Flight Report : Xiamen Airlines Hong Kong - Wuyishan

Wuyishan was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999 for both its subtropical forest and cultural heritage. Once in a more remote part of Fujian province, it is now easily accessible thanks to a high-speed rail connection. However, the 7 hour ride from Shenzhen was not appetizing, so I chose to fly instead.

Xiamen Airlines operates a twice weekly service between Wuyishan and Hong Kong. The 1.5 hour flight makes visiting much easier and this ease of access is the selling point for packaged tours.

The airline only operates a small number of check-in counters. Our group snaked out from there and slowly made our way towards being processed. No biggie. The tour agencies always ask the clients to arrive at the airport way too early.

Entry into the secured area has also changed. There are now separate lines for Hong Kongers and foreigners although staff did not enforce this at all today.

Air-side, spotting was quite decent with a good variety of birds.

The gate display signs are also changing with vertical screens instead of the horizontal ones. The nearer gates have been refurbished and these new features are slowly making their way down the terminal.

My flight would depart from the north concourse - the 5xx gates. Buses from the main terminal depart from under the departures level. I have complained of these for many years with long waits, packed buses, and an uncomfortable stop-and-go ride across the busy tarmac. Luckily, the airport authorities finally got their sense back and will build a bridge soon.

The concourse is full of narrowbodies but the windows are not always accessible to departing passengers. As I tried to do some spotting, I noticed my inbound Xiamen Airlines flight arriving on-time.

It is a cozy concourse with not so many gates and less crowds. There were plenty of empty seats at neighbouring gates for me to relax and watch the beautiful sunset.

Flight attendants greeted us in their smart new bright blue uniforms which looked like Korean Air. The cabin was clean and the seats were surprisingly spacious. I guess I have endured too many cramped flights on Hong Kong Express and have forgotten what a real seat is like. The flight was not full with the front rows being fairly empty. Unfortunately my window seat ended up being in a row with no window, much to my annoyance as I had asked for a window seat at check-in.

We departed on-time for the short 1.5 hour flight to Wuyishan. The flight map played on the overhead TV screens.

For such a short flight, a hot meal was served, which was quite decent. You won't get that on Cathay Pacific's Taipei and Manila routes, which are of similar length. Staff served with a smile and so far, I was quite impressed at the offering for such a short flight.

Meanwhile, I turned my eyes to the duty free catalogue, which also had an allowance chart in the end to give the customer good advice on how much to splurge. The in-flight magazine also had a lot of lovely natural scenery pictures.

MF also flies larger planes although not on its Hong Kong routes. They are a Deamliner operator.

Similar to other Chinese airlines, the headrest cover was full of ads.

We landed slightly behind schedule in the evening. The airport's international section was quiet and immigration was speedy. With only 1 luggage belt in the arrivals area, it didn't take long for me to retrieve my bag and head out to the tour bus. I like these smaller airports - everything is speedy and more efficient.

What a surprise! Xiamen Airlines offers a great hard and soft product and the airport-to-airport experience was quite good, especially since Wuyishan is not a large airport and has little traffic.

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