Review of China Airlines flight San Francisco Taipei in Premium Eco

Airline China Airlines
Flight CI 003
Class Premium Eco
Seat --
Aircraft Boeing 777-300ER
Flight time 13:55
Take-off 17 Dec 16, 00:05
Arrival at 17 Dec 16, 06:00
CI   #8 out of 116 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 94 reviews
MrMax
By 3229
Published on 7th April 2017
Welcome to my new series of FR's on my trip to Thailand this December!



BACKGROUND

This December, I went with my Dad and Brother to Thailand. My dad used to live here so it is a very special place for him. I've never been before, so we saw this opportunity. We settled on flying Y+ on CI for $1800 roundtrip SFO-TPE-BKK rt. The plus for CI Y+, is that on regional flights (without Y+), you are put in J! For the domestic flights, we flew on PG (Bangkok Airlines).

The itinerary is as follows:

PART I:

SFO-TPE — Y+ — CI 003 — 12/17/16 — YOU ARE HERE
TPE-BKK — J — CI 823 — 12/18/16 [COMING SOON]
BKK-CNX — Y — PG 906 — 12/18/16 [COMING SOON]

PART II:

CEI-BKK — Y — PG232 — 12/27/16 [COMING SOON]
BKK-USM— Y — PG135 — 12/27/16 [COMING SOON]

Part III:

USM-BKK — Y — PG148 — 12/31/16 [COMING SOON]

Part IV:

BKK-TPE — J — CI836 — 1/2/17 [COMING SOON]
TPE-SFO — Y+ — CI004 — 1/2/17 [COMING SOON]


Here is my routing for my international flights:

photo screen shot 2017-03-19 at 4.34.29 pm

And the domestic ones:

photo screen shot 2017-03-19 at 4.35.17 pm

CNX – Chiang Mai
CEI – Chiang Rai
USM – Koh Samui



Anyways…. lets get flying!



We arrived at SFO about 2 hours before departure. They always have nice holiday decorations around december.




The International Terminal:

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International Check-In hall:

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As a Y+ passenger, I got SkyPriority benefits. This helped make check-in and boarding very fast. Kudos to CI for this.

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The SFO museum always has an av-related exhibit. At that time, it was about FA uniforms. Unfortunately, the museum was closed, but here are some pics of the front display (its landslide)

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The landslide VS lounge:

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Security was okay if not too slow. There are a lot of TPAC flights, two AM departures plus Volaris and Avianca, and some transcontinental domestic flights all departing in this 11 pm - 1 am window. These pics are for coming out of security into the gate area:

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SFO international terminal displays FIDS for the whole day at once, which can get annoying!

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SFO has some really cool art in the gate area:

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Now, its time for spotting!

Volaris A319 (sooooo cute and chubby!! Just adorable)

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Qantas 747 headed down under. Such a majestic plane. I will be sorry to see it go.

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Cathey 777 for HKG:

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And finally… My beautiful 773!! Reg: B-18053. Just 2 years old at the time of flight (Dec '16):

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Boarding was a breeze w/ SkyPriority:

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Entering the 777, with WiFi too!

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The interior design of this plane is really cool. I like the lines and the great stain on the bathroom wall (you'll see later in the FR)


The Y+ hard product is really good. I was able to sleep really well (and I never sleep on planes)

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The seat as I found it w/ blankets and pillows (pretty good quality)

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The legroom in the bulkhead row is great!

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The seat pocket came stuffed with all sorts of goodies

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These included a bottle of water, the usual literature/duty-free/safety card and the IFE catalog (useless as always).


The headphones provided were really good quality and noise cancelling. Very impressed! These did wonders with helping me sleep, and frankly, just chill out. However, these were defective and I had to get another pair that only worked marginally better, so that's one area of possible improvement there.

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The menu for tonight:

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Hot towel:

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Amenity kit:

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The safety vid plays and we're off to runway 28L:

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And takeoff!!!!





Position just after takeoff on the moving map:

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Shortly after takeoff, dinner is served from the cart:

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The main. I chose the chicken pasta:

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The food, frankly, wasn't that great, to say the least. The starter was okay if not a little bland, about what I'd expect for Y+, and the fruit was a little stale but still okay. What really did it for me was the main. The little meat that there was, was a poor and over-processed excuse for chicken. The pasta was bland and the vegetables overcooked and watery. It was like something that you might get in Y on a US legacy. CI should try a little harder for their premium passengers! Also, the plastic cutlery (of ok quality for plastic though) in Y+ is a little, er, cheap.


After the meal, the crew offered vanilla ice cream:

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And who can refuse that coster, such a cool design:

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Now, lets explore the IFE:

Welcome screen:

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Each category has a screen like this:

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The content was ok, but the navigation was difficult because of a poorly designed remote control, and the difficult-to-reach wall mounted PTV. The touch screen is actually quite responsive and works really well if you aren't at a bulkhead seat.

The notorious remote:

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After the meal, I fell asleep. I almost never sleep on planes, so the noise canceling headphones were helpful in achieving this.

I woke up about half way through the flight. I asked for a cup of black tea w/ milk. However, contrary to what the menu said, the FA informed me that they only had oolong. So, I tried the oolong for the first time, and enjoyed it! I still, however, would have liked the menu to be accurate and for CI to cater to western tastes also.

Oolong tea:

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A note on hard product:

I think that CI has a very good Y+ hard product. It is much better than it looks, however there are a few flaws. Firstly, the reading light is loose and doesn't stay in the desired position, rendering it useless. Secondly, the legroom in the bulkhead rows is nice, but the legroom in the standard rows is standard for Y+, according to seat guru, but it was hard to sleep with, so I think that there needs to be one or two inches more seat pitch. Also, in standard rows, the placement of the tray table is awkward. So, in conclusion, the bulkhead seats are definitely recommended.


