......

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
I ordered a Chinese beer and was glad that Air China did have a local brand. It tasted quite good:

I also usually try to order the local beer although lately, I haven't been able to do that due to my liquid restrictions.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Another round of drinks was served while we were eating, another round followed shortly after lunch

Always great when they come around with drinks several times rathar than just with the meal.

Air China looks pretty good; my flight with them was PEK-HKG so much shorter but I had a nice flight when I went. Not much for IFE on their 777s in those days,; just overhead monitors.

Looking forward to your next report from your next trip!

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
 
767747
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sun May 30, 2010 2:46 am

Planehunter,

Thanks for sharing this report on your flight back to MUC on Air China. I have heard mixed reviews on this airline, but its nice to see a rather positive report on them. They don't look too bad! I always enjoy seeing their 747-400 if I'm passing through JFK.

767747
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sun May 30, 2010 6:02 am

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 14):
Indeed, think it's time to go now, Asia and the US have been travelled many times so figured it was a good time.

Yes, I feel the same about the US. But there's still enough to see in Asia...

Quoting The777Man (Reply 15):
Great conclusion to this great trip! Very nice pictures!

Hi Lars, thanks for your comments!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 15):
Always great when they come around with drinks several times rathar than just with the meal.

On some carriers the drink service even follows quite late after the meal distribution - that has happened several times on Emirates.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 15):
Air China looks pretty good; my flight with them was PEK-HKG so much shorter but I had a nice flight when I went. Not much for IFE on their 777s in those days,; just overhead monitors.

I'm wondering whether they are planning to refurbish the 772 cabins and to install PTVs. When did you take that flight? Did they serve a hot meal?

Quoting 767747 (Reply 16):
Thanks for sharing this report on your flight back to MUC on Air China.

Hi Matthew, good to hear you enjoyed it.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 16):
I have heard mixed reviews on this airline, but its nice to see a rather positive report on them. They don't look too bad!

Well, it really depends on the aircraft type. I would avoid CA's 744s on long flights.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
The777Man
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sun May 30, 2010 7:24 am

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 17):
When did you take that flight? Did they serve a hot mea

I flew CA on 12Jun01. Yes, a hot meal was served and the flight was uneventful. Flight time to HKG is not that long so a nice short flight with a meal. I remember talking to a person next to me who had switched from KA just to get a hot meal.

Flight was in the afternoon from PEK arriving HKG around 7pm or so.

No Ginger Ale for you on CA, , PlaneHunter ? 

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
 
B747forever
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sun May 30, 2010 8:06 am

Great TR!

Sorry to hear about your bad experience in PEK. Didnt sound pleasant at all.

CA seems to be okay but the thing that impressed me is that they serve 2 full hot meals. It is a lot more than what BA gives on their long haul flights.



Thank you for sharing

B747forever
Work Hard, Fly Right
 
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OA260
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sun May 30, 2010 5:51 pm

Hi great conclusion,
Nice pics and read. I remember the seats from my A330 flight with them. Shame the food was not to your liking , that green thing did look odd  

Thanks for the report

OA260
 
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sun May 30, 2010 6:37 pm

Quoting The777Man (Reply 18):
I remember talking to a person next to me who had switched from KA just to get a hot meal.

Interesting, I'm wondering what KA serves in these afternoon flights now.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 18):
No Ginger Ale for you on CA, , PlaneHunter ?

The Chinese beer was a good alternative. It's not as easy to find as ginger ale.  
Quoting B747forever (Reply 19):
Great TR!

Thanks, Gabriel!

Quoting B747forever (Reply 19):
CA seems to be okay but the thing that impressed me is that they serve 2 full hot meals. It is a lot more than what BA gives on their long haul flights.

Yes, it's not necessarily common to get two hot meals.

Quoting oa260 (Reply 20):
Hi great conclusion,
Nice pics and read.

Hi Phil, thanks for your comments!

Quoting oa260 (Reply 20):
I remember the seats from my A330 flight with them.

Yes, I remember your report. You had a much better seat in the front cabin...

Quoting oa260 (Reply 20):
Shame the food was not to your liking, that green thing did look odd

Well, the red sauce wasn't any better.  


