China Airlines Boeing 777-300 Premium Business Class Flight 8, Taipei Taoyuan-Los Angeles – Review
Taipei-based China Airlines, founded in 1959, is Taiwan’s largest airline and the flag carrier of the tiny Republic of China. It has been serving North America non-stop since the 1970s, after introducing the Boeing 747SP.
After suffering at the hands of its competitors in recent years, the airline announced it would expand its fleet with the purchase of six Boeing 777-300 aircraft. The purchase was tied directly to a renovation plan, dubbed the Next Generation Plan, formally launched in March of this year.
The plan will eventually see the retirement of the carrier’s aging Airbus A330/40 and Boeing 747-400 long-haul aircraft, and the addition of the new Airbus A350. Current plans include a brand-new cabin exclusive to the 777-300 fleet.
The airplane and its new interior, designed by acclaimed Taiwanese architect/designer Ray Chen, were unveiled at a ceremony in Seattle in early October. The aircraft flew regional routes in Asia before transitioning to full long-haul service on December 1. I hopped on board in the first week of the new service, flying from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport on December 5, 2014.
Having arrived for my 11:30 p.m. scheduled flight several hours early, the check-in desk for premium business class was deserted. With a boarding pass quickly in hand it was off to immigration, which was just as empty.
While my gate was D5 I’d been informed that the airline introduced a brand-new lounge closer to gate A6, which seemed half a world away. It was worth the lengthy walk as the lounge featured a calming aesthetic design, custom prepared noodle dishes on demand, and a refreshing shower.