Taiwan-based China Airlines has taken the reins of its first long-range Boeing 777-300ER jet, complete with new business class, premium economy and economy seats – but no first class cabin.
Already zipping between Taipei and Hong Kong, the Boeing 777-300ER is the first of 10 destined for the airline, with the remainder to appear on flights to New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco in the United States.
China Airlines' Boeing 777-300ERs will carry 358 passengers split across three cabins – 40 seats in business class, 62 seats in premium economy and 256 seats in economy – with an interior created by award-winning Taiwanese architect Ray Chen.
Chen will also oversee the interior of China Airlines' new Airbus A350s, and has already said that the A350's style will be less staid and more "brisk" than that of the Boeing 777-300ER.
China Airlines Boeing 777-300ER business class
Business class is the biggest upgrade for China Airlines, as the Boeing 777-300ER features fully lie-flat beds instead of the 'sloping sleepers' found on other aircraft in the fleet.
The 40 business class seats are a modified version of B/E Aerospace's Super Diamond model set in a 1-2-1 layout so that every passenger has direct access to the aisle.
Designer Chen says that the texture of the persimmon tree's grain will decorate the cabin walls, with books and Taiwanese tea supplied so that passengers feel like they are sitting in their own study or a teahouse...
... admittedly, a teahouse with LED mood lighting:
Each seat gets a generously-sized 18 inch video screen with a 4.1 inch 'second screen' on the handheld controller, while AC and USB sockets will keep your travel tech charged during the flight.
The cabin will also include a 'quiet zone' – not that business class can get especially rowdy in the first place – with a walk-up bar.
China Airlines Boeing 777-300ER Sky Lounge business class bar
The Sky Lounge is a walk-up bar for business class passengers, taking a leaf from the social playbook of Emirates and Etihad.
It's a self-serve bar, rather than staffed by a mixologist, which also boasts a selection of snacks and books.
China Airlines Boeing 777-300ER premium economy
The 62 premium economy seats look to be a definite cut above their low-cost economy cousins, and are designed with a fixed-back shell into which the seat reclines and slides forward.
In a 2-4-2 layout, the premium economy cabin retains that 'treehouse' feeling, with the theme continuing on the cabin walls and on the cocktail tables.
Each features a leg rest and foot rest, a 12.1" screen, AC and USB power sockets...
... plus what China Airlines claims to be an "iPad-friendly" tray table.
China Airlines Boeing 777-300ER economy
The economy section is kitted out in a 3-4-3 configuration, which puts elbow room at a premium on Boeing 777 aircraft...
... but with selected seats folding out to form a 'Family Couch', the squeeze will be considerably less noticeable:
This is the same design as Air New Zealand's Skycouch, which China Southern has licensed from the Kiwi carrier.
With the footrests and armrests raised the Family Couch's total area measures 140cm long and 64cm wide.
All economy seats use a slimline design from Zodiac Aerospace with a 32 inch pitch and a recline up to 116 degrees, compared to the current 106 degrees. Each passenger gets a 11.1 inch HD video screen.
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.