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
FlyingFinn76
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sun May 30, 2010 7:15 pm

Hi PH,

Nice conclusion on your trip. That PEK transfer definitely sounds like a very frustrating experience. I wonder why there were so few agents on duty to allow a single problematic pax to clog everything - it's not like labor in China is particularly expensive! Not world class by any means.

I transferred in PEK between a domestic and Finnair international flight back in 2006, in the old terminal of course. It was far smoother, but then again when arriving you ended up in the main check in hall anyway and joined the regular passenger flow. On the way back I had an overnight at the airport so no problems there either.

I'm also wondering about the passport control part - HKG is considered an international destination in China - as they have different visa requirements etc.

Still, the CA ride looked okayish, apart from the dodgy-looking food.
 
Contact Air
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sun May 30, 2010 9:52 pm

Hi PH,

Great report and fantastic pictures once again - it was interesting to read about the final part of your trip to Asia.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Almost 80 minutes after joining the first queue we were able to enter the gate area - absolutely unacceptable for a major hub.

I agree - Beijing Airport authorities as well as Air China should make sure that connecting passengers can pass through their hub quickly and efficiently.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
This is Ulan Bator

Great picture.

Regards
Christoph
 
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:50 pm

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 22):
Nice conclusion on your trip.

Hi FlyingFinn, good to hear you liked it.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 22):
I wonder why there were so few agents on duty to allow a single problematic pax to clog everything - it's not like labor in China is particularly expensive!

Yes, that's exactly what I thought, too.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 22):
I'm also wondering about the passport control part - HKG is considered an international destination in China - as they have different visa requirements etc.

It seems all transit passengers from international destinations had to pass these counters.

Quoting Contact Air (Reply 23):
Great report and fantastic pictures once again - it was interesting to read about the final part of your trip to Asia.

Hi Christoph, many thanks for your feedback!


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
reifel
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:09 pm

Thank you for this nice report. It's not that common to see Air China longhaul reports here, and it seemed to be a quite ok flight.

Your experience in Beijing is indeed not very good. It seems that even when you connect from CA to CA on a single ticket it's unusual to get your onward boarding pass. So they should at least make sure that the counters are staffed.

Immigration is another story. Could happen anywhere and let's face it: In my opinion I don't think that most police officers feel themselves as part of a "service" of an airport. Even not here in Germany. And I cannot imagine that any terminal or airport manager would tell a police forces higher officer "you and your team are inefficient and giving a bad image of our airport". Not here in Germany, but for sure not in China... I guess this is something we have to deal with.
 
FLIEGER67
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Thu Jun 03, 2010 8:15 pm

Hi, PH,

well done, a perfect conclusion of you´re latest series.
Well written and surrounded by nice pictures.

What a bad experience around you´re transfer, something to improve soon.

That AirChina machine looks indeed not bad, but the catering,
well, I´am very special about eating in planes and that´s not my choice there, so it seems.

Greetings,
Markus (FLIEGER67)
Tripreporter.net
 
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OA260
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:41 pm

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 21):
Yes, I remember your report. You had a much better seat in the front cabin...

Yeah I liked their product , IIRC you didnt like the colours  
 
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sun Jun 06, 2010 7:21 pm

Quoting Reifel (Reply 25):
Thank you for this nice report. It's not that common to see Air China longhaul reports here, and it seemed to be a quite ok flight.

Thanks for your feedback, Reifel.

Quoting Reifel (Reply 25):
It seems that even when you connect from CA to CA on a single ticket it's unusual to get your onward boarding pass. So they should at least make sure that the counters are staffed.

Well, probably we would have received the onward boarding pass at HKG if we hadn't been rebooked to Dragonair's HKG-PEK service.

Quoting Reifel (Reply 25):
Immigration is another story. Could happen anywhere and let's face it: In my opinion I don't think that most police officers feel themselves as part of a "service" of an airport. Even not here in Germany.

Yes, I have to agree.

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 26):
well done, a perfect conclusion of you´re latest series.
Well written and surrounded by nice pictures.

Hi Markus, many thanks for your comments!

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 26):
That AirChina machine looks indeed not bad, but the catering,
well, I´am very special about eating in planes and that´s not my choice there, so it seems.

