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November 4, 2016

Review: China Airlines A350-900 INAUGURAL flight Taipei to Hong Kong

 

China Airlines A350-900 INAUGURAL flight Taipei to Hong Kong

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On my recent Asia trip to fly Cathay Pacific and Thai Airways A350, I learnt that China Airlines is operating its inaugural A350 flight during my visit on 30 October 2016. I didn't need to think twice and went ahead booked the last available ticket in Economy Class.

The first flight of the new type is flying between Taipei and Hong Kong, its busiest route until more A350 joining the fleet then it will serve Taipei to Europe.

China Airlines A350-900. Photo by Jujug Spotting

China Airlines A350-900. Photo by Jujug Spotting

China Airlines will paint each A350 with its distinctive bird livery.

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Layout of China Airlines A350 from its in-flight magazine.

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Inaugural A350 flight of China Airlines

CI903

Taipei to Hong Kong

Departure time 08:00

Date 30 October 2016

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B-18901 at gate B7 ready for the inaugural flight.

The inaugural flight was rather low key event, no special celebration was planned at the gate.

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Welcome onboard China Airlines A350

Economy Class

China Airlines A350 Economy Class

China Airlines A350 Economy Class

 
China Airlines A350 Economy Class

China Airlines A350 Economy Class

 

Note the very thin arm rest. The in-flight entertainment console is at the seat back.

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Each seat come with USB charge outlet.

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We left the gate with a slight delay at 8:20am.

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The shiney A350 taxi pass the competitors...

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With a few traffic in front, we finally airborne at 8:44am.

The takeoff was very quiet. The only noticeable noise was the flaps extend/retraction.

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Flight time is 1 hour 15 minutes.

After the seat belt sign has switched off, I jumped out of my seat to take a few cabin pictures.

Economy is in 3-3-3 configuration. It was 100% full on this flight.

The wall is decorated in "Tree top color" which adds a lot of warmth and coziness to the cabin.

Also the carpet has distinct patterns, which enhanced the flying experience.

China Airlines A350-900 Economy Class

China Airlines A350-900 Economy Class

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Premium Economy Class

Premium economy class feature less dense 2-3-2 in seating configuration.

On this particular short flight time sector, premium economy class is used for Economy Class passenger. I presume it is available for China Airlines Dynasty Elite flyers.

China Airlines A350-900 Premium Economy Class

China Airlines A350-900 Premium Economy Class

 

Business Class

Business class feature all aisle access 1-2-1 "Diamond solo" seat. Total 32 seats across 8 rows.

The middle section have no overhead bin which further enhance the head space.

China Airlines A350-900 Business Class

China Airlines A350-900 Business Class

 
China Airlines A350-900 Business Class

China Airlines A350-900 Business Class

 
China Airlines A350-900 Business Class

China Airlines A350-900 Business Class

 
China Airlines A350-900 Business Class

China Airlines A350-900 Business Class

 
China Airlines A350-900 Business Class

China Airlines A350-900 Business Class

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One of the fans kindly shared his China Airlines A350 cardboard

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There are a large group of aviation enthusiasts from Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea on this flight.

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In-flight service

The in-flight service started straight away after we reach cruise level of 32,000 feet.

The crew are very polite and does not appear in any rush or inpatient mode despite the short flight time.

The crew were also totally co-operating on photo taking and passenger checking out different cabin.

I asked the crew, they told me they were not specially selected for this flight. Their conversion course on A350 is only 2 days!

China Airlines in-flight service

China Airlines in-flight service

Economy meal to Hong Kong:

Very yummy traditional Taiwan Braise pork rice

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Crewfie in the rear galley. Do you like the uniform of China Airlines?

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China Airlines A350 rear galley

China Airlines A350 rear galley

 

Another nice feature is the onboard bar/pantry behind Business Class. (I believe it is for Business Class passenger use)

Each compartment can be open/close at anytime!

 It is certainly the first of its kind in the air.

China Airlines A350 onboard bar

China Airlines A350 onboard bar

 
China Airlines A350 onboard bar

China Airlines A350 onboard bar

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Lot of aviation enthusiasts frantically taking photo of everything onboard the A350.

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The beautiful winglet of the A350

China Airlines A350 winglet

China Airlines A350 winglet

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We touched down at Hong Kong International Airport around 9:55am. With a short taxi, we arrived at the gate at 10am. This concludes the first commercial flight of China Airlines A350-900.

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Bottom Line

The inaugural A350 flight of China Airlines isn't the most grand or spectacular public relations event planned by the airline. However, it didn't take away the excitement of flying a brand new airplane with many enhanced feature onboard! The China Airlines wood decor makes me feel very cozy onboard and the cabin has a calm and pleasing feel. The crew did a fantastic job on the flight. They managed to deliver the usual high level of service plus interacting with many customers at the same time. I certainly need to fly Dynasty again on a longer flight!

China Airlines A350-900 currently flies twice a day between Taipei and Hong Kong.

Tips on Smart Travel and finding the best airfare

I use Momondo to search extensively across the best airfare before buying it. Have a look at this post to see how it is working for getting a cheaper ticket! Momondo definitely features the best First and Business Class deals of any Flight Search Engine out there.  I have put together many useful travel tips and airfare promotions in my Smart Travel section to guide you travel in more luxury with lower price!

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My other A350 flight reviews

Comments

  1. William

    Good review as always. Question: in which seat row were you located during takeoff and landing?

  2. Dennis

    Sam:

    Nice review as always! I was actually on the same CI-903 flight the day after. It is amazing how quite (than the A380) and roomy/airy (than the 787) the A350 was. As that leg was my connecting flight to HKG from LAX, the CI booking system quirk allowed me to test out the business class. Similar to the 777, the decor and ambiance were excellent, and the absence of a center overhead bin made the cabin look even more spacious.
    With the entertainment console and the headset jacks placed on the seat-back in Y, I feel that it will make aisle assess more difficult for someone not seated at the aisle since not only do you have to climb over someone, you will also need to take caution as to not trip over her headset wire.

    • Sam Chui

      Thanks for the nice Obs and your comment.

  3. Justin

    Great review Sam!
    So the bar is accessible to all or just Business pax?
    With the skinny armrest, is it more roomier? You’re quite tall so I wondered how you might fare in Y.

    • Sam Chui

      Hi Justin, yes i feel the Y seat is quite roomy, especially in the width.

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