Review of China Airlines flight Tokyo Taipei in Economy

Airline China Airlines
Flight CI101
Class Economy
Seat 42C
Aircraft Boeing 747-400
Flight time 03:45
Take-off 14 May 16, 14:30
Arrival at 14 May 16, 17:15
CI   #11 out of 72 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 95 reviews
By 2488
Published on 18th June 2016
Graduation Trip – The AvGeek Style | Flight #11

Hello, this series covers a total of 34 flights that I have flown and will be taking over the next few weeks. Please read Parts 1 or 3 for the full introduction, I’ll just duplicate a small portion here as a reminder.

1. I intend to do this series semi-live; i.e. I shall type as I fly and publish the FR soon after arriving at a destination. I know I’m quite behind time now but I promise to keep the reports coming! (:

2. I will do away with my usual “timeline” style (see my past reports), otherwise it will take me much, much longer to get my reports ready.

3. Those square brackets in italics will give you an idea as to when exactly I was writing parts of the reports in this series, for example, I completed this report in Australia and New Zealand.

4. And lastly for now, my apologies for not catching up on those previous series of mine. Was so super busy in school and also, busy preparing for this massive trip of mine. (:

A look again at the map and flights included in this series:

photo 1462499183-2520110386

(All flights in Y unless otherwise stated)

Flight #01 (CLICK HERE) 28.04.2016 / BR216 / SIN-TPE / B77W
Flight #02 (CLICK HERE) 30.04.2016 / BR215 / TPE-SIN / B77W
Flight #03 (CLICK HERE) 01.05.2016 / CX710 / SIN-HKG / A333
Flight #04 (CLICK HERE) 04.05.2016 / KA454 / HKG-KHH / A320
Flight #05 (CLICK HERE) 08.05.2016 / KA451 / KHH-HKG / A333
Flight #06 (CLICK HERE) 08.05.2016 / CX739 / HKG-SIN / B773
Flight #07 (CLICK HERE) 08.05.2016 / BA15 / SIN-SYD / B77W
Flight #08 (CLICK HERE) 09.05.2016 / QF461 / SYD-MEL / B738
Flight #09 (CLICK HERE) 13.05.2016 / QF37 / MEL-SIN / A333
Flight #10 (CLICK HERE) 14.05.2016 / JL38 / SIN-HND / B763
Flight #11 (THIS REPORT) 14.05.2016 / CI101 / NRT-TPE / B744
Flight #12 (CLICK HERE) 14.05.2016 / CI309 / TPE-KHH / B738
Flight #13 (CLICK HERE) 15.05.2016 / GE361 / KHH-MFM / A320
Flight #14 (COMING SOON) 17.05.2016 / GE362 / MFM-KHH / A320
Flight #15 (COMING SOON) 19.05.2016 / JL812 / KHH-NRT / B763
Flight #16 (COMING SOON) 19.05.2016 / JL786 / NRT-HNL / B763
Flight #17 (COMING SOON) 19.05.2016 / AA162 / HNL-LAX / A320
Flight #18 (COMING SOON) 30.05.2016 / AA5955 / LAX-SAN / ERJ175
Flight #19 (COMING SOON) 30.05.2016 / JL65 / SAN-NRT / B788 / Business Class
Flight #20 (COMING SOON) 31.05.2016 / JL811 / NRT-KHH / B763
Flight #21 (COMING SOON) 01.06.2016 / GE207 / KHH-KNH / ATR72
Flight #22 (COMING SOON) 01.06.2016 / B78890 / KNH-TSA / MD-90
Flight #23 (COMING SOON) 02.06.2016 / CI102 / KHH-NRT / B738
Flight #24 (COMING SOON) 02.06.2016 / QF62 / NRT-BNE / A333
Flight #25 (COMING SOON) 03.06.2016 / QF613 / BNE-MEL / B738
Flight #26 (COMING SOON) 10.06.2016 / QF153 / MEL-AKL / B738
Flight #27 (COMING SOON) 15.06.2016 / NZ8109 / WLG-NSN / DHC8
Flight #28 (COMING SOON) 19.06.2016 / NZ628 / ZQN-CHC / A320
Flight #29 (COMING SOON) 21.06.2016 / QF138 / CHC-SYD / B738
Flight #30 (COMING SOON) 21.06.2016 / QF493 / SYD-MEL / B738
Flight #31 (COMING SOON) 24.06.2016 / QF422 / MEL-SYD / A332
Flight #32 (COMING SOON) 24.06.2016 / BA16 / SYD-SIN / B77W
Flight #33 (COMING SOON) 02.07.2016 / QF38 / SIN-MEL / A332
Flight #34 (COMING SOON) 02.07.2016 / QF37 / MEL-SIN / A333

