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Taiwan’s largest carrier, China Airlines, has recently taken delivery of their new Next Generation 777-300ERs, which feature such high-quality, fashionable interiors that you might just think you’d wandered into, as Yahoo Travel put it, “a nice, hip, hotel bar.” These 358-seat, twin-engine, long-haul jets feature three cabin classes: Premium Business, Economy, and the airline’s newly created Premium Economy.
The new interiors of the 777-300ERs, which feature persimmon-wood paneling and mood lighting, have been overseen by Taiwanese architect Ray Chen, famous in Taipei for his work on the city’s streamlined Eslite Bookstores, the Sanxitang Teahouse at the National Palace Museum, and more. The planes are equipped with Panasonic’s eX3 in-flight entertainment system (IFE), which features the aviation industry’s biggest screens and a social networking function called “Seat Chat” that allows you to message other passengers on your flight. Once you reach 10,000 feet, you can purchase Wi-Fi service for $11.95 for one hour, $16.95 for three hours, or $21.95 for 24 hours.
The plane’s highest class features 40 lie-flat, 78-inch seats in a 1 x 2 x 1 herringbone pattern, with a control panel embedded in the armrest that lets you adjust your recline angle. Each velvet-upholstered seat also has a small storage cabinet, a personal mini bar, and an adjustable lamp, as well as a new amenity kit with a static-free brush, woven-wool blanket and Bulgari skin care products. IFE in this class includes an 18-inch screen, more than 100 programs on demand, and a noise-canceling headset, as well as a USB socket and power outlet.
The star attraction of the Premium Business cabin is the Sky Lounge in the first galley, which (as long as you’re a Premium Business passenger) you can visit throughout the flight for self-service, relaxation and conversation with other passengers. The Sky Lounge has three different sections: a tea-tasting area offering six varieties of Taiwanese tea and various nuts, crackers and Taiwanese snacks; a coffee area with Taiwanese-grown ground coffee, as well as coffee capsules and western-style pastries; and a bar with wines, beers, cocktails, tapas and cup noodles. Wood-grain bookshelves along the sides of the lounge provide periodicals and a monthly selection of books in both Chinese and English.
With these Next Generation planes, China Airlines is launching a new Premium Economy class, with 62 seats in a 2 x 4 x 2 configuration, all featuring 39 inches of legroom and a fixed-back shell design, so that passengers who recline their seats won’t interrupt travelers in the row behind them. Each seat in this class has sleek grey-black upholstery, adjustable lamps and headrests, and a 12-inch IFE screen.
All 256 seats in this class feature IFE with an 11-inch screen, and most recline to 120 degrees. However, in the first 10 rows, special seats grouped in threes can be converted into a single lie-flat sofa bed (known as the “Family Couch”) by reclining the seats and raising the footrests and armrests, then adding a mattress pad, blankets and pillows. Like Air New Zealand’s Skycouch, the Family Couch allows passengers (up to two adults with one small child, or one adult with up to two small children) to lie down horizontally across the seat cushions and extended footrests.
Routes for China Airlines’ New 777-300ERs
China Airlines’ first 777-300ER aircraft began serving regional Taiwanese routes on October 10. The airline will take delivery of its second and third 777-300ER planes by the end of November, which will be used for additional routes this winter: Taoyuan-Los Angeles (TPE-LAX) in December, and Taoyuan-New York (TPE-JFK) and Taoyuan-San Francisco (TPE-SFO) starting in 2015. By 2016, China Airlines plans to add a total of 10 Next Generation 777-300ERs to its fleet.
Have you flown China Airlines in the past, or do you have plans to book a flight on China Airlines’ Next Generation aircraft? Please share your experiences in the comments below.
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