Well, I was quite sure you wouldn't like CA's food.  
Quoting oa260 (Reply 27):
Yeah I liked their product , IIRC you didnt like the colours

Yes, I still like Hainan's colorful interior better.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
iahredhead
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sun Jun 13, 2010 1:15 pm

Dear Plane Hunter,

I felt your pain reading about the long lines at the international transfer desk.

Great pic of UB! I lived there for a year a while back. It looks so much better from 35,000 feet, let me tell you.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
It hadn't become busier at Terminal 3 since our arrival:

I've never seen the international end of Terminal 3 look full of planes. Maybe it's a result of the building's large size. The middle section of Terminal 3 seems to be totally vacant. The domestic part is always crowded, though. Even with this huge new terminal, I've been deplaned/boarded via remote stairs as many times as not.

Scott
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." Abraham Lincoln
 
ronerone
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Thu Jun 17, 2010 7:10 am

Hi PH!

Congratulations on delivering another excellent documentation. Your attention to the right details we like to know about is superb!

I was particularly interested in this TR because of your transfer at PEK. Beijing Capital has some GREAT options for self-connecting and i have always wondered how easy (or not) it would be to transit out of that airport, kleeping in mind how Chinese immigration can be strict.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
It was soon obvious that some Russian passengers, apparently booked on an S7 Airlines flight, were having trouble. Passports were being handed back and forth and while a Russian lady looked quite stressed, the older female Chinese agent behind the counter appeared quite unmotivated while talking on the phone all the time. An S7 representative repeatedly being involved in the discussions seemingly couldn't help to solve the problem either.

Somehow i have a feeling this was the fault of S7. They are notorious for being 'strange'  
Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Only one counter was open, but the number of waiting passengers was limited. However, after a few minutes I realized that the queue was stuck. It was soon obvious that some Russian passengers, apparently booked on an S7 Airlines flight, were having trouble. Passports were being handed back and forth and while a Russian lady looked quite stressed, the older female Chinese agent behind the counter appeared quite unmotivated while talking on the phone all the time. An S7 representative repeatedly being involved in the discussions seemingly couldn't help to solve the problem either.

After 15 minutes I asked two airport employees standing close whether this was the right queue for Air China transfer passengers and the young man confirmed. "Sorry, only one line", he added. Meanwhile some 40 people had joined the queue behind us and it was getting longer every minute. A lady behind us soon addressed the two employees, too, but she got the same answer. After 15 more minutes without any progress the young employee informed us that staff for a second counter had been called...that was overdue considering that numerous Air China long-haul flights would depart in the early afternoon. Finally, after a total waiting time of roughly 40 minutes, the unfriendly second agent handed out the boarding passes to us. At least the pre-reserved seats hadn't been changed...

The next bad surprise followed just a few minutes later: Dozens of passengers were waiting in a long and unorganized queue in front of two passport control counters. The two officers checked boarding passes and passports carefully and the queue behind us was growing quickly. After a few minutes it happened again: the queue was stuck. And again it was a Russian being in trouble. I remembered the guy from the other queue where I had overheard a conversation that he and his family were booked on an Air China flight to Moscow. The young Chinese officer either rejected the passport or the boarding pass and tried to send the Russian away. However, the man's family members had already passed the counter, so he didn't go anywhere and started arguing with the officer. The latter wasn't interested in a discussion, pointed towards the end of the queue and told the Russian to go away.

When the officer called the next passenger in line, the Russian loudly shouted: No, I will not go away! I want to go to my gate!" The officer ignored him and the Russian freaked out: He started to hit a metal barrier with his fists! Now I was expecting several security officers to show up, but nothing happened. Then an Asian passenger waiting in queue accused the Russian of delaying the whole process. "I do not want to delay anyone!", the man shouted back.

The Russian then started talking insistently to the older officer at the other counter. I heard the Russian mentioning the shoulder marks, so it seems he was hoping that the higher-ranking officer could help. The Russian repeatedly asked the older officer to call "his chief" - and after a few minutes the officer really took up the phone. Two minutes later a young, but high-ranking officer showed up, talked to the Russian and checked his documents. And what happened? Not even five minutes later the Russian was allowed to go to his gate! So maybe his outrage had been absolutely justified? Who knows what went wrong

My GOD! This is so unacceptable!

