Review: China Airlines Lounge Taipei

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.

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Taipei Airport terminal

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.

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Taipei Airport terminal

I should note that China Airlines has three lounges at Taipei Taoyuan Airport.

China-Airlines-Lounges

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.

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport exterior

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport signage

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.

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport signage

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?).

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport stairs

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.

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport stairs

Near the stairs were some traditional lounge seats, both along the window and along the interior of the lounge.

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport seating

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport seating

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport seating

This section continued for quite a while, and next to the stairs was a rack with some magazines and newspapers.

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport seating

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport seating

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport magazines & newspapers

Past that was a business center, with three computers on each side of the lounge’s main walkway.

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport business center

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.

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport seating

Then past that was the actual dining area.

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport dining area

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport 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.

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport soda fountain

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport coffee selection

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport soft drinks & juice

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport wine

In terms of snacks, there were finger sandwiches, cold cuts, croissants, cookies, muffins, etc.

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport buffet

There were several types of dim sum.

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport buffet

Then there were some hot dishes, which didn’t look especially appetizing.

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport buffet

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport buffet

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.

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport noodle bar

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China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport noodle bar menu

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.

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Taipei Airport terminal

The gate was just a very short walk from the lounge.

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Taipei Airport departure gate to Singapore

Gates are located one level down from the main concourse, so I took the stairs down a level.

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Taipei Airport gate D4

As I walked down the stairs, I saw the 777 I just arrived on from Los Angeles.

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China Airlines 777 Taipei Airport

I also saw the A330 that would be taking me to Singapore.

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China Airlines A330 Taipei Airport

I did a double take when I got to the gate area, as there were five people seated there.

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China Airlines empty departure gate

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?”
“Yes.”
“And it’s on-time?”
“Yes.”

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.

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China Airlines full departure gate

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.

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China Airlines Sky Priority boarding Taipei Airport

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?

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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. The First Class part of the lounge is also used by China Airlines Emerald and Paragon members.

  2. The main lounge at TPE is much nicer, though is seemingly less well-known. It also tends to be more on-par with F lounges as there’s an actual menu and dining options like you’d experience at the Concorde Room, for example. The interior is also much more chic. Service is incredibly attentive and food/drink are presented very well. It’s definitely a place where you’d want to spend some time before a flight and actually make a point to arrive early.

    Keep in mind there are actually 3 lounges – you visited the older, yet-to-be-renovated lounge. The main lounge is reviewed below, as is the lounge reserved for Dynasty Flyer and Sky Team elites. The lounge you visited and that reserved for the top tier elites are nothing to write home about. You definitely missed out.

    See this: https://thedesignair.net/2014/11/19/china-airlines-new-lounge-strengthens-new-designer-airline-status/

    And this: https://thedesignair.net/2015/09/16/trip-report-china-airlines-777-300er-premium-business-class-september-2015/

  3. I compared the beef noodle soup at the lounges of China Airlines, Eva Air, and Cathay Pacific in TPE. I would rated them as 1) Cathay, 2) China Airlines, 3) Eva Air. I actually feel Cathay has the best business class lounge at TPE. It’s new, huge, and never crowded. They give you the buzzer when your noodle is ready, which makes it a bit better prepared than China Airline’s noodle bar. The chair for lounging is extremely comfortable.

  4. Could the first class section also be used for other airlines that use the CI lounge and have first class (SQ,KE, etc., though not sure if they have first class to/from m TPE)?

  5. I’m not sure if other passengers flying Skyteam first class flights can use it. When the CX lounge was undergoing renovation I was given access to the CI business class lounge while flying CX F. I tried to get into the F section of the lounge but was chased down by an attendant. I wasn’t impressed by what I saw. The F section was small and the buffet selection was way smaller than the business section. I can’t comment on the a la carte dining but I’m guessing it’s not something special. I think overall CI lounge is good, but not out of this world. The buffet section is a little bit better than CX but CX has a better noodle bar.

  6. What kind of travel blogger does not walk 15 minutes (to T1) to check out the new nice CI lounge?

  7. I was just in the T1 China airlines lounge a couple weeks ago cause I was flying Emrities business class. The lounge is gorgeous. Lots of seating and some long tables in the back. I arrived at 9pm and was starving so I was looking forward to the food. Very unimpressed. I ended up eating just a little.

  8. What kind of travel gourmet blogger stopped at CI’s noodle bar and skipped their beef noodle?

  9. The lounge you did not visit is the better of the two ( the third is only accessible to CI status members). The one you didn’t visit has a far superior selection of food, is less crowded, better bathrooms/showers. No natural light but a much more pleasant than the dungeon covered in this review.

  10. Interesting review especially a part “I don’t recall ever seeing so many people approach a gate area at once… perhaps there was a large tour group, or something.” Can you write an article on observations how you see people travel from different parts of the world. It seems in a lot of Asian cultures they bring everyone in their family.

  11. I’m surprised to see Cargolux listed for lounge access. Even if it’s for crews, wouldn’t their flights leave from the freighter terminal?

  12. @lucky
    The sign you pictured says “Handling for” and the list of airlines there is the list of airlines that CI does ground handling for at TPE. They absolutely do not all use the CI lounge. Most of Star uses the EVA Lounge except for Air China who uses the CI lounge and SQ who has their own lounge. I’m not sure who MH/PR uses and Cargolux obviously has no passengers.

  13. The CX lounge at TPE was really nice…huge too (probably their second biggest station after HKG, so makes sense). Noodle bar was excellent too. In truth, Cathay is very good at making sure outstation lounges are nice for the most part. Would be interesting to compare noodle offerings with CI (and BR too).

  14. There’s a new plaza premium lounge in the airport that just opened a month ago…it actually has much better food than what Eva and China airline have offered…I know it’s surprising but it’s true at least when we visited couple of weeks ago when not many people knew about it..and their beef noodle soup..much better than China airline surprisingly. If anyone stop by Taipei…try this lounge and you won’t regret.

  15. Two other lounges you did not visit are one in T2 4th floor near immigration for top elite and new lounge in T1. I like the elite lounge better, followed by the one you visit in D4 due to better food and lighting design. However, I actually used T1 lounge the most due to my flight mostly out of T1 and I Can tell everyone this is not a very good one if you use often. You will have a good first impression but once you use it on weekly basis you will find out nothing here were designed for passengers. Just purely for design.

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