On the Ground: Arriving in Osaka after my China Airlines flight from JFK, I was a bit apprehensive about what the “one stop” on my journey to Taipei would entail. My uncertainty was alleviated before landing, as the crew explained that Taipei passengers would be guided to their next flight. As we exited the plane, multiple China Airlines attendants separated the Taipei passengers from the rest and handed business-class passengers a card with step-by-step instructions guiding us to the Sakura Lounge, just next to our gate.
Pre-Flight: The Sakura Lounge is shared by other airlines including Japan Airlines, American Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Emirates. The lounge is a large, peaceful space where separate rooms create private areas for work and relaxation, including a separate smoking lounge and a small room with massage chairs for those seeking to unwind. Light wood walls, navy carpet and comfortable leather and fabric chairs made for a warm environment.
The snacks were light, including pastries and crackers, and many around me enjoyed noodles and soup. Wine, beer and assorted juices were available, but during my evening visit, the cappuccino machine seemed to be most popular.
The workspace was ample, and with free WiFi and no password required, I was up and running immediately. The ladies’ room was rather small but very clean. No shower spaces were available.
In-Flight: Boarding for business class was separate from other classes, making it a smooth transition on board. The décor of the Boeing 747-400 exuded China Airlines’ brand image at every touch point; soft pink, purple and blue tones with rich textures appeared on the carpets, seats and flight attendant uniforms. Passengers were provided a satin-like blanket and large pillow for their comfort.
The seats were quite comfortable, even in their upright position, which I found unusual. While they do not lie completely flat, they are comfortable in their fully reclined position.
For entertainment, each seat features a private seat-back television with a large selection of movies, television programming and games. I was delighted to find my favorite episodes from two different shows were featured. Good choice!
Though the flight was only two hours and 40 minutes, we were offered a dinner selection created by Executive Chef Sara Lin, formerly of the Grand Hyatt Taipei and a number of New York Michelin-starred restaurants. The East-meets-West theme offered modern gourmet and Japanese selections. I opted for the modern gourmet grilled beef tenderloin with a glass of Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc.
The Experience: I was pleased with my entire experience flying China Airlines. From start to finish, the gate staff, flight attendants, lounge, cabin design and cuisine create a warm and welcoming travel experience.
- Less than 10 minutes for check-in
- Friendly and helpful agents
- Priority tagged bags
- Airport lounge
- Complimentary in-lounge food
- Priority boarding
- Helpful and courteous flight attendants
- Pre-flight beverage service
- Pre-flight newspapers and magazines
- Extensive on-demand menu
- Self-serve in-flight pantry
- Amenity kits
- Lie-flat seat/bed
- Mattress and comforter
- In-flight menu with three entrée choices
- Top-shelf wines and liquors
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