Over the recent national holiday, coupled with 2 days of vacation leave, I flew up to Japan again, this time to the resort island of Okinawa. Flights were booked on China Airlines, which currently offers the fastest and cheapest routing from Singapore (via Taipei), though Jetstar will be launching non-stop flights from Singapore from November. This was also my first ever flight on this Skyteam carrier.
China Airlines, with 3 flights a day from SIN (2x daily to Taipei, daily to Surabaya), departs from Terminal 3. Check-in at Row 11, which is the last row of the terminal. Expecting a full flight, there was however hardly any queues.
Proper coloured boarding passes issued, including the continuation to Naha, Okinawa.
Straight through immigration. The morning peak has passed and thus the terminal was not too crowded. SQ A380 at the gate, with a Jet Airways A330 arriving shortly.
Our aircraft arrived on scheduled from Surabaya. The aircraft had operated TPE-SIN-SUB the day before, night-stopped in SUB and operating today's SUB-SIN-TPE sector.
Gate A13 for our flight.
CI's oldest, but still very well-maintained, A330-300 aircraft would be operating the flight.
A very packed boarding gate signalling a full flight. Quite a number of passengers were transiting from Surabaya. Boarding started soon and priorities/boarding groups were enforced.
09 August 2017 China Airlines CI 752 Singapore (SIN) - Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) A330-300 B-18301 Economy Class Flight Time: 4H22M
Boarding the aircraft. A newspaper cart was available at the door.
Welcomed by the crew and directed to the correct aisle. A pillow and blanket was placed on each seat.
As most of CI's A330s are still equipped with the older generation of seats, it felt like stepping back into the 90s when boarding the aircraft. However, the cabin and seats were still very clean and well-maintained. Definitely did not felt like a 13+ years old aircraft.
View out the window. It was a drizzly morning.
Legroom was sufficient. PTVs were the tiny (by today's standards) 6.5" screen, with no USB nor power sockets. There is a mirror compartment and a coat hanger on the left of the screen, and a small compartment with a set of earphones on the right. The screen was playing some ads of Taiwan sights.
Pillow, blanket and the IFE handset at theside of the armrest.
Earsets, which are quite similar as those handed out on SQ, but in a nicer packaging.
A chunk of inflight magazine, IFE guide, inflight shopping and home-delivery shopping guides, and safety card.
Still waiting for boarding to be completed.
After boarding was completed and doors were closed, safety video was played. The screen quality was definitely not that good, though it was better later on in the interactive mode.
Taxi to the runway. Cool, even with the aged IFE system, there is still a nose-camera view!
Departure from Rwy20C.
More than 4hrs to go.
Decided to watch a more entertaining movie.
The weather was good above the clouds.
Visit to the lavatory, which is also stocked with a moisturiser and a antibacterial solution apart from the necessary.
View of the forward cabin. Also to add, a variety of English and Taiwanese magazines were also available at the magazine racks throughout the aircraft cabin. Nice to see some airlines still offering such frills in economy class.
Lunch service soon started. Service by the crew was friendly and warm, akin to the familar taiwanese hospitality. All the more, kudos to the crew for maintaining the smiles as they had also operated the previous ungodly 6am departure Surabaya-Singapore sector.
Lunch tray, with an option of Beef with noodles or Chicken with rice. There were a warm roll with butter, starter, fruits and dessert on the tray as well. Not many airlines offer fruits together with both starter and dessert, so kudos here to CI again. A full beverage selection was also offered but I just went with an apple juice. Chose the beef noodles for my main
Starter was a cucumber salad with chicken. Fruits were fresh and sweet and dessert was a light berry mousse cake.
The main course was a delicious malay-styled fried noodles (mee goreng) with beef in satay sauce, vegetables and half an egg. It was a very tasty dish!
The other choice was Chicken in oyster sauce with rice and vegetables. Very similar to one of the usual boring oriental choices served on SQ, and tasted 'boring' as well.
After meals were distributed, crew came down the aisle offering coffee or Oolong tea. I ended the satisfying meal with an Oolong.
After I was done with the first movie, we were nearing the Philippines, with slightly more than 2hrs to go.
Requested and got some playing cards from the crew. Better collect them before they become the victoms of cost-cutting in the future!
After some channel surfing, decided to watch a chinese movie.
Just prior to descend, the crew came roud to distribute a packet of mixed rice crackers and cups of water. The crackers are really nice!
Above Taichung during the descend into TPE.
Descending into Taipei Taoyuan.
It was very windy during the approach but the pilot still managed to make a very smooth landing on Rwy23R.
Taxi to our gate at Terminal 1.
Disembarking and passing the Business Class cabin with the old regional seats.
View of our A330.
As we had a 2hrs layover during the transit, we proceeded to the Plaza Premium Lounge at Terminal 2, where the next flight would be departing from. Plaza Premium has 2 lounges each in T1 and T2.
The lounge has a large dining area and a separate quiet seating area.
Food and beverages were available from the buffet selection as well as cooked-to-order dishes.
Nearing boarding time, we proceeded to the Taiwanese Snacks themed gate.
However the flight was slightly delayed due o the late arrival of the aircraft.
Sneak preview of my ride to Okinawa!
Singapore - SIN
Taipei - TPE
It was a commendable first experience on China Airlines. Being a full-service carrier, it still offers the full works in economy class. Even though the IFE system is quited dated, it still offers the full AVOD selection and is more than sufficient for the flight. Understand the the newer B773ERs and A350s have much better seats and IFE system. Crew were friendly, professional and responsive, and catering was good. A very good flight onboard China Airlines.
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