After heading to Taipei from Tokyo, I had the chance to fly China Airlines A350 business class from Taipei to Vancouver.
As a well-regarded international airline, China Airlines has long been on my list of business class products to try, especially since I’ve had so many good experiences in the past with fellow Taipei-based airline EVA Air.
In This Post
- Ground Experience
- Meal Service
- Second Meal Service
China Airlines A350 Business Class – Booking
Fortunately, the airline frequently releases award seats to these partner programs, and this is exactly how I booked my flight.
A one-way flight from Taipei to Vancouver cost me 84,000 Air France KLM Flying Blue miles, plus around $110 (CAD) in taxes and fees.
Fortunately, Flying Blue miles are quite easy to come across in North America, as the program is a transfer partner with American Express Membership Rewards in Canada, as well as American Express US Membership Rewards, Capital One Miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Rewards in the US.
Furthermore, you can also earn Flying Blue miles directly on the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard in Canada, or the Bank of America Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard in the US.
Award availability also tends to be fairly consistent, including multiple seats. Since transpacific award seats in business class are relatively difficult to come across these days, be sure to keep China Airlines in mind as a very suitable alternative.
China Airlines A350 Business Class – Ground Experience
Prior to my flight, I had the pleasure of spending some time in the China Airlines Business Class Lounge Taipei (Terminal 2).
The ground experience here is very competitive, both in terms of the lounge’s design, as well as the food on offer.
During my visit, I was particularly impressed by the calligraphy décor that graced the lounge’s walls.
In terms of food, the highlight is undoubtedly the made-to-order noodle station. I helped myself to a delicious bowl of Taiwanese-style braised beef noodle soup, which was delightful.
If you’re on an outbound flight from Taipei with China Airlines, be sure to pay the lounge a visit, as you’re certainly in for a treat.
China Airlines A350 Business Class – Cabin
China Airlines recently introduced the Airbus A350-900 to its fleet. This is indeed a noteworthy addition, as it has become the airline’s most technologically advanced jetliner with an extra-wide cabin.
There are 32 reverse herringbone seats spread across eight rows in a 1-2-1 configuration onboard China Airlines A350 business class.
As I stepped into the business class cabin, I took the opportunity to take in my surroundings.
The rich blend of metallic-grey, gold, and cream sets a luxurious tone for the interior. This, coupled with the choice of elegant fabrics and standout lighting, enhances the overall aesthetic.
Furthermore, the lack of overhead bins in the centre enhances the feeling of spaciousness of the cabin.
For those travelling solo, the window seats are an excellent choice for maximum privacy. However, if you’re journeying with a companion, the middle seats are ideal for conversing and enjoying each other’s company.
On this particular journey, I found myself in Seat 17A. It’s a window seat on the left side, located towards the back of the plane, which offers a great perspective of the entire cabin.
China Airlines A350 Business Class – Seat
After spending a few moments observing the cabin, I made my way back to the back and found my seat. I was met with a tranquil shade of pink mood lighting as soon as I boarded.
This business class cabin features Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seats, with embellished wood-like accents that contribute to the cabin’s posh design.
Immediately in front of me was the 18-inch, highly responsive entertainment screen, which can either be controlled by touch or by the entertainment controller.
Beneath the entertainment screen lies a robust tray table with a wood veneer finish. By using the latch below, you can pull the table toward you, then unfold it to its full size.
The tray’s exterior boasts a metallic sheen, which when folded out, reveals a patterned surface.
Directly beneath the seat is a snug footwell, a typical feature for seats with a reverse herringbone layout, but it doesn’t impose any significant limitations.
To the left is the seat console, which has a modest amount of surface space and a series of storage compartments.
The centre of the console opens up to reveal a deep storage space with a power outlet, USB-A port, and the in-flight entertainment remote, which can be withdrawn from its place.
At the back of the console, you can find a shallow storage compartment.
Nestled at your shoulder is the literature pocket, and a chic lamp in the corner, which adds a touch of luxury.
On your immediate right, there’s an adjustable armrest, with a flap that reveals even more storage space that’s large enough for a water bottle or personal item.
On the seat’s left-hand side, there’s another storage nook with a cool blue glowing light, adding an ambient glow.
Overall, China Airlines A350 business class seats certainly hit the mark in terms of comfort and elegance. I also particularly appreciated the extensive storage options.
China Airlines A350 Business Class – Amenities
Once I took my seat, a member of the flight crew introduced themselves and addressed me in Mandarin. I was offered a choice of pre-departure beverage of water or juice, and chose the latter.
A further highlight of the China Airlines A350 business class experience was the uniquely designed amenity kit. In an intriguing collaboration with The North Face, the airline offers drawstring-style amenity kits bearing the outdoor brand’s signature.
