Question: China Airlines comes from what country?
Answer: Taiwan (Republic of China)
Bloody Mary. People often think China Airlines is from mainland China (The Peoples Republic of China) but its not, it’s Taiwan’s (Republic of China) national carrier and largest airline based the country’s capital Taipei. Now I’m not going to go into the how, why and the politics of it’s name, China Airlines, thats not what you’re here for and neither am I. But China Airlines does hold sixth freedom rights to operate between Australia and New Zealand on its run from Taipei with flights from both Sydney and Brisbane to Auckland and Christchurch, so while I am not travelling to Taiwan today I am flying between Sydney and Auckland 🙂
There were long delays to get through immigration at Sydney Airport due to Schoolies Week ( an Aussie school leavers holiday) with Fiji being a new hot destination, up to 1 hour and 45 minutes I overheard. Thankfully, flying Business Class afforded me an express pass to slip through Immigration early and into the departure gate for a few pre departure drinks. The flight was slightly delayed due to the late arrival of the incoming aircraft from Taipei, but I was onboard the newish Airbus A330-300 within an hour of it landing. This particular aircraft B-18359 was just about to celebrate its 2 years with China Airlines, being delivered to the airline from Airbus Industrie on 6 December 2012.
China Airlines operates 3 versions of the Airbus A330-300, 2 with Business and Economy Classes and one with Premium Economy and Economy Classes. I was on one of the long haul version of the aircraft which seats 30 passengers in the spacious forward Business Class cabin. My seat, 2K, was a window seat on the right side of the aircraft and with only 10 Business Class passengers on todays flight, there was room for all of us to stretch out. The Business Class cabin is set in a 2-2-2 configuration of 5 rows meaning every one has aisle access except for those at the window seat who are one seat away.
One of the flight attendants came around and greeted me by name, although the pronunciation was quite off, it was still nice. She offered me a drink of either orange or apple juice, but I was cheeky and asked if there was any wine open. The flight attendant was more than happy to oblige and asked what I would like, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Chilean Chardonnay…. since I was heading to New Zealand the 0:TU Marlborough 2012 Sauvignon Blanc won. The wine, which hails from the world renowned Marlborough region of New Zealand, was a bold yet light bodied wine that helped me settle in for the flight ahead.
Along with my glass O:TU Sauv Blanc, the food and drink menu were also presented for this short sector to Auckland. The menu featured a salad and 3 choices of main, Fish, Beef or Chicken and although they all appealed to me but it was the chicken that I ordered before we were airborne. From the drinks menu I ordered another O:TU to come with my lunch and a pre meal drink, a Bloody Mary.
The flight departed only 20 minutes after schedule with a departure to the north meant it afforded beautiful views of the City of Sydney on a stunning late Spring afternoon with a flotilla of day trippers on the harbour, the Opera House glistening and The Sydney Harbour Bridge at centre stage.
As I settled in I set about exploring my surroundings. The seat which features a 166 degree recline to an angle flat bed also has a comfortable seat pitch of 63″ / 120 cm with width of 20″ / 50.8 cm. A 10.4″ / 26.4 cm flat screen TV with Audio Visual On Demand (AVOD) is both touch screen and operated via a control nestled in the arm rest. A 110v power outlet provides power to portable devices to keep them charged inflight.
My Bloody Mary was delivered with a smile on the face of the flight attendant and the icy cool freshness of the tomato-ey flavour was a wonderful way to start the flight, without a strong overpowering alcohol flavour, but for me it did need a hit of heat – more tabasco perhaps?
From the menu presented before take off, I chose the ‘Chicken Confit – French style slowly cooked, spicy cabbage, cherry tomato, crushed potato, red bell pepper sauce’ which came with ‘Mixed garden salad greens with Balsamic vinegar dressing’. There were actually a few sliced cherry tomatoes in the bowl with a Birch and Waite dressing, along with a side dish of ‘seasonal fruits’ and a quite yummy cookie of white chocolate and macadamia nuts.
All courses were served together, plated in the galley, arriving on one tray. The main course, the confit chicken, while not necessarily the most aesthetically pleasing, was presented in a comforting homely-like-grandma’s-Sunday-roast type way. The confit chicken was tasty and had that yummy, moist sticky bite feeling happening. The potatoes were flavoursome and the red bell pepper dipping sauce, although looking quite sad and out of place in the disposable aluminium dish was not too over powering and added a hint of sweet heat. The spiced cabbage however, was the surprise treat amongst the melee of food.
When the tray table was cleared after lunch, it was time to settle back and enjoy the AVOD offerings of about 12 new release movies and several TV shows of both western and Asian origin. To be honest there was only one or two movies I was interested in watching but with both of them being over 2 hours in length I opted not to engage in any due to the short length of the flight. Instead, I flicked through the music library and found myself tapping my foot away to classic hits from Michael Jackson and The Carpenters 😉 To my surprise one of the flight attendants presented me with another Bloody Mary and this one was quite a bit stronger, requiring me to make use of the electronic seat controls and popping my seat into the bed like position.
About half an hour before landing it was time for seat-backs upright, tray tables to be stowed and the crew to busy themselves preparing the cabins arrival into Auckland when I politely enquired about having another wine. One was promptly brought to my seat and I settled back with it enjoying the descent into Auckland.
It was really a fantastic flight on board the China Airlines Airbus A330-300 and I highly recommend it to anyone plying the the Trans Tasman or to any destination the airline flies with a superb Business Class service at an affordable price.
*FreakyFlier paid for the flight independently (Bloody Mary’s were part of the included inflight service)