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Old 20th August 2017, 11:11 PM   #1
ycp81
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Default Japan Jaunt to Okinawa (China Airlines economy with a bonus)

Over the recent national holiday, coupled with 2 days of vacation leave, I flew up to Japan again, this time to the resort island of Okinawa. Flights were booked on China Airlines, which currently offers the fastest and cheapest routing from Singapore (via Taipei), though Jetstar will be launching non-stop flights from Singapore from November. This was also my first ever flight on this Skyteam carrier.

China Airlines, with 3 flights a day from SIN (2x daily to Taipei, daily to Surabaya), departs from Terminal 3. Check-in at Row 11, which is the last row of the terminal. Expecting a full flight, there was however hardly any queues.




Proper coloured boarding passes issued, including the continuation to Naha, Okinawa.




Straight through immigration. The morning peak has passed and thus the terminal was not too crowded. SQ A380 at the gate, with a Jet Airways A330 arriving shortly.






Our aircraft arrived on scheduled from Surabaya. The aircraft had operated TPE-SIN-SUB the day before, night-stopped in SUB and operating today's SUB-SIN-TPE sector.




Gate A13 for our flight.




CI's oldest, but still very well-maintained, A330-300 aircraft would be operating the flight.




A very packed boarding gate signalling a full flight. Quite a number of passengers were transiting from Surabaya. Boarding started soon and priorities/boarding groups were enforced.





09 August 2017
China Airlines
CI 752
Singapore (SIN) - Taipei Taoyuan (TPE)
A330-300
B-18301
Economy Class
Flight Time: 4H22M



Boarding the aircraft. A newspaper cart was available at the door.






Welcomed by the crew and directed to the correct aisle. A pillow and blanket was placed on each seat.




As most of CI's A330s are still equipped with the older generation of seats, it felt like stepping back into the 90s when boarding the aircraft. However, the cabin and seats were still very clean and well-maintained. Definitely did not felt like a 13+ years old aircraft.

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Old 20th August 2017, 11:30 PM   #2
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View out the window. It was a drizzly morning.




Legroom was sufficient. PTVs were the tiny (by today's standards) 6.5" screen, with no USB nor power sockets. There is a mirror compartment and a coat hanger on the left of the screen, and a small compartment with a set of earphones on the right. The screen was playing some ads of Taiwan sights.




Pillow, blanket and the IFE handset at theside of the armrest.




Earsets, which are quite similar as those handed out on SQ, but in a nicer packaging.




A chunk of inflight magazine, IFE guide, inflight shopping and home-delivery shopping guides, and safety card.






Still waiting for boarding to be completed.




After boarding was completed and doors were closed, safety video was played. The screen quality was definitely not that good, though it was better later on in the interactive mode.




Taxi to the runway. Cool, even with the aged IFE system, there is still a nose-camera view!





https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YRri7g4ek0


Departure from Rwy20C.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGFf1TwPfmE



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Old 21st August 2017, 12:05 AM   #3
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More than 4hrs to go.




Decided to watch a more entertaining movie.






The weather was good above the clouds.




Visit to the lavatory, which is also stocked with a moisturiser and a antibacterial solution apart from the necessary.






View of the forward cabin. Also to add, a variety of English and Taiwanese magazines were also available at the magazine racks throughout the aircraft cabin. Nice to see some airlines still offering such frills in economy class.




Lunch service soon started. Service by the crew was friendly and warm, akin to the familar taiwanese hospitality. All the more, kudos to the crew for maintaining the smiles as they had also operated the previous ungodly 6am departure Surabaya-Singapore sector.



Lunch tray, with an option of Beef with noodles or Chicken with rice. There were a warm roll with butter, starter, fruits and dessert on the tray as well. Not many airlines offer fruits together with both starter and dessert, so kudos here to CI again. A full beverage selection was also offered but I just went with an apple juice. Chose the beef noodles for my main



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Old 21st August 2017, 12:43 AM   #4
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Starter was a cucumber salad with chicken. Fruits were fresh and sweet and dessert was a light berry mousse cake.






The main course was a delicious malay-styled fried noodles (mee goreng) with beef in satay sauce, vegetables and half an egg. It was a very tasty dish!




