China Airlines » B747-400 » User reviews
Seatplan rating 7.3
- Boarding 6.0
- Seat for sitting 9.0
- Seat for sleeping 0.0
- Service 10.0
- Entertainment 2.0
- Food & drink 10.0
- Punctuality 6.0
- Baggage 8.0
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China Airlines offers one flight daily from Taipei to Beijing and back. Mine was the latter. Arriving at Beijing capital international airport terminal 3 at 0945 for my 1225 flight, I had plenty of time to kill before take-off. The check-in counters for China Airlines at the Beijing airport was from B17 to B26, which is a nice long distance from the nearest entrance. There was one first class counter, two business counters, and the rest were economy counters. There was no queue at the first class counters, and the staff were efficient but a bit unfriendly, however, it was all right. I was done with check-in in a jiffy and proceeded to the air-train, which would take us to terminal 3-E, where international flights security and immigration was located. (For your information, online check-in for China Airlines is available for most routes except some, and you can print your boarding pass.)
China Airlines has no lounge on its own in Beijing, so its first class passengers use the Air China lounge located at the left of the international flight security. One thing to keep in mind is that there is a buffet served at lunch (starting at 11:30) is at the very inside of the lounge, which I didn't discover until it was too late. Snacks such as crackers, kit kat chocolate, and fruits were provided. There was a large choice of juices, soft drinks, and other hot drinks such as tea and coffee. Two shower rooms and free Wi-fi (get the password at the front desk) was provided, and the staff were attentive and friendly. There was also a video-watching area, although the TV was quite small. Overall, the lounge was acceptable and comfortable.
Boarding, I have to say, was quite chaos for economy, and okay for first and business. There was a separate boarding gate and air bridge for first and business customers, and the economy boarding gate was a disaster. Imagine 300 people trying to squeeze into one 2-meter wide gate with no attempt from the staff to manage the crowd. It was not a pleasant scene.
I was surprised to learn from a too-friendly cabin crew that my family and I were the only ones in the 14-seater first class of the Boeing 747-400. The seat was quite comfortable but was shabby and old. It was a 180-degree lie flat seat with a small personal entertainment screen, which disappointingly, was not AVOD, which led to me missing the start of all 4 (supposed to be 8) movies being shown. There were a total of 10 games which were quite time-killable, including some car racing games, which were very exciting, and no music. Greatly disappointed with the IFE, but given that this was only a 2 hour and 50 minute long flight, it was bearable.
As soon as I sat down, I was asked if I would like a welcoming drink. I opted for tea, which was warm and great for the chilly cabin. Menus were then passed out, and there were two choices of either Chinese or Western cuisine. The Chinese cuisine consisted of braised pork in wine sauce, fried cod with black bean sauce and sauteed mixed vegetables along with steamed rice. The Western cuisine consisted of braised seafood in cioppino sauce with potato, zucchini and carrot. A variety of drinks and alcohols such as dry gin, vodka, bourbon was provided. There was also champagne and Japanese wine. I opted for the Western cuisine, which overall was quite tasty, but only the potato, zucchini and carrots were quite tasteless. What made me surprised was that the "seafood" that was offered even included oysters and shrimps, which were very tasty. So overall, the food the China Airlines offers way exceeded what I had thought. Way to go! (For your information, first and business passengers can pre-order their food online, but the menus are the same. Please see this link: https://calec.china-airlines.com/emenu/get_pnr.asp)
Our bags were the first off the conveyor belt, given that there an eye-catching "PRIORITY" tag stuck to it. Forgot to say, our flight was delayed by over half an hour due to the inadequate management web at the Beijing airport.
The price for this trip per person was about 8000 RMB, which is approx. 1150 USD.