Thursday, January 2, 2014

CoachFlyer JL815: KIX - TPE on Japan Airlines' Boeing 737.

Travel date: December 2013
Flight: JL815
Route: Osaka/Kansai (KIX/RJBB) - Taipei/Taoyuan (TPE/RCTP) 
Carrier: Japan Airlines (JL/JAL)
Aircraft: Boeing 737-846(WL) JA312J
Class: Economy
Direct distance: 1,702 km (1,058 miles)
Flight time: 3 hours 2 minutes

Boarding for Japan Airlines (JL/JAL) flight JL815 started at 1825 at Osaka/Kansai's (KIX/RJBB) Gate 29 in Terminal 1. With everyone heading outside the country to spend a long new-year holiday, it was a full flight. Doors were closed at 1844, and push-back started at 1847, three minutes before scheduled departure time. We took off from Runway 06R at 1859, banking to the left and heading south along the coast of Japan.
Boeing 737-846(WL) JA312J at the gate at Kansai. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

JAL's Boeing 737-800s configured for international services seat 12 in business class with Skyluxe seats and 132 in economy. All seats are equipped with personal monitors running on JAL's MAGIC-IV audio-visual-on-demand (AVOD) entertainment system. Of JAL Group's 55-strong B737-800 fleet, nine are in this layout, serving regional Asian routes to China, South Korea, and Taiwan.

About 11 minutes after takeoff, the seat-belt signs were turned off and the flight attendants started preparing for in-flight service. JL815 had five crews; three Japanese and two Taiwanese. Meal service began about 40 minutes into the flight, followed by the Captain Mori's announcement. Dinner included prawn fritter with chili sauce served on rice, plus a 'Kansai Gozen' box, comprised of corn vegetable salad, marinated Eringi mushroom, sliced bacon, diced smoked salmon, mini hamburg (meat patty), and kiwi fruit and pineapple. Dessert was a custard pudding. Taste was fine, especially for the Kansai Gozen, but proportions were a bit small. The flight attendants went through the aisle serving beverages more than once, but didn't seem to smile often enough.
Dinner. The box is the Kansai Gozen. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

After the meal trays were collected, duty-free sales began. It was a relatively smooth flight, though with clouds beneath, nothing could be seen. We flew southbound west of the Okinawa islands, until about two hours and a half into the flight, when the aircraft started its descent into Taiwan's Taoyuan Airport (TPE/RCTP). Seat-belt signs were turned on 10 minutes later. We passed the airport on our left, then making a sharp turn to the left for a touchdown on Runway 05L at 2101 local time (Taiwan is one hour behind Japan). We arrived at Gate D7 in Terminal 2 at 2105, 10 minutes before scheduled arrival time. A long line awaited for us for immigration, but we were through in 20 minutes. Our suitcases had already arrived at the carousel.

Taoyuan Airport, the international gateway serving Taiwan's capital Taipei, is located 40 km from downtown, and we caught one of the frequent buses connecting the airport with the city. After a 70-minute drive, we had arrived at Taipei Main Station. Taipei's older airport located in downtown, Songshan (TSA/RCSS), caters for domestic flights plus some cross-strait flights to China, as well as business-oriented routes to Seoul/Gimpo (GMP/RKSS) and Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT).

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