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
China Airlines 753
Taipei (TPE) – Singapore (SIN)
Thursday, June 23
Aircraft: Airbus A330
Seat: 4K (Business Class)
I boarded through door L1, where I was greeted by the cabin manager, Amy, and pointed towards the far aisle.
China Airlines’ A330 business class cabin consists of a total of 30 seats, spread across five rows in a 2-2-2 configuration.
The seats are angled flat, and similar to Singapore Airlines’ regional business class product. The catch is that China Airlines actually uses these planes on some longhaul flights.
In general if you’re traveling alone you may be best off going with one of the seats in the center, so you don’t have anyone climbing over you.
However, I had assigned myself seat 4K, the window seat in the fourth row. While the product as such wouldn’t be the most comfortable for a longhaul flight, the seats felt “fresh” and were well maintained.
In the seatback in front of me was a personal television as well as a magazine rack and water bottle holder.
The legroom was generous in the upright position, but when reclined it was definitely a tight fit for my feet, as the seat “slides” pretty low.
The center console was fairly large, and had two cupholders of sorts.
Beneath the center armrest was an exposed storage area where you could place a pair of glasses, wallet, phone, etc. Otherwise the seat really lacked storage.
On the right side of my seat was the entertainment controller.
The seat controls were easy to use, though I felt like the diagram of the bed in the flat position was giving the seat a bit too much credit. 😉
Under the center console was a 110v outlet and USB outlet.
Also waiting at my seat was a pillow and blanket. For a fairly short daytime flight they were perfect.
Within a minute of settling in, one of the super friendly flight attendants came by to welcome me aboard and offer me either water or orange juice. While she was clearly reading my name off a list and butchered it, I was impressed by the effort.
While I thought the crew on the previous flight was well intentioned and efficient, this crew was exceptional. They were charming, friendly, and attentive.
I selected a glass of water as my pre-departure beverage, and it was once again accompanied by a snack consisting of rice crackers and nuts.
Moments later I was offered a hot towel, as well as slippers.
As boarding continued I mostly gazed out the window. The China Airlines 777 at the gate next to us pushed back, and a Delta 767 took its place.
As boarding finished up, the cabin manager came around to each passenger to welcome them aboard and inform them that the flight time would be around four hours. She had the manifest in her hand, and proactively asked how my flight from Los Angeles was, which I always find to be a nice touch that shows a great attention to detail.
While boarding was complete within 20 minutes, we were at the gate for another 30 minutes without further updates from the pilots. For that matter, the pilots didn’t make any announcements the entire flight.
Finally at 8:50AM the main cabin door closed, with 25 of the 30 business class seats occupied (fortunately the seat next to me was one of the unoccupied seats).
At 9AM we began our pushback, at which point the safety video began to play.
As we taxied to the departure runway, I got to see just about every plane in the China Airlines fleet, including the A330…
The traffic at the airport was interesting as usual, with a mix of China Airlines, EVA Air, and a bunch of foreign carriers.
Eventually we taxied by the cargo terminal, where several 747s were lined up. I think China Airlines has a gorgeous livery, especially with the flower on the tail.
As we approached the runway, a bit of a commotion erupted at the seat behind me, as the passenger got into a dispute with the flight attendants. I didn’t think much of it until a second flight attendant showed up… and then a third flight attendant.
Finally the cabin manager showed up to tell the other flight attendants they needed to be seated for takeoff, but then she got dragged into the situation as well.
If I was understanding the situation correctly, the lady seated behind me didn’t want to put her bag in the overhead bin for takeoff because it was expensive.
She’d alternate between speaking Mandarin and English, and one of the things she said in English was “now you just leave me alone or I will hit you.” The flight attendants did a great job diffusing the situation, and eventually she gave in. She was civilized for the rest of the flight.
At 9:20AM we made it to runway 23R, where we were cleared for takeoff after an Airbus landed.
Our takeoff roll was pretty quick, and climb out was smooth.
I looked out the window during the climb out, though departures out of Taoyuan Airport aren’t exactly the most scenic in the world.
The seatbelt sign was turned off about 10 minutes after takeoff.
A few minutes later the flight attendants distributed the menus and wine list for the flight. As was the case on the last flight, they distributed them and then collected them again a few minutes later, after they took meal orders.
