50 There and Backs in 2011.

Last week I took my 50th flight of the year. I won’t reach my record for a year, of course, but this achievement nevertheless ain’t a bad one. I got my record last year – 100 flights.

The jubilee flight this year was on the route Moscow-Beijing in an Air China plane. Not to be confused with China Airlines! The former is based in Beijing (with a red dragon on its planes’ fins); the latter is based in Taiwan (with a pink flower on its fins).

Air China plane

I just didn’t feel like flying Air China again.

One problem was that the flight was delayed for two hours and I only just made my connection in Beijing. This seems to happen with all companies and often it’s not down to them. But worse was the fact that the plane was ancient – with old and uncomfortable seats. This may sound like a minor thing, but for frequent flyers it’s pretty critical – especially when one really must get a few hours’ shut-eye. Here – it was just one big let-down.

This Boeing 777 was probably as old as… Monica Lewinsky, and probably even remembers Ronald Reagan – maybe even his films (ok – not quite). One thing that struck me was that the walls and doors of the loos must be regularly painted or changed – they looked almost new, which is more than can be said about the damn plane as a whole. Ok: rant over.

So what did I learn from this experience? That from then on, for Moscow-Beijing, I’d stick with Aeroflot!

However, there are other options I’d forgotten about. I looked in the flight log book I keep and was reminded of some. To fly Moscow-Beijing and back is possible also with Hainan Airlines. Flying with them is a rather pleasant experience. But on the whole I’ve only really been on a few long-haul flights with Chinese airlines: in addition to Moscow-Beijing-Moscow once I flew London-Beijing on Air China (which was very nice), and once Guangzhou-Los Angeles on China Southern (not bad either).

Right, that’s your lot for today about flights and airlines; and it’s my lot too for a while – my next planned flight is still quite a way off – a whole two weeks away!

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