Introduction: Flying Halfway Around The World For Half A Day
Review: China Airlines Business Class 777-300ER Los Angeles To Taipei
Review: China Airlines Lounge Taipei
Review: China Airlines Business Class A330 Taipei To Singapore
Review: Singapore Changi Airport Transit Hotel
Review: British Airways Lounge Singapore
Review: SATS Premier Lounge Singapore
Review: Japan Airlines Business Class 767 Singapore To Tokyo
Review: Royal Park Hotel Tokyo Haneda Airport
Review: Japan Airlines First Class Lounge Tokyo Haneda
Review: Japan Airlines Business Class 777 Tokyo To San Francisco
I was originally supposed to have an almost three hour layover in Taipei, as my flight from Los Angeles was scheduled to arrive at 5AM, while the connection was supposed to depart at 7:50AM. However, due to the significant delay, we only arrived at 6:35AM, meaning my connection was a bit over an hour.
On the plus side, transit security was a breeze. There were a few different checkpoints that could be used, though my flight to Singapore was departing from the same concourse I arrived at, so I was the only person at that transit security checkpoint. About a minute after deplaning I was already through security and back in the sterile area.
While not in the same league as the airports in Hong Kong or Singapore, the terminal was still quite nice.
My flight to Singapore was departing from gate D4, and was scheduled to board at 7:10AM. So my plan was to just quickly visit the closest lounge to take some pictures and then head to the gate. Fortunately my arrival gate, the lounge, and my departure gate were all only a few steps apart.
I should note that China Airlines has three lounges at Taipei Taoyuan Airport.
I’ve heard that the one in Terminal 1 is gorgeous, though unfortunately I was departing from Terminal 2, so was using the lounge across from gate D4.
This particular lounge is open daily from 5:30AM until 11:30PM, and is also open to passengers on many other airlines, including some Star Alliance and oneworld airlines.
Upon presenting my boarding pass at the front desk I was directed down the stairs to the business class section of the lounge. Apparently there was also a lounge on the concourse-level, but I wasn’t eligible to use it (I guess it was a first class lounge, even though China Airlines doesn’t have many planes with first class anymore?).
The lounge itself was fairly modern, though also lacked natural light and lacked any sort of privacy. The entire lounge consisted of symmetrical seating areas along the center walkway, so there were no privacy partitions between any of the seats.
Near the stairs were some traditional lounge seats, both along the window and along the interior of the lounge.
This section continued for quite a while, and next to the stairs was a rack with some magazines and newspapers.
Past that was a business center, with three computers on each side of the lounge’s main walkway.
Past that was a room that seemed to be an intermediate area between the relaxation area and the dining area. That’s because it featured similar seats to the “lounging” area, but also had tables.
Then past that was the actual dining area.
The food & drink selection was okay — certainly nothing to get excited about, but not horrible either. There was a soda fountain with Coke products, an espresso machine, drip coffee, red and white wine, and some canned drinks.
In terms of snacks, there were finger sandwiches, cold cuts, croissants, cookies, muffins, etc.
There were several types of dim sum.
Then there were some hot dishes, which didn’t look especially appetizing.
Lastly, there was a noodle station. Prior to my visit a lot of people raved about the beef noodles, though I wasn’t hungry, so didn’t have a chance to try them. But if I were to eat anything in the lounge, that would be it.
I spent a few minutes in the lounge catching up on email, and then at 7:05AM figured I’d head to my departure gate, give that boarding was scheduled to commence in five minutes.
The gate was just a very short walk from the lounge.
Gates are located one level down from the main concourse, so I took the stairs down a level.
As I walked down the stairs, I saw the 777 I just arrived on from Los Angeles.
I also saw the A330 that would be taking me to Singapore.
I did a double take when I got to the gate area, as there were five people seated there.
I figured I must be at the wrong gate or had the departure time wrong, since the flight was sold out in economy, so I assumed it was full. I went up to the gate agent.
“This is the flight to Singapore, yes?”
“And it’s on-time?”
That one confused me…
As is the norm anywhere other than Japan, the boarding time doesn’t mean a whole lot, since it’s not unusual for boarding to be delayed by 20-30 minutes.
The gate area stayed empty for about 10 minutes, and then at around 7:30AM people arrived at the gate in droves. I don’t recall ever seeing so many people approach a gate area at once… perhaps there was a large tour group, or something.
Finally at 7:40AM — 10 minutes before scheduled departure time — it was announced that the flight would be delayed by an hour due to a “technical fault with the aircraft.” It’s a bit disappointing that they waited so long to announce that.
The varying responses of passengers was amusing. There was a Singaporean family near me, and the young boy said “mummy, we should have flown Singapore Airlines. They have the new A350. This would never happen on Singapore Airlines.” Hah.
Finally at 8:10AM boarding was announced, starting with business class.
China Airlines Lounge Taipei bottom line
Aside from the delay, this was a very easy transit. There was no queue at security, and my arrival and departure gate were near one another. The China Airlines lounge itself was fine. On one hand it was dark and felt more like an afterthought, though at the same time at least the furnishings were fairly modern and fresh.
I’d be curious to check out China Airlines’ main lounge at Taipei Airport next time, as I’ve heard it’s much nicer.
Have you visited one of the China Airlines Lounges at Taipei Airport?