Review: Premium Economy on China Airlines
The idea of spending more than 12 hours on a cramped seat across the Pacific Ocean can make anyone anxious. Just a few weeks ago, my family had to book a last minute trip from San Francisco to Manila, roundtrip. With just a couple of weeks before the date of travel and right at the peak summer travel, airfares were expensive. Flying business class was out of the question (because it is out of the budget). We compared fares between economy and premium economy and found only a difference of several hundred dollars on China Airlines. China Airlines had the lowest price in premium economy for our travel dates and had a reasonable connection time in Taipei. With my husband giving me the greenlight to book premium economy, I went ahead and bit the bullet.
Premium economy comes with a few extra perks aside from the more comfortable seats. Baggage allowance from SFO to MNL roundtrip is 2 pieces, 62 lbs each as opposed to 50 pounds each on regular economy. That 12 lbs makes a difference especially to Filipinos who like to bring a lot of pasalubong for relatives back home. The bags are also tagged for premium economy, so the bags come out of the conveyor before the rest of the economy passengers.
The most important aspect of this cabin for me are the seats. On long haul flights to Asia, most airlines have 10 seats across (a 3-4-3 seat configuration). On premium economy, there are only 8 seats across, (a 2-4-2 seat configuration). The seats had leg support and a foot rest. The seats are wide and you don’t rub shoulders with your next seat neighbor. There is a good sized inflight entertainment system and a usb slot for charging your devices. I should mention that China Airlines only offers premium economy on the long haul leg of our trip (SFO-TPE / TPE-SFO). The flight between TPE and MNL was in regular economy. Premium economy passengers also get priority boarding after elite frequent fliers and after business class passengers, there is no priority boarding between TPE and MNL because there is no premium economy cabin on this segment of the flight.
There seems to be a larger tray of food served for premium economy passengers also but it is the same entree’ as regular economy. There are 2 restrooms dedicated to premium economy passengers and there can be a line sometimes but there are 2 other economy restrooms behind the curtain that separates premium economy and economy that the premium passengers can use.
Service from the cabin crew is polite but not warm unlike the service you would get if you fly business or first class. There is a North Face amenity kit handed out to passengers which includes a toothbrush, moisturizer, eye mask and ear plugs.
I know I just gave you the 411 on what to expect on premium economy cabin on China Airlines. Now the question is, is it worth it? For me, the answer is a resounding YES! If it is in the budget for me to pay the extra $$$ and fly premium economy, I definitely would. My family slept very comfortably on our long haul flights. Before we flew from Taipei to SFO, we had agreed to sleep for as little as possible so that we can sleep when we arrived at SFO (our plane landed at around 8:30 pm). But that did not happen. We were asleep for 7 of the 11 hour flight. That is proof that the seat is very comfortable. There is a big selection of Hollywood and Asian movies, but it was not a big list of new movies. There were several TV shows available as well.
So if you are traveling to Manila or any other destination, definitely consider flying on premium economy. Call or text us at 650 757 5555 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you compare the prices of economy and premium economy on your next trip.