The Definitive Guide to China Airlines’ Direct Routes From The U.S. [Plane Types & Seat Options]

China Airlines A350-900 premium economy

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China Airlines is somewhat of a misnomer because of its name: this airline is actually the flag carrier of Taiwan. Geographically, Taiwan is an island state off of the coast of Southeast China and is technically a Chinese state — but tense diplomatic relations between Taiwan and China make this debatable.

Taiwan is a common tourist attraction and vacation destination for many around the world. Known for fantastic street food, beautiful beaches, boba milk tea, and the best universal healthcare system in the world, Taiwan has tons to offer. In addition, Taiwan is in close proximity to Hong Kong — so visiting these 2 destinations can go hand-in-hand.

In this guide, we’ll be discussing the routes that China Airlines offers to Taiwan, and we’ll show the different cabin classes you can experience when flying on China Airlines to/from the United States. Let’s begin!

Seat Options by Aircraft Type

China Airlines doesn’t have a large route network to Taiwan like EVA Air does. Most of the flights they operate are concentrated in areas of large Taiwanese population, including the San Gabriel Valley ethnoburb in Los Angeles.

However, China Airlines is extremely consistent about offering the same aircraft on the same flights in their network — they only operate 2 aircraft on their U.S. routes:

  • 777-300ER
  • A350-900

Let’s take a glance at the route and aircraft chart below:

China Airlines RouteFlight No.AircraftCabin ClassesFrequency
Honolulu (HNL) – Taipei (TPE)CI 1A350-900Business, Premium Economy, Economy3x weekly
Los Angeles (LAX) – Taipei (TPE)CI 7777-300ERBusiness, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
Ontario (ONT) – Taipei (TPE)CI 23A350-900Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
New York City (JFK) – Taipei (TPE)CI 11777-300ERBusiness, Premium Economy, Economy4x weekly
San Francisco (SFO) – Taipei (TPE)CI 3777-300ERBusiness, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily

Best Points to Earn to Fly China Airlines

China Airlines is a SkyTeam partner, meaning you can utilize the frequent flyer currencies of SkyTeam partners to book travel with them.

Some of the best ways to fly on China Airlines with points are by using Delta SkyMiles, Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles, Korean Air SKYPASS, and the relatively-unknown Aeromexico Club Premier points.

American Express Membership Rewards is a transfer partner with Delta SkyMiles, Air France/KLM Flying Blue Miles, and Aeromexico Club Premier. You can transfer Membership Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio with Delta SkyMiles and Air France/KLM Flying Blue; Aeromexico Club Premier is at a 1:1.6 ratio.

Chase Ultimate Rewards is a transfer partner with Air France/KLM Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio.

Citi ThankYou Rewards partners with Air France/KLM Flying Blue for transfers at a 1:1 ratio.

Marriott is a transfer partner with Delta SkyMiles, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Korean Air SKYPASS, and Aeromexico Club Premier at a 3:1 ratio. Additionally, for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred, you will receive a 5,000-mile bonus! This means that if you transfer 60,000 Marriott points, you will receive 25,000 airline miles (with a few exceptions).

Capital One Rewards partners with Aeromexico Club Premier and Air France/KLM Flying Blue.

Bottom Line: There are many different ways to earn enough miles to fly on China Airlines.

China Airlines First Class Options

Unfortunately, China Airlines does not operate a first class cabin on routes to/from the United States. Even so, the business class on China Airlines is spectacular!

This is actually consistent with an aviation-wide trend of getting rid of first class and enhancing international business class products.

China Airlines Business Class Options

China Airlines Business Class
China Airlines business class. Image courtesy of china-airlines.com.

The business class cabin looks chic and elegant, complete with wooden finishes and velvet styling. You can expect a fantastic soft product, including The North Face amenities, fabulous inflight service, great food and beverage offerings, and comfortable bedding.

Some other cool idiosyncrasies include an onboard bar and library. All in all, you will not be disappointed when flying on China Airlines in business class. Is it as good as EVA Air, the other Taiwanese airline? Probably not — but it’s an excellent option nonetheless.