China Airlines CI101
Aircraft Registration: B-18205
Origin: Narita International Airport, Tokyo, Japan (NRT)
Destination: Taoyuan International Airport, Taiwan (TPE)
Date: Saturday, 14 May 2016
STD/STA: 1430h (UTC+09:00) to 1715h (UTC08:00)
ATD/ATA: 1436h (UTC+09:00) to 1658h (UTC08:00)
Estimated Duration: 03 hours 45 minutes
Actual Duration: 03 hours 22 minutes
Flight Distance: About 1,356 miles / 2,182 km

[Melbourne, Australia]

Welcome to Part 11 of this series! From Parts 9 to 13, I will be flying all the way from Melbourne (MEL) to Macau (MFM), making 4 stops in between, with a total journey time of 49 hours.

3. NRT-TPE CI101 (We are here!)
4. TPE-KHH CI309
5. KHH-MFM GE361

photo 1463233291-2624226991

After a 1-hour bus ride from Haneda Airport, which seemed extremely long, I finally arrived at Narita Airport that is 80km away from HND. (More details about the transit from HND to NRT by the limousine bus service can be found at the end of the previous report on JL38.)

The bus arrived 10 minutes ahead of schedule at 12.20pm; couple this with the fact that I managed to get on the earlier service (as compared to what I've planned beforehand), I was very happy with the Japanese level of efficiency (i.e. quick arrival formalities and extremely punctual bus departures).

photo 1

I stepped off the bus, thanked all the friendly staff working for the limousine bus company, and headed into NRT's Terminal 2.

photo 2photo 3

When I arrived at NRT, it was about 12.25pm (Tokyo time), 2h to my next flight's departure. The first impression I had of NRT was that the interior seemed much older than HND.

photo 4photo 5

I wanted to quickly complete check in formalities and see if I'd have some spare time to check out the observation deck at NRT – just like what many of our friends on this website have done before. But this hope of mine vanished the moment I saw the China Airlines (IATA: CI) Economy check-in queue.

photo 7photo 8

I started queueing at 12.25pm and finally reached the front of the queue at 12.57pm. The ground handling agents for CI at NRT were actually Japan Airlines' staff – it's a pity they won't recognise my oneworld Sapphire membership on this flight (just kidding).

The agent who assisted with my check-in was very smiley and friendly, but she got a bit confused when she saw my return ticket between NRT and KHH. I guess she couldn't figure out intuitively why I have a Singapore passport, stayed only a few hours in Tokyo and is holding such a round trip itinerary.

Sensing her slight confusion, I briefly explained to her that I was and will just be transiting via Tokyo on both ways, connecting on to another separate itinerary. Thankfully, she was satisfied with that explanation and didn't ask further! Can you imagine if she said "could you show me your return ticket back to Singapore?" HAHA, scroll back up and look at my list of flights – which itinerary should I show her? =P

Anyway, there were 4 Economy class counters and 4 more other counters for CI & Skyteam Elite members. I don't think I'll ever be a loyal Skyteam customer so I've never took the initiative to find out about Skyteam's FF structure.

Not knowing how long security and immigration procedures will take, I headed to the airside immediately after receiving both my boarding passes for the next two flights on CI.

photo 12photo 13

Fortunately, I was through security and immigration in just 10 minutes! When I was queueing for my turn at the immigration line, I was already able to see my aircraft docked at Gate 71. It's so lucky to have the gate right after immigration; the walk there was just about 20-30 seconds.

photo 50

Once through immigration, I walked to the window and took a few photos of the aircraft I'll be getting on in a while. I was really happy to be able to travel on a B747 again! The last time I rode on this aircraft type was already quite a few years ago.

photo 14photo 15

I took a look at the departure FIDS just to confirm again that my gate was at 71. Affirmed.

If you look closely, there was actually another CI flight direct to KHH at 2.55pm. If I'd booked myself on this flight instead, my journey wouldn't have been this long and I'd be able to arrive in KHH before dinnertime. But, the CI101 + CI309 combination was cheaper and I get to ride on CI's unique shuttle flight between TPE and KHH – why not?