The other choice was Chicken in oyster sauce with rice and vegetables. Very similar to one of the usual boring oriental choices served on SQ, and tasted 'boring' as well.




After meals were distributed, crew came down the aisle offering coffee or Oolong tea. I ended the satisfying meal with an Oolong.






After I was done with the first movie, we were nearing the Philippines, with slightly more than 2hrs to go.




Requested and got some playing cards from the crew. Better collect them before they become the victoms of cost-cutting in the future!




After some channel surfing, decided to watch a chinese movie.




Just prior to descend, the crew came roud to distribute a packet of mixed rice crackers and cups of water. The crackers are really nice!






Above Taichung during the descend into TPE.

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Old 21st August 2017, 01:17 AM   #5
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Descending into Taipei Taoyuan.














It was very windy during the approach but the pilot still managed to make a very smooth landing on Rwy23R.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yxrw5G2Abd0


Taxi to our gate at Terminal 1.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9R6M-DujDg








Disembarking and passing the Business Class cabin with the old regional seats.




View of our A330.




It was a commendable first exprience on China Airlines. Being a full-service carrier, it still offers the full works in economy class. Even though the IFE system is quited dated, it still offers the full AVOD selection and is more than sufficient for the flight. Understand the the newer B773ERs and A350s have much better seats and IFE system. Crew were friendly, professional and responsive, and catering was good. A very good flight onboard China Airlines.

As we had a 2hrs layover during the transit, we proceeded to the Plaza Premium Lounge at Terminal 2, where the next flight would be departing from. Plaza Premium has 2 lounges each in T1 and T2.

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Old 21st August 2017, 01:54 AM   #6
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The lounge has a large dining area and a separate quiet seating area.






Food and beverages were available from the buffet selection as well as cooked-to-order dishes.








Our selection.








Nearing boarding time, we proceeded to the Taiwanese Snacks themed gate.




However the flight was slightly delayed due o the late arrival of the aircraft.




Sneak preview of my ride to Okinawa!



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Old 21st August 2017, 02:35 PM   #7
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Okinawa - that's a place I hope to visit one day. Looking forward to the rest of your report, ycp81.

The amount of food CI serves on the short SIN-TPE sector is similar to what BR serves on the same sector. That's 1 extra 'dish' and 1 packet of nuts more than SQ (I assume SQ has removed peanuts all regional flights by now).

What amenities were available in the CI lavatories? On BR's Y lavatories, there's handwash, aroma mist (EDT), facial mist and hand lotion available.

I'm beginning to find it quite difficult to justify flying SQ nowadays if the competitor's schedules are almost identical.
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Old 21st August 2017, 10:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icn.sg View Post


What amenities were available in the CI lavatories? On BR's Y lavatories, there's handwash, aroma mist (EDT), facial mist and hand lotion available.

Handwash, moisturiser and an antibacterial solution. Paper cups were also available.
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Old 23rd August 2017, 12:53 AM   #9
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The departure gate was pretty packed with Taiwanese families on their summer holidays.




The mighty Queen of the Skies performing the short hop to Okinawa. Another Queen taxies by. CI sure have quite a number of B747s still flying around. Boarding was delayed by 20min due to the late arrival of aircraft.





09 August 2017
China Airlines
CI 122
Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) - Naha Okinawa (OKA)
B747-400
B-18210
Economy Class (Business Class cabin)
Flight Time: 1H02M



If you have noticed my boarding passes earlier, I would be flying on the upper deck of the Queen, and in the Business Class cabin too even though it was an economy ticket. For certain leisure-oriented flights, CI is allowing economy passengers (with the exception of certain fare classes) to select seats in the Business Class cabin, but of course with Economy service. First Class cabin would be used of Business Class instead. With luck, my fare class is eligible for selection of the Business Class cabin during online seat management and hence immediately I selected the Upper Deck cabin! This would be my first ever flight on a B747 Upper Deck!

Boarding commenced and was again orderly.




Boeing-liveried CI B773ER




Newspaper cart at the door before boarding. Mainly Taiwanese newspapers offered.






