Friday, June 04, 2010

China Airlines: What have I done to deserve this?

Travelling with China Airlines from Hong Kong is pleasantly surprising. I booked a cheap 2-day package in Taipei, for a running race tomorrow morning, and when I get to the check-in desk without even asking I'm given access to the lounge, and a seat right up by the front of the plane. This was even before I'd passed them my frequent flyer card; I'm now wondering if China Airlines have decided on a policy of random acts of kindness to passengers.

This isn't the first time; last summer when I was flying to Jakarta, I had my seat upgraded to the first row of business class (and that was when I had paid about a hundred USD for the whole flight). Shame that business class on China Airlines that day seemed to be full of corpulent grumpy people who spent all their time breathing heavily or chastising the flight attendants.

The lounge isn't bad; it's maybe not the best I've ever been in (although that's only with experience of the Lufthansa lounge at Heathrow, a few times on Eurostar at Waterloo and BA about ten years ago) but the seats are more comfortable than sitting in the main area. Although that's not much of a concern at Hong Kong International because the whole environment is so nice anyway, but then when you're in the main public areas you don't get free drinks or (rock-hard) croissants laid on, along with a decent table to type this at, or all the newspapers and magazines you could possibly want. I think if I liked steamed buns, cherry tomatoes or instant noodles I might be benefitting more from the experience, but it's churlish to complain. (Although how quick I am to complain – a couple of hours ago I didn't know I was getting this for free, and now I'm unhappy because the croissants aren't quite light and fluffy enough? Might be time to pause and count one's blessings...)

So I sit here in the dimly lit lounge, enjoying the peace and quiet and wondering what the next treat is that China Airlines will provide.

Although since it seems to be fairly at random, it's entirely possible that the flight home will be sat on top of a crate of oranges next to a broken toilet at the back of the plane. That's all part of the excitement, I suppose.


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