About 10 mins after I woke up from my nap, this ("vegetarian burger") mid-flight snack was served:

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Location at mid-flight snack:

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The bathroom could have used some cleaning but the design on the wall was so beautiful:



I think CI has the best cabin wall decoration of all airlines! Also such a beautiful livery, even if it doesn't really work on the 777, as well as it does on the 747.


Around 2:30 before arrival, breakfast was served over Japan:

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And the entree:

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The meal is okay but not remarkable. The vegetables were a little overcooked, but edible. The omelette was okay too. It was just a normal plane plain omelette (pun intended). The yoghurt was nice and the fruit wasn't entirely unripe like it usually is on planes. I also enjoyed another oolong tea w/ breakfast.


Position at conclusion of breakfast:

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A towelette was distributed with the meal, look at the beautiful package!

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A look at my seat mate's meal. It is a special meal (Asian vegetarian). It has a larger entree, so if you like that kind of food, it's a good option:

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Reading The Atlantic after the meal, with the hot towel distributed before landing.

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Demonstrating the recline of the seat for you. You're welcome :D :

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Almost there!

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Connecting flight info on the IFE:

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Landing on time just before dawn at TPE:




Disembarking through J class, it looks pretty nice, lets see how business class on the 747 is, in the next installment of this series.

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And thus, I proceed through TPE towards my connecting flight. The connection infrastructure at TPE definitely needs some work. They need better intra-airport transport, and more capacity for the security check for connections. The line took us a very long time and didn't have a priority lane.

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Thanks for reading, and see you soon for the next installment of this series!


Conclusion



Cabin: Hard product is overall very good but needs a few fixes, i.e. better-designed reading light, and improvements like more seat pitch and less intrusive tray tables in standard rows.

FAs: The FAs were all very friendly and spoke english very well. They did their job efficiently and courteously.

IFE: Hardware was good, with very responsive touchscreen PTV, but a poorly-designed remote control. The choice of programming was decent, but the navigation could have been easier.

Catering: This is where the otherwise very good Y+ product starts to fall apart. The catering is lacking in quality and doesn't really feel like an upgrade from Y class. The food is too processed and don't taste very good. They also didn't have black tea, as claimed on the menu, which is a little dodgy. This was also a problem in J for my BKK-TPE flight.

SFO: The International Terminal was, as always, a pleasure. The space is open, well designed, and the art makes the atmosphere that much elevated. SkyPriority was great to have, I never experienced a line at any point.

TPE: I honestly wasn't too impressed with TPE. It took most of our connection to just clear the connection security lines (which had no priority lanes). The terminal was also difficult to navigate.\


Thanks for reading and see you next time! Also, be sure to drop me a line in the comments section and "like" this flight-report (You know you want to…)
See more

Verdict

China Airlines

7.4/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering4.0

San Francisco - SFO

8.9/10
Efficiency10.0
Access7.5
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Taipei - TPE

5.1/10
Efficiency3.0
Access5.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness6.5

Conclusion

Cabin: Hard product is overall very good but needs a few fixes, i.e. better-designed reading light, and improvements like more seat pitch and less intrusive tray tables in standard rows.

FAs: The FAs were all very friendly and spoke english very well. They did their job efficiently and courteously.

IFE: Hardware was good, with very responsive touchscreen PTV, but a poorly-designed remote control. The choice of programming was decent, but the navigation could have been easier.

Catering: This is where the otherwise very good Y+ product starts to fall apart. The catering is lacking in quality and doesn't really feel like an upgrade from Y class. The food is too processed and don't taste very good. They also didn't have black tea, as claimed on the menu, which is a little dodgy. This was also a problem in J for my BKK-TPE flight.

SFO: The International Terminal was, as always, a pleasure. The space is open, well designed, and the art makes the atmosphere that much elevated. SkyPriority was great to have, I never experienced a line at any point.

TPE: I honestly wasn't too impressed with TPE. It took most of our connection to just clear the connection security lines (which had no priority lanes). The terminal was also difficult to navigate.\

Thanks for reading and see you next time! Also, be sure to drop me a line in the comments section and "like" this flight-report (You know you want to...)

Information on the route San Francisco (SFO) Taipei (TPE)

4 Comments

  • Comment 392602 by
    JW19 121 Comments

    CI is still a poorer choice to cross the pacific compared to EVA and the Japanese. JAL's Y already looks better than this seat and ANA's Y catering looks miles ahead of this. Among the worst TPAC Y+ I have seen from an Asian carrier.

    • Comment 394251 by
      MrMax AUTHOR 144 Comments

      The soft product isn't great on CI Y+ but the hard products better than it looks although I'd recommend the bulkhead seats. The major plus, however, is that you get J class on connecting flights that don't have Y+ . The $1600 I payed was good value for what I got.

  • Comment 393122 by
    kealchg 3 Comments

    What a nicely written flight report! How I wish to be given the amenity kit. I only flew in Y+ once...but it was sold as Y from ICN to TPE. Would love to have their amenity kit as I collect amenity kots from different airlines.

    • Comment 394250 by
      MrMax AUTHOR 144 Comments

      Hi kealchg!
      Thanks for your support! The amenity kit was definitely a nice gesture. I'd say that its like a slightly-nicer version of the amenity kit on TK in Y. The amenity kit on EK Y is my favorite though!

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