Flight Report : CI 934 Hong Kong - Kaohsiung
2 Mar 2019

China Airlines has had a less than stellar safety record over the years, but things have calmed down in recent memory. Nevertheless, I tried to avoid them fearing the higher odds of an incident may catch up with me one day.

Hoping to make it to Taiwan's east coast for an off-the-beaten track vacation, this airline came back on the radar with a heavily-discounted fare compared to Cathay. Perhaps it was worth risking the short 1-hour flight for only HKD $1288 all-in?

Today's flight would be operated by an A330. It is typical for widebodies to fly the short trip between Hong Kong and Taiwan. Despite direct flights between both sides of the strait now, prices are astronomical so the Hong Kong stopover remains popular and fills up big planes.

Despite the short flight time, a pillow was already placed at every seat. Seems they are trying to promote the Kumamoto bear as well.

The PTV screen was pitiful and reminds me of the early days of IFE at your seat.

The seat is showing signs of wear and tear. The storage area to the right of the PTV had seen better days.

The IFE was pitiful although the magazine made it look much better. There was also a decent amount of duty-free items in the catalogue. You can even buy a bag of rice. The eastern part of Taiwan is actually famous for rice production.

Despite the short flight, the traditional headset was provided for our comfort.

Pushing back, we took a long taxi to the other end of the terminal for departure.

There is a lot of construction on the airport island, with reclamation for the 3rd runway under way. Unfortunately, my window was a bit scratched up so the aerials were not as clear as I wanted on this otherwise beautiful day.

Terminal 2 will be redeveloped and extended to cater for the new runway's use.

With clouds over the city and beyond, I turned to the IFE interface, which was very old-school and didnt't offer anything particularly interesting.

With only an hour in the air, and chopping off the ascent and descent portions, the crew rushed to distribute a hot meal. I felt sorry they were in such a hurry. In Asia, we tend to be spoiled on the short flights, where the traditional carriers continue to serve meals for free. Even the low-cost airlines such as AirAsia offer a very affordable meal option and not gouge you to compensate for the cheap fare.

Not long after, we started descending into a sunny Kaohsiung. My left window would offer great city views from the harbour to skyline on approach.

With that, an uneventful short flight came to an end, safe and sound.

China Airlines offers a comfortable product and a surprisingly hot meal even for such a short journey. If it weren't for their blemished historical safety record, this airline offers great value for money.

With swine flu on high alert, all passengers have to undergo special inspection after collecting their bags. Long lines snaked out of customs as each passenger was checked. I previously encountered something similar in Japan, but this one is even more onerous, indicating how fearful the Taiwanese are with this disease devasting its local pork industry. Luckily, there aren't many arriving international flights, as our flight alone caused quite a jam already.

With no pork products or other contraband in my luggage, I exited into the arrivals hall, turning left to head out the doors for the MRT station. Kaohsiung's airport is quite close to the city and is only a 5 stops from downtown (85 Sky Tower), a refreshing difference to Taipei's Taoyuan airport.

No crowds at the airport station!

Easycards work all across Taiwan, and my card from Taipei worked perfectly fine here. I wish China could adopt a common standard across the country rather than have each individual city launch its own card.

The next leg of my journey would be a train connection to Taitung. I had pre-booked this online earlier as there aren't too many trains to begin with. Kaohsiung's main station is being revitalized with some unique and dazzling architecture.

The east coast of Taiwan is not connected to the high-speed train network, so passengers need to rely on the regular TRA service. Prices are much cheaper, perhaps too cheap, as they fill up quickly. These trains run underground through the city after a tunnel project recently opened.

Even the washroom has become high-tech with indicators on which stalls are available.

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