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
It took director Chong Keat Aun (張吉安) nearly a decade to complete Snow in Midsummer (五月雪), a deft chronicle of Malaysia’s May 13 incident told through one woman’s search for her brother and father. Although only his second feature, it led the field at yesterday’s Golden Horse Awards with nine nominations. Chong said it had been a struggle to get people to share their memories of the intercommunal violence following the 1969 national election, known among the country’s ethnic Chinese community as “513.” “My father, for example, would shut the conversation down if my mother or grandma even mentioned the topic,” Chong said
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday said that a surge in respiratory illnesses in China has been caused by at least seven types of pathogens, and small children, elderly people and immunocompromised people should temporarily avoid unnecessary visits to China. The recent outbreak of respiratory illnesses in China is mainly in the north and among children, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said on Monday. Data released by the Chinese National Health Commission on Sunday showed that among children aged one to four, the main pathogens were influenza viruses and rhinoviruses, while among children aged five to 14, the main pathogens
A new poll of Taiwanese voters found the top opposition candidate for president jumping past the ruling party’s hopeful into the lead position ahead of January’s election — the latest twist in a drama-filled race. Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) had an approval rating of 31.9 percent versus 29.2 percent for the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) presidential candidate Vice President William Lai (賴清德), the poll released yesterday by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation showed. The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), ranked third with 23.6 percent, according to the survey conducted
A New Taipei City hotpot restaurant could be fined after a rat dropped from the ceiling and landed on a customer’s plate last week, the New Taipei City Department of Health said yesterday after conducting an inspection. A woman recently posted on the “I am a Banciao resident” (我是板橋人) social media group saying that she had been eating with a friend at Chien Tu Shabu Shabu Hotpot Restaurant’s Shuangshi B branch in Banciao District (板橋). “While still eating, a big rat suddenly dropped down from the ceiling, landing on a plate next to a hotpot,” she said. “Later on, a member of