China Airlines, once the quieter of the Asian airline fraternity, has decided 2014 is the year it comes out and shows the world what it is made of. The airline, whose mainline long haul fleet currently features older 747’s and A340’s and newer A330s, has placed orders for brand new modern 777s and A350s, which are far more fuel efficient.
The national carrier has taken this opportunity to turn the airline’s image on its head by launching new uniforms, a new special livery, business class and premium economy and even new table-wear.
It was announced the new 777s which should be delivered in September will become the flagship aircraft for the company. It will be flown on the super-long routes the airline flies. 5 aircraft should be delivered in 2015, and 2 in 2016.
Interestingly, and perhaps in a smart move, First Class will no longer be available on the 777s. This is partly due to the quantum leap in product in the business class cabin. Featuring the super-successful Super Diamond Business Class seats designed by B/E, the product may look familiar, but again, through a great core design, each seat has been tweaked to offer a customized feel. The 1-2-1 fully flat business class seats offer a large amount of personal space and great privacy.
China Airlines previous business class lie flat seats, were comfortable, but were behind their competitors who now almost all offer fully flat seating, so we are pleased the airline has chosen to advance their product to an industry benchmark, and using perhaps one of the best flat bed seats out there.
One of the galleys, similar to the offering on American Airlines 777-300ER will be turned into a walk up bar, and to keep the airline up to date technologically, Wi-Fi will be available for purchase onboard.
For those not using the front end of the aircraft, there is still great progress made in the rear, a yet to be announced premium economy product and the introduction of Air New Zealand’s Sky Couch in economy class means there is more on offer than meets the eye in the cheaper seats. We will release more on this as we get the information.
The whole look has been designed by Ray Chen, named “Most Influential Asian” three times. He has taken the minimalist look of the Song Dynasty to allow the airlines passengers feel an element of the art of Taiwanese living. We love the extra elements such as the real wooden persimmon tree grain on the bulkheads to add an element of tactility. And to help reinforce the feeling of a personal ‘reading space’ or ‘study in the sky’ in business class – really evident when the lights are lowered, Taiwanese tea and books will be offered to its passengers.
If you aren’t lucky enough to travel on the new aircraft, fear not, it’s not all that bad! Across the board, the airline is now introducing brand new uniforms, designed by Academy Award nominated Taiwanese designer William Cheung. Brand new plates and cutlery have been designed, The completely new look by Chen Chun-Liang who is the candidate to Final 10 in the Tang Prize medal billed as the “Asian Nobel Prize”, features a look and feeling of the Song Dynasty, which is a lovely touch, and feels core to the culture and heritage of the airline.
Their press release states “China Airlines’ new style is unique by offering oriental aesthetics, utilizing innovation and differentiation, emphasizing the elegant simplicity, a rich texture of both taste and cultural atmosphere, inviting its passengers to experience Taiwan’s culture, taking into account environmental and technological progress, provide personalized and attentive service, and strengthen China Airlines brand regeneration.”
One thing is for sure, this new interior has blown us away, an far exceeded our expectations for a redesign. If the cabin service and product is up to scratch when this new product is launched, China Airlines has once again become a real contender in the ever fierce Asian market.
We hope to trial both the older and newer cabins to offer a full report on the jump in service product the airline offers and help you find out what is on offer on your flight with this re-invigorated airline.