Thursday, May 24, 2007

Shanghai to Taipei

I flew to Seoul a few weeks ago and managed to take a picture of our flight path. We flew right past Shanghai and arrived in Seoul in less than 2 hours. How come it takes me nearly three times longer to get to Shanghai?

I just calculated my average flight speed from Shanghai to Taipei to be 77 miles per hour. It takes me just about 5 1/2 hours (not including transit time to and from the airport) on a good day to cover the 423 miles between the two cities across the strait.
Why? Because I have to fly through Hong Kong first, which is 700 miles from Shanghai and another 500 miles from Taipei. To draw a US analogy, I am flying from Washington to Chicago to get to Cleveland. I am forced to go endure this ridiculous roundabout journey because the government of Taiwan will not allow direct flights between Taiwan and mainland China in the name of sovereignty. Instead, airlines such as Dragonair and Air Macau have made millions, if not billions, of dollars simply ferrying mainlanders to the tiny island nation. Like its reaction to the Olympic torch, the current administration in power on Taiwan feels that if it gets too close to China, it will lose its identity and claim to be a separate nation. There are rumors that if when a new president is elected next year, things may change. I’m not going to hold my breath.

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