Updated on August 17, 2017
Flight Log of Xiamen Air Flight 877 from Hangzhou to Kuala Lumpur (via Fuzhou), and Connection of Airaisa Flight 536 from Kuala Lumpur to Phnom Penh
Winter of 2016.
As an escape to the grueling task of grad school application, I searched online for destinations (and air tickets) that could be my winter getaway. It’s a luxurious 5-week holiday that could possibly be my last.
And I bumped into Xiamen Airline’s offer of round trip to Kuala Lumpur from Hangzhou at a little bit more than CNY1300, with a stop at Fuzhou(福州). The only restriction was that I needed make the return trip on the morning of Chinese New Year’s Day, which wasn’t that much problem for me
since I’m reluctant to identify myself as Chinese.
Then, since my last and only exam of the semester was on Jan 12th, and 2 weeks of Malaysia seemed too much for me, I decided to arrange the visit of another country in Southeast Asia during that time. The decision was easy, as Kuala Lumpur is the headquarter of Asia’s budget airlines, and Cambodia, the bureaucracy and corruption in which resulted in unusually high air fares and fees compared with its neighboring countries, is just a short strait away from Malaysia. So my plan of the day was to take Xiamen Airlines flight MF877 to Kuala Lumpur on January 14th, spend the night in Kuala Lumpur Airport
trying to get some sleep, and take Air Asia Flight AK536 on the next morning to Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh.
The images in this post are hosted on Imgur. Email me should there be any display problems.
Well, under the incentive of local government subsidy, Xiamen Airlines arranged flight MF877 with a stopover (rather than proper transition) in Fuzhou(福州), which was common practice among Chinese carriers. This meant that the check-in counter for the flight was secludedly located in the passenger terminal, away from Xiamen Airline’s main counters, and opened only two hours in advance.
So while waiting for the counters to open, I watched the entertainment of the information screens (with Microsoft’s Windows operating system) running out of memory and rebooting.
Unfortunately, since I was among the first people at the counter to check-in (and Xiamen Airlines didn’t offer online check-in for its international flights, for which their check-in clerks were asking everyone about seat preferences), I was assigned a seat just over the wings, which meant the wonderful views of God’s earth that I so often enjoyed was blocked most of the flight.
When I’ve done my check-in, more interesting things follow as we were instructed to sit together and wait, until “someone would lead us through security to the waiting area and the gate”. Well, this wasn’t the best customer experience, but for government subsidy the airlines seemed willing to do anything possible.
After securities, we were led to a not-so-often-used waiting room in the mezzanine floor of the airport’s international terminal. Hell, if not for this, I wouldn’t notice it ever existed.
During the first leg of the journey, the cabin was half empty. The overhead screens were playing boring documentaries of penguins, which nobody watched.
I was rather surprised to find that there were meal services on this flight. Yes, this was a 300-mile one-hour short hop regulated by the infamous Chinese aviation authorities, who insisted that safety-belt-sign to be switched off not until 15 minutes into flight, who mandated cabin service to halt 30 minutes before landing, who didn’t have the guts to allow cell phones in flight and who lacked the brains to manage its airspace traffic.
There was a change of cabin crew at Fuzhou(福州), which I didn’t quite understand why as the plane was obviously flying the return trip daily, and why not so for the crew?
Then, given the terrible design of Fuzhou(福州) Airport (and presumably every other Chinese airport), it’s passport control and security again.
Unlike the first leg, the plane was almost full during the second leg of the journey.
After dinner and knowing I would spend the night in Kuala Lumpur Airport, I tried to catch some sleep. However, the entertainment pads in the cabin were playing some tasteless Chinese movies that all had been Amogooded, so I barely caught any sleep even with my earplugs on.
After that, it was a uneventful landing.
Sadly, I encountered some visa issue at the immigration, as the immigration officer insisted that I couldn’t apply for their transit-without-visa since I already had a single-entry visa, which meant I would have to apply for another visa for my proper visit of the country next week. No, this rule was nowhere to be found in any website they have.
After that, I took the next and last KLIA express to terminal 2 for my next morning’s flight to Phnom Penh, while looking for a way to apply a e-Visa online, which didn’t turn out to be that easy.
So that’s my first impression of Malaysia, a country under the illusion of its better self, a country with immigration officers pointing to rules that only they have knowledge of, a country that presents to the world its friendly approachable T-stage fashion ladies, while it’s actually filled with Niqab ladies that could turn into machete-wielding gangsters upon any body contact.
Sadly, not long after that, I found the e-Visa website windowmalaysia.my could only be accessed with a Chinese IP, so I was remote-controlling my college friends back at home to upload my visa documents. Luckily, since they were college students, most of them were still awake at 2am.
Then there were these awful chairs at KLIA2. I guessed their curved design was intended to fit the human body better, however, it offered little support for the upper spine, which made it impossible to sit back and relax on these chairs. Also, since it’s curved, it’s not possible to make a bed with several of these chairs and relax. Basically, they were useless, and I was wondering who gave Kuala Lumpur Airport so much credit on sleep-friendliness.
Well, grin and bear it, it’s Malaysia, they couldn’t even design a proper website for visa-free transits, guess I shouldn’t put expectation on the chairs.
Oh, of course, since it’s early in the morning and it’s in Malaysia, the check-in counters at AirAsia was expectedly unorganized as hell. But since they somehow got my bag to Phnom Penh successfully, I guess I should be well satisfied.
Then there’s the AirAsia flight to Phnom Penh, where the only duty for the cabin crew was pushing the doors of overhead storage bins to make sure they close before flight (I do guess their boarding processes would be greatly expedited if they give everyone small amounts of free checked baggage, and in this manner they could make more money by flying the aircraft more often. I’m not saying this because I paid for checked bags and I felt betrayed.), and selling everything they could possibly conceive during flight.
A family wanted to sit together so I unwilling changed seats with them, there went the photos along the way, but never mind because amazing, I managed to sleep most of the way, expect when I scribbled through the immigration cards.
Amazingly, I saw an AirBerlin A320 in that picture and at the airport, guess that’s some charter flight?
It was a normal border entry at Phnom Penh Airport, by “normal” I mean no tips or bribes implicitly demanded by the officers, which was amazing in this nation full of corruption.
Flight Log of Xiamen Air Flight 877 from Hangzhou to Kuala Lumpur (via Fuzhou), and Connection of Airaisa Flight 536 from Kuala Lumpur to Phnom Penh by Huang's Site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.