That reminded of of travel in the Middle East, but light years ago!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
After a total waiting time of roughly 30 minutes we got our passports stamped and could continue to the security checkpoints.

Did you require a transit visa just to connect at PEK? If so, how long did it take you to issue?

I was told that it isn't required, but it is suggested just in case!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
I was still able to log 23 new registrations in the remaining time

Excellent!

How many have you logged in total? Overall!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
One of the most interesting planes was Air China A321-200 B-6361 painted in the "Beautiful Sichuan" (mouse) color scheme:

Very nice color-scheme!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
the Air China interior is absolutely identical to the interior on Hainan Airlines' A330s - except for the colors, of course. The seats were very comfortable:

I think i prefer Hainan's cabin theme.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Seat features: Decent-sized video screen, seatback-mounted handset and cupholder:

The screen and IFE controller are the same as RJs! .. Interesting.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
The flight attendants started serving the first round of drinks less than 30 minutes after takeoff. I ordered a Chinese beer and was glad that Air China did have a local brand. It tasted quite good:

No ginger ale?

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Lunch was served subsequently and I chose the fish over the beef option:

Looks very trim and proper! Though, i would have preferred another dessert over fruit.


Thanks for sharing this with us! .. Always looking forward to more!

Cheers,
Roni
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.
 
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NZ107
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Tue Jun 22, 2010 3:49 am

Hi PH,

Another excellent report, great finish to another series. I can't wait to get back to writing my ones! It's great getting an overview of heaps of carriers.. Someday I'll get to pick a few of these airlines and go for long haul adventures.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
After 15 minutes I asked two airport employees standing close whether this was the right queue for Air China transfer passengers and the young man confirmed. "Sorry, only one line"

Call that poor service.. Sounds as though it's a LCC!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Almost 80 minutes after joining the first queue we were able to enter the gate area - absolutely unacceptable for a major hub.

That's crazy for such a massive airport like Beijing. You must think that they'd put more officers on during peak times!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Two flight attendants kindly welcomed us, but others didn't look at us while we were passing them

Sounds a bit hit and miss I must say!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Interesting features could be found in the "Services" submenu...

Wow, not many airlines have their schedule in the IFE. Something to flick over when you're bored!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
However, the flight was much better than expected. The cabin was clean and in relatively good shape, the seat was comfortable and the legroom was generous.

That's good to know, the bare requirements are there.

I do hope I can get some TRs done soon!

Thanks for sharing!

Regards,
Nicholas
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abrelosojos
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Fri Jun 25, 2010 4:19 pm

PH,

I have seen similar scenes at PEK myself and think the training to the front-line immigration staff is lacking. The Russian was probably justified in his anger ... especially if his family had already gone through! I once had an agent hold me because he did not know Liechtenstein was a country (fair enough), but then asked me if I had "any other documentation" because he was not sure PRC recognized Liechtenstein   ... quite amusing though.

Your Air China experience was significantly better than mine from last year. I guess next time I should let me deep desires to fly the 74D take a back seat to the rationale choice of flying their 332's with AVOD  .

Thanks again for sharing the report. Quite an amazing set of TR's for sure!

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
mdavies06
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:03 pm

Hi PH,

Thanks for the interesting trip report. The part about passport control is unreasonable - what is the need for one I wonder ?

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 21):
Quoting B747forever (Reply 19):
CA seems to be okay but the thing that impressed me is that they serve 2 full hot meals. It is a lot more than what BA gives on their long haul flights.

Yes, it's not necessarily common to get two hot meals.

If you fly with say SQ or CX or JL they do serve 2 hot meals westbound Asia-Europe. I think this is just dependent on the carrier and the route and the timing of the flight...
 
SurfandSnow
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sat Jun 26, 2010 10:52 am

LOL! Here I expected the experience at PEK's new terminal to be nothing short of incredible and the Air China in-flight experience as horrendous. Clearly, it was exactly the other way around  . Well, I guess this is all the more reason to transit through ICN - just one quick and security check, no customs/immigration formalities for transit pax - again instead of PEK!

