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Review: China Airlines Business Class 777-300ER LAX-TPE
I have been beyond excited to try out this product and purposely routed our trip through Taiwan to give it a gander. And gander I gave. A little background: Miles and I had decided on a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia to make great use of AA miles before the devalued last March – we booked our returns flight on JAL First without knowing when we’d actually go. Our insanity was contagious and our best bud Dave locked in some space as well. Once we finally found dates that fit all 3 of our schedules ( Miles is busy!) we needed to figure out a ride over the pond and China Airlines Business Class 777-300ER LAX-TPE worked perfectly. Not only does the hard product look INCRED, but they serve Johnnie Blue and Kavalan ( Taiwan’s highly regarded whiskey) – ARE YOU SERIOUS?! Miles and I were doing some serious lip licking in anticipation of drinking some silky smooth whiskey at 35k feet. In fact, we took it a step further; we were pounding our chests and humming…something like this:
The Deets on China Airlines Business Class 777-300ER LAX-TPE
- When: December 28th, 2016
- Airline: China Airlines
- Route: LAX-TPE
- Flight: CI 5
- Plane: 777-300ER
- Duration: 14 hours 30 mins
- Class: Business Class
- Seat: 20G
- Program: Delta SkyMiles
- Status: None
- Cost: 80k +$5.60
How we booked it: 80k Delta SkyMiles and $5.60
Last year, Dave ( my best bud) and I both signed up for Amex Delta Gold 50k Personal and Biz cards. With a 100k Delta in our accounts we scoured and scoured the award booking ethos looking for ways to optimize these points burning a hole in our award wallets. In the meantime we shored up the dates of our S.E. Asia trip and all the pieces fell into place.
This shows LAX-TPE, but I actually booked a flight originating in Indianapolis. China Airlines has incredible award space from LAX and SFO. We had no problem finding this leg, but ultimately it was a bit of a struggle finding the IND-LAX leg, and after weeks of searching it opened up.
Choosing a seat: A quick tip. I promise the review is a scroll away 😉
You need your China Airlines Record Locator. You can get this from Delta by calling them: 1-800-323-2323. Once you have this you can log-in on China Airlines and select your seat. I’d highly recommend going this route rather than calling in to China Airlines and Delta can’t book your seat for you. JSYK, the Business Class Cabin is divided into two cabins: 6 rows in the 1st and 4 in the 2nd. We opted for the 2nd cabin in the front. 20D and 20G because both windows seats were empty too. We figured this would provide an opportunity to use a second seat if we wanted, or just steal the blankets and pillows.
And then Cabin 2
You can Sia from the pics…the cabin is like Friday night and you don’t need dollar bills to have fun tonight.
Flip your hat backwards, sag your pants, and pop your shades…this cabin will undoubtedly make you feel like you can pull it off. The cabin lighting evokes moods from a sleek lounge not an airplane. Every seat is outfitted with a small reading lamp, not just an overhead light, and it’s a perfect meeting of form and function. Without even sitting down I was impressed.
The Seat looks smaller than it is.
It’s a B/E Super Diamond.
The area where the IFE and tray table are housed sticks out pretty far, and before I settled in I was thinking to myself, “Good Lord this seat has been way over-rated.” Then I nestled in and realized how much space was tucked beneath the IFE. It’s a seat design that I haven’t seen on any other business class and is deceptively larger than you’d think.
I loved the controls…
The storage is clutch
You never realize how much you miss storage until it’s gone. I’m thinking back and I believe that BA’s club world was the last business class I flew prior to this flight and LEMME TELL YOU, flying Club World will put all sorts of perspective on storage. You’ll leave that flight promising to write storage a long love letter professing your undying need for it, you will promise to never cheat on storage just because a cheap transatlantic tempted you, and you will NEVER EVER take storage for granted again. Believe me…I was there too. China Airlines will make you feel like all that repentance was worthwhile because they ‘storaged’ the hell out of this seat.
I’m pretty sure if the pilot was trying to adjust the lift of the aircraft they’d have the both business class cabins open their storage bins. I mean they look like inboard/outboard flaps.
And more storage
Oh yeah…the tv is huge – 18inches
And there is Wifi…pretty cheap too
The menus were high quality. Loved the design.
That must be why they come and collect them so quickly. I stashed mine away, but otherwise…poof, they’re gone like Kaiser Sose.