Inside is a thoughtful mix of essentials: an eye mask, dental kit, hairbrush, and both hand lotion and lip balm courtesy of the Norwegian skincare brand, Sprekenhus.
I commend China Airlines for this innovative partnership, and would be thrilled to see more airlines adopting such practical amenity kits.
It’s worth noting that no pajamas or loungewear were offered on this flight. This was a tad disappointing, especially as someone who enjoys collecting airline pajamas – and also given the fact that China Airlines’s primary rivals, EVA Air and Starlux Airlines, both offer pajamas in business class.
Another point of contention was the menu presentation. It was printed on a laminated sheet of paper, which felt a bit bland compared to the rest of the business class experience.
China Airlines A350 Business Class – Meal Service
As we settled into our cruising altitude, the flight crew started serving the main meal.
I chose to switch my juice for a bubbly glass of Champagne, and was pleasantly surprised by the availability of Piper-Heidsieck 2012 Champagne onboard.
Meal service kicked off with a seafood platter decked out with some fresh early spring touches. As a big seafood fan, I found that this appetizer indeed hit the spot.
Next up was the garden salad, which was tasty, but nothing to write home about.
However, what really caught my attention was the black garlic chicken simmer soup. It felt like a nod to the airline’s cultural background, and it was a unique, flavourful, and a fun little dish.
For the main course, I enjoyed a pan-fried Taiwan perch with an olive sauce topping, swimming in a clam and mussel sauce, with a side of creamy porcini sauce.
The dish sounds like a dream, but it ended up being a bit of a letdown. The presentation was a tad off, and while the perch had some good umami vibes, it wasn’t the showstopper I was hoping for. As for the pasta, it was a bit on the sticky side for my liking.
To round things off, I was presented with a fruit and cheese plate, followed by some ice cream. It was a classic end to the meal, and pretty decent overall.
Wrapping it all up, if I were to compare the meal service with what’s offered on EVA Air, I’d say that China Airlines has some unique food choices, but they’re not quite playing in the same league when it comes to quality.
China Airlines A350 Business Class – Bed
After the meal service, I was looking forward to some rest, so I visited the restroom to freshen up before bed.
Although the restroom is compact, it’s well-kept, featuring a modern sink design and patterned walls. Luxury Pure Altitude amenities are also provided.
The galley was stocked with an array of refreshments, with the Taiwanese-style oat milk drink being a standout. I decided to try it, and before I knew it, I’d helped myself to a few servings.
I was pleasantly surprised when the crew offered a turndown service, which is something not many airlines provide in business class nowadays. Given our near-midnight departure, I was quick to settle in and sleep right after my meal.
China Airlines A350 Business Class – Second Meal Service
I managed to rise in time for the next meal, and decided on the Chinese options, beginning with plain congee and a selection of sides. This was a much improved performance by China Airlines, but then again, it’s seldom that one goes wrong with congee.
Keeping with my tradition when on flights with Asian airlines, I also picked an item off the snack menu. The Assorted Formosa Taiwan-style braised dish didn’t disappoint in the slightest, and ended the meal service on a positive note.
China Airlines A350 Business Class – Entertainment
Panasonic ex3 is China Airlines’s in-flight entertainment system. The entertainment selection is neither the widest range nor the most limited.
There are enough choices for a long-haul flight, with a selection of blockbuster films, live programs, TV shows, music, and games.
Although China Airlines A350 business class lacks a live tail-mounted camera, the real-time air show provides an engaging way to track your journey.
China Airlines collaborates with Boingo for onboard Wi-Fi, so I connected to the in-flight Wi-Fi using my Boingo account. It’s worth noting that most World Elite Mastercards grant cardholders access to Wi-Fi on Boingo-serviced flights.
Without complimentary Boingo Wi-Fi, there are two Wi-Fi packages, priced as follows:
- Three hours: $16.95 (USD)
- 24 hours: $21.95 (USD)
Lastly, it’s also worth noting that the service on the flight was stellar.
The staff were continually attentive to my needs, checking to see if I’d like my drink replenished or if I wanted to try something different from the menu, and the turndown service was also a plus.
My takeaway from China Airlines business class is generally positive, albeit with some reservations. In my experience, China Airlines doesn’t quite match up to its primary competitor, EVA Air, but it definitely nailed certain aspects of the in-flight experience.
For instance, the hard product isn’t only comfortable, but also boasts a thoughtful and aesthetically pleasing design.
Moreover, the service I received was nothing short of excellent – the staff were consistently attentive throughout the flight, ensuring that my every need was catered to.
That said, the inconsistency in the food on offer was a slight drawback, and there’s certainly some room for improvement here.
When considering the experience as a whole, though, I’d rank China Airlines as one of the stronger SkyTeam airlines out there, I wouldn’t hesitate to book with them again in the future.