Redeem Miles For China Airlines New 777-300ER Business Class

China Airlines is the “national” airline of Taiwan, and is a member of SkyTeam. Like most SkyTeam airlines, they’re a third second rate carrier, so chances are you haven’t gone out of your way to fly on them.

While I’ve never flown them, their website does provide me with quite a bit of entertainment. From their discounted “BUSINESE CLASS” fares…

China-Airlines-Website

To the “whole level of comfort” they offer aboard…

China-Airlines-Comfort

To the fact that their “cabin guide” talks almost exclusively about how damn safe their planes are

China-Airlines-Safety

What’s not to love? šŸ˜‰

In comparison, Taiwan’s other major airline, EVA Air, joined the Star Alliance last June and offers a really solid business class product on their longhaul fleet.

EVA_Air_Royal_Laurel03
EVA Air Royal Laurel business class

I’ve flown them several times now:

I mean, they even offer Hello Kitty service. How on earth can China Airlines compete (short of maybe offering One Direction service)?

EVA_Air_Hello_Kitty_Taipei33
Taipei Airport Hello Kitty gate

Anyway, China Airlines has been trying to improve their image and product lately, especially in comparison to EVA Air, and as part of that is renewing their longhaul fleet.

China Airlines introducing new 777-300ER business class

As part of their fleet renewal, China Airlines will be taking delivery of their first 777-300ER aircraft this year, which will feature a new business class product with reverse herringbone seats. The cabin will be in a 1-2-1 configuration, featuring a total of 40 business class seats.

Reverse herringbone seats are the best business class hard product in the industry as far as I’m concerned, and the same product EVA Air offers throughout their 777-300ER fleet. Delta also has reverse herringbone seats on their A330s and 747s, meaning China Airlines will have among the best business class hard product in SkyTeam.

China-Airlines-777-Business-Class
China Airlines 777-300ER business class picture courtesy of talkairlines

China Airlines flying 777-300ER to New York and Los Angeles

As of December 1, 2014, China Airlines will be operating twice daily 777-300ER service between Taipei and Los Angeles, as follows:

CI6 Taipei to Los Angeles departing 5:10PM arriving 12:45PM
CI8 Taipei to Los Angeles departing 11:50PM arriving 7:25PM

CI5 Los Angeles to Taipei departing 2:30PM arriving 9:10PM (+1 day)
CI7 Los Angeles to Taipei departing 11:25PM arriving 5:50AM (+2 days)

Then as of February 2, 2015, China Airlines will be operating 777-300ER service between Taipei and New York, as follows:

CI12 Taipei to New York departing 5:05PM arriving 6:50PM
CI11 New York to Taipei departing 12:55AM arriving 6:00AM (+1 day)

China Airlines has blackout dates for award redemptions

If you want to redeem miles for travel on China Airlines — in particular Delta SkyMiles — keep in mind that China Airlines does have blackout dates for award tickets.

Per this FlyerTalk thread, here are the 2014 blackout dates for award redemptions on China Airlines:

  • December 10, 2013, through January 4, 2014
  • January 24, 2014, through February 3, 2014
  • June 1, 2014, through August 31, 2014
  • December 10, 2014, through December 31, 2014

Searching China Airlines award space

The major challenge with China Airlines award space is that it’s not easy to search online. Sometimes it shows up on Air France’s FlyingBlue website, while other times it doesn’t. And Delta’s website and ExpertFlyer don’t show the space.

So if you’re trying to redeem Delta SkyMiles for travel on China Airlines, you might just be best off calling SkyMiles and having them search, as painful as that sounds.

It’s also worth noting that there are fuel surcharges for award redemptions on China Airlines, so that’s something to be aware of.

Bottom line

This isn’t industry changing, but it is worth knowing, in my opinion. Previously China Airlines wasn’t a carrier I’d even consider redeeming miles on, while now they actually have one of the best transpacific business class hard products, if nothing else.

(Tip of the hat to my friend, colleague, and general superstar, Mac)

Comments

  1. The product is worth trying. Heard bad things about their safety record but the 777-300ER will revolutionise that (seriously, A340s are kinda problematic in terms of safety nowadays).

  2. People avoid china airline because of their horrible safety records. Doubt the new airplane could make a difference.

  3. I flew China Airlines last year in J from CKG to LAX (via TPE). Both flights were decent, but not great. I would say they are pretty comparable to Air China or China Eastern. As is typical, none of the Chinese airlines hold a candle to CX or SQ. The lounge in TPE was nicer than US lounges (not saying much) but nothing compared to The Wing or the SQ lounge in Changi. This looks to be a big hard product upgrade, so paired with decent service it might not be a bad option for a cheap paid business fare.

  4. How much is a typical fuel surcharge in business on the Taipei to NYC, or if unavailable, the Taipei to LAX routes?

  5. These reverse herringbones aren’t actually the Zodiac seats that EVA/Delta et al use. They’re the BE Aerospace seats you find on Air Canada and Qatar. Don’t know how you compare those two versions.

  6. CI biz class award is pretty decent. I almost always get the date excluding blackout that I want from LAX. The fuel surcharge for using Skypesos is $150-200. Their soft product isn’t too bad. The lounge in TPE is subpar comparing to EVA. It’s a decent airline to fly to Asia with Skypesos.

