So, we chose the cheapest tickets which were obviously not the fastest or most direct.
We booked with Xiamen air and for the 3 of us to fly Tokyo – Vancouver it was $1300, you can’t really beat that price so we didn’t mind the transfer in Xiamen (just across the bay from Taiwan where we were the week before).
Xiamen air – 4/5 stars
Cost – 5 stars! It was a margin
Punctuality – 4 stars. Any delays were minor.
Check in – 2 stars. The line to check in at Narita airport were incredibly long.
Food – 4 stars. But then again we are not particularly fussy.
Comfort – 4 stars. Pretty comfortable seats and the staff worked hard to seat us so we had an extra seat for Buddy. Very useful for tired aching arms!
Friendliness – 5 stars! Although I think it was buddy’s smile that won them over.
Route – 2 stars. We flew Tokyo – Xiamen (4hours) then flew Xiamen – Vancouver (12 hours) which involves flying over Tokyo….
Xiamen airport is a nightmare. Firstly you need an arrivals card even if you are just transferring flights. Fine, except are only given out to people staying in China. Which meant lining up twice for immigration.
Next, you have to collect your own bags from baggage claim and take them to the international check in desk. Fine, except for them being located on totally different floors to each other and the maps having changing symbols and staircases that move and change Harry Potter style.
To leave the arrivals area you must scan your own bags. Which means taking bags off the trolly, putting them on the conveyer belt and running to the other side to collect them, repeat this for all bags including hand luggage.
Important – Do not forget the baby…
Next, take the meandering elevators to the international departures lounge. To enter the international departures lounge you need to scan you bags, by yourself. Which means, taking bags off the trolly, putting them on the convert belt and running….well, you get the gist. This is all made more fun by,
A. people queue jumping and adding their luggage to yours
B. suitcases getting jammed and piling up inside of the X-ray machine while the operator looks on in mild amusement….
Once checked in you need to go through security to get to the departures area. When entering security you must put all of your hand luggage on a conveyer belt to be X-rayed….insert eye roll here.
So, just a short walk through the airport to your gate before you can get on your plane, right? Yes, but with TWO MORE security check points!!! Twice more you have to remove shoes, take laptops out of bags and have your baby drink from their sippy cup to prove you are not smuggling poison. TWICE.