We find the A350 to have a better business class product, so our short ranking list is summarized here:

  1. A350-900
  2. 777-300ER

These 2 aircraft have the same exact business class seats: reverse herringbone with a 1-2-1 configuration in each row. The seats are each 22″ wide, 60″ in pitch, and 78″ long in bed mode.

Business Class on the A350-900

The A350 wins out over the 777-300ER for some relatively subtle reasons. First, the cabin size on the A350-900 is smaller — there are a total of 8 rows of business class seats for a total of 32 seats. The seat map looks like this:

China Airlines A350-900 Business Class Seat Map
China Airlines A350-900 business class seat map. Image credit: seatguru.com.

There is a single lavatory (which is interesting), and galleys are located at both the back and front of the business class cabin. As a traveler, I would lean toward sitting on the starboard side of the aircraft since the lavatory is on the port side.

Picking seats at the back of the cabin will minimize the amount of traffic near your seat, which is why you want to be far from any lavatories and out of their footpath. The top A350 business class seats would be 17G and 17K: at the back of the cabin, but not right next to the galley and economy lavatories behind it.

Also, the A350-900 is very technologically advanced; it has state-of-the-art features that make the cabin climate control more comfortable and reduce the inflight noisiness of the plane, among other benefits.

You can find this China Airlines A350-900 business class cabin on these routes:

  • Honolulu (HNL) – Taipei (TPE)
  • Ontario (ONT) – Taipei (TPE)

Business Class on the 777-300ER

This business class cabin is slightly larger, with 40 seats (remember that they’re physically identical to those on the A350-900). The business class section is split 2 two mini-cabins, with 6 rows in front and 4 in back as shown here:

China Airlines 777-300ER business class seat map. Image credit: seatguru.com.

As a general rule of thumb, you want to be as far from the business class lavatories as possible. The best way to meet this criteria is by reserving seats in row 23 at the back of the business class cabin.

These seats will not experience any foot traffic at all, but you might consider some potential noise due to bassinet seats just behind the business class cabin. If you can’t reserve these seats, choose row 22 for the second-most privacy.

You can find China Airlines flying the 777-300ER on these routes:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Taipei (TPE)
  • New York City (JFK) – Taipei (TPE)
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Taipei (TPE)

Bottom Line: China Airlines operates the A350-900 and the 777-300ER on all U.S. routes. The A350-900 is our winner with a smaller business class cabin and superior design, while the 777-300ER is the runner-up. 

China Airlines Premium Economy Class Options

China Airlines A350-900 premium economy
China Airlines A350-900 premium economy. Image credit: china-airlines.com

When flying in China Airlines premium economy, you can expect comfortable seats and polished inflight service. Just like business class, the A350-900 is our winner in premium economy, with the 777-300ER taking second place.

  1. A350-900
  2. 777-300ER

Premium Economy on the A350-900

On the A350-900, China Airlines offers 31 premium economy seats, each of which are 20″ wide with a 39″ pitch. This seat dimension exceeds the industry standard of 19″ in width and 38″ in pitch, meaning these seats are larger and more spacious (vital for a long-haul flight).

The seats are in a 2-3-2 configuration with lavatories located at the front as shown here:

China Airlines A350-900 Premium Economy Class Seat Map
China Airlines A350-900 premium economy class seat map. Image credit: seatguru.com.

As you can probably imagine, seats in rows 30 and 31 are uncomfortably close the lavatories, which you will want to avoid. The best seats will be in the back, specifically in row 34.

You’ll find our top China Airlines premium economy seats on these A350-900 routes:

  • Ontario (ONT) – Taipei (TPE)
  • Honolulu (HNL) – Taipei (TPE)

Premium Economy on the 777-300ER

Let’s move onto the 777-300ER premium economy. This aircraft’s premium economy section is double the size with smaller seats in a denser configuration than the A350-900.

Each of the 777-300ER premium economy seats are 19″ wide and 38″ in pitch, in a 2-4-2 arrangement as shown in the below seat map:

China Airlines 777-300ER Premium Economy Class Seat Map
China Airlines 777-300ER premium economy class seat map. Image credit: seatguru.com.

The best seats are going to be the bassinet seats in row 30 because they’re far from the lavatories located at the back of the premium economy cabin.