International travelers have plenty of great alternatives - NRT, ICN, HKG, TPE, BKK, SIN to name a few - as hassle-free stopovers. China better be careful or they will soon be like the U.S. - avoided like the plague by all international connecting pax in the know!
Flying in the middle seat of coach is much better than not flying at all!
 
iahredhead
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sat Jun 26, 2010 11:25 am

Quoting SurfandSnow (Reply 34):
International travelers have plenty of great alternatives - NRT, ICN, HKG, TPE, BKK, SIN to name a few - as hassle-free stopovers. China better be careful or they will soon be like the U.S. - avoided like the plague by all international connecting pax in the know!

I can't imagine they really designed Terminal 3 to be a big international-to-international transfer point. While it is a glistening new building, the 3E restaurants and shops aren't very nice. 3E is not the type of terminal I'd want to spend any transit time in, compared to ICN, SIN, or HKG. However, I suppose they could develop that if they really wanted to.

I will give PEK one thing....from the ends of 3E, you get amazing views of the action on the two adjacent runways. I think SIN is the worst of this bunch for runway spotting. I've never been able to find a nice spot to do this from.

Scott
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." Abraham Lincoln
 
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:18 pm

Quoting iahredhead (Reply 29):
Great pic of UB! I lived there for a year a while back. It looks so much better from 35,000 feet, let me tell you.

Hi Scott, thanks for your feedback! So I guess you wouldn't recommend UB for a visit?

Quoting iahredhead (Reply 29):
I've never seen the international end of Terminal 3 look full of planes. Maybe it's a result of the building's large size. The middle section of Terminal 3 seems to be totally vacant. The domestic part is always crowded, though. Even with this huge new terminal, I've been deplaned/boarded via remote stairs as many times as not.

Thanks for the info!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 30):
Congratulations on delivering another excellent documentation. Your attention to the right details we like to know about is superb!

Hi Roni, thanks a lot for your kind words, great to hear you enjoyed reading.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 30):
Beijing Capital has some GREAT options for self-connecting and i have always wondered how easy (or not) it would be to transit out of that airport, kleeping in mind how Chinese immigration can be strict.
Quoting ronerone (Reply 30):

Did you require a transit visa just to connect at PEK? If so, how long did it take you to issue?

I was told that it isn't required, but it is suggested just in case!

Interestingly, we didn't have to wait very long at immigration when we entered the country in 2008. It was much easier to enter the country than changing planes in the same terminal. You never know, you should have at least two hours if you want to connect - and if you need to change terminals, you should have three or four hours. We didn't need a transit visa for changing planes at Terminal 3. However, it may be good to have one if you book on seperate tickets or change terminals. I don't know about the current requirements.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 30):
Somehow i have a feeling this was the fault of S7. They are notorious for being 'strange'

Ok, I will keep that in mind.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 30):
My GOD! This is so unacceptable!

Absolutely.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 30):
How many have you logged in total? Overall!

I logged 108 new registrations on the tour. Overall? I don't know, I would need to check that. Thousands, no doubts!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 30):
No ginger ale?

I found the Chinese beer more tempting this time...

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 31):
Another excellent report, great finish to another series.

Many thanks for your feedback, Nicholas!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 31):
Call that poor service.. Sounds as though it's a LCC!

Definitely, yes.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 31):
That's crazy for such a massive airport like Beijing. You must think that they'd put more officers on during peak times!

That should be possible somehow - China is not famous for a lack of people.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 31):
That's good to know, the bare requirements are there.

Yes, hopefully CA invests enough in maintaining the interiors.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 32):
Thanks again for sharing the report. Quite an amazing set of TR's for sure!

Hi Alex, thanks a lot for your reply!

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 32):
I have seen similar scenes at PEK myself and think the training to the front-line immigration staff is lacking. The Russian was probably justified in his anger ... especially if his family had already gone through! I once had an agent hold me because he did not know Liechtenstein was a country (fair enough), but then asked me if I had "any other documentation" because he was not sure PRC recognized Liechtenstein ... quite amusing though.

Wow, that's weird.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 32):
Your Air China experience was significantly better than mine from last year.

Yes, I remember your report well. You weren't amused about the product...

