Triplust.asia http://www.triplust.asia Satisfy Your Asia Travel Lust Sun, 26 Aug 2018 02:42:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Plaza Premium Arrivals Lounge Terminal 4 Heathrow http://www.triplust.asia/plaza-premium-arrivals-lounge-terminal-4-heathrow/ http://www.triplust.asia/plaza-premium-arrivals-lounge-terminal-4-heathrow/#respond Sun, 26 Aug 2018 02:42:48 +0000 http://www.triplust.asia/?p=528 The post Plaza Premium Arrivals Lounge Terminal 4 Heathrow appeared first on Triplust.asia.

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The Plaza Premium arrivals lounge is situated on the mezzanine level between arrivals and departures landside at terminal 4 Heathrow. It’s a good choice for Malaysia or other airlines with no arrivals lounge at T4.

The entrance and lounge is similar in feeling and design to other Plaza lounges worldwide with natural woods and fabric choices. Right balance of dark and light. It’s nailed the design and it is a relaxing place to hang out after a long flight and grab a shower or breakfast.

The showers were big and clean with a toilet inside the shower room with plenty of space to open a suitcase and a bench to place it on. Very well designed with a rainfall shower.

Breakfast choices of cooked and vegetarian. Cooked unusual in that it’s obviously targeted people who don’t eat pork. Fine as a preference but why no pork based traditional British breakfast? In the end I chose the vegetarian option which was actually really good. It does slightly irritate me that the meat option has obviously been made “universal” rather than having both a traditional British pork option and also a non-pork eaters friendly one. Service was to your table and the only criticism of the service was that it was a little slow. There were only four people in there including me and I would say it took around 15 minutes for the food to come out. It was obviously cooked to order which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but don’t count on it as a lounge you can run in and grab something then go back out.

WiFi was free and fast, no problems.

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EVA Air Economy Quick Review Taipei to Hong Kong http://www.triplust.asia/eva-air-economy-quick-review-taipei-to-hong-kong/ http://www.triplust.asia/eva-air-economy-quick-review-taipei-to-hong-kong/#respond Sat, 11 Aug 2018 16:02:46 +0000 http://www.triplust.asia/?p=512 The post EVA Air Economy Quick Review Taipei to Hong Kong appeared first on Triplust.asia.

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Here’s a quick trip report on Eva Air Economy on a new A330 equipped with Wifi. If you’re interested in wifi prices then jump straight down to the gallery and view the photo.

Eva air is a 5 star Skytrax airline and was founded in 1989. It’s the alternative to the state owned carrier China Airlines. Here’s my quick review of the pros and cons of Eva Air economy class

  • Fast check in at online check in counters. Well staffed and no queue
  • Boarded at end of process so can’t speak for the priority boarding available but boarding was well managed into zones
  • New A330 with Wifi
  • Seat comfortable. Same seat on longhaul should be comfortable and not “bum numbing” Pitch was nothing special and OK for short haul.
  • Snack good for the short haul flight. Other airlines don’t even provide a tray. Metal cutlery on one sector and special Hello Kitty tray and cutlery on their special Hello Kitty themed plane! Organic and filtered water towel included on the tray
  • Entertainment system was good but limited English new releases. Did also have European new releases though.
  • Nice cockpit display on moving map
  • At seat USB
  • Gate to gate entertainment. Loaded early so no boring taxis and waits on the ground!
  • Use your mobile device at all times!

Overall a very decent experience in economy on this short flight, you can see why they deserve the 5 star Skytrax rating.

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Anata No Warehouse. http://www.triplust.asia/anata-no-warehouse/ http://www.triplust.asia/anata-no-warehouse/#respond Fri, 18 May 2018 10:52:31 +0000 http://www.triplust.asia/?p=470 The post Anata No Warehouse. appeared first on Triplust.asia.

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Arcades are usually bright and loud, an assault on the senses with cheery music and gaudy lights. Anata no Warehouse (Your warehouse) in Kawasaki is a different breed. Step through it’s ominous doors with me.

