I don't know about selecting seats online, but I have flown on CAL's 744 (SFO
) and A340 (TPE
). Ignoring the safety issue, they offer a far superior product than any u.s. airline offers.
Seat pitch was good, no PTVs, flight attendants are young and friendly as you would expect from an asian airline, meals were above average- from my experience their "western" selections aren't that good in quality. Their 744s are relatively new.
And their A343 was awesome- the plane was still very new with that fresh smell, good IFE, and footrests in Y class (I sat in 12A which was a great seat). be forewarned though that the seats in Y were quite hard and crowded as compared to the 744. you might want to check out their A340 site for more info: http://www.china-airlines.com/en/check/check_a340.htm
So overall very good inflight service. I think if CAL turned around its poor safety reputation they could have a chance as one of the world's best airlines.
hope that helps