Quoting mdavies06 (Reply 33):
Thanks for the interesting trip report. The part about passport control is unreasonable - what is the need for one I wonder ?

Thanks! I was wondering about that, too. But that also happens on transit in Canada and the USA.

Quoting SurfandSnow (Reply 34):
LOL! Here I expected the experience at PEK's new terminal to be nothing short of incredible and the Air China in-flight experience as horrendous. Clearly, it was exactly the other way around . Well, I guess this is all the more reason to transit through ICN - just one quick and security check, no customs/immigration formalities for transit pax - again instead of PEK!

Sounds good, I still need to try ICN one day.

Quoting SurfandSnow (Reply 34):
International travelers have plenty of great alternatives - NRT, ICN, HKG, TPE, BKK, SIN to name a few - as hassle-free stopovers. China better be careful or they will soon be like the U.S. - avoided like the plague by all international connecting pax in the know!

That's true, there are numerous alternatives.

Quoting iahredhead (Reply 35):
I will give PEK one thing....from the ends of 3E, you get amazing views of the action on the two adjacent runways. I think SIN is the worst of this bunch for runway spotting. I've never been able to find a nice spot to do this from.

I have to agree - it's hard to find a good spotting spot on transit at SIN.


PH

[Edited 2010-07-01 12:19:56]
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
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NZ107
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Thu Jul 01, 2010 10:07 pm

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 36):
China is not famous for a lack of people.

If they can summon a million people to clean up the streets of Beijing after a snowstorm.. Who knows why they can't just put a few more officers on.
It's all about the destination AND the journey.
 
PlaneHunter
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Tue Jul 06, 2010 4:38 pm

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 37):
If they can summon a million people to clean up the streets of Beijing after a snowstorm.. Who knows why they can't just put a few more officers on.

Yes, good point!


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Mon Aug 25, 2014 2:38 pm

Hey PH, I quickly read back this report. A lot of resemblance here with the flight I took on the A333 from BCN to VIE but also it seems as if time has stood still, the IFE feels oldfashioned, there’s an enormous IFE box at your feet and were you sure you didn’t bring your Playstation on board because that IFE console sure has the look of one   On a positive note, good legroom and a comfy seat (except for the box then).

Sultanils
In thrust we trust.
 
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Tue Aug 26, 2014 5:43 pm

Quoting sultanils (Reply 39):
Hey PH, I quickly read back this report.

Hi Nils, thanks for your comments on that older report.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 39):
A lot of resemblance here with the flight I took on the A333 from BCN to VIE but also it seems as if time has stood still, the IFE feels oldfashioned, there’s an enormous IFE box at your feet and were you sure you didn’t bring your Playstation on board because that IFE console sure has the look of one On a positive note, good legroom and a comfy seat (except for the box then).

Yes, times have changed, but the product wasn't too bad back then.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
rwsea
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:55 pm

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 6):
Well, there's no general ID check when arriving from Schengen countries, so they may make random checks sometimes. But what's the purpose of these checks in the gate area if all passengers have to pass the control counters anyway?
Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 8):
- I had the same experience when I flew Air China from ATH-CDG a few years back.

My understanding is that the purpose is to ensure that passengers disembark with a passport and can prove their identity. Often times in cases where passengers are trying to seek refugee status, etc. they will flush the passport or otherwise "lose" it on board. Easier to avoid an issue if confirmed during disembarking rather than later on at passport control.
 
mdavies06
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Fri Aug 29, 2014 4:05 pm

Hi PlaneHunter, it is quite amusing isn't it to sometime see own's TR resurface after years. Thank you for such a wonderful and interesting TR. Connection in China is definitely a risky move because inbound and outbound flights can be delayed often due to military exercises. The military can shut down airways with no advance notice nor explanations, causing airports and airlines to cancel flights. Also, you might notice many China TR featuring pictures with smogy air. I am not sure if I would like to live in such industrially polluted environment. Anyway glad to read your TR.

mdavies06
 
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sun Aug 31, 2014 6:11 am

Quoting rwsea (Reply 41):
My understanding is that the purpose is to ensure that passengers disembark with a passport and can prove their identity. Often times in cases where passengers are trying to seek refugee status, etc. they will flush the passport or otherwise "lose" it on board. Easier to avoid an issue if confirmed during disembarking rather than later on at passport control.