The creators of Anata no Warehouse took great care in its construction. The outside is murky and deliberately worn, a stark contrast to its cleaner neighbors. Inside, the entrance lies on the first floor, along with parking. Step through its automated doors (parking side), and you’ll be transported to the seedy underbelly of Hong Kong’s infamous (and now extinct) Kowloon Walled City. Take the elevator or escalator up to the second floor, and be amazed at the level of detail.

There are five floors altogether. The first floor is parking and entrance/exit. The second floor is a mix of retro and modern arcade systems, including driving games, beat em ups, RPGs, and UFO catchers. This floor is the most impressive. Every inch has been made to look like Kowloon City. Dim neon signs in kanji light up the top half of the room, old posters scatter the walls, and there are even props you can take photos in, including a street food market and an apartment complex entrance. Look up, and you’ll see tattered clothing crisscross the ceiling, listen carefully and you’ll hear sounds of a long dead city. The decor alone is a reason to go. But, if you love games, you won’t be disappointed in that respect either. The place is like a tardis, it seems like you’ll never reach the end. Each floor is the same in that respect.

Once you tire of this floor, head up and check out the others. Whilst sadly the same theme isn’t carried up, each floor has its own set of features and entertainment. On the third floor, you’ll find a huge bank of medal games. The purpose of this game is to simply drop medals (you’ll find machines dotted around that allow you to change yen into medals) into a machine that continually pushes them forward. It’s oddly cathartic, but not for the impatient.

The fourth floor is all about billiards and darts. Speak to the staff at the central desk to get the equipment needed (darts, balls, cues), then take your pick. Again, it’s a big floor, you won’t spend much time waiting around.

The fifth floor is an internet cafe that serves food, but you have to be a member to use it. It can only be reached by elevator.

There’s no limit on how long you can stay. Anata no Warehouse opens at 9.00am and closes at 11.45pm, and it has free parking. You pay as you play, so be sure to take cash with you. There isn’t much in the way of food, but you will find vending machines scattered throughout for drinks. There is a restriction on age. No under 18’s are allowed. There is disabled access in the form of elevators, though if you are entering and have mobility issues, use the street side entrance as it’s level. Smoking is permitted inside, floors 3-4 get especially smoky, and ventilation is limited.

Overall, I really enjoyed Anata no Warehouse. It’s unique and has a lot of arcade games I enjoyed as a child. If you’re in Kawasaki, I recommend a visit. You can find it here.

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Hong Kong Airlines Latest New/Old Plane B-LHA J Class Review http://www.triplust.asia/hong-kong-airlines-latest-new-old-plane-b-lha-j-class-review/ http://www.triplust.asia/hong-kong-airlines-latest-new-old-plane-b-lha-j-class-review/#comments Tue, 13 Mar 2018 10:41:24 +0000 http://www.triplust.asia/?p=437 The post Hong Kong Airlines Latest New/Old Plane B-LHA J Class Review appeared first on Triplust.asia.

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Hong Kong Airlines (HX) has a new/old plane. An emirates A330, registration B-LHA. It’s a 17 year old airframe and a 330-200 series powered by Rolls Royce engines. They plan to buy further of these ex-Emirates aircraft so although the plane itself is old the cabin has been refitted. This is a review of the J class on B-LHA which differs considerably from the other aircraft in the fleet.

Broadly speaking current HX aircfaft consist of fully flat 1-2-1 seating or 2-2-2 recliner style side by side seating. This plane is 2-2-2 but features a product I’ve never seen before in J class. The seats are slightly angled and the cabin has a modern fresh feel. Initial impressions are good, however when sitting down you realize that the cabin seems to have been designed for Asian passengers.

The screen and foot rest feel quite close to the seat at the bulkhead, the seat of choice for a lot of frequent fliers; if you’re sitting in the rows behind then it does feel more spacious. However to be honest the footrest/tv screen is quite weird. It’s a standalone console with a tiny footrest which is open at the back. There’s a large amount of space behind each console at every seat which is strange. It’s a total waste of space which could have been avoided by putting the footrest and screen at the back of the seat or bulkhead thus making it feel less cramped. If this plane is only used within Asia then it’s acceptable in my opinion but for long haul it will feel cramped and there is an issue of stepping over your seatmate in the bulkhead seats. From a commercial point of view it also seems to make no sense as there’s 3 rows of J versus 4 on other aircraft of the same type at HX.

