Old Apr 5, 09, 5:10 am
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Somewhere between HOQ, NUE & MUC
Posts: 87
Powerful Takeoff
Trays were collected again, but there were no signs yet of a speedy departure. However, some ten minutes to 18:00 we were told to sit down and fasten seatbelts. And indeed, we left the parking position at 18:03, almost two hours late. There was another break after push-back, but then B-2857 started taxiing. We lined up behind a handful of aircraft and finally entered the runway. Takeoff was powerful - as usual on the 757 - and we climbed steeply into the dark skies.
The flight itself was uneventful. Many people were sleeping soon - probably the reason why FAs didn't offer anything during these two hours. But at least one round of drinks would have been adequate. After a flying time of one hour and 56 minutes we touched down at Shenzhen Baoan Airport.

Last shot of B-2857 from the gate area:

Vienna Hotel Shenzhen
After grabbing our luggage we tried to find the shuttle bus pick-up zone in front of the two terminal sections. It took a while until someone at an information counter could tell us where to go. However, it was clear soon that the Vienna Hotel's shuttle bus doesn't run frequently. We tried to call the hotel, but failed to get a connection on the public phones. Interestingly, we could even see the hotel's neon signs in the distance. However, we weren't sure whether a taxi driver would understand us this time - and if he did, whether he would agree to such a short-distance ride. We decided to ask a driver of another bus whether he knew more about our hotel's shuttle. He didn't understand, but immediately informed another guy who spoke English. And that man was very helpful, took his mobile phone and called the hotel. Only five minutes later, the bus arrived. The house itself wasn't a luxury hotel and located in a quite diverse neighborhood with roads in poor condition, but it was clean, very affordable and close to the airport.

View from our room - the airport's two main terminal buildings:

Shenzhen Baoan Spotting
We left the hotel early in the morning and tried to find a spotting spot at the airport. Unfortunately, it was clear soon that it's absolutely impossible to see any aircraft from the public area. And since we were planning to take the ferry to Hong Kong in the later afternoon, we couldn't go airside either. It's also interesting to note that - in contrast to PEK or SHA - the modern terminal building at SZX is not equipped with Western-style toilets. That's quite ridiculous, considering that there are more international flights to SZX than to SHA.

Anyway, we had to find a spotting spot, no matter how. We thought about taking a taxi to a place close to the runway, but didn't know the area around. And who knows where the driver would have gone. Then we had a look at the departures screen with masses of flights. So we decided to check whether it's possible to go on a short round trip to a destination not too far away. There were many options because SZX is well served by the large carriers as well as by the new low cost carriers. We spent about an hour for asking at numerous airline counters - and it was quite shocking to learn that the cheapest round trip would have cost some 200 Euro per person, which was too expensive in our opinion. Finally, we took the free shuttle to the nearby airport ferry terminal. And interestingly, the ferry terminal was ideally located close to the approach path. We took a seat in front of the building and watched the movements.

Air China Boeing 747-4J6:

Shenzhen Airlines Boeing 737-33A B-2972 in new colors:

Picture by Satchmo

Air China Boeing 737-79L B-5211 in Beijing 2008 colors:

Picture by Satchmo

Just like on the days before, nobody seemed to care about taking pictures and using binoculars - despite the presence of police officers at the ferry terminal. It was just some friendly taxi drivers who asked whether they could use my binoculars for a minute.
The place was great for registration spotting, but it can be disappointing for photo spotters. Only half an hour after our arrival the approach direction was changed - and in most cases departing aircraft are too high for good shots. Spotters should also be aware that there aren't any Western-style toilets in the ferry terminal either - and the toilets existing aren't as clean as at the airport.
The variety of airlines and aircraft (including wide-body variants) at SZX is really good, with China Southern and Shenzhen Airlines dominating. In only a few hours I got 40 new registrations.

Wednesday, 05 November 2008
Shenzhen Airport Fu Yong Ferry Terminal (SZA) - Kowloon China Ferry Terminal (KLN)
16:30-17:30 (16:27-17:32)
Journey time: 01:05 (hrs)

Wavemaster SuperFast
"Nansha No.18", built in 1993
Economy Class

Shortly after 16:15 we joined the fellow passengers in the terminal and entered the TurboJet ferry which would bring us to Kowloon in the heart of Hong Kong. The Economy Class ticket price was some 20 Euro (per person). Here's our Wavemaster SuperFast vessel, named "Nansha No.18":

This is what I would call an "Xtra Wide-Body":

"27A" was printed on my ticket, but the load factor was quite low and so there was a great choice of seats.

The seats were really comfortable...

...and seat pitch was generous:

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