Yes, that makes sense.

Quoting mdavies06 (Reply 42):
Hi PlaneHunter, it is quite amusing isn't it to sometime see own's TR resurface after years. Thank you for such a wonderful and interesting TR.

Hi mdavies06, thanks for your comments! Good to hear you enjoyed it. Yes, quite surprising to see older reports showing up again.

Quoting mdavies06 (Reply 42):
Connection in China is definitely a risky move because inbound and outbound flights can be delayed often due to military exercises. The military can shut down airways with no advance notice nor explanations, causing airports and airlines to cancel flights.

Military exercises delayed one of my flights by a few hours on a tour in 2008.

Quoting mdavies06 (Reply 42):
Also, you might notice many China TR featuring pictures with smogy air. I am not sure if I would like to live in such industrially polluted environment.

That's indeed a big problem - I wouldn't want to live in such an environment.

Quoting mdavies06 (Reply 42):
Anyway glad to read your TR.

Thanks again!


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
okapi
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:39 pm

Hi PlaneHunter. Nice read! Air China is not that bad if...the price is low enough. I'm not sure I'd fancy a transit through PEK after reading of your adventures there although airports all over the world tend to become a nightmare if you expect a fast transit. IST at peak hours is a mess close to nightmare.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
First of all some officers collected a kind of "health form" which we had filled out on the flight. The form asks about numerous disease symptoms including even minor ones such as headache. The questioning was also technically supported by infra-red cameras - good to see the authorities take disease control serious. Then we continued to the "International Transfers" desks in order to pick up our Air China boarding passes:

Should be mandatory on every airport that has links to Africa with the recent outbreak of the Ebola fevers. Given the high numbers of passengers travelling to the Dark Continent and the SARS crisis a few years ago, maybe the Chinese authorities have learned the lesson well. I find it more justified than other "security scans".

In spite of the rather poor in-flight service, I think the cabin is surprisingly airy and comfortable for a long-haul flight in Y. CA definitely needs to update and upgrade their service though, especially on the food offerings. I'm surprised they did not have or try to have an international option on their menu.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
After disembarking we were surprised to see two Bundespolizei officers (federal police, formerly known as border police) checking passports and IDs in the middle of the passage behind the jetway. It was a totally unorganized procedure and I wasn't sure about the purpose considering that all passengers had to pass the regular passport control counters anyway.

Happens a lot at many airports in Europe. Paris CDG is notorious for that especially on flights from Africa. Many would-be asylum seekers get rid of their IDs right after disembarking making it impossible to establish their true citizenship without a doubt. It seems China is on some sort of watch list too.

Thanks for sharing this trip with us!
 
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RE: The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332

Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:53 am

Quoting okapi (Reply 44):
Hi PlaneHunter. Nice read!

Thanks, okapi!

Quoting okapi (Reply 44):
I'm not sure I'd fancy a transit through PEK after reading of your adventures there although airports all over the world tend to become a nightmare if you expect a fast transit. IST at peak hours is a mess close to nightmare.

Some years have passed, but I don't think things have improved. IST has certainly become an airport to avoid at certain times.

Quoting okapi (Reply 44):
Should be mandatory on every airport that has links to Africa with the recent outbreak of the Ebola fevers. Given the high numbers of passengers travelling to the Dark Continent and the SARS crisis a few years ago, maybe the Chinese authorities have learned the lesson well. I find it more justified than other "security scans".

I can only agree!

Quoting okapi (Reply 44):
In spite of the rather poor in-flight service, I think the cabin is surprisingly airy and comfortable for a long-haul flight in Y. CA definitely needs to update and upgrade their service though, especially on the food offerings. I'm surprised they did not have or try to have an international option on their menu.

Some more service quality would indeed be good!

Quoting okapi (Reply 44):
Happens a lot at many airports in Europe. Paris CDG is notorious for that especially on flights from Africa. Many would-be asylum seekers get rid of their IDs right after disembarking making it impossible to establish their true citizenship without a doubt.

Alright, it makes sense. But some people could also get rid of their IDs on the aircraft.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!

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