On the positive side, the screen is very impressive and for a change so is the software running it. It behaves like a tablet and is fast and responsive. Very clear and a good size. If anything it’s too responsive and you can scroll through the listings too fast!

The table is in the center armrest and is solid and a good size. It’s comfortable to both eat and work from though as I’m writing this on a 10 inch laptop I can just about see the screen in front. If you were using a large 15 inch screen laptop then you wouldn’t be able to easily watch something at the same time as working. In terms of seat controls they’re down below the center console and aren’t easy to access while the table is deployed, but everything is also accessible through the touch screen so not a big issue. There’s also a regular power plug on the front of the center console.

The seat is firm yet comfortable, a minor gripe is that the take off and landing default position is slightly reclined as on most planes yet you can’t make it more upright to eat or work. It would be more comfortable for using the table if it could be made more upright.

Storage space is minimal and to be honest I’m surprised HX is still ordering seats/planes without taking this into account. The old Singapore 33S aircraft are terrible for this with a large gap down the side of the seat that swallows electronics when you think it’s a side pocket. The A350 that were sidetracked from Hainan to HX also have very poor storage and this aircraft is no different. There is a small mesh pocket on the right of the seat and footrest, which isn’t very deep so could only contain a phone or passport. The plastic pocket to the side of the seat also isn’t deep and not suitable for anything except the smallest items.

The seat goes fully flat and this was a pleasant surprise. The design is clever with the narrow seat fitting flush with the padding to make a wider sleeping area. It was quite comfortable and at first during recline I thought I would be too tall at 6’2″ to lie fully flat bearing in mind the console is close to the seat, but after fully reclining I was able to lie fully fat. The open footrest becomes something of a bonus at this point compared to the tiny foot coffins of other airlines, at least here you have space at the back and even sides to rearrange your feat.

Now a final very serious point, no coffee machine! Flight crew and regular passengers will know how important this is! What doesn’t help is that HX uses a bag of coffee in Y and J which is literally a bag steeped in a pot of hot water and it’s as bad as it sounds. Apparently this plane will eventually be fitted with a coffee machine but in the meantime bring a coffee stick and HX please load some better coffee in J on these aircraft!

Pros

Modern, Light Design

No more excessive red design

Impressive touch screen with good movie and TV options

Comfortable fully flat seat

At seat power and separate USB

Cons

No Wifi

Cramped feeling to some seats with wasted space around console

Tiny footrest

No Coffee Machine!

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Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto. http://www.triplust.asia/fushimi-inari-taisha-kyoto/ http://www.triplust.asia/fushimi-inari-taisha-kyoto/#respond Sat, 10 Feb 2018 04:34:43 +0000 http://www.triplust.asia/?p=420 The post Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto. appeared first on Triplust.asia.

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Fushimi Inari Taisha sits resplendent at the base of Mount Inari, Kyoto. Bright pops of vermillion can be seen even before you set foot upon its hallowed grounds, and this only intensifies as you explore deeper.

Step through it’s alluring Torii, and into a world of ancient history. In 711, on the Inariyama hill in Southwestern Kyoto, Fushimi Inari Taisha’s earliest buildings began to take shape. However, In 816, at the direction of Kukai, a monk, these were relocated. In 1499, the Honden, or main shrine was completed. At the base of the mountain sits the roman tower gate, and the go-honden. The inner shrine sits within the mountain behind, reached by a path lined with Torii. Along the path to the summit you will find over 10,000 tsuka, or mounds for private worship. In the 8th century, it was dedicated to the Japanese God of rice, sake, fertility, agriculture, and industry, Inari, by the Hata Clan. In 965, Emperor Murakami made it law that messengers must carry written accounts of important events and present them to the guardian God of Japan. Early on, these “heihaku” were presented to 16 shrines across the nation, Fushimi-Inari being among them. From 1871 to1946, it was officially designated a “kanpei-taisha”, a first in rank of government supported shrines. It is head shrine of all the Inari shrines, and since its early days has been seen as a patron of merchants, manufacturers, and businesses. It’s estimated that this shrine has over 32,000 sub-shrines scattered throughout Japan.


