Flight Test: China Airlines

The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age Traveller

20 June 2015


Tested by Tatyana Leonov.

 

THE ROUTE

Taipei to Sydney.

THE PLANE

Airbus A330-300; the airline has 24 of these in its fleet with business (36-seat) and economy (277-seat) cabins. 

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

Dynasty Flyer. Passengers can earn points with China Airlines, Mandarin Airlines and SkyTeam member flights.

CLASS

Economy, seat 9B – an aisle seat towards the front of the cabin.

DURATION

Just over nine hours. We leave and arrive 30 minutes late.

FREQUENCY

The Taipei to Sydney route is flown four times a week. From October 26, 2015 to March 26, 2016 this increases to daily. The frequency increase was introduced last year (for a total of three months) and was popular, hence the five-month daily service from October.

THE SEAT

There are 277 seats arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration (2-3-2 towards the back). China Airlines doesn’t charge for exit row seats so check in early to try to secure one. The economy seat has a pitch of 31.5

inches (80 centimetres) and a width of 18 inches (46cm).

BAGGAGE

Two pieces of baggage, no more than 20 kilograms total, is the economy-class allowance. Carry- on is restricted to seven kilograms.

ENTERTAINMENT

Economy passengers have a personal Fantasy Sky 9-inch (22.9-centimetre) LCD touch screen with an AVOD in-flight entertainment system and a USB port. Movie selection is in line with other carriers, with adequate new releases and classics to keep movie marathon enthusiasts entertained. A range of sitcoms, documentaries and games is also available.

COMFORT

Pillows and blankets are already on

seats when I board. The lighting isn’t garish and the lavender and mauve interior scheme is agree- able. Seats recline liberally, over- head storage space is generous, amenities were kept clean and toiletries regularly replenished.

SERVICE

Service was flawless from check-in until disembarkment. The Taiwanese people are known for their generous and calm nature and the airline staff echo the spirit of their country.

FOOD

Dinner was served within an hour of leaving Taipei and breakfast about two hours prior to landing. Dinner was deep-fried pork with black beans and rice or chicken chunks with corn and rice. I had the chicken, and although a little

tough it was a nice change from my mainly pork diet while in Taiwan. In the morning I opted for cheese scrambled eggs with chicken sausage. The second option was rice noodles teamed with pork.

ONE MORE THING

China Airlines is Taiwan’s largest airline, headquartered in Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, and the airline is ramping up its presence in Australia. In October 2014, China Airlines and Qantas finalised a codeshare agreement and in December 2014 China Airlines started flying from Sydney to Christchurch with thrice- weekly seasonal services, further expanding into the Oceania market. Sydney to Christchurch and Sydney to Auckland services will continue this year from October 26 for five months.

THE VERDICT

There are no comfort packs or water bottles in economy. I travel with an eye mask, earplugs and an empty water bottle (which I refill on the plane) and prefer a no-frills flight where seats are comfortable, food and service are good and I’m left alone unless I need something. Seechina-airlines.com. t

Tested by Tatyana Leonov, who flew courtesy of Taiwan Tourism Bureau.