Friday, September 19, 2014

Travel Review and Anecdotes: China Airlines

I chose to fly China Airlines on my recent trip to Asia this summer due to costs. The flag carrier of the Republic of China (that's Taiwan) does not have the cleanest safety record, but its flights from LAX to TPE and HKG are comparatively cheap, and their safety record has improved in recent years. My itinerary consisted of four flights.

China Airlines 747

China Airlines Flight 5

CI5 was the first leg of my flight from LAX to HKG, and my first flight in a Boeing 747. The flight was about two hours late to the gate in L.A., and the takeoff felt like it was rushed (not that I am an aviation expert, but I could have sworn that I felt a tailstrike or something). The entertainment choices were pretty good; I ended up watching the new RoboCop, Lego Movie (I had to see it for all of the hype; it seems appropriate for kids but as an adult, I only see it as a hipster bandwagon and marketing ploy), and Anchorman. Meal service was not memorable, but nothing to complain about. Due to skilled piloting, or perhaps the airline compensating for delays in its schedule, we were only an hour late getting to Taipei.

China Airlines Flight 677

After a fifteen minute layover at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE), it was time to board an Airbus A330 for the flight to Hong Kong. I was seated next to a Chinese American PUA; this is probably the first time I have ever been seated next to anyone remotely interesting on a flight. We discussed girls, game, travel, and culture in between making passes on one of the the stewardesses.

The flight itself was a bit frightening, marked by heavy turbulence, and at one point it sounded like the engines shut off completely. Once again, I am no aviation expert, so I could be totally wrong. Landing in that heavy chop was pretty wild, at least from the perspective of a passenger, but I am here to tell you about it, so no worries.

China Airlines Flight 602

My itinerary on the way out of Asia was similar to that on the way in, but it played in reverse. CI602 was a flight from Hong Kong to Taipei on an Airbus A330. Brunch consisted of some greasy rice noodles with beef and vegetables (they were good on my empty stomach though), and although the flight was short, the same entertainment system present on longer flights was employed here as well. I tried to catch 42, the movie about Jackie Robinson, but I was only about to see the first hour of it before we landed. This flight was uneventful aside from the beautiful view of Taiwan as we went into the landing pattern, and the fact that it felt like the pilot was fighting the plane as we touched down.

China Airlines Flight 8

After spending ten days in Taiwan, it was time to return to my mundane life in America via CI8. This 747 flight from TPE to Los Angeles International was rather uneventful, and the food service was the same stuff that was served on CI5. I was able to catch the last parts of 42 that I missed, watched a bit of Oblivion (but unlike Anchorman, I really couldn't push myself to watch it again), and checked out Olympus Has Fallen. I was also able to finish reading Machiavelli's The Prince on this flight. We arrived about an hour ahead of time, so I guess that China Airlines made up the lost time that they owed me from my outbound flight.

In closing, I think that China Airlines is a decent airline. I want to try new airlines, so I will probably try to fly Evergreen next time, but if their schedule or prices are inconvenient, then I will most likely fly China Airlines again on my next trip to Asia (assuming that Taiwan is my first destination).

1 comment:

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