The Senbon Torii, or “Thousand Gate”, is arguably Fushimi Inari Taisha’s most famous attraction. From the base of the mountain, snaking around and up to the 233m summit, is a chain of thousands (actual number unclear) of Torii. All are painted a bright orange, a feature very typical of Inari shrines. Since the shrine has strong ties with industry, a lot of the Torii are sponsored by businesses. You can see the names of each sponsor carved and painted black. They sit vertically along the supporting posts. From an aesthetic point of view, it’s a bewitching sight. Even on a dull day, the Torii stand loud and proud. I highly recommend making the full 4km hike (moderate, but not wheelchair or stroller friendly, sadly) to the summit.


Another famous feature is the many resident Kitsune guardians. Kitsune, or fox in English, are another common feature at Inari shrines. They usually come in pairs, bearing items such as granary keys. They are also often adorned in red, a color that has come to be associated with warding off evil spirits. There are many Kitsune to be seen and enjoyed across the grounds of the shrine, so keep your eyes peeled for them.


The easiest way to access the shrine is by rail. Both the JR Nara Line Inari station and the Keihan Electric Railway Main Line Fushimi-Inari station service the shrine. If you plan to hike to the summit, allot a full day to visit. Check the streets leading up to the shrine for cool gifts, local delicacies, and even the odd cat cafe! It can be visited in all seasons, but bear in mind winter could mean additional hazards, such as snow and ice. Be sure to wear sensible shoes, take cash with you, and carry plenty of water. There are shops and vending machines along the mountain path, but these can be expensive, since you are a captive audience. The path of Senbon Torii sits behind the main shrine buildings, but do be sure to peruse these before you ascend, as they are very beautiful.

Intrigued? Here’s a location to help you out.

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Hong Kong Airlines A350 http://www.triplust.asia/hong-kong-airlines-a350/ http://www.triplust.asia/hong-kong-airlines-a350/#respond Mon, 11 Dec 2017 06:15:50 +0000 http://www.triplust.asia/?p=485 The post Hong Kong Airlines A350 appeared first on Triplust.asia.

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Hong Kong Airlines is introducing A350s into it’s fleet with the first aircraft flying short haul training and familiarization routes between Taipei and Bangkok. I took a flight to Bangkok to experience the new aircraft.

The first sector was a night flight so I had a chance to experience the seat as a bed. The seats are in a 1-2-1 staggered layout parallel to the cabin, i.e not herringbone. First impression was that the seat felt quite close to the screen. I wondered how it would be when fully reclined and how much space there was, but more of that later. The seat has a generous foot rest with space underneath for shoes. It’s definitely a lot more roomy than the coffin box that you get on other A350 business classes. Finnair’s foot section is tiny in comparison and doesn’t leave you much space at all to move your feet. The seat has storage to the left with enough space for a thin laptop if you remove the magazines and place them in the slot under the screen after take off. Missing though is any other significant storage. The side table is large and there’s a cubby hole for the headphones to hang in, but you can’t use this for take off and landing. Even the water holder can’t be used for take off and landing, which is weird but apparently an Airbus rule. It’s a pretty glaring oversight that no storage has been added to the seat that can be used before at cruise.

The seat itself is comfortable to sit and it has standard J class functions with upright, sleep and recline positions with individual controls to tweak it how you want it. Compare to the herringbone layouts it’s nice to sit close to the large windows if you’re in a window seat. When made into a bed it’s fully flat and feels spacious. There’s no width differences between shoulders and legs ala BA. Also as mentioned the foot rest is very roomy compared to a lot of other airlines in J. This make a significant difference in your comfort and ability to move while asleep. The only point I found on the short flight was that it felt quite firm in bed mode and I can see me getting uncomfortable on a long flight. A mattress topper would easily solve this and hopefully something HX invests in in the future. Also, compared to the herringbone layout where you can be quite exposed to the aisle, the window seats are very private with the table and console separating you from the aisle. This should mean a better sleep with less irritation from the aisle.

