Review: Biking in an Ancient City – Transiting Kunming Airport: International to Domestic

Introduction
China Eastern 734 737-700 Economy Class Hong Kong to Kunming
Transiting Kunming Airport – International to Domestic
China Eastern 734 737-700 Economy Class Kunming to Lijiang
Jin Hong Garden Villa Lijiang
Biking in Lijiang, Day 1: Baisha Village
Biking in Lijiang, Day 2: Down to Lashi Lake
Biking in Lijiang, Day 3: Into Dali Villages
China Eastern 733 737-700 Economy Class Lijiang to Kunming
Transiting Kunming Airport – Domestic to International
China Eastern 733 737-700 Economy Class Kunming to Hong Kong


Apologies with the lack of pictures, as we had to hustle from each place to another.

We got off the plane at Kunming, and turned right into an area where flight attendants took our boarding passes one by one and reprinted us new ones.

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China Eastern Boeing 737-700 Kunming Airport

There were about three attendants at the gate, and they were all hollering in both Chinese and English:

“TO LIJIANG THIS WAY. TO LIJIANG THIS WAY.”

Apart from a young British couple on their honeymoon, we were the only people continuing to Lijiang (that’s 40 people in total, so…fair enough).

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From there we followed the rest of the queue to clear immigration, and followed the signs to domestic transfer.

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Arrivals Hall Kunming Airport

At the end we turned right into a little hallway, with another three attendants yelling for passengers to Lijiang to follow them. We arrived back into the terminal, when I thought we were clear.

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Kunming Airport International Terminal

The Kunming Airport departures hall is stunning, especially at nighttime. It’s gold, wavy and feels really modern.

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Kunming Airport International Terminal

We made a turn near the end into a little room with an immigration desk no one was attending.

After a few minutes at 8:20, two people showed up, and they cleared us by immigration one by one. They got to me, and I got stopped because they couldn’t recognize the middle character in my Chinese name. F*cking hell…

Officer: Welcome to China. We couldn’t recognize your middle name, so wait a little bit.
*two officers chat for a while*
Officer: How do you read the middle word in your name?
*I tell him*
Officer: Please wait a moment.

The officers shrugged and just let me through, where I thought I was clear and ready to go, where we had to get our bags through customs one more time. I decided to sack up my manners and suck up the night.

Me: Good evening.
*no response*
Me: Good evening.
*customs agent looks at me like I’m a wild animal*
Me: Good evening, Miss.
Agent: Good evening.

The agent let all the bags pass, and I said thank you, which she alienated me again, though I decided it wasn’t worth my time.

We took an escalator down to the domestic terminal, and got in gate 24, where we were bussed right back to the same plane we came from.

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China Eastern Boeing 737-700 Kunming Airport

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China Eastern Boeing 737-700 Kunming Airport

We boarded immediately, but the fun didn’t stop there…

Bottom line

It would be nice if immigration could just be cleared right there on the plane and we could make our second leg. Given that our bags were checked in Hong Kong, I’m not sure what customs for the second leg were for, given that all water we held was airport water (they let our water through).

This is just a glimpse of Kunming Airport that shows us that airport looks can be deceiving. They’re in desperate need of a better transit experience, at least.

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