When I heard the news about the Transasia plane crash in Taipei, I wanted to write something about it almost immediately. But of out respect for those who lost their lives, I didn't. And it was a good choice, as it turned out.
Because a few days later I read this piece of news TransAsia pilots fail safety tests after fatal crash and it left me simply speechless. But then again, perhaps it shouldn't have.
On my recent trip to Taiwan we flew Transasia. It was cheap. Its prices couldn't be beat.
2015 was yet another year when January 1st was spent at the airport, this time going to Taiwan. 2014 - coming back from Tonga. 2013 - taking my friends' parents to the airport, because they misread the bus schedule. 2012 - going to Palau. And 2011 - something to do with Malaysia. Plans for 2016 are busy being made.
This was my first time flying Transasia. A few days earlier I hadn't even known that such an airline existed.
While the plane looked presentable from the outside, and it looked neat and tidy on the inside, I was surprised to see how old it was.
Do you want to know?
It remembered the days when inflight smoking was allowed.
Yep, ashtrays in the armrests. I don't even remember when was the last time I saw such a curious sight on an international flight.
Shortly after boarding there was an issue with some folks sitting in the emergency exit row, and we were asked to change seats.
In the past when I was seated in the emergency exit row, I was asked to read the emergency evacuation instructions and then sign a card proving that I had been briefed on and agreed to assist in any necessary evacuation procedures.
On Transasia the flight attendant explained that sorry, we only have a leaflet in Chinese, but you know what to do, right? And that was my emergency exit row safety briefing.
I guess I shouldn't be all that surprised then when I read that quite a few of Transasia pilots failed their safety tests...
While safety might not have been the top priority on our flight, the efficiency and schedule was.
I am grateful for budget airlines. They revolutionized the way we travel. But now, every time I will consider buying a cheap ticket on a low cost carrier, the Transasia crash and that airline's clueless pilots are going to be on my mind.
But oh yeah, there was an inflight meal service.