Flight Review: China Airlines flights CI 702 and CI 130

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Lavender – China Airlines’ signature color.

I used to get discouraged from traveling to certain destinations by the lack of direct flights. I found it time-consuming and unnecessary. But now that I had to go to Sapporo (where there isn’t a direct flight from Manila), I was ecstatic about having the option of choosing from so many cities as stopovers! I guess it really is all about perspective. When I was searching for flights, China Airlines (with a stopover in Taipei) came up as one of the cheapest options. 

NOTE: Since most people get confused by this 
CHINA AIRLINES 
– [alliance: Skyteam] 
– is a Republic of China (ROC) aka TAIWAN airline 
– which flies to Taipei from Manila.
AIR CHINA 
– [alliance: Star Alliance] 
– is a PEOPLE’S Republic of China (PRC) aka CHINA airline 
– which flies to Beijing from Manila.

There were others available for a similar price but I could not choose them because they were with two different airlines (and others connecting in different airports even, as in Haneda and Narita). I did of course consider taking budget airlines and (thankfully) I didn’t have to. For one, the price when baggage was included would be the same price as legacy carriers (sans the refreshments, entertainment, legroom and miles). In addition, I would have a problem with my luggage. 

 
I had to take one airline so that my heavy check-in luggage could be tagged from Manila all the way to Sapporo, without having to retrieve it at my stopover airport, where I planned to spend a day exploring the city during my stopover. So China Airlines was simply the most practical choice!

FLIGHT CI 702 MANILA-TAIPEI
On CI702, the meal was completely inedible. I gave feedback to the airline to consider changing their supplier. The rest of my review is written below as photo captions.
The Mahjong game was a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, what was under the gold foil wasn’t.

 

 

It tastes exactly how it looks – pretty gross. I didn’t finish it.

 

I won! It’s called a “zi mo” (drawing the winning tile as opposed to taking a discarded one from a player)

 

Couldn’t keep track of my wins (or losses)

 

The rear of the aircraft had a camera that showed what we were flying over. Pretty cool!

 

 

I asked for a complimentary pen and poker cards as souvenirs together with the in-flight magazine, which was impressive in all three languages (Chinese, English, Japanese.)
Apparently, some entertainment systems weren’t working. But cash vouchers were available for everyone on our plane to claim! Not everyone did though.


FLIGHT CI 130 TAIPEI-SAPPORO

After a fun night in Taoyuan, it was time to go back to the airport and board another plane (but not before making a trip to the airport lounge which has earned me a reputation for always being the last to board, much to the ground crew’s exasperation.)
On CI130, someone was in my seat 40H and I agreed to be reseated to 38I. However, there was a mistake and I received a vegetarian meal which was supposed to be served to someone part of a group so I ended up not eating on board again.
When I received my check-in luggage at CTS (Sapporo) airport, it was tied with some rope because it was damaged and had opened. I do not think that the zippers and padlock can be easily removed so I believe my luggage was mishandled. :/

 

As one of the last people to board (pretty used to it by now), someone took my seat and I was seated near the bathroom and exit row (aka lots of looking away as to not make eye contact with the FAs.)

 

By this time, I realized I was really unlucky with airplane food on this airline. I couldn’t understand what I was served, but I knew it was some kind of tofu dish. Later I found out that it was a vegetarian meal meant for someone from a group. I hate vegetables. Upon landing, the FAs were sincerely apologetic but it didn’t really matter at that point.

 

The big finale: receiving my luggage in this condition. Lock removed, zippers gone, tied with rope and tape although nothing was stolen. Afterward, my luggage and I also received some heaving petting patting down from the customs officials, being the only one with a different citizenship traveling into Japan from Taiwan. I suppose they had reason to be suspicious.

I am still awaiting further feedback from the airline.

Despite getting a great deal on my flights, I still feel like I didn’t get my money’s worth with all that had happened. Overall Rating: 2/5.

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