I chose the Shrimp, Chilean Sea Bass, and Haagen Daz. Almost forgot!!! Before we eat… We must toast with some Pol Roger. Like Miles always says, ” Be a Champ, not a pagne”
First came an amuse bouche: You know you’re in a for a treat when you’re getting Bouche’d in Biz.
The Shrimp was the best of the courses. Sea Bass was ok, and the soup was quite tasty.
The staff were on it. I’ll add more in the Overall section.
Ahhhhhh…time for bed. Nothing feels quite like #winning than dropping horizontal while thinking about the $5.60 it cost you do it. Points have created experiences I’d only dreamt of…
The comforter and pillow are awesome, and since there wasn’t anyone in the seat across from me I nabbed an extra pillow. It’s nearly impossible for Miles to sleep without a pillow under his head and another between his legs. I almost feel like a jerk saying this, but I was surprised there weren’t any pajamas. EVA is the main competition for China Airlines to TPE and they hand out some nice pjs. I knew they wouldn’t ahead of time, so I brought my own, but PJs were have been the cherry.
Crack open the amenity kit…time to brush, lotion, and mask your spoiled self.
I will say this…the shoulder room isn’t massive. I’m fairly broad shouldered, but I’m not a huge guy, 6′ and 175lbs. I found my shoulders just barely fit inside the shell, but I had tons of leg room. At first glance of the seat I would have guessed the exact opposite. Worth keeping in mind and lay off the delts a couple weeks pre-flight 😉
We had just snuggled in when we remembered we had a meeting with Johnnie
We had a short but very productive conversation and I was back to bed.
After a solid 6-7 hours of sleep. Which was so silly cause it was from 1 or 2pm to 8pm ( what were we thinking?!) it was time to change and get ready to land. The bathrooms were nice and consistently cleaned.
The Cabin is still repping after the long flight.
This is a top notch business class product. There is no arguing that China Airlines offers one of the best products across the Pacific and I was thoroughly impressed. In fact, I’d say that certain aspects exceed any expectation I’d normally have of business class, namely the quality of the pillows and comforter, and the alcohol selections they offer. The service was great; however, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was the best business class service I’ve ever had. Comparing this experience to Etihad or EVA – I’d say China Airlines is in the conversation, but the service on EVA, ironically also a Taiwanese airline, was second to none and it was just intra-Asia. Don’t get me wrong, the staff did everything with a smile, but there wasn’t the sense that they were anticipating or taking pleasure in knowing passengers were without want. I’m splitting hairs, but my feeling is China Airlines wants to usurp EVA as THE Taiwanese airliner that sets the bar, and if that’s the goal…there’s some room for improvement.
Some extra photos…
This review is a part of the Trip Report: Miles Traces his roots in Southeast Asia
- Delta SkyClub Indianapolis IND
- Delta First Class IND-LAX
- Amex Centurion Pop-UP TBIT
- China Air Business Class 777-300ER LAX-TPE
- Grand Hyatt Taipei
- Grand Hyatt Taipei Club Lounge Review
- Taipei 101 Tour
- EVA Air Infinity lounge TPE
- Plaza Premium Lounge TPE Zone A1
- Plaza Premium Lounge TPE Zone A
- EVA Royal Laurel Business Class TPE – SGN
- Vietnamese Visa on Arrival Experience
- Park Hyatt Saigon
- Park Hyatt Saigon Breakfast
- Cu Chi Tunnels Tour Ho Chi Minh City
- Orchid Lounge SGN
- Cambodian Visa on Arrival Experience
- Park Hyatt Siem Reap
- Viator Ankor Wat Private Tour
- Afternoon Tea Park Hyatt Siem Reap
- Plaza Premium Lounge Siem Reap
- Intercontinental Hanoi
- Dragon Legend Ha Long Bay Cruise
- Hanoi Hilton
- ACV Business Lounge Hanoi
- Qatar Airways Business Class 777-300ER HAN-BKK
- Louis Tavern CIPFirst Class Lounge Bangkok BKK
- Louis Tavern CIP Business Class Lounge Bangkok BKK
- Japan Airlines Business Class 787-8 BKK-NRT
- American Airlines Admirals Club Tokyo NRT
- Japan Airlines First Class Lounge Tokyo NRT
- Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge Tokyo NRT
- Japan Airlines First Class 777-300ER NRT-ORD
- Tip on how to fly standby the day before your flight