9 Thoughts On China Airlines’ New 777 Business Class

Hello, still from a China Airlines flight between Los Angeles and Taipei, which I booked pretty last minute. It’s almost time for breakfast, but before we land, I figured I’d share some more thoughts on the China Airlines product. A full trip report will follow, but I always like to reflect on the things I notice on the spot, as my feelings towards products can change over time.

Since these are spur of the moment thoughts, a lot of them are quite specific, because they’re the things which stick out most to me. I’ve written in the past about the business class amenities which matter most to me, for a bit of context on what I pick up on,

It’s especially interesting to compare my China Airlines flight to my flights on EVA Air in the past, given that both airlines are based in Taipei. While I’ve reviewed longhaul flights on EVA Air from Taipei to San Francisco and Taipei to Los Angeles, I’d note that they’ve improved their product even more since then.

With that in mind, here are some of the things which stick out to me about China Airlines’ new 777-300ER business class product:

China Airlines’ new 777-300ER cabins are gorgeous

I’ve been on this plane for nearly 14 hours now (we had a two hour ground delay in Los Angeles), and I really love the finishes China Airlines used. While there are lots of airlines with this general type of product, I think China Airlines’ finishes might just be my favorite.

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China Airlines business class cabin

The wifi is fantastic

China Airlines uses the same T-Mobile wifi interface which American, Etihad, and Lufthansa use on longhaul flights. The cost is just $21.95 for the entire flight with no data restrictions, and it has been consistently fast throughout the flight, faster than the Gogo I usually get on domestic flights within the US.

China-Airlines-Wifi

Taiwanese airlines master the champagne game

While lots of airlines serve great champagne in first class, it’s rarer to see exceptional champagne in business class. China Airlines’ primary competitor, EVA Air, has excelled in this regard for a long time. Over the past several years they’ve served Dom, Krug, and Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame in business class, all of which are the best you’ll find in business class on any airline.

As it turns out, China Airlines isn’t too far behind. They serve Pol Roger 2004. I think EVA Air and China Airlines win when it comes to their business class champagne game.

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China Airlines business class wine list

China Airlines has a better hard product than EVA Air

I love the new China Airlines cabins, and think the seats as such are much more aesthetically appealing than those offered by EVA Air. Both airlines feature variants of the reverse herringbone seat, so exclusively in terms of hard product I prefer China Airlines.

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China Airlines business class seat

EVA-Air-Business-Class
EVA Air business class seat

EVA Air has a better soft product than China Airlines

I think the food on China Airlines and EVA Air is roughly comparable, but it’s the other aspects of the product which are better on EVA Air. EVA Air offers Rimowa amenity kits and pajamas, while China Airlines just offers a rather random amenity kit and no pajamas.

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EVA Air amenity kit

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China Airlines amenity kit

My biggest menu pet peeve

I notice this on some airlines, and it drives me crazy, because it seems like something which could easily be fixed. Upon boarding I was presented with the menu and wine list. Five minutes later the flight attendant came back to take my order for supper and breakfast, and then collected the menu and wine list again.

The way I see it, the whole benefit of the menu and wine list is that I can reference it throughout the flight. That’s especially true for a wine list, as you might want different wines with different courses. However, I was prepared for this since I had heard that’s what China Airlines does, so I quickly snapped pictures of the menus. But I still find it annoying.

China-Airlines-Business-Class-Menu
China Airlines business class menu

China Airlines’ snack bar is cool

It’s not necessarily the most practical or extensive onboard snack bar, but it’s cool and interesting. They have a bunch of snacks in golden cups, ranging from dried mango to noodles. They’re situated in such a way that they can be dispensed by grabbing one, and then the next one just automatically drops down. I’ve never seen a system like that on a plane before.

They also have a ton of gourmet packaged snacks. Rather than the Kit-Kats and chips you’ll usually see on a plane, they have pineapple cake, incredible oolong tea white chocolate pastries, etc.

China-Airlines-Business-Class-Bar
China Airlines business class snack bar

China-Airlines-Business-Class-Snack-Bar
China Airlines business class snack bar

The service was so efficient

The crew wasn’t the warmest or most precise I’ve ever had, though they were friendly and diligent. What really stood out to me was how efficient they were. All of the service was done by tray (rather than by cart), and the meals were served at lightning speeds. The first meal was done an hour after takeoff, which is awesome.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind when the meal service is drawn out when an airline has incredible catering, like on Austrian or Turkish. But the reality is that on a vast majority of airlines, business class food is simply fine/edible, rather than an experience. When that’s the case, my preference is to be served as quickly as possible, and the flight attendants mastered that.

This is a FANTASTIC use of Delta SkyMiles

I really think China Airlines transpacific business class might be the all around best option for redeeming Delta SkyMiles to Asia. There are no fuel surcharges when redeeming SkyMiles on China Airlines, award availability is readily available, and the airline has great connectivity to other destinations in Asia.

Bottom line

I’m very impressed by China Airlines. They have possibly the most gorgeous business class cabin I’ve ever seen, and they checked almost all the boxes. They have a great hard product, industry-leading wifi, cappuccinos, and responsive flight attendants. That’s 95% of what makes a business class product great, in my book.

Stay tuned for the full trip report!

If you’ve flown China Airlines business class, what was your experience like?

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. Your experience mirrors mine TPE-SFO a couple months ago. I was very impressed with the quick dinner service on a late flight, including several top-ups of the Pol Roger. The IFE was also really good which was a surprise. I slept so well that I never even made it to the bar! CI has been the Delta secret for a while so hopefully availability doesn’t dry up now, but it just motivates me to book my next trip with them soon.

