This was ticketed as the second leg of a Taipei to Chengdu return ticket which in total booked into V class, costing NTD 13,693 (HKD3,181) and accrued 2,680 Asia Miles.
I arrived at Hong Kong airport around an hour and a half before take off and checked in immediately.
At the airport
When I checked in, the gate had not yet been assigned. I decided to go to The Bridge lounge, as it usually has a good breakfast spread. To get there I took the train, which stops more or less underneath it.
The boarding gate later turned out to be 523. This required going back to close to the passport control area, but as the train only takes passengers one way I had to walk back. This is one of the 5- prefixed boarding gates, which I find unattractive. One goes there and sits in a crowded area with no lounge, then boards an equally crowded bus. The bus took us to remote stand S103. As it was raining hard, stepping from the bus over to the stairway to the plane was unpleasant. I think a premium airline like Dragonair shouldn’t be using the dingy 5- prefixed gates and bussing passengers to remote stands.
This was operated by an Airbus A330 (registration B-HWM) with the Dragonair inflight entertainment system (basically Cathay’s regional system), and a USB socket.
The flight in economy looked to be about two thirds full. There was some turbulence as we approached Chengdu, where traffic and fog led us to circling for a while before landing.
We pushed back at 10.34 and took off at 10.50. We arrived at the gate in Chengdu at 1.35 p.m., fifteen minutes after schedule. From there it was a short walk to immigration and customs, where there was only a short queue.
The crew was friendly. I was greeted as a Marco Polo member.
I asked for a newspaper but was told that the the one I wanted (the Financial Times) wasn’t loaded on this flight. I remember from before that Shanghai and Beijing have a certain loading of newspapers and, for example, fresh juice for business class passengers, which isn’t replicated on flights to lower tier mainland cities.
Food and Drink
The food option was rice or noodles, so I took the noodles. It turned out to be fried noodles with seafood and greens and was fine. There was no drinks service.
This flight was classic Dragonair to a secondary city: fine, decent crew, edible but not especially good food, and a delay albeit thankfully as it was earlier in the day the delay was quite short.
Guest Blogger: Christopher R.