China Airlines Premium Economy review

China Airlines offers strong value-for-money options in all classes.


Investing in the right airline and a comfortable seat can deliver solid returns for your business.

If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to invest in some extra comfort for your team’s next long-haul flight to Asia or the Pacific, consider flying with China Airlines. You'll experience high-quality service that delivers travelers to plenty of Asian destinations by lunchtime the next day.

Business travel is always an investment, and it’s not easy (or cheap) to send your people halfway around the world. So, when you need them to be at the top of their game as soon as they land, you might start with ensuring they are comfortable for the journey.
Some business travel policies include options for Premium Economy or Business Class, and on long-haul overnight flights, China Airlines delivers amazing value for money.
China Airlines a350 Economy Class review

Here’s what we know about China Airlines based on a recent experience by one of our team:

China Airlines offers Business, Premium Economy, and Economy class on their Trans-Pacific routes from North America to Taiwan. Flying out of the United States, they offer daily departures from San Francisco, Ontario (California), and Los Angeles to Taipei and connections into a huge number of destinations throughout Asia. They also operate numerous weekly flights from New York. 

For the purpose of this insight, we'll review the recent experience of a Corporate Traveler employee on the long-haul flight across the Pacific, from Vancouver, BC, Canada.

On this flight, China Airlines operates the Airbus A350. Flights leave early in the morning (scheduled departure time is around 1am) so you’ll need to arrive at the airport around 11pm the night prior. However, what that means is that you technically only lose one day as you cross the international date line. For example, if you depart Sunday morning, you’ll arrive in Taipei on Monday morning. Sweet!

China Airlines a350 business class seats

What can you expect flying in Business Class?

If you’re flying in Business Class, your journey will start with access to the SFO airport’s China Airlines Lounge, where you can grab a pre-flight meal and drink. With a departure time around 1am, not much else is open at the airport that late, so you can relax straight up until boarding time. Once onboard, the business class pod has a huge amount of space and comfort. It’s a completely lie-flat experience that comes in handy almost as soon as the plane takes off! This is the best chance you have of getting a solid amount of sleep on the 12-hour flight.

On top of the comfortable seat, when your team is sitting in Business Class, they’ll experience the excellent and friendly Taiwanese service, delicious meals and snacks (so many snacks!!), free Wi-Fi (even across the Pacific and East China Sea!), a vast range of drink options, a North Face amenity kit (with Norwegian skincare products), lounge access throughout, priority boarding, and priority security. If you're a first time business traveler, check out our 10 essential tips to help you make the most of your trip


a350 Premium Economy Class

What is the Premium Economy Class experience like?

If Business Class is out of budget, there is still an incredible amount of value and comfort available when seated in Premium Economy. While some carriers offer a 2-4-2 configuration in their Premium Economy cabins, China Airlines offers one less seat with a 2-3-2 setup, and you can certainly feel the difference.

Each seat is approximately 20 inches in width with another 39 inches of pitch. Each seat is encased in a shell which means that the seat doesn’t actually recline into the space of the person sitting behind you, which allows a total sense of personal space, and still plenty of leg room.

Sitting in Premium Economy, your team will experience premium food options, a wide range of snacks and an amenities kit from North Face. There is still priority boarding available, but Wi-Fi will cost a few extra dollars. Also, there is no Sky Lounge access included in a Premium Economy fare, so you’ll just need to plan for that at the airport.

Is it worth paying for Premium Economy or Business Class seat?

We think it's worth it, but we also know that every business has different needs. Here are a few things to consider when sending your people on long-haul flights across the Pacific.

  1. Comfortable seats are better for health and well-being.  It's almost guaranteed that the traveler will arrive well-rested, much less stressed, and will have eaten higher-quality food. On top of that, they are likely to be one of the first to be able to exit from the plane, which means quicker access through immigration in certain destinations.
  2. Your people will have a much better chance of sleep. If work is supposed to begin as soon as your travelers are on the ground, you’ll want them to be ready to get to it. The best chance of that happening will take place when they’ve slept reasonably well on the journey.
  3. The investment can well and truly pay off. When you’re traveling for approximately 20-hours door to door, it’s worth doing the numbers. To fly in business class can work out to around an extra $90 an hour, while Premium Economy is much less. (This calculation is based on the cost of a business class ticket compared to an economy class on the same day, broken down over the period of the actual journey from check-in to arrival.) *Note that this could certainly change depending upon destination, day of departure, fare class etc.
  4. The investment, particularly in Business Class also avoids extra costs at the airport that can add up. The hard dollar costs such as meals at restaurants can be avoided by using the lounge. And Wi-Fi costs are removed because it’s included in the business class fare. Plus, you can avoid the soft-dollar costs like time extra time at check-in and security etc. It all adds up to a better experience.

China Airlines is part of the SkyTeam network which includes airlines such as Air France, China Eastern Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Garuda Indonesia, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air and more!

P.S. If Business Class is where you aspire to be but most of your trips are in the Economy Class, learn how to maximize your experience with the economy classes here. 

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