Friday, November 04, 2005

China Airlines Blossoms in HK Harbour

OK, how many of you have taken China Airlines, aka the worst major airline in terms of safety record over the last ten years in all of Asia? Yes, you know the one, the de facto budget carrier that was also the flag carrier for the Republic of China, or Taiwan. I for one used to fly it every month for about a year, back when I had to fly to Taiwan all the time on business. It wasn't bad really, and the stewardesses were really nice to me (I guess it helped being the only person sitting in business class!).

Of course, I would fly Cathay when that was available, but their flights always seemed full for some reason. Can't imagine why.

Or maybe I can. Particularly when I cast my mind back 12 years to November 4th, 1993. I was still in college then, but I clearly remember that day when a China Airlines pilot, ex-Taiwan air force (of course, that being de rigeur), overflew the Kai Tak runway when the macho man tried to land it in a typhoon. What happened? He dropped the plane into the harbour.

No one died, even though the plane landed in the shallows of Hung Hom Bay. But they and their luggage did get a little wet!

What caused me to stop flying them was after one particularly harrowing vacation in 1997 when I had to scale the sheer face of a cliff at Tiger Leaping Gorge to stop myself from falling half a kilometer to my death. I, with my fear of heights! It seemed really stupid afterwards. Then I thought to myself, why take unnecessary risks in life? Are the stewardesses really worth it? :)

No, I thought. And I've never flown them again. Especially when EVA Air is just as nice.


Anonymous said...

do i detect a pattern here? landing in typhoons does not work.

happened in chek lap kok, as well.

doug crets

by the way, let's have a lunch.

Madame Chiang said...

Here's a picture of it sitting in the harbour...

Dave and Stefan said...

Hi Doug,

Thanks for your e-mail! Lunch sounds great, whenever you have a chance. Just drop us a line at

Madame Chiang, thanks so much for those lovely photos of the runway-challenged China Airlines flight. Would you believe I was seriously considering taking it to Singapore, on Thursday, just days after writing this? I just couldn't do it in the end and bought United instead. Bankrupt and all, it does inspire more confidence...