You will find this exact premium economy layout on the following 777-300ER routes from China Airlines:

  • San Francisco (SFO) – Taipei (TPE)
  • New York City (JFK) – Taipei (TPE)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Taipei (TPE)

Bottom Line: The more favorable cabin arrangement, wider seats, and more intimate cabin make the China Airlines A350-900 premium economy product a clear winner over the 777-300ER.

China Airlines Economy Class Options

China Airlines A350-900 economy
China Airlines A350-900 economy. Image credit: YouTube / Mondo Travel

When we’re talking about economy, there are a couple of differences when it comes to comparing China Airlines’ 2 aircraft. It may sound like splitting hairs, but choosing the right seat in the right plane can make a big difference for flights that are 12-16 hours.

Here’s our economy ranking for China Airlines:

  1. A350-900
  2. 777-300ER

Economy Class on the A350-900

The A350-900 operated by China Airlines contains 243 seats that are 18″ wide and 32″ in pitch, with a 3-3-3 configuration as shown here:

China Airlines A350-900 Economy Class Seat Map
China Airlines A350-900 economy class seat map. Image credit: seatguru.com.

The best seats will be in either row 40 or row 61 due to the extra legroom available. Keep in mind row 40 has no floor storage, and row 61 will have much more legroom because there is an exit row as opposed to the bulkhead. Avoid seats 61A and 61K due to the exit row protrusion. 

You’ll find the A350-900 on these China Airlines routes:

  • Honolulu (HNL) – Taipei (TPE)
  • Ontario (ONT) – Taipei (TPE)

Economy on the 777-300ER

The 777-300ER has 256 seats in a 3-4-3 configuration; the seats are 17″ wide and 32″ in pitch. This means that the seats are about 1″ narrower with more seats per row. The seat map looks like this:

China Airlines 777-300ER Economy Class Seat Map
China Airlines 777-300ER economy class seat map. Image credit: seatguru.com.

In this seat map, the best seats are 40A/B and 40H/J due to the extra legroom from the exit row. The next best seats will be 60B/C and 60H/J, which are close to the galley and lavatories but still have extra legroom on an exit row.

You will find this exact seating configuration on these China Airlines’ 777-300ER routes:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Taipei (TPE)
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Taipei (TPE)
  • New York City (JFK) – Taipei (TPE)

Bottom Line: China Airlines’ A350-900 has wider economy seats in a less dense configuration, which is why it beats out the 777-300ER’s economy seats. 

Final Thoughts

China Airlines doesn’t operate a hodgepodge of different aircraft (like Lufthansa, for example). This is good news because the products will be very consistent and easy to predict.

On China Airlines, you’ll find a top-tier business class product, a spacious premium economy seat, and decent economy seats. Now, you have all the information needed to plan your China Airlines flights, including routes, cabin classes, and aircraft types.


Featured Image Credit: China-airlines.com

FAQ

What's the best way to book China Airlines first class?

Unfortunately, China Airlines does not operate a first class product on their U.S. routes.

What's the best way to book China Airlines business class?

For one-way business class flights on China Airlines to/from the U.S. and Taipei, you can spend 85,000 Delta miles or 115,000 Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles.

Since Korean Air SKYPASS only allows round-trip bookings on SkyTeam partners, you can spend 155,000 Korean Air miles for round-trip business class between Taipei and the U.S.

If you’re open to the idea of round-the-world trips, you can use Aeromexico Club Premier and include China Airlines business class in your round-the-world itinerary.

What are the best ways to book China Airlines premium economy class?

One of the only ways you can book premium economy awards is with Air France/KLM Flying Blue. Currently, you can pay from 68,000 Flying Blue miles for one-way premium economy flights to/from the U.S. and Taipei.

What's the best way to book China Airlines economy class?

Air France/KLM Flying Blue charges as little as 34,500 miles one-way for economy flights, while Delta SkyMiles charges 35,000 miles one-way.

You can also pay 90,000 for round-trip travel using Korean Air miles, but this is highly inadvisable due to the redemption cost.

Stephen Au

About Stephen Au

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephen has been privileged to enjoy many premium cabin products and 5-star hotels. A petroleum engineer by trade, Stephen caught the travel bug in college when he traveled to Asia several times. After 2 years of continual promotions, Stephen quit his safe and secure career path in favor of entrepreneurship.

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