February 20, 2013
Lv2350 Arr1915 Boeing 747-400 B-18210
Boarding started a bit late due to the late arrival of the crews or the longer than usual pre-flight check! The inbound plane arrived two hours prior to departure from Shanghai. China Airlines really works its plane hard. There were many wheelchair passengers (at least ten or more) on this flight, so priority boarding finally began at 11:22pm. I was trying to get on as soon as possible so I could snap a few cabin shots before the passengers arrived. My plan almost worked. When I boarded, 5A
was already occupied by a flight crew (possibly heading to LA
to work the return flight). There were basically two F/As working in the first class cabin, and they immediately offered me a beverage of my choice. I had a glass of still water, served with a plate of mixed snacks.
As well as the mandatory hot towel served in a tray
Newspapers and magazines were offered next, along with slippers. A pair of noise-canceling headset was already placed at each seat.
Here is the cabin shot I took – B-18210 features the latest Boeing signature interior (Boeing 777 style) with enlarged overhead bins and a bit more headroom. To me, it is more cosmetic than a major improvement. For the nose of the flight, the overhead bin can handle the roller bags better, but other than that, nothing major!
My seat 2K
Despite a late start, boarding was completed at 11:46pm and we pushed back seven minutes later. Taipei Taoyuan airport was fairly quiet as of this point, as we were one of the few last departures for the late night rush to North America, Australia, and Europe. We took off from R/W5L at 00:04am. Flying time was ten hours and thirty-three minutes, and the routing was fairly typical. We climbed to 33,000feet first, as we headed towards Nichinan, Japan, and then towards the Pacific Ocean. We climbed progressively and ended at 37,000feet before we reached the California coast and Monterey Bay. The flight was very quick due to tail wind, but we certainly hit a few rough spots throughout the night.
Menus and meal orders were taken prior to departure, and the F/As were very flexible regarding when to serve the meals. But they definitely want to know about passengers’ meal choices, so they can save the meals for everyone. I have mixed feelings about rushing the breakfast order – maybe for those passengers, who declined dinner. But it is more proper to ask about breakfast when supper was completed for those passengers that were having the first meal. The F/As on the return flight took the breakfast orders prior to commencement of the service. But I appreciate the effort to make an efficient supper service.
Here is the wine list and menu:
I type out the whole beverage list, since China Airlines First Class is not frequently reported here.
First Class Wine List
January to March 2013
Johnnie Walker Blue Label Blended Scotch Whiskey
Kavalan Single Malt Whiskey
Matisse 19 years old Highland Scotch Whiskey
Jim Bream Bourbon Whiskey
Bacardi Light Rum
Bombay Dry Gin
Deau Cognac XO
Taylor’s 10 Years Old Tawny Port, Portugal
Bailey’s Irish Cream
Chinese Rice Wine
Premium Shaohsing 10 Years Old (For Japan Routes only)
Gekkeikan “HORIN” Junmai Diaginjo
Golden Medal Taiwan Beer
Tea and Coffee
Japanese Green Tea
Twinings Darjeeling Tea
Freshly Brewed Coffee
Champagne Pol Roger 2000 France
Chablis Chardonnay 2009, France
Mosel Valley Riesling White Wine 2009, France
Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010, New Zealand
Saint-Julien Chateau Langoa Barton 1997, France
Barossa Valley Shiraz 2009, Australia
Napa valley Merlot Reserve 2008 USA
Let say I am not particularly impressed with the choices of wines here! None of them were priced over $40! Most of them in the $20 to $30 price range! The most expensive item on this list is the champagne. I know many Asians are not big wine drinkers, but this wine list is weak at best. For the non-alcoholic items, I feel that the tea selection can be better and the only Western tea selection is Darjeeling. I think CI
can offer a few more tea selection, such as English Breakfast, Chamomile, Earl Grey, and Mint tea. Twinings certainly offers more than just Darjeeling tea.
Anyway, supper is a simplified dinner service, and for first class passengers, the only course being cut is the hot savories/canapé service, but the F/A asked me if I wanted mixed nuts to go with the champagne. The catering is definitely better on this flight, compared to the pathetic catering out from Yangon with an underwhelming premium refreshment service. China Airlines is having this promotion with the chefs at W Taipei, so that is why I go with the Chinese meals tonight, except the soup course. I also want to highlight the bakery items used by China Airlines. Most of you possibly don’t know this bread master, Master Wu Po Chun, but his breads were amazing. I went to their bakery at Kaohsiung and was not disappointed with many of the popular choices including those offered on this flight. If you are ever in Kaohsiung, go to Master Wu’s bakery and I love their pineapple cakes, as well as the Red Wine and Longan bread, as well as their spring onion bread.
Late Night Supper
You may create a lighter option for your supper. Please inform your crew of your choice.