On top of that, I am sure many of you (avgeeks like me) will agree with me that an itinerary with two flights is better than one with only a single flight. Agree?

photo 22

I stood there for a few more minutes to admire the beautiful aircraft!

photo 16photo 17

Then I turned around, passed the sign for China Airlines Lounge, and headed back towards the corridor to find a place to have my lunch.

photo 18

It didn’t matter that I couldn’t get into the lounge because I had such a nice view from the restaurant where I had my lunch.

photo 19photo 20photo 21

I finished up my lunch and decided to walk directly to my gate since boarding time was soon approaching.

photo 23

My flight was departing from Gate 71. Adjacent to my gate was also a flight bound for Taipei – Cathay Pacific’s CX451 from Narita to Taipei, and then to Hong Kong.

photo 24

As I went down to my gate, I realized that there were even better views of my aircraft from the boarding lounge!

China Airlines / B747-400 / B-18205 / CI101 NRT-TPE

photo 25

The Queen of the Skies was really gorgeous, and I couldn't resist but to just take a few more photographs!

photo 26photo 27photo 28

And then from the front.

photo 29photo 30

[I’m continuing this report in New Zealand!]

There were still no signs of boarding at about 1.45pm and I even contemplated buying a Haagen Dazs ice-cream to eat while waiting. Eventually, I did not.

photo 31

The next two photos were taken before and after the boarding announcements. The first photo was taken at 1.47pm, and the second at 2.03pm.

photo 32photo 33

Most passengers who were going to fill up this B747 were either Taiwanese or Japanese; to many of them, queueing up systematically and orderly is a very established habit since a young age – hence, after the commencement of boarding was announced, there wasn’t much of a mad dash to get through the gate but rather a rush to get in queue properly.

Anyway, boarding was done by zones, so many other passengers in zones not boarding yet were still enjoying the sight of the Queen.

photo 34

I was in boarding zone 2 and my zone began to board at about 2.12pm. One more shot of the gorgeous B747 before we head inside its cabin.

photo 35photo 151

Many other passengers were already aboard when I stepped into the aircraft. Nonetheless, I still tried to take as many cabin and seat shots as I could.

The colour tones of the seats were not very exciting. But I personally found them to be very soothing and pleasing – the entire atmosphere was really quite comfortable.

The IFE screen was playing some advertisements during the boarding process. China Airlines could really invest in some kind of boarding music instead of playing all sorts of ads during boarding and after landing.

photo 42

I noted that these seats were designed by Recaro.

photo 152

Anyway, as usual – closer looks at more features of this aircraft. Namely, the seatback, legroom, overhead panel, luggage compartments etc.

A welcome announcement was also made by cabin crews in three languages.

Before boarding was completed, I went to the lavatory quickly and took some photos.

Back at my seat, I started to look through the seat pocket contents – there were four different magazines and the safety card. Also, the headset was pre-set in the seat pocket too.

photo 69photo 57photo 58

We shall look through the seat pocket contents in more details later on in this report (after take off).

During boarding, the FAs came around to distribute blankets. They were of quite a good quality.

photo 59

I observed that cabin crews were very proactively assisting any passengers who required assistance.

photo 60

We pushed back 2.36pm, just 6 minutes after the scheduled departure.

(UTC+09:00, Tokyo time)

1433 Ground Staff Leave Aircraft
1436 Push Back
1442 Taxi to Runway
1444 Crew be Seated for Take Off
1458 Take Off
1506 Seatbelt Signs Off

The safety demonstration video played soon after push back. It was followed by a video containing information regarding Taiwan’s customs limitations and restrictions. Thereafter, the AVOD system was switched on.

I tried to select the nose camera, but it was not switched on (or maybe not installed on this aircraft).

photo 65

The other best alternative would be the flight maps – of course!

photo 66photo 67

Prior to take off, I also attempted to find a short TV programme to watch – but nothing was of interest to me, so I switched back to the moving maps.

photo 68

I was two seats away from the window, but still tried to take a video of the take off using my iPhone in a portrait orientation. You can’t see much actually, but it’s better than nothing. xD

As promised, now let’s explore the magazines!

photo 70

The contents page of the in-flight magazine.

photo 71photo 72

An advertisement about CI’s twice weekly flight to Yangzhou in China.

photo 73

A sample of the articles within the magazine – this one is about a desert hotel in Egypt; not that CI flies to Egypt, though.

photo 74

And of course, we can’t miss out the SkyTeam pages within this publication.

