China Airlines operates an A330 daily from Taipei to Osaka, which I flew for this review. The airline has a pretty decent regional network; it’s no Dragonair but it reaches most cities across the region at least once a day.
The two airports are just about one thousand miles apart and such a short distance would command an A320 short-haul configuration in the US, with a minimal first class. Not so with China Airlines, though, with a proper long-haul, wide-body configuration with angled lie-flat seats for this flight.
There were 30 seats in business class and about 200 in economy. The flight was just about 30% full in both cabins on this early Sunday morning.
We had to wait a while for takeoff, as a number of wide-bodies were ahead of us and there were more lined up behind us. The airport is rather separate for SkyTeam planes (mostly China Airlines) and Star Alliance planes (mostly EVA), with two separate runways.
The business class seat on this aircraft has a very wide pitch and is much more spacious than, say, Cathay Pacific Regional Business Class. They are clearly not the newest seats and China Airlines likely used these planes to fly much longer distances before.
The entertainment system looked a bit more old school but had the exact same set of movies as on my prior China Airlines flight on the A350 from San Francisco. There are noise-cancelling headphones and blankets provided.
The flight attendants served pre-departure drinks and handed out menus. There was basically the western selection and the Japanese selection and everyone seemed to have wanted the Japanese one – so by the time my turn arrived, I didn’t have a choice.
However, I feel both were good – not awesome but certainly edible. The western meal had good chicken and the Japanese one featured lovely grilled salmon mini appetizers. I also liked the small Japanese cake offered for dessert. The flight attendants apologized profusely for me not being able to get the meal of my choice and offered four (!) sets of playing cards as a way to make up for the inconvenience.
I felt this was an excellent way to fly just two hours over the Pacific Ocean. The seat was comfortable, the food was decent and the staff were excellent. Could you ask for any more from a regional business class flight?