I needed to get home from Australia around New Years Day last year (this post is a year overdue), and as you may already know, one way international tickets can be quite pricey. Luckily, I found a nice Premium Economy fare on Taiwan based, China Airlines from Sydney to Taipei to Los Angeles including a 3 night stopover in Taipei for $830.
China Airlines Flight 56
Sydney (SYD) to Taipei (TPE)
Duration: 9 hours and 20 minutes
Aircraft: Airbus A350
Cabin: Premium Economy
Seat: 33D (Aisle)
Upon boarding, I was delighted to see the new, fresh looking cabin. The A350 that operated my flight was delieverd in March of 2017. The plane upkeep was very good, much better than the A350 on Cathay Pacific.
Each seat on the A350 in China Airlines Premium Economy offers 39 inches of pitch and is 20 inches wide, setup in a 2-3-2 configuration which is very roomy for an A350.
In comparison, the China Airlines 777 Premium Economy offers one inch less of pitch and one inch less of wideness (38 inches and 19 inches, respectively). The seats are shell seats, where the setback reclines back into the structure of the actual seat, so it doesn’t intrude on other passengers behind you. I love this design, as you don’t have to worry about the person in front of you reclining into your face. The asthetic and finishing of the cabin were quite elegant, and was fancier than I expected.
On my Taipei- Los Angeles leg, I flew on the 777, and I think the A350 was much better. I’ll review that experience in a separate post later this week. But, the 777 was less roomy, and the cabin had more seats so it felt less private than the A350.
I found the recline to be really good, and was comfortable for relaxing and sleeping. There’s a nice footrest under the seat in front of you as well.
Each seat had a nice side reading lamp, as well as a water bottle holder in the front of your seat. A feature I really liked was that the seat offered a second, smaller folding tray table. This was perfect for storing beverages and small snacks without having to take out the large tray table.
In Flight Entertainment:
There were plenty of movies and games to choose from on the seat back IFE. There was also a USB charger which was very helpful. Noise canceling headsets were given, as well as a thin pair of slippers which was nice. A blanket and pillow was provided, which was of decent quality.
Wifi was also offered on the flight. Prices were $3.25 USD for a lite messaging plan for iMessage and other messaging apps. An hour of wifi was $11.95, 3 hours for $16.95 and the whole flight for $21.95.
The premium economy amenity kit had earplugs, lip balm, lotion, eyemask, comb and a toothbrush and toothpaste. There was also a really cute A350 plane sticker included.
A cold towel was given before departue and we departed right on time.
Next, about an hour after departure, dinner was served. I think the food was exactly the same as the economy class. For dinner the main course was a choice between Chicken and Black Musroom with Steamed Rice or Braised Pork Hickory with Potato.
I got the chicken, and it tasted fine for an economy class meal. Nothing spectatcular. Indeed, I was expecting a bit more for a premium economy meal. However, I liked how they came across the cabin with teapots to refill the tea.
I really enjoyed the Ice Cream with silver spoon. 🙂
2 hours before landing, breakfast was served. The choice was between Rice Noodle with Braised Pork or a Cheese and Tomato Frittata with Chicken Sausage.
I got the sausage, and it was quite rubbery, and the frittta wasn’t too good either.
The lavatory was really clean when I visited them, and we had our designated lavatory right behind business class which was nice.
Overall, I truly enjoyed my China Airlines Premium Economy A350 experience. It was a great way to travel the 9 hours from Sydney to Taipei. While the food could use some improvement, the seat design as well as the cabin service, were excellent.
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