Review of China Airlines flight Taipei Hong Kong in Business

Airline China Airlines
Flight CI641
Class Business
Seat 10A
Aircraft Airbus A350-900
Flight time 01:50
Take-off 30 Dec 16, 09:10
Arrival at 30 Dec 16, 11:00
CI   #20 out of 112 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 60 reviews
Rewardflying
By 1711
Published on 7th January 2017
photo ci641 cover 2-1

China Airlines has just taken delivery of their first few A350 aircraft and are flying training routes in Asia before deploying the aircraft on long haul routes. Recently China Airlines announced they will be flying their Airbus A350 aircraft on the Taipei - San Francisco route. While in Taiwan, when the opportunity to fly on this aircraft presented itself, I didn't hesitate. My only disappointment, if you can call it that, was I flew the 2 month old A350 instead of the 2 day old A350. Missed by a day! Poor me.

Here is the 2 day old aircraft #903, waiting to go somewhere else. China Air also received their 4th A350 from Airbus on this day.

photo ci641 plane other

Carrier: China Airlines
Date: December 30, 2016
Route: TPE-HKG-TPE
Flight #: CI641/CI642
Aircraft: A350 #B-18091
Configuration: J32/W31/Y243
Seat(s): 10A/10G/10K
On Time: A little tardy

photo ci641 boarding 1

Having experienced the morning chaos at Taipei's Taoyuan on prior travels, I made sure to give myself ample time to pass security and immigration. While not as busy as last time, the process still took 30 minutes. There is no fast track for premium class fliers at TPE.

Once through I made my way to the China Airlines lounge.

photo ci641 lounge services composite

At 7:30AM with all the overnight passengers waiting for regional connections the place was packed. It's a comfortable lounge. While I didn't mind the dark dungeony feel to it, I can see where others might not. It is fairly good sized lounge without any natural light. Almost all seats are cushy couch like chairs. Only a few tables were offered for eating.

photo ci641 lounge seating composite

These China Airlines travelers were a hungry lot as it was every man, woman and child for themselves at the buffett. Most of my photos are of empty trays.

photo ci641 lounge food composite

After a coffee I headed down to the gate strolling through the shopping mall, err, Airport.

photo ci641 airport - tpe

Gorgeous.

photo ci641 plane 1

Sometimes I wonder about boarding agents. It's what they do, many times a day. Why is it that it seems they've never done it before? They had already loaded those that needed assistance, then they announced general boarding would be delayed. It didn't matter to me, but why?

photo ci641 boarding 2

The China Airlines A350 cabin is stunning.



From the back.

photo ci641 cabin 4

Mood lighting. The red shade was a running light going back and forth through the cabin.

photo ci641 cabin 5photo ci641 cabin bins

Stock lavatory that wasn't particularly well supplied.

photo ci641 cabin lav composite

The Sky Bistro is located at door 2 and was not offered on this flight.

photo ci641 cabin sky bistro

What it's supposed to look like when open for business.

photo china airlines a350 bc interior 1_1024

A look back at Premium Economy. Any ideas on what this means? My translator shows "Water Post Hill Station"??




Having tried all of the most popular business class seats, for my tastes, the B/E Aerospace Super Diamond is the winner and China Airlines has installed them on their long haul aircraft. This makes CI an airline to consider when going long.



The China Airlines version of the seat seems similar to the stock version, unlike some others like Qatar who've done a number of upgrades. The lamp is an interesting, homey addition.



The underside of the door cover is a large mirror, yet is still awkward to use.

photo ci641 seat pod table open 2

This little compartment at the base of the seat seems rather useless however.

photo ci641 seat storage 1

The aisle armrest can be lowered for more seat width and also doubles as a storage compartment for headphones or a bottle of water.

photo ci641 seat arm rest

Plenty of foot room for stretching out on this 90 minute flight.



The two center seats do not have a retractable privacy divider. This is fine for couples but for solo travelers you want to get a window seat if you can. You can open the storage door for a partition, but you end up looking at yourself, or your food, in the mirror.

photo ci641 cabin privacy 1

Avoid seats D or G in row 10 unless you want to view the galley. You have no privacy in these seats at all. The window seats in row 10 are fine so disregard SeatGuru's yellow marking for these seats.

photo ci641 cabin privacy 2photo ci641 seat map

Amenities:
Obviously this was not a sleeping flight but a nice ample pillow and soft comfortable blanket were provided.

photo ci641 amenity 2

Grab a paper on your way in.

photo ci641 amenity 4

Be careful of the hottest Oshibori on record. Yes I was warned. I tried to get the steam on a photo, didn't work.

photo ci641 amenity 3

Menu for today's 93 and 71 minute flights:



Ok, so the beverage part is a little cluttered. But when is the last time you got a printed menu on an hour flight?

For that matter, when did you get a full meal on an hour flight? I'm talking to you, USA fliers.

Albeit lunch at breakfast time. Perfection can be elusive.

For breakfast on this 9:10AM flight I chose the braised sea bass. But first I enjoyed some juice as it was too early for champagne for me, but was available. The mixed snacks didn't get opened based on the ingredients.

photo ci641 food 1

Again, an hour flight.

photo ci641 food 2

Ok, so points were deducted for presentation. But it was tasty.

photo ci641 food 3

And the Milk Tea Mousse was just like mom used to make.

photo ci641 food 4

Points have to be awarded for real salt and pepper shakers (QF).

photo ci641 food 5

Then on the way back I got to have lunch. This time I chose the chicken which I enjoyed.



Getting a full meal on a 500 mile flight is pretty impressive. US domestic airlines should look to Asia for a tip or two on what premium class should be.