Welcomed and directed up the stairs to the hump! Stepped into the upper deck Business Class cabin, which is a haven compared to the mass Economy cabin below. This aircraft was still fitted with the older recliner seats though the overhead bins has been fitted with the larger new ones. There are 24 Business Class seats in the upper deck, and even though it was economy service, we were still served by 2 dedicated crew in the upper deck. Business class pillows and duvet were placed on each seat. Surprisingly, upper deck was not full.






Tons of legroom!




Seat controls




Large pillow and a duvet.




Inflight magazines were packed in a clear plastic folder. Retro-looking noise-cancellation headphones were availabe at each seat as well.

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Old 23rd August 2017, 09:40 PM   #10
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I am enjoying this TR, ycp81!

Thanks for my first glimpse of the CI 744...are the upper deck J seats sloping flat seats or fully flat?

Okinawa is also on Mrs yflyer's to-visit list...looking forward to the rest of your report...
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Old 24th August 2017, 01:34 AM   #11
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With the very spacious seat, I had almost 3 windows to myself!




View from the upper deck.




Boarding was completed swiftly, doors closed and safety video was played.




Taxi to the runway.






Competitor's Queen which is retiring very soon.




KLM just behind.




With this being a lightly loaded short-haul flight, the takeoff run from Rwy23L must be one of the shortest ever takeoffs I experienced on a B747!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6DPfHPqlS8


Climbing








The bulky and retro IFE handset, which also functions as a phone.



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Old 24th August 2017, 01:54 AM   #12
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On this 1hr flight, I was actually surprised that a hot dinner was offered. Meal trays were swiftly distributed shortly after takeoff. According to the cabin crew, the meal would be a fried vermecilli with minced pork and fishcake. The tray came with a dessert cookie and a cup of water. The hot meal was delicious and the white chocolate cookie tasty as well. Coffee and Oolong tea was also offered.








Visit to the lavatory, which had the Business Class amenities stocked.






Full recline of the seat, though not flat, was still pretty comfortable.




Spent the rest of the short flight catching up with the movie I was watching during the previous sector. The IFE system is similar to the A330.




Dusk




Very soon, we were already descending into Naha. Landing into Naha Airport Rwy18 in the night was uneventful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uv8PqyW0JDI


Parked beside the competitor's aircraft.




Disembarking and getting more shots of the upper deck cabin.





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Old 25th August 2017, 01:58 AM   #13
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Going down the stairs of the Queen.




Business Class cabin at the main deck. Seemed pretty empty with the unused pillows and blankets on the seats.






One item crossed out from my must-do list, which is to fly on the B747 upper deck. It was definitely a very pleasant way to fly short-haul with efficient service and proper catering. The Business class cabin experience was definitely a bonus! And it was surprising that the Business cabin was not filled up.

Being seated in the upper deck, we were the first few to disembark, which helped to avoid the very long immigration queue at the small immigration hall. Guess those seated at the back would take quite a while to clear immigration.

There was a slight wait for the bags, but not too long.




Arrival hall meeting area at Naha Airport's International terminal. The terminal is way smaller than the major Japanese airports.




From the airport, it was only a 15min monorail ride from the domestic terminal (8 min walk away) to the city center. View of the Naha monorail in the day.




We stayed in the city of Naha, which was built up just like many other cities.




Going out for a snorkeling trip.




Naha City Hall




Kokusaidori Street, the main touristy stretch. Some people say it felt like Hawaii.






Having a bowl of Okinawan soba. Okinawan soba tastes rather different from the ramen or soba found on the main island of Japan.

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Old 25th August 2017, 11:30 PM   #14
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Goya Champuru (Stir-fried bitter melon), one of the most popular dishes in Okinawa.




Blue Seal ice-cream to beat the summer heat.






It is the pineapple season!




The popular Okinawa Benimo purple yam tart.




A popular cake shop along Kokusaidori.




Okinawa is famous for its salt, and there are many shops seling all sorts of salts!






Went on a road trip to the most northern point of Okinawa, Cape Hedo.







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Old 25th August 2017, 11:42 PM   #15
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Most northern point of Okinawa.






Next stop is Daisekirinzan, famous for its rock formations.




The Monkey God tower.




Nice view of the Cape.






Walk through 3 times and you shall be reborned.




See the kissing couple?




Spot the alien.




Simba on the rock.




Lunch at Okuma Beach Resort



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