Chinese tour groups that arrived on last weekend’s first cross-strait charter flights prepared to return home yesterday, but not before they spent a great deal of time and money checking in and paying for overweight baggage.
One group, scheduled to return to Nanjing from Taipei’s Songshan Airport yesterday afternoon, spent about 40 minutes at the counter checking in their overweight baggage before eventually boarding the flight on time.
Besides their luggage, each passenger carried cases of souvenirs and local desserts, such as pineapple cakes.
PHOTO: HSU MIN-JUNG, TAIPEI TIMES
The group was scheduled to board the China Eastern Airlines flight and gathered at the counter of Uni Air, China Eastern’s local agent. The excessive load of luggage slowed down the check-in process.
“This is probably the worst airport I have ever seen!” a female passenger said. “Why do we have to weigh our luggage here and pay the overweight charge at the other side of the counter?”
Some passengers spoke with the Taipei Times while they waited to check in their luggage.
A woman surnamed Chao (趙) said that she had bought crystal glass and red coral as souvenirs.
She, however, was reluctant to disclose the amount she had spent buying souvenirs. She simply said “More than you think!”
A family surnamed Tu (杜) said they did not have enough time for sleeping and shopping.
When some of them were alerted that they may have problems with overweight luggage, one responded that “We can always pay!”
Ting Hai-yang (丁海洋), one of the team leaders, said that the entire group had 34 people. He estimated that they spent a total of 180,000 yuan while they were here, and that amount did not include the last-minute shopping spree at Taipei 101 and the Sogo Department Store.
Each Chinese tourist in the Nanjing group on average has pumped in approximately NT$60,000 into Taiwan’s economy when deducted the expenses on flight tickets.
In related news, flights traveling between northern Taiwan and Shanghai and Guangzhou are proving to be the most popular of the 36 nonstop charter flights scheduled for the third and fourth weekends of July, Taiwan’s aviation regulator announced on Friday.
The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said that on each of July’s final two weekends, 19 cross-strait charter flights will depart from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and 16 from Taipei Songshan Airport for various destinations in China.
Only one flight each week will head for China from Kaohsiung International Airport.
No flights will depart from other airports in Taiwan that were designated as gateways for the weekend charters because of weak demand.
Shanghai and Guangzhou airports were the most popular among the five Chinese airports authorized to handle the weekend charters, which were launched on July 4.
Additional reporting by CNA
CLEAR BEFORE LEAVING: Two baby boys and a woman in her 30s tested negative before departing for Japan, but tests taken after their arrival came back postive Three Taiwanese tested positive for COVID-19 when they arrived in Japan earlier this month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a new imported case. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the center, said that one of the three cases in Japan is a Taiwanese baby under the age of one, whose parents work in Japan. The infant came to Taiwan with his parents in January, and the parents paid for the family’s COVID-19 tests on Oct. 10 ahead of their planned return to Japan on Monday last week, he said. The boy and his
‘BACKED BY ENEMY’: CTi News is one of the few channels promoting unification, the New Party chairman said, while pro-Taiwan groups called it a propaganda outlet Pan-blue camp supporters yesterday lodged a protest at the National Communications Commission (NCC) against what they say is a possible move by the government to shut down CTi News, adding that politics should not interfere with freedom of the press. Protesters included representatives from the New Party, the Blue Sky Action Alliance, the 333 Political Party Alliance and other pan-blue groups. “We stand here today because CTi News is one of the few media outlets in Taiwan that is still willing to give groups supporting unification with China a voice. If the news channel is gone, there would only be
NEW YEAR’S EVE: Examples from South Korea and Japan show that 15 local COVID-19 infections could emerge in a short period if measures are not taken The Taipei City Government would cancel its New Year’s Eve Party and all large events if 15 or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 are reported in the city within a week, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday. Addressing the Taipei Cross Border E-Commerce Annual Convention, Ko said the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many uncertainties to society, and that e-commerce is on a path of no return and would continue to grow. Many countries have not effectively controlled their COVID-19 outbreaks, and although Taiwan implements strict border controls and there have been few inbound passengers, the pandemic is unlikely to end soon,
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday accused CTi News of trying to mislead the public by publishing a half-page advert claiming that the party interfered in the National Communications Commission’s (NCC) review of its application for a license renewal. CTi News is distorting the commission’s review process by painting it as a political conflict and turning it into a smear campaign against the DPP, party spokeswoman Yen Juo-fang (顏若芳) said. “The NCC is an independent body, which carries out reviews and makes decisions based on its members’ professional expertise, as well as regulations and legal requirements governing media operations,” Yen said. “We condemn