For work, the table is sturdy and a decent size. The only weird thing is that at least on the window seat compared to the center, the table is off center from the seat. This means that in order to work on a laptop you need to angle the table to get a decent working set up for your screen and keyboard. Bit strange and would have thought this would be easily solved during the seat design by having a longer arm extending from the bulkhead. There’s also onboard wifi, with a free option available if you watch a quick HX video or quite well priced longer options compared to other airlines. I didn’t test the wifi speed but it did seem quite sluggish while simply trying to download a WhatsApp photo. Maybe OK for emails or messages but not much else.

Entertainment wise the screen is big and clear with a decent selection of movies and TV. There’s also live Satellite TV with BBC and CNN as well as a live Sports channel. The camera views are always fun to watch! Headphones are HX own brand and noise canceling.

The cabin itself is improved on other HX aircraft and they’ve finally realized that they had way too much red before. The red bulkhead has gone and the cabin now feels much more light and airy. Also gone are the red curtains.

Where HX shines is in the cabin service. Crew are generally very friendly and motivated to provide a good flight to their passengers. As any frequent flyer knows this can make or break a flight. Where the service does need work is on the food options. HX love to do tie ups with hotels or celebrity chefs but really what’s need is an increase in budget to their meals or a change of caterer. Meals seem overtly fancy often but with a lack of presentation and quality. Simpler but higher quality meals would be a significant improvement.

Finally it’s interesting to note that on these two new aircraft crew report they have quite a high defect rate in the cabin, something I’ve seen before on CX and AY A350 aircraft as well. There do seem to be issues with how well Airbus is fitting out these planes, hopefully their air frame engineering is better than the cabin quality!

Overall HX has the potential to do well with these aircraft on long haul. They need to sort out the defects and fast. Having a toilet non operational on a brand new aircraft for a week isn’t good enough. As is deferring defects that should be fixed rapidly. They also need to work on long haul crew training, meal quality and add a mattress topper like their parent airline Hainan. With their young motivated friendly crew, other airlines better watch out!

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Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong Gate 40 http://www.triplust.asia/plaza-premium-lounge-hong-kong-gate-40/ http://www.triplust.asia/plaza-premium-lounge-hong-kong-gate-40/#respond Sun, 03 Dec 2017 05:04:57 +0000 http://www.triplust.asia/?p=389 The post Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong Gate 40 appeared first on Triplust.asia.

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The Plaza Premium lounge is the second lounge in Hong Kong airport, the first located near Gate five close to immigration. This lounge is perfect if your flight departs from one of the gates at the transit stop.

Food from Buffet at Plaza Premium

Food from Buffet at Plaza Premium

The lounge itself is pretty big but the restaurant area gets pretty packed at peak hours and it can be hard to find a table. There’s a good variety of food for a credit card lounge with Western choices such as meatballs, rice, salad bar as well as cakes and desserts. There’s also a noodle bar and Asian favourites as well on the hot buffet. The food was fresh and reasonably tasty. I’d class it as decent quality canteen food, nothing special but good for a bite before your flight.

View from Dining area across apron

View from Dining area across apron

There’s a great view across the apron of the gates and one of the runways, perfect for some plane spotting while you dine. One of the hidden gems is the lounge to the right of the dining area along the corridor. It features some comfy armchairs along with at seat power at every seat which are both worldwide plug compatible and have USB outlets built in. It’s a much more relaxing area than the dining area or the lounge to the left of the entrance. There’s not much food in this area, just some snacks and a coffee machine and drinks fridge.

On the left of the entrance is counter style seating which is perfect for a quick drink and some work on your laptop or tablet. Further to the left Is another quiet seating area with some seating pods. When I visited many people were using these to take a nap but they seem to be more designed for work. Since I last visited a free months ago the lounge had expanded and the area with the pods used to be separated as an airline invitation only section. This has now moved further back and is separated by a rope area, presumably used for airlines that don’t have their own lounge in Hong Kong.

Beer Machine

Beer Machine

Although the lounge advertises a bar on the Premium Plaza website we couldn’t find this. Possibly it’s part of the airline lounge only section. There was however a very interesting looking beer machine that fills the glass from the bottom. Unfortunately by the time I found the machine there wasn’t time to try it out before the flight departed.

