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Monday 8 April 2013

Flying back to TSA with Far Eastern Air Transport (FAT)'s MD-82

Welcome to my trip report, this time on FAT's MD-82 experience (KNH to TSA)!

*Aircraft photos are credited to the respective photographers from Airliners.net

Initially, I wanted to book the evening flight, but apparently, it was cancelled so the last flight back to TSA with this airline was 1530, this means that I could only spend a few hours at the airport. Perhaps my next trip, I can spend a day exploring the city! Until then, the MD-80 is the priority!

Anyway, I touched down at around 12 noon from my earlier flight (Uni Air's MD-90 ride) and arriving at the arrival hall as fast as there was no immigration counter and I had no check-in luggage. Do take note that Kinmen which may be an island away from mainland Taiwan is part of the domestic routes in Taiwan. Anyway, the first impression of the airport was old, small but clean. I made my way around the small airport and there wasn't much to see. But before I went for my lunch, I went to the FAT counter to check-in for my return flight.

The lady at the counter was very nice and offered me the 1230 flight, but I declined as I wanted to spend some time at the airport and she offered Seat 2K for me, but I told her to put me as far back as possible, in fact, 3 rows from the back would be just nice. She was puzzled but laughed after telling her my purpose for this trip. Very nice lady indeed! Anyway, I had to pay a bit more for my air ticket as I booked the wrong one (Island ticket), no issue on that and soon I got my ticket and I made my way for lunch at the cafe.

My journey to TSA

       Photos of Kinmen Airport

What I like about this airport is that there is free WiFi and the signal is very strong, so every part of the airport you go to, you won't have to worry about losing your connection. Very suitable for Skype video chats ...etc

Anyway, I had some lunch and spotting at this cafe, the price of the food is not too bad. Spotting can be done at the cafe but the amount of traffic is very limited. The good thing is there is only one runway, so whatever action you see is what you get.

Once its 2 pm, I decided to go into the departure area and here are some of the photos

My aircraft landed earlier than some of the other flights but departed much later than most of them and I suspected it was a technical problem with the aircraft especially seeing some engineers boarding the aircraft. The delay was about half an hour, some of the passengers on the same flight as mine were not too pleased about it, but still, at least we got going.

Carrier: Far Eastern Air Transport (FAT)
Flight number: FE-66
Date: 23rd March 2013
Route: KNH- TSA
Aircraft type: M82
Registration: B-28021
Line: 2056
Delivered: 9th June 1995 (From USAir)
Engines:  2X PW JT8D
2nd time on an MD-82 and 1st time on this aircraft
Seat number: 34F
Duration: 55 mins
Departure time: 1530
Boarding time: 1615
Took off: 1635
Load: 80%
Departure runway: 6
Arrival runway: 10

It was to be my 2nd time flying on this beauty, my first time was on Alitalia's MD82 from London to Rome.

My ride: B-28021

Boarding started at 1615, we followed the staff's instruction which leads us to the obvious aircraft since there was only a FAT aircraft at that time. I was slightly disappointed that it wasn't an MD-83 which meant that I need to try my luck again with this airline the next time!

Once onboard, I made my way to my row and it turned out that the last few rows of the aircraft were empty  and I thought it was very likely that some of the passengers had transferred to the earlier flight since the board that I saw at the FAT counter earlier stated that this flight was supposed to be full! That turned out to be great as I had the whole row by myself, the bad thing was the crew was sitting diagonally across me which meant that she could see what I was doing.

It turns out that no electronic devices, not even in-flight, was allowed to be used. I had to take my photos discreetly. I guess its the company policy which is the more likely reason rather than the crew  The crew themselves were pretty nice throughout the short flight and I can't fault them in any way at all.

Sorry for the blurry photo, I had to take it very quickly as one of the crew was heading back towards my direction.

The seat pitch has to be one of the tightest I have ever come across. It is that bad especially if the flight is full. I think it is about 30 inch but the seat width is reasonable. The seat itself is old but still reasonable for short flights. This airline certainly knows how to make full use of the space on this aircraft!

Anyway, once our heads were counted, the L1 door was closed and my aircraft pushed back and the wonderful PW JT8D engines were started! It was music to my ears as each engine started one by one! Once that was done, we made my way to the runway, accelerated quite fast before slowing down and I thought the pilot had abandoned the take-off and we were making our way back to the runway, but it turned out that we were taxing by the runway to the other side, made a 180 degrees turn before taking off on runway 6.

The take-off was powerful and noisy but that was what I was looking for! Lifted off gently and made a few turns before heading towards the main island of Taiwan! This time around, there was quite a fair bit of turbulence and the flight crew was pretty safety conscious about it. Even with small bumps, the seat belt sign was turned on for quite sometime before turning off when the flight became smooth then at the slightest bump for a few seconds or so, the sign was turned on and this time it was until the end of the flight.

The crew served us drinks quickly and they walked around to probably monitor us (using electronic devices). Fortunately for me, they left me alone for quite some time, so I managed to capture some photos.

I did some plane spotting before leaving the airport. 

Overall, I enjoyed the flight despite the delay. MD-82 has become one of my favourite aircraft. I would definitely book myself on one again when I return to Taipei. 


The money was well spent and you can be assured of good service on the ground and onboard. The Taiwanese hospitality would no doubt make you feel at ease. They may be reserved but they smile and do their job professionally. If you are a non-Chinese, I would suggest you to either call up the airline or ask someone who knows Mandarin to help you book the flights. The former would be better. Alternatively, you could do the booking at the airport itself but I am not sure whether is there any price difference between booking at the airport and booking through the website.

My rating

Website: 6/10

On-ground service: 9/10
In-flight service: 8/10
Seat comfort: 5/10
Cabin ambience: 10/10
Cleanliness: 10/10
Aircraft: 10/10

Overall rating: 57/70

Thank you for reading my trip report.


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