“T” Goose Liver Mousse, Hawthorn Jelly, Pineapple Beer, Braised red yeast duck breast served with Woobar Signature cocktail “Doctor Goes Away”
Scallop Terrine, tomato, asparagus, bell peppers
“T” Shampignon, yam, Nantou chicken consommé
Creamy Onion Soup with Crispy Cheese crouton
“T” Cod Fillet, Chinese olives, black beans, arrowroot
Pork belly ribs, Worcestershire kumquat sauce
Heart of Tender Shoots, Sakura Shrimp flakes with crab paste
Sausage, pickled turnip, fragrant fried rice
(Energy 457.8 kcal)
Steamed rice and healthy grain rice are available on request
Grilled onion, bell peppers, asparagus, tomato, potato
(Energy 450.8 kcal)
Pan seared cod fillet with shredded smoked salmon, zucchini, pumpkin, tomato, mashed potato
(Energy 381.8 kcal)
Choice of Western Main Course sauce: Creamy Pesto sauce or Black Truffle sauce
*French rye baguette
*Sun dried tomato, basil and cheese bread
Black rye beer bread
Multi grain bread
Above all served with homemade butter
Fresh Fruits of the Season
Selection of cheese
“T” Purple Yam, Garbanzo beans, red dates soup
Blueberry Fondant Chocolate pudding
Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream
“T” A special menu designed by Chef Kong Khai Meng – Yen Chinese Restaurant W Taipei
“Doctor Goes Away” cocktail designed by Mixologist Kenny Miau – Food and Beverage Service Manager, W Taipei
*Specially designed by Master Wu Pao-Chun
After supper, I had a cup of green tea.
Hot towel and Evian bottled waters were offered, and the F/A passed out the amenity kit, as well as offering the turndown service. As I mentioned above, pajamas were not offered on China Airlines. I really think if American and United are offering them, it is definitely not an expensive item to offer, and just can’t help to feel that China Airlines remains a generation behind with its product. If turndown service is offered, a pair of pajama cannot cost CI
anything more than $10-$20. Many local Taiwanese fashion brands will jump at the chance to offer China Airlines a bargain by featuring their clothing brand, sort of like Cathay Pacific and Shanghai Tang, or Lufthansa and Porsche Design.
There is no self-service counter on China Airlines, but there is a full light bites menu. I had the beef noodle soup later at breakfast, which was an amazing juice. A very hearty noodle soup with good amount of Beef briskets and tendons!
Light Bites Menu
Should you desire a little snack or something more substantial in between your meals, simply make your selection to our crew during the flight
Authentic Beef Noodle Soup (Fast and delicate of Taiwan Delight)
Traditional Flavorful Sticky Rice with sweet and spicy sauce
Turnips with pork ribs soup
Vegetable and Chicken Pot Pie
Vegetarian instant noodle
I pretty much slept till breakfast time. Two hours prior to landing, the F/A turned on the lights in first class (a bit earlier for business and economy class). It was a lovely breakfast and China Airlines uses a different tablecloth for the breakfast service – the red-checkered linen. Hot towel once again made its appearance. However I wanted to remind everyone that I choose to have the beef noodle soup as my main course, and the F/A offers me all the side dishes that go with the congee. All the four side dishes – two cold and two warm are excellent.
Choice of juice: orange, apple, tomato
Soy Bean Milk
Fresh Fruits of the season
Assorted breads served with butter and jam
• Green soy bean bread (stuffed with grainy mustard) Specially designed by Master Wu Pao-Chun
• Longan bread mixed with red wine Specially designed by Master Wu Pao-Chun
• Whole Wheat Toast
All served with homemade butter
Double Color Egg Wrap with Vegetables, tomato, pork sausage, potato roesti, hollandaise sauce (Energy 396.2 kcal)
Corn pancake with banana, chicken thigh, bacon, Vanilla sauce (Energy 725.7 kcal)
Plain Congee (Energy 78.0 kcal) or Sweet Potato Congee (Energy 116.8 kcal)
Steamed minced pork with Chinese pickles
Pan fried egg with dried turnips (Energy 170.4 kcal)
Shrimps with Green Soy Beans
Marinated Coral seaweed and shimeji mushrooms
Shredded dried pork, homemade Taiwanese bun and savory
Traditional Taiwanese Side dishes were available upon request
I visited the bathroom after breakfast and took the following series of pictures. (I took advantage of the daylight!)
Seat Control Panel
Mirror – yes your personal mirror
Seat in the preset recline position
Heading towards Monterey
Descent began at 6:09pm and I almost forgot to mention. China Airlines has installed the nose camera and I love to be able to view landing in that perspective. The landing at LAX
could be confusing with all these lights. We landed on R/W24R at 6:37pm, and as usual, we had to wait a little bit for our gate, since we landed early. Not too bad, we parked at gate 104 at 6:52pm. With my global entry and no checked bag, I went through all the formalities in ten minutes. However lines were fairly long, as the China Southern A380 and Philippine Airlines Boeing 747 landed around the same time.