The menu read as follows:
And the beverage list read as follows:
I guess I didn’t read the menu closely enough, because my initial assumption was that brunch would be served after takeoff. On a vast majority of flights, the main meal is served after takeoff, so I assumed that was the case here. Instead on this flight a snack was served after takeoff, and then brunch was served about halfway through the flight.
The snack consisted of a savory turnip pastry, which was delicious. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I had a glass of sauvignon blanc to accompany it. For some reason I was thinking the entire brunch was going to be served at the beginning of the flight, and coffee didn’t seem like a very good fit with the beef I was going to order.
But instead my tray was cleared after the snack was served, though the crew did a good job keeping my drink topped off.
After the snack I browsed the entertainment selection, which was very similar to the selection on my previous flight.
I checked out the airshow, which was the same interface many airlines have, where you can choose your view.
The entertainment selection was decent. I certainly could have found something to entertain myself with, though I’m not really big into movies. It’s worth noting that China Airlines’ A330s don’t have wifi, unlike their 777s.
I was tired at this point, so decided to try and nap for a bit. I’m not sure if I actually got any sleep, but rather it was more just closing my eyes and relaxing a bit.
Thank goodness many airlines have flat beds nowadays, as I really don’t get why angled seats were ever a thing. Maybe it’s just me, but I find a recliner seat to be much more comfortable than an angled seat, even though the former is technically considered a worse product. This seat seemed to have an especially steep angle, so was particularly uncomfortable.
At 11AM the crew began the brunch service, which was 1hr40min after takeoff. I suspect that’s the service protocol the company dictates, but I really think that’s silly. A vast majority of passengers on this flight seemed to be connecting off a longhaul flight and just wanted to sleep. So serving a snack after takeoff and then the meal an hour later really draws things out, and means there’s no time to get any real rest.
Anyway, the meal service began with hot towels being distributed, and also tablecloths being placed on the tray tables. I had ordered the beef goulash as my main.
The beef was surprisingly delicious. It was tender and the sauce was great, though it sure didn’t seem like “tomato sauce” to me, as described on the menu.
The smoked trout was good for what it was, though trout isn’t my favorite kind of fish.
I was also offered a selection from the breadbasket.
Once plates were cleared, the crew came around with dessert.
I selected the milk tea mousse cake, which was exceptional. I was also proactively served some fruit.
The crew asked if I wanted ice cream as well. Sure, might as well grab a picture of it. 😉
The meal service was done within an hour, and as I said above, the crew on this flight was really great. They had genuine smiles and were attentive.
The A330 had two lavatories behind business class, where were quite basic.
The only amenities worth noting are the ACCA KAPPA toiletries.
I dozed off for a bit more after lunch, and before I knew it we were beginning our descent into Singapore. There were no announcements from the pilots, so I was just going off of what I felt, and what the airshow said.
I freshened up in the lavatory as we approached, and then the seatbelt sign was turned on about 20 minutes before landing.
The views on approach were interesting as usual, especially as you see just how many ships there are in the area.
We had a smooth touchdown on runway 20R in Singapore at 1:20PM, and from there about a five minute taxi to our arrival gate.
China Airlines uses Terminal 3 at Changi Airport, so we taxied by many Singapore Airlines planes, including a 777 and A380.
We pulled into a far gate at the terminal, right next to a Garuda Indonesia 737.
We arrived at the gate about an hour behind schedule, and I bid the excellent crew farewell, ready for a nap at the transit hotel.
China Airlines A330 business class bottom line
Ultimately I don’t love the hard product China Airlines has on their A330s. While it’s rather modern in the sense that it’s in good condition, I find angled seats to be uncomfortable. Of course this isn’t a big deal for a four hour flight, but on a longhaul flight I’d avoid this plane.
On this sector the crew was fantastic. They were friendly and attentive, so kudos to them.
However, I do think China Airlines should modify the way they do meal service on this flight, so it’s not such a drawn out affair. That would allow people to rest more, especially since many people on this flight seemed to be coming off longhaul flights.
Not that it’s really relevant, but China Airlines flight attendants went on strike for the first time in history the following day, so I guess I took this trip at exactly the right time.
If you’ve flown China Airlines A330 business class, what was your experience like?