My first travel abroad was to Taiwan on China Airlines on first class – yes, that was the first time I tried great service on board even though it was a short flight between HKG and TPE. CI has recently stopped offering first class in all its flights.
China Airlines – the flag carrier of Republic of China – has often been confused with Air China, the flag carrier of People’s Republic of China since PRC raised up in prominence economically. I will not dwell into the political history of the two, but CI has been operating as China Airlines since 1960s, before Air China was formed and before PRC is part of UN. Hence the name has remained.
In the A350 cabin, the business class is in 1-2-1 layout. The design is very elegant, one of the prettiest business class I have taken – yes, I prefer this to SQ. There are ample storage space in the seat for your headphones, medication pouch and other nicknacks to make your trip comfortable. And I especially like the seat – full recline seats using linen instead of leather like the others. While leather is easier to maintain, linen makes a more comfortable night sleep. And the inflight entertainment is on a 18″ TV that is not too far away so it seems much larger than it really is.
Teh appetiser is smoked salmon dill and fennel salad 燻鮭魚蒔蘿苗香沙拉. Instead of a couple of slices of smoked salmon like most airlines, you are given a generous cut of freshly smoked salmon.
I like these big bowls of fresh green salad with Italian dressing 田園沙拉佐義大利油醋醬 instead of the prepared appetiser courses that disguise as salads.
Next, the soup course, cream of mushroom soup with cheese stick 蘑菇濃湯 起司棒. Thick, creamy with the earthy umami of mushrooms.
There were three choices for the entree, one Western and two Chinese. This is what I like about Chinese airlines, there are always more Chinese choices than Western ones.
Sautéed shrimps with abalone sauce and gingko nuts, with egg fried rice 鮑汁銀杏燴蝦仁佐黃金蛋炒飯, served with broccolini and sweet pepper. They should have removed the tail shell form the shrimps.
Cheese fruit platter 乳酪水果盤 with gruyere and cheddar.
Macadamia nut tart 夏威夷果塔 was the finishing dessert.
I have not given much comments on the main courses. They were not outstanding. Just like how I remembered long long time ago.
Like EVA Air, they offered Taiwanese porridge 清粥小菜 for breakfast. The alternative is your omelette and sausage. The breakfast is served as a single tray service with five side dishes that included a pickle 醬菜, roasted peanuts with mushrooms 五香姬菇花生, pickled lettuce 涼拌裙帶菜, frittata with Chinese sausage 臘腸烘蛋 and pork slices 榨菜肉絲. Besides porridge, there were some Chinese pancake (蔥油餅) and fresh fruits.
While this selection was not as good as the EVA one, I was still thankful that I can wake up to a hot bowl of porridge just before I landed in US and start having my American breakfast for the next 2 weeks.
The first memory of me taking a flight was on CI, and back then it was very rarely that a small boy would taking a commercial flight, let alone first class. I had the freedom to run around, toured the cockpit and cabin crew quarters, and made friend with a fellow passenger. That was the year Kodak Disc camera was introduced and my dad bought me one for the trip. It was a crappy camera with really grainy photos.
It was a Boeing with an upper deck, I would want to say it was 747. There was an open lounge where you can play cards and have a drink at the open bar. Of course I was too young to drink. Because of that trip, CI remained my favourite airline for a long time. Can anyone verify in the comments that 747 was the only Boeing with an upper deck?
Flight TPE LAX Dec 2018