Flight Report : CI 935 Kaohsiung - Hong Kong
5 Mar 2019

Kaohsiung's airport is only a 15 minute train ride from the city centre. With the line built long after the airport's opening, it is a long walk from the concourse to the elevators for the ride up to departures, and the exit doesn't really directly go into the terminal, but into the open curb where vehicles drop off passengers to get into the building.

The airport was surprisingly busy during the afternoon. I had thought there aren't that many international flights out of here, but apparently there are a lot of PRC airlines' flights leaving at this time of the day. The China Airlines Economy check-in counter was understaffed with only 3 counters open and a long line waiting to be processed. There are no self-serve machines or special line for online check-in bag drop, but the most traditional setup. It eventually took almost half hour to process me, cutting very close to the 1-hour bag drop deadline.

By then, staff were already closing up part of the queue's area to cater for another airline. The 5pm Hong Kong flight is the airline's last one out of here for the day.

One of the minor processing differences here is once your checked baggage goes behind the counter into the belt, you need to stick around until it passes the X-ray test before you can leave for the gate.

Security didn't take too long and foreigners now can use the automated gates to exit immigration, which is strange because this is not possible for arriving passengers. The machine is a bit confusing to use and the attendant was busy directing the 2 machines. First, put the passport's photo page onto the scanner, then place both fingers onto another scanner, and that's it. However, the workflow isn't obvious from the screen messages.

Air-side, there weren't that many planes parked at the otherwise large international section. Fancy brand name stores have landed in the big shopping area. I wished they offered more floor space for Taiwan specialties instead of premium hand bags.

Otherwise, the skyline views were decent from the windows. One of them at the edge of the pier faced the runway for an arrivals view with the city's tallest building in the background.

Unfortunately, spotting is not easy as working desks have occupied the window space. It would be nice to do some work on your laptop with this type of view.

Boarding was orderly with 2 lines for the 2 zones. I settled into my window seat on the aged A330 once again, but this time, noticed the entertainment box underneath the seat in front of me. There were actually 2 parts, one laid flat on the ground partially across the seat, and another laid vertically along the middle of the space. At least I could comfortably put both feet in all the way, although one side felt noticeably higher than the other.

I noticed a pre-taped Cantonese announcement.

With a light load, we pushed back just ahead of schedule and made the short taxi to the runway tip. Unfortunately, since the runway was also used for arrivals, we waited quite some time for 2 planes to land before we could roar into the sky. Having researched the flight paths earlier, I opted for a right window for a higher likelihood of skyline views if we would loop around after take-off.

Kaohsiung is a major port city, albeit overshadowed by Taipei's clout. The port extends for quite a lot of distance out of the centre.

The was a lot of reclamation just off the city's coast. The plume of soil seems to be being carried away by the wind.

The aged plane also had a lot of scratched windows as well, making photo-taking quite difficult.

With a flight time of 1h10 announced, the crew sprang into action again to serve a hot rice meal to everyone. They specifically announced due to African swine flu fears, the meal would not contain any pork products. The chicken and rice was quite tasty and the crew came with coffee and tea afterwards. 40 minutes before landing, we were done and trays were collected. Unlike my inbound, they had time to announce duty-free service, although the captain came online not long after with the arrival time and conditions.

As we approached Hong Kong, we made a few erratic turns, presumably due to congestion. At least we didn't need to loop around in circles. The weather got progressively cloudier as we descended from 34,000 feet. Even with a good final approach over the city, the views were all covered up by clouds. We eventually touched down at 6:30pm, only to wait on the tarmac a bit to proceed to our gate.

We came in for a landing from the east, so no skyline views for me again.

The baggage carousel information was already posted at the gate as we exited into the terminal. As I walked towards immigration, I noticed some new shower facilities. Transit passengers no longer need to worry about flying Business Class or above or hold an elite credit card to enjoy a lounge shower.

I was quite content with the flight experience. Kaohsiung's airport is fairly small and close to the city. A surprising hot meal was served despite the short flight time and I arrived home safely. Hope their improved safety record can be sustained and I'll be less concerned flying them again.

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