Here’s the information about SkyTeam’s flagship lounges in London, Istanbul, Sydney, Hong Kong, Dubai and Beijing.

photo 75

Another interesting article about “Vessels” – this article mentioned a lot about human beings’ Dream to Fly.

As I flipped the magazine, suddenly I saw a familiar sight popping up randomly. Anyone knows where is this?

photo 80

Ohhhh and this is about New Zealand – the beautiful country I’m in now!

photo 81

And then we’ve reached the section of the magazine that many of us would be most interested in – the airline’s information!

This page lists out all the awards CI recently received – not bad!

photo 82photo 83photo 84

For SkyTeam, they were awarded the “Alliance of the Year” in the “latest Air Transport News Awards.”

photo 89

And this is CI’s controversial new uniform. Why controversial? Hmm… Long story.

photo 85

Information about the beautiful cabin of CI’s newest aircraft – the A350. I really want to fly on an A350 but still no chance so far.

photo 86

Anyway, another information page about CI’s subsidiary’s new route – Mandarin Airlines’ Taichung-Wuxi route. Wuxi looks beautiful here!

photo 87

“Rule for portable electronic devices” – you can now use them throughout the flight.

photo 88

CI’s fleet information.

photo 90

And the two aircraft types that I flew on that day – B747 and B737-800.

photo 91photo 92

Information about CI’s frequent flyer programme – Dynasty Flyer.

photo 93

The next few photos will look at the airline’s network map.

photo 94

Starting off with European destinations. The green routes are codeshares with SkyTeam partners if I’m not wrong.

photo 95

The very comprehensive network within Asia.

photo 96

And these are the destinations in north and southeast Asia in particular.

photo 97

Destinations in North America comprise of Honolulu, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Vancouver and New York.

photo 98

And last but not least, destinations in Oceania include Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and Christchurch.

photo 101

These purple routes refer to Mandarin Airlines’ operation out of Taichung Airport (IATA: RMQ).

photo 99

The list of CI’s codeshare partners.

photo 100

CI’s cargo routes.

photo 102photo 103

Now we take a brief look at the entertainment guide.

photo 104

There were quite some movies on offer and there were also articles discussing specific shows/movies.

photo 105photo 106

Some of the TV shows available in the IFE.

photo 107photo 108

CD selections, radio channels and games.

photo 109photo 110photo 111

CI also has many aircrafts that are not equipped with AVOD. So entertainment on flights operated by these aircrafts will only be those programmes broadcasted on the overhead screens.

photo 112photo 113photo 114

Later on in this trip, I will be flying on a CI B738 out from Kaohsiung (IATA: KHH). So this list will work for me.

photo 115

Instructions on how to operate the different remote controls on various aircraft types.

photo 116photo 117

There was of course a catalogue on duty free shopping. Two of such catalogues, in fact. The other one consisted of products on sale for home delivery.

photo 118photo 121

On board the flight, you can buy a B777-300ER aircraft model.

photo 119

But if you opt for home delivery, another choice was available.

photo 122

You can also place your order first and collect the products only on your return trip.

photo 120

Finally, the safety information card for this B747-400.

photo 123photo 124

Alright, we are done with looking through the seat pocket contents and let’s get back to the flight now.

Seatbelt signs were switched off at 3.06pm (UTC+09:00, Tokyo time).

photo 125

Very soon later, as we were flying past Osaka, the drinks and meal services commenced.

photo 127photo 126

I got my lunch very quickly at 3.49pm, slightly less than an hour after take off.

photo 128

The appetiser consisted of veggies, egg, and another unknown object that surprisingly tasted nice.

photo 129

There were then fruits, a hot bread and packaged muffin/cake – which was also nice.

photo 130photo 131photo 134

The main dish was fish with rice. And the sweet and sour sauce went well with both the fish and rice!

photo 132

I didn’t take a photo of the utensils. But the towelette had a nice CI flower logo printed on it.

photo 133

Both hot and cold drinks were served together. As I felt quite thirsty, I asked for three cups of drinks – haha!

photo 135

I finished up my meal at about 4.15pm. The flight time left was about 1h 15mins.

photo 136

After my tray was cleared, I got up to take a short walk around the economy cabin – which was quite huge (and full!) – definitely some good business on this route. I also used the rear washroom again.