  2. What would they say to you if you asked to keep the menus for the duration of the flight? I guess they take it to use it again since I’ve seen many people just trashing the menus once they order their food.

  3. That’s the same amenity kit as premium economy, FWIW. It’s nice and has nice stuff I think.

    One thing that’s weird- did yours have socks? They used to at some point, but mine had disposable slippers, which is strange, because the FA’s also handed out disposable slippers.

    That said, great plane to fly having flown them long haul in PE and Business. Only real complaints were the lack of air vents, the slight language barrier, and the meh entertainment selection (more than mitigated by excellent WiFi.)

  4. Whenever the flight attendant has asked me for the menu, I’ve told them I’d like to keep it. They’ve never said no.

  5. That looks great. Is the snack bar completely self service or does somebody appear to assist you as soon as you get close to it?

    I completely don’t get the “fantastic food” reference to Turkish Airlines, though … unless one admits that on their African routes (not matter whether inbound or outbound from Istanbul or widebody or 737-900), their standard is different.

  6. The flight attendants are about to go on a strike. That’s probably why you didn’t feel the warmth. Ask them about the strike and maybe you can share a new article about that!

  7. If possible, try to get into the China Air FC lounge in TPE. Very, very impressive lounge. Doesn’t get much press but I consider it up there with the best. They did a great job w/ the finishes. The spicy beef noodle soup is good too

  8. Hi Ben,
    Is the availability on SkyMiles only from the gateway cities (LAX, SFO, JFK) or can I book from a Delta city (specifically Florida) and connect to a China Air flight? Thanks!

  9. @ Greg — Assuming you can find low level/saver award space to the gateway city, you can include it all on one award at the same cost.

  10. what are some good programs to redeem flights on CI other than Delta? Any of the Citi or Chase partners?

  11. The actual trying out of new CI biz class took quite a while before it was materialised, but glad it did n great review as well!

    Looking fwd to CI tpe lounge n onward asia connection.

  12. “what are some good programs to redeem flights on CI other than Delta? Any of the Citi or Chase partners?”

    For Chase I’d transfer to Korean (125K round trip/62.5K one-way).

    My wife and I just got back from Asia using CI to HK and Jal from NRT to DFW. I actually found the CI flight attendants to be more personable than Jal’s; Jal does edge CI in terms of food though. However, I do agree about CI’s cabin, it’s absolutely beautiful and the faux wood accents and lighting created an inviting and warm atmosphere…not cheesy at all like I thought might be the case.

  13. So, will there be photos of the wine list and menus (not just the cover)? You’d be surprised how many of us are interested in those. Or maybe you wouldn’t.

  14. Glad to see you finally made it on to CI! The new product on the 77W fleet and similar, though slightly different product, coming up on the A350 are such a huge improvement for CI, which I have been flying for nearly 20 years!
    Your experience is about right for CI and matches all my transpacific experiences, the flight attendants are often hit or miss as with any airline, but yea as someone mentioned the atmosphere with CI aint so hot as they prepare to go on strike.
    Unfortunately you will be disappointed with the hard product on your next leg to Singapore, the soft product will be fairly similar if not slightly lower than the transpacific routes.
    Did you ask for or were you offered turn down service? They offered to every passenger in Business when the 77W first started but due to some odd changes in regulations they now only have limited sets per flight and passengers need to ask or if you flight attendant is kind enough they may offer it directly to you.

  15. It looks great, but I sure wish they’d add some jammies–my favorite amenity after good champagne and a decent bed.

  16. “I’ve written in the past about the business class amenities which matter most to me, for a bit of context on what I pick up on,”

    I think that sentence needs some editing.

  17. Champagne on Australia/NZ and Asian flights is not as nice. It has been a while since I’ve flown China Airlines to Europe or USA but back then the champagne was the same as intra-Asia & Australia/NZ flights.

  18. CI used to let you keep menu, and on long-haul flight FAs used cart to serve main courses for the first meal. It all changes. Don’t know when they change the service procedure.

  19. Great you are reviewing this, thanks a lot! It all looks really nice. Some time back, China Airlines had a quite devestating safety record, but I think I heard that they have also improved their processes in this regard?

  20. The cabin crews of CHINA AIRLINE will go on strike after 4 hours later ( JUN 24th 0:00 TAIPEI TIME)

  21. Shhh, don’t spill the beans about this redemption with skymiles. Remember everyone, skypesos, skypesos. Don’t even think you could get a one stop flight from NYC, LAX or SFO to anywhere in Asia in lie flat business and excellent availability with skymiles. Nothing to see here, move along…

  22. I’ll just say though. China airlines ALWAYS nails their Chinese menu! You missed out lucky!

  23. While it’s true Martin that restaurants collect the menus after you order, when was the last time you sat in your restaurant seat for 12 to 14 hours and had 2 meals and a snack?

  24. Your report came at the perfect time for me. I’m booking a flight from Bali to LAX and wanted to know if I was safe to use China or Eva Air since I’m departing at a new time and my previous carriers aren’t available then. In the past, I’ve only used Singapore Air or Cathay Pacific to make the crossing, but I didn’t know how they compared to China or EVA. After reading your report, I’m looking forward the experience with the different carriers. Thank you for posting the details of your experience along with the pictures. From what you say and from your pictures, China Air does look nicer, but I’m going to split it up and fly the first part with Eva and the 2nd leg with China Air. Thanks again!

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