The lounge isn’t signposted so follow the signs from the first transit stop at gate 40 towards the Emirates lounge. It’s located up the escalator from the departures level on the opposite side from Emirates.

Overall it’s a decent lounge choice if you have access with a credit card or priority pass. However the rate of HK$580 for access for 2 hours isn’t particularly great value. Hong Kong isn’t a bad airport to hang out while waiting for your flight with free wifi in every area of the airport so it may make more sense to grab a proper meal at one of the many restaurants then chill out by your gate.

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When Business Class No Longer Adds Up http://www.triplust.asia/when-business-no-longer-adds-up/ http://www.triplust.asia/when-business-no-longer-adds-up/#respond Wed, 02 Aug 2017 15:42:46 +0000 http://www.triplust.asia/?p=321 The post When Business Class No Longer Adds Up appeared first on Triplust.asia.

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As a very frequent flyer of Hong Kong Airlines (HX) often between Hong Kong and Japan, having accumulated Platinum status and many miles, my eye is always on my next trip and how to maximize my miles and money for the best balance between value, service and mileage. So how is it possible, that if I were to fly 40 business class sectors in the next year I would get zero mileage and zero status??

In the past two years booking a J class ticket on HX website was a no brainer, apart from the issue often with the website deciding not to work at the worst possible moment, but I digress. However, in the last probably three months, the commercial department has decided that offering J class on the website as the lowest bookable business class ticket is no longer what they want to do, instead offering Z class. What does this mean? No Miles…..

Now this wouldn’t be so bad if it was actually possible to book J class through the website, you want the miles right, then why not pay for them. HX has the right to change fares as they wish. Unfortunately not, it’s only possible to book the lowest possible business fare, often Z or the highest most flexible fare, at of course a very high rate! Therefore with a minimum of 9 seats in Z class on most flights according to Expertflyer.com and no way to actually select a mileage earning fare, you are left with random chance that the date you want happens to be selling J class fares after Z has sold out.

Now the smart frequent flyers amongst you will be thinking why not just call the call center? Nope. Can’t book tickets over the phone. After throwing a minor tantrum and speaking to a supervisor and having a fit of DYKWIA, they did offer to do it, once. Now calling back gets a response of “Computer Says No” for all you Little Britain fans.

So not only can I not book the ticket I want, anywhere, I also discover that booking an economy ticket WILL give me miles on the lowest sold fare but not the lowest sold business fare. Hmm…..does HX actually want people to go back to flying economy? 

Finally as if this wasn’t annoying enough I thought I’d compare last year’s J class price with this years. Not only is the Z class more expensive than last year’s J but J is now around 2000 HK$ more than last year. Last year was based on an actual booking and this year is based on the Z class rate plus $1000 according to Expertflyer.com

What this all means is a) frustration I can’t book the ticket I want b) questioning the value proposition of the new fare levels on a short intra-Asia hop and c) realizing there’s better value to be had within the HU/HX group with Fortune Wings should I wish to keep my status.

Check out the table below for the comparison of cost per SQP, which is Status Qualifying Point for all your Fortune Wings newbies (we’ll do an explainer on how the loyalty scheme works in another post) but basically the cheaper the better. Not only is there a massive jump to get the points now with J, but a long haul flight with Hainan (HU) offers far better value!

PS It’s also worth pointing out that as far as I know not offering miles on a business ticket is very rare. I only know of Malaysia and Hong Kong Airlines that are doing this. Most airlines chose to reward their best customers with mileage on business tickets of any fare type except group tickets.

PS. One final thought. The mileage earning rate for HU to the UK on a long haul trip is roughly the same as OneWorld and flights on BA/CX etc from HKG to London. I.e you need around 4 x long hauls in business class to get the top level of status.

Not only has the J class on HX become poor mileage value when compared to their own group airlines.

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Taiwan’s High Speed Rail system. http://www.triplust.asia/taiwans-high-speed-rail-system/ http://www.triplust.asia/taiwans-high-speed-rail-system/#respond Fri, 09 Jun 2017 07:02:37 +0000 https://www.total.travel/?p=253 The post Taiwan’s High Speed Rail system. appeared first on Triplust.asia.

