SHANDELLE Battersby flies China Airlines from Auckland to Taipei and rates the trip.
The plane: An Airbus A330-300 which, with its pink and purple theme, felt a little dated.
Price: China Airlines is Taiwan's biggest airline. To fly to the capital, Taipei, its cheapest return flights are $1300.
On time: No, about half an hour late leaving, which didn't matter too much as we had to stop in Sydney to refuel, so made the time up there.
We arrived at Taipei's Taoyuan Airport slightly earlier than the scheduled 5.40am.
How full: The Auckland to Sydney leg was almost empty so I ditched my seat (25A, one of two) and lay down in the four-seater row in the middle of the aisle and had a short nap.
The Sydney to Taipei leg was too full to do the same, but my seat was next to an empty one, so I could curl up across them both for the remaining nine hours.
Fellow passengers: A mixture until Sydney, then mostly Asians, many wearing face masks. Not a bad idea actually.
Entertainment: A personalised screen, thank goodness, but a fairly average selection of movies and television. I did get to watch the excellent Argo, but left Les Miserables for another lifetime.
The service: Pleasant and friendly but I almost had to hunt the hostie down to get a second glass of wine.
Food and drink: It's strange when you have to make a pit-stop after just three hours, meaning you are served two dinners.
Each had a choice of two Chinese dishes (beef and rice, chicken and noodles), and breakfast was either more noodles or an omelette.
The drinks selection was limited, but there was some good tea doing the rounds.
The toilets: One was enormous by plane toilet standards, the other was the usual tight squeeze. I generally try to avoid them at all costs.
Luggage: The usual 20kg plus 7kg carry-on.
The airport experience: Taoyuan Airport sports one of the coolest things I have ever seen at an airport - a Hello Kitty check-in room for Taiwanese airline Eva Air, complete with a row of Hello Kitty kiosks.
I did notice, however, that there were more photo shoots going on in there than actual check-ins.
Eva Air also has jets covered in Hello Kitty livery.
Would I fly this again: I would definitely fly China Airlines to Sydney. If there were a better option for long-haul I would take that because the pit-stop to refuel in Australia was a drag.
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