  7. Is that $150-$200 each way or round trip? Also, is that in business (I’ve noticed it varies by class of service for European flights)?

  8. I know you like reverse herringbone business class seats but can you really say that they are better than say TGs A380 J or SQs J? No way.

  9. @bgiagg – Agreed on Taiwanese perception of China Air. I’m sure things are better now, but was always directed by family members to avoid China Air. Assumption is that prior CA pilots were all old-timer ex-military pilots.

  10. My favorite China Air flight was in 1985 flying HKG-TPE (yes the old Kai Tak) on, I believe, a MD-10. My family was on summer vacation and having already visited Bangkok and Hong Kong we were on our way to Tokyo before returning to New York. It was an odd routing as we were only connecting in TPE to the Pan Am 747 flight to Tokyo.

    My parents had met us late in BKK so had a different routing flying on the nonsto. Pan Am flight HKG-NRT while I was with my sisters on the Air China flight. We were in first class and even though it was a morning departure I thought I would be sophisticated and order a local beer. The kind stewardess brought me some local Taiwan beer. One sip was enough of that and I asked if I could have an imported beer instead. I had to laugh when I was brought an iced cold can of Schlitz to enjoy.

    We landed in TPE a bit late making our connection tight. We were met at the aircraft door by a Pan Am rep and had to dash all the way to the other side of the airport where they were holding the door for us to the already completely boarded and full 747. I remember the icy glares as we 3 kids walked onboard and forward to first.

  11. @Hong Kong Airline News:
    “seriously, A340s are kinda problematic in terms of safety nowadays”

    Would appreciate if there’s proof.

  12. @ David — Mac told me it was about $400 each way, which is higher than the fuel surcharge they’re charging on a revenue ticket, which is more like ~$150 each way.

  13. @ Eugene — Personally I think the Singapore business class bulkhead seat is possible the best business class seat in the industry. But I do find the other seats to be a bit tight around the feet.

  14. The food is a lot better than EVA, that’s for sure. Service is also generally warmer. Plus, who doesn’t love a flower on the tailfin?

  15. Wait a second…Delta has reverse herringbones on their A330s? Are you sure? I thought it was only on their 747s and their triple 7s. (If so, that’s awesome by the way, because I’m on an A330 from ATL-FCO in August!)

  16. @ ATLJason — Their 777s have herringbone seats, not reverse herringbone seats. They’re in the process of reconfiguring their A330s with reverse herringbone seats, and I think they’re almost done with the process.

  17. So… will CI have good J seats before LH switches over? šŸ˜›

    Anyhow, since EVA is coming to Houston in 2015, that’ll probably be what I’d use to get to TPE. Doubt we’ll get a Hello Kitty plane though, lol.

  18. Ha, I was so sure you were wrong about the A330 that I actually spent some time to look it up. My apologies for doubting you sir. šŸ™‚

    From an April 17, 2013 Delta press release:

    “Delta already offers more flat-bed seats with direct-aisle access than any other U.S. carrier. The new A330 BusinessElite seats, manufactured by Zodiac Aerospace, are approximately 78 inches in length and 20 inches wide. The seats will be arranged in an angled reverse herringbone layout, similar to the flat-bed seats currently offered on Delta’s 777 and 747-400 fleets. Window seats will face outward, while center seats are angled toward each other. There are no middle or rear-facing seats.”

  19. i would NEVER fly china airlines even if they gave me a free flight.. their safety record is horrendous. i remember growing up in tw there was like a 10 year stretch where china airlines was ranked the most dangerous airline (in terms of fatalities vs passengers flown or something like that) thus i’ve vowed to never set foot on a china airline plane ever.

    as crappy as the UA service has been to tpe over the years at least i trust it to land in one piece.

    fellow taiwanese feel free to chime in here. i for one would never let my family fly china.

  20. That CI JFK-TPE flight from this month switches from a stop in Osaka (NYC’s only KIX nonstop) to a stop in Anchorage heading to Taipei but is nonstop on the return. Anchorage at 12:50-2:20 am local time is not ideal. My wife will report on it during Thanksgiving!

  21. How many Skymiles would it take to book an award ticket in business? I did Google it for awhile but couldn’t find an answer.

  22. I actually have their top tier status on CI (paragon) and I have to say, their service is eons above EVA and any US based airline.
    Their fares are very reasonable and allow for changes, usually without too crazy of penalties, unlike their competition.
    When I was global services with United, I was still appalled by the service I received overall (upgrades not clearing internationally, incompetent ground staff, gruff flight attendents, crappy united lounge, etc).
    And I fly to China and Taiwan generally every two to three weeks from LA, so great service is key.

    While CI’s safety record is abysmal compared to EVA, keep in mind CI is a much older airline than EVA.
    I would rather fly CI than EVA any day, just due to better service in all aspects.

  23. Just flew China Airlines from JFK – TPE, it’s an amazing product. Service was much better than CX surprisingly and bit better than EVA. The crew was exceptionally nice while the pursuer kept checking on us at all times. Lucky, you should def try them. Even tried them in coach from TPE – PVG and the route had equally good service with very good catering. Surprise flight of the year for me.

  24. I can fly business class from BKK to LAX in mid May. My options are China Airlines, Eva or JAL. I’m having a tough time deciding. Any advice?

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