The Classiest Flight To Taiwan

Heading to Taiwan anytime soon? If not, you may soon find yourself itching to making plans. This summer, I was able to experience business class premium on the inaugural 777-300ER Boeing flight from SFO to TPE. Let’s just say, it was the most comfortable 13 hours I’ve ever spent in an aircraft flying across the world.

China Airlines is redefining the phrase “flying in style” with its introduction of the 777 Boeing this year, flying direct between San Francisco International Airport and Tao Yuan International Airport in Taiwan. Founded in 1959, the airline is Taiwan’s largest airline carrier, and holds a long-standing reputation for modern, top-service flights in Trans-Asia travel. The airlines has gone to lengths to completely renovate their main airbus model, in a fleet of 81 aircrafts. It’s paid off, as just last year China Airlines won the Golden Pin Design Award for “Best Design of the Year” with this NexGen 777 cabin design. Here’s a breakdown of the complete Premium Business Class experience: from check-in at SFO, to stepping off the plane in the tropical paradise of Taiwan.

All set and ready to fly!

All set and ready to fly!

Pre-boarding:
Right from check-in, I was on my way. Being used to standing in the longest line for everything, from post offices to airport customs, skipping past the long lines never felt so good. I was presented with a handy e-card in the cutest packaging, put together by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau. The card acts as a sort of credit card, which can be loaded and used at convenience stores, the MRT (Taiwan’s subway system), and other shops onsite. Neat stuff! After passing through security, I headed over to the VIP Dynasty Lounge, where there was a multitude of complimentary drinks, snacks, and soft couches to relax on.

The handy e-card I received at check-in. Actually, I got 2!

The handy e-card I received at check-in. Actually, I got 2!

Service in the Sky:
Impeccable, professional, warm, and kind. One of my favorite things about China Airlines is that the air stewardesses are incredibly attentive to the needs of the passengers, no matter what class you fly in. But there’s no doubt that Business Class Premium is up there on the top line of luxury and comfort. Upon boarding the aircraft, the ladies come around with warm towels for you to freshen up for the long flight ahead, and also offer beverages–the orange juice is strangely different from American OJ, but better. I had more than a few glasses during the flight.

Promptly greeted with a refreshing beverage and snacks!

Promptly greeted with a refreshing beverage and snacks!

Premium Business Class: fully lie-flat seats, enormous touch-screen TV, little lamp for reading, and complimentary gift.

Premium Business Class: fully lie-flat seats, enormous touch-screen TV, little lamp for reading, and complimentary gift.

13 Hours of Luxury:
You know that ‘new car smell’ that we all love? Well, this plane certainly had what’d we call ‘new plane smell’. After toying around with all the tech in my pod (that’s what I called it, because we looked straight out of a sci-fi movie!), I realized it was a bit chilly in the cabin. I asked my attendant, Cynthia, if she had a thicker blanket than the one we’d already been given, and she nodded before whisking away. A minute later, she came back with a fluffy down blanket that made my IKEA throw at home feel like a dish towel. But before I got too comfy, I told myself that I wasn’t going to sleep through the entire flight, despite being on a red-eye schedule. This experience was just too good to be snoozing through!

I browsed through the touch screen TV (which boasted a larger screen than my Apple Macbook) and settled on watching the cheesiest movie possible: “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”. It was actually incredibly entertaining, but I felt the need to stimulate my intellectual side afterwards, so stood up for a stretch and strolled over to the “Sky Lounge”, where I picked up a quick read from the modest collection of books.

The “library” full of interesting reads (I picked up ‘The Happiness Project’ by Gretchen Rubin) and unlimited snack bar. Photo by China Airlines.

A close up of the classy snack bar & library.

A close up of the classy snack bar & library.

The full Sky Bar, with spirits and gold-packaged cup noodles! Photo by China Airlines.

The full Sky Bar, with spirits and gold-packaged cup noodles! Photo by China Airlines.

A comfortable area to stand and enjoy your drink or make a quick cup noodle. Photo by China Airlines.

A comfortable area to stand and enjoy your drink or make a quick cup noodle. Photo by China Airlines.

Feast on a Flight:
A couple hours passed as I was reading “The Happiness Project”, when I began to feel the familiar old rumble in my stomach. Perfect timing, as I was very excited to try the dining service on the flight. Full disclaimer now: I am a huge foodie. The menu was very detailed, and featured both ‘Chinese’ and ‘Western’ options for both dinner and breakfast.

Long menu list, along with between meal snack options (dim sum!)

Long menu list, along with between meal snack options (dim sum!)

I went with the Chinese-style dinner, which featured stir-fried shrimp and scallop in XO sauce with steamed rice, broccoli, mushrooms, carrot & red bell pepper. The other options were:

-Beef filet with wild mushroom ragout in red wine sauce & steamed parsley potatoes.

or

-Moroccan chicken tagine with couscous, zucchini, carrot, and red bell pepper.

First course of Chinese herbal soup before the entree!

First course of Chinese herbal soup before the entree!

Very tasty! The scallops were my favorite, with the perfect bouncy texture.

Very tasty! The scallops were my favorite, with the perfect bouncy texture.

This was so cute--a tiny glass dressing bottle. I really wanted to take it with me, but thought better against it.

This was so cute–a tiny glass dressing bottle. I really wanted to take it with me, but thought better against it.

I know what you’re thinking–don’t worry, of course I didn’t forget dessert. They had a choice of seasonal fresh fruits, cheese platter, mango mousse cake or Haagen-Daz ice cream. Guess which I went with…

Mmm, impressive plating for plane dining! Then again, I'm in Premium Biz Class...

Mmm, impressive plating for plane dining! Then again, I’m in Premium Biz Class…

For breakfast, we had a choice between:

“Chinese Classical”–Congee and assorted side dishes like steamed tofu stuffed with shrim paste, stir-fried pork strips with pickled cabbage, gluten with snow peas, pork floss, and Chinese donut chips. Steamed bun and seasonal fresh fruits.

“Western Favorite”–Chive scrambled egg with potato rosti, Irish bacon, tomato, button mushrooms. Plain yogurt, seasonal fresh fruits, toast, croissant, apple danish.

Delish. My 'western-favorite' breakfast, featuring chive-scrambled egg with potato rosti.

Delish. My ‘western-style’ breakfast, featuring chive-scrambled egg with potato rosti.

So interesting that small details like ceramic plateware and fine silverware make such a profound difference in the flight experience! It really begins to feel more like an actual restaurant rather than eating in a suspended cubicle.

Safely landed in TPE and ready to go.

Safely landed in TPE and ready to go.

Good Morning and Touch Down!
After what seemed like a short nap (I tried my best, but the lie-flat bed was just too tempting…) we were nearly in Tao Yuan International Airport! Time really does ‘fly’ when you’re having fun, and this experience in Premium Business Class on China Airline’s 777-300ER put the start of my 5-day trip in Taiwan on a high note. Amazing service, delicious eats, a beautiful and comfortable atmosphere made it plain and simple: the classiest flight of my life thus far. It’s a no-brainer, that is if you’ve the funds to book one of the seats, at $4300-$5300 a “pod”. Otherwise, start saving up now for your next vacation!

The journey ends...and another begins!

The journey ends…and another begins!

Hustle & bustle in Taipei city, love it.

Hustle & bustle in Taipei city, love it. Photo by Serena Mo.

High and mighty Taipei 101, always an impressive sight.

High and mighty Taipei 101, always an impressive sight.

Safe travels and a happy trip to all ❤

xo,
Joce

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