This is the progress of the flight so far; photo taken at 3.49pm (UTC+08:00, Taipei time).

photo 143

At about 1h before arrival, the connecting gates information became available on our IFE screens.

photo 144

It was not a whole long list like what you get to see on CX flights, but rather just three flights. One of which was mine – CI309 to Kaohsiung.

Looks like someone on this aircraft has had an even longer layover in TPE than I did! (i.e. the 11.50pm service to Brisbane).

photo 145

The FAs went around the cabin a few more times before landing to distribute one more round of drinks, collect trash and attend to passenger’s other ad-hoc requests. I asked one of them if they could give me some playing cards and the request was gladly accepted.

photo 146

As we were approaching TPE, an announcement about our flight information came from the flight deck.

photo 147

We made two left hand turns on our approach and touched down at 4.47pm.

photo 148

Some timekeeping for the last phase of this flight:

(UTC+08:00, Taipei time)

1613 Signs On
1634 Crew be Seated for Landing
1647 Touch Down
1658 Arrived at Gate

This is the after-landing announcement.

We arrived more than 15 minutes early at our gate, which was good – because it means I can enjoy more time in TPE. It’s one of the airports that I’m extremely familiar with, though I have never transited there before.

photo 149

It was really an interesting experience to be arriving in TPE and heading to another international port in Taiwan as my final destination. But for now, I’ll leave it here and come back in the next part with TPE’s transit experience and CI’s “international flight” that flies domestically between TPE and KHH.

Once again, greetings from New Zealand! Kia Ora!

[Signing off from Queenstown, New Zealand]

(To be continued)

This report was completed on 18 Jun 2016 at 1.11am (UTC+12:00).

Full sized photographs of this flight will be available soon.
See more


China Airlines

Cabin crew8.5

Tokyo - NRT


Taipei - TPE



I liked CI’s B747. In general, the seats felt comfortable and I guess I wouldn’t mind flying on them for longer journeys. If I’m not wrong, these B747s are still used quite a lot on long-haul flights as well (for example, the Vancouver flights). There were several Japanese cabin crews on this flight so the needs of many Japanese passengers were well taken care of. It was observed that many Taiwanese crew members were also able to speak Japanese fluently, and this clearly shows how much the airline is investing into its Japanese routes. In fact, across all airlines that flies between Taiwan and Japan, CI operates to the most number of Japanese destinations. Entertainment on this aircraft was so-so, there were definitely movies available to kill time – it’s just that I didn’t wanted to spend my time watching a movie. Finally, the meal was nice, and I attribute this to the high-quality Japanese ground catering.

My first time at NRT was also pleasant. The airport’s interior looked a little bland/plain but it served its purpose extremely well. While this was my first time there, I will be visiting this airport for another three times later on in this series, so I guess by then, I’d quite a bit more familiar with it.

Transiting at TPE was also a nice experience. I had quite some adventure trying to find a shower room (that’s free for all to use!) but I will leave this to the next part. For now, I’ll just grade the airport based on my experience up till the transit security portion of my journey.

I’ll catch you on the next flight!

Information on the route Tokyo (NRT) Taipei (TPE)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 9 reviews of 6 airlines on the route Tokyo (NRT) → Taipei (TPE).


The airline with the best average rating is China Airlines with 8.3/10.

The average flight time is 3 hours and 53 minutes.

  More information


  • Comment 354528 by
    socalnow 979 Comments

    Thanks for the report TN92. Great pictures and it's always a pleasure to see 747-400 reports.

    I was a little surprised that the cabin looks as modern as it does with AVOD and slimline seats.

    I think it's odd the CI doesn't use T1 with most Sky Team members. Must not be enough room for their operation. Same with China Eastern that I noted in one of your photos.

    Thanks again and happy flying.

    • Comment 354911 by
      tn92 AUTHOR 171 Comments

      Thank you Socalnow for your comment!

      I was also surprised with how new the cabin actually looked, CI must have refurbished these aircrafts very recently. And thus, I'm quite certain that they'll be keeping most of their B747s in their fleet for a few more years to come.

      Oh, regarding CI's terminal in NRT, I'm not quite sure actually but I did realise that T2 seemed to be more of a Oneworld terminal, given that JL's international flights depart from there.

      Thank you once again for your comments!

Login to post a comment.