The bad news first. I was in 10A and after the safety video my monitor went out. Denise, the wonderful cabin manager on this flight sat me in 10G so I could watch something. The next bad news is China Airlines did not get the outside cameras on their A350's (or they weren't showing them on this flight as well as not being on the IFE system as an option.) The video bug was understandable as new plane kinks need to be worked out. In fact, Airbus had a representative on this flight and he fixed the issue while on the ground in Hong Kong.

photo ci641 ife 1

The high definition monitor could be clearly seen even with the window open.


The crew was overly friendly, attentive and fun to be around. Denise introduced herself at the beginning of the flight and called me by name each time she spoke to me. Plus she was super excited to be working on this aircraft.



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Verdict

China Airlines

7.9/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment6.0
Meal/catering7.5

China Airlines Dynasty

6.8/10
Comfort8.0
Meal/catering6.0
Entertainment5.0
Services8.0

Taipei - TPE

7.5/10
Efficiency7.0
Access7.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Hong Kong - HKG

7.0/10
Efficiency7.0
Access7.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.0

Conclusion

I would not hesitate to fly China Airlines in the future. Both Taiwanese carriers, China Airlines and EVA Airlines provide excellent premium transportation services.

Informations on the route Taipei (TPE) Hong Kong (HKG)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 8 reviews of 4 airlines on the route Taipei (TPE) → Hong Kong (HKG).


Useful

The airline with the best average grade is China Airlines with 8.4/10.

The average flight time is 1 hours and 50 minutes.

 

12 Comments

  • Comment 380703 by
    aduxsified 19 Comments

    Hi!
    The official English name given by CI for "水郵山驛" is "Flying Oasis" as seen here: http://www.nownews.com/n/2014/12/25/1556420
    CI made this area for modern travellers to have some an area to take a quick rest, as quoted from CI's Malaysia official fb: https://www.facebook.com/chinaairlinesmalaysia/posts/320113344860037

    Just the four words itself.... Did a quick google on it and word "郵" has the meaning of a resting stop for people & "驛" means an area to change horses and rest. It's actually a vvv old poem. Overall, the 4 words "水郵山驛" means the travelling life(?). It's in chinese but I got it from here: http://pedia.cloud.edu.tw/Entry/Detail/?title=%E6%B0%B4%E9%83%B5%E5%B1%B1%E9%A9%9B

    It may not be the most proper/correct translation but I hope this gives you a better idea!

    Thanks for the report too!! :D

      0
  • Comment 380764 by
    Rewardflying AUTHOR 264 Comments

    Flying Oasis makes much more sense Aduxsified. Thanks. All though I do like the "area to change horses and rest". I'll be careful with my Google translator app, especially in China!

      0
  • Comment 380778 by
    nico83et13 1017 Comments

    Thank you for the report.

      0
  • Comment 380867 by
    Razza_Pr 164 Comments

    Hello, Rewardlying, and thank you for this FR!

    China Airlines' A359 looks fantastic! And the soft product for a short hop looks good, too. They don't serve you from a cart, but deliver straight from the galley, no? (always a fan of the personal touches)

    The Business Class lounge is aesthetically pleasing. Though after being stuck in a metal tube for a good few hours, I think it'd be more soothing to have windows installed. It doesn't necessarily have to be ceiling-to-floor, but enough to let the outside natural light illuminate the lounge. It would certainly help ease the claustrophobia.

    Thanks again for this report!

      0
    • Comment 380970 by
      Rewardflying AUTHOR 264 Comments

      Impressed with China Airlines. Flew the route on CX 350 as well (report to come) and I think CI was the better of the 2. Come to think of it, the lounge are located on the upper level of TPE. Arrivals and ticketing are on the first floor. Then you go upstairs for security and the gates/lounges. When you get to the gate you go back down to the main level. Upstairs has all the shops. And as I recall there aren't any windows up there. So maybe all the lounges have no windows?? In any case it's pretty dark inside the Dynasty lounge.

        0
    • Comment 380971 by
      Rewardflying AUTHOR 264 Comments

      And thanks for reading Razza_PR, hope things are well with you!

        0
  • Comment 381266 by
    DiegoSS02 46 Comments

    Excellent report! With a product like this, between the amenities, meal sevice, IFE, and the obviously comfortable plane, time flies on a 90 minute flight!

      0
  • Comment 381425 by
    KévinDC TEAM 3915 Comments

    Thanks for this exclusive look at the brand new CI A350! The J cabin looks gorgeous and W looks pretty nice too. Very good service for such a short flight. China Airlines has always trailed Eva Air in reputation, especially when they had their old J cabin. With all the improvements as of late and the fleet renewal, CI is giving BR a run for their money.

    Thanks for sharing this great report!

      0
  • Comment 381427 by
    Rewardflying AUTHOR 264 Comments

    I agree Kevin DC, but... I took EVA on an hour flight from TPE to PVG and they were equally impressive with service and amenities. Obviously it wasn't an A350 but flying these 2 carriers makes me wish I was based in Taiwan. Food's not so bad there either!

      0
  • Comment 381433 by
    MrMax 143 Comments

    Wow! The 350 loooks nice! Same interior as the 777s. FRs coming up soon for Y+ long haul (777. SFO-TPE and TPE-SFO) and short haul J (747 TPE-BKK, and 330 BKK-TPE, my first time in J!)

      0
  • Comment 381505 by
    Rewardflying AUTHOR 264 Comments

    Yes, same seats as the 777 with a slight color change. Enjoy your trip MrMax and thanks for reading.

      0
  • Comment 382250 by
    jetsetpanda 2164 Comments

    Thank you Rewardflying for sharing this exclusive FR on CI's A350.

    I agree with you about the stunning cabin in J. Really nice job.

    When I was searching for fares in Y+ from the US to Asia last year, i discovered that CI would put you in J on the intra-Asian connections. That really is a nice advantage in their favor.

      0

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