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Taiwan is a country known for it’s commerce (check your house, at least one item there will be made in Taiwan!). But did you know it also has one of the best rail systems in the world? No? In that case, allow me to introduce you to Taiwan’s High Speed Rail (THSR) system.

Destinations.

The HSR runs from the north of Taiwan, starting at Nangang, right down into the south, terminating at Zuoying. All in all, the route has 12 stops, including Taipei (2nd stop), Taichung (7th stop), and Yunlin (9th stop). Not all trains stop at all stations, some have less stops from north to south, meaning you can get from Taipei to Zuoying (the stop you need for Kaosiung) in 2 hours. Great if you have limited time to explore.

Tickets.

There are several ticket types available, allowing single or multi-use depending on your needs. They can be purchased from machines in the stations along the route, from ticket offices, and online. The train enquiry feature on the website is a great tool for gauging prices and making advanced bookings. You can search based on destination, class of travel, seat preference, and time and date. It’s easy to use, and has English language options.

Experience.

Honestly? I travelled from Taipei to Zuoying (and back), and it was easily one of the best rail journeys I’ve taken. The stations are clean and well staffed, so plenty of people to help if you have trouble finding your way. The trains are punctual, spacious, and smooth. There’s plenty of space for luggage, the seating is comfortable, even in standard, and the view is great. That’s one thing I most enjoy about rail journeys; the view. You can enjoy the changing face of Taiwan; the bustling metropolis of Taipei, the expanses of farmland, the little towns, and the many tunnels. Seeing a side of the country you couldn’t see if you flew or drove is an opportunity that’s hard to pass up.

Conclusion.

If you have a trip to Taipei planned, and an extra day to spare, why not take the HSR south and see what else Taiwan has to offer.

 

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Airline review: Skymark airlines. http://www.triplust.asia/airline-review-skymark-airlines/ http://www.triplust.asia/airline-review-skymark-airlines/#respond Fri, 28 Apr 2017 12:02:35 +0000 https://www.total.travel/?p=241 The post Airline review: Skymark airlines. appeared first on Triplust.asia.

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Skymark is a LCC (low cost carrier) serving Japan, with it’s hub airports being Tokyo, Fukuoka, Kobe, and Okinawa. They also fly to Nagasaki, Kagoshima, Nagoya, Ibaraki, and Sapporo, but how do they stack up compared to the other LCC’s? Let’s take a look.

Website.

Their website is pretty good, easy to use, and with language options including Japanese, Chinese. Korean, and English. They have a map of destinations, information on each airport they serve, as well as a simple fares search. Booking through their website directly will give you the best deal for your flight.

Booking options.

You can either book online, over the phone, through a travel agent, or at an airline counter, and payment can be made by credit card or cash. You also have the option to pay at a convenience store if you book online (payment must be made by 2200 on the day before departure or the reservation will be cancelled).

Fares.

Skymark are pretty competitive when it comes to pricing. They have a range of fares, so you can choose one that suits you. For a list of fares see their website here. Although Skymark prices are low, they aren’t as cheap as Peach and Vanilla, but if you’re looking for good service as well as a good deal, I’d take Skymark over Peach or Vanilla any day.

Customer service.

They out-perform Peach and Vanilla in this department by a large margin. Staff are always helpful, informative, and quick to assist if there’s a problem. On a recent flight to Nagoya I was warned my flight might be diverted to Tokyo Haneda due to poor weather conditions. Accommodation had been put on standby (it was a late flight), as well as transport the next day. Luckily my flight made it to Nagoya, but I was impressed at the flow of information, the professionalism of the staff, and at how quickly Skymark made alternate arrangements.

Aircraft.

They hold a fleet of 26 Boeing 737-800’s, and are recognisable by the blue and white with star logo. The aircraft is modest in size, but it’s clean, the seats are reasonably comfy, and leg room isn’t too stingy either. As all flights operate within Japan, no flight is longer than around 3 hours, but you can buy food, drinks, and gifts on board.

Conclusion.

If you find yourself needing a flight within Japan, I’d recommend looking at Skymark over Peach and Vanilla. They offer a more reliable service, better customer care, and more options with their fares.

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