Review: China Airlines Economy Class Manila to Taipei (Airbus A330-300)

In this review, we take a China Airlines flight in economy class on the Airbus A330-300 from Manila (MNL) to Taipei (TPE).

Manila Airport

China Airlines flies out of Terminal 1 of Manila Airport – which is by far the most overcrowded an dilapidated of all of the airport terminals and frankly one of the worst in the world.

As the designated business lounge – the PAGSS Lounge – isn’t much better, I went to my departure gate a bit early.

Fortunately, the airport agents did handle the boarding procedure a lot better than I expected. A part of the seating area in front of the gate was roped off for the exclusive use of business class and Sky Priority passengers.

There was not only plenty of space to sit in comfort and quietness at the gate area, but it also assured that priority boarding was neatly observed.

NAIA terminal 1
Check-in madness at Manila Airport Terminal 1. ©Paliparan
manila airport naia terminal 1
Manila Airport Terminal 1. ©Paliparan
boarding manila gate
Boarding was efficiently done as priority passengers were directed to a separate seating area roped off from the other passengers. ©Paliparan
china airlines airbus a330
The China Airlines Airbus A330-300 which would fly me from Manila to Taipei. ©Paliparan

Manila (MNL) to Taipei (TPE) on China Airlines
Flight CI 704 – Airbus A330-300 – Economy class, seat 10A
Departure: 4.45pm
– Arrival: 7pm
Flight time: 2h15m– Distance: 727 miles
Costs: 280 EUR for MNL-TPE-FCO

manila taipei flight map
It takes around two hours to fly between Manila and Taipei. ©Great Circle Mapper

China Airlines Airbus A330

As priority boarding was strictly enforced I was one of the first to board the Airbus A330, which forms the backbone of China Airlines’ regional fleet.

This Airbus A330 was however clearly showing its age. The seats looked a bit old and worn out and the in-flight entertainment system was an ancient relic with low-resolution seatback screens.

That said, there were definitely some positives as well about the China Airlines Airbus A330.

The economy class seats on the China Airlines Airbus A330 are in a 2-4-2 configuration, which gives quite a bit more shoulder room than the 3-3-3 or even 3-4-3 configuration you would find on most of the newer planes.

The seat itself was well padded and fairly comfortable – certainly much better than your average modern-day slimline seat. For a two-hour-long regional flight, it’s certainly a much better economy class seat than those on board the bulk of airlines in Europe.

Officially, the seat pitch is 31 to 32 inch in economy class on this plane while the seat width is 18 inch.

economy class seating airbus a330 china airlines
Seating is in a 2-4-2 configuration on board the Airbus A330. ©Paliparan
china airlines airbus a330
Economy class seats on the China Airlines Airbus A330. ©Paliparan


Although boarding took a while due to the flight being almost fully booked, we pushed back from the gate on time.

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 was taxiing behind us – I could only wish I would be back on that airline sipping a Singapore Sling in business class like I did the day before!

Take-off was a bit choppy due to the bad weather this summer day with wind gusts shaking up the aeroplane a bit.

singapore airlines boeing 787 taxiing manila
Taxiing towards the runway with a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 following shortly behind our plane. ©Paliparan
manila take-off china airlines airbus a330
Take-off from Manila on a rainy and stormy day. ©Paliparan

In-flight service

The in-flight service kicked in almost immediately once we reached cruising altitude.

I know it’s the industry standard in Asia for a full-service airline, but as an European I really can’t complain when a full hot meal is served on a flight of only two hours in length.

The meal itself – I took the beef and a Taiwan Beer to wash it all down – was even fairly tasty. It was served with a small desert, some fresh fruit and a cup of water.

China Airlines serves complimentary beer and wine in economy class and flight attendants also made a coffee and tea run. Overall, the service was efficient and friendly.

china airlines economy class meal airbus a330
My economy class meal on a China Airlines short-haul flight between Manila and Taipei. ©Paliparan
taiwan beer china airlines economy class
Drinking a Taiwan Beer on my China Airlines flight. ©Paliparan

In-flight entertainment

As the flight between Manila and Taipei was fairly short, I did not watch anything on the in-flight entertainment system on this flight.

If you want to charge your mobile phone or laptop, you will find that there is a power socket between every two seats in economy class on the China Airlines Airbus A330, so you will have to share the power outlet with your neighbour.


With our arrival time being in the early evening, there weren’t any views from the window whatsoever on arrival as darkness had already fallen.

After a smooth landing, we arrived at Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport right on time.


My China Airlines flight on the Airbus A330 between Manila and Taipei was certainly enjoyable as this Taiwanese airline offers a perfectly acceptable economy class product.

Although the China Airlines Airbus A330 is showing its age, the economy cabin is spacious and the seats are comfortable.

Even on a short regional flight like this you will get a full meal and drinks – which certainly makes it more pleasant compared to your average flight across Europe or America.

Trip report index

This article is part of the ‘Journey to Java‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:

1. Review: Wizz Air Bucharest to Rome Ciampino (Airbus A321)
2. Half a Day in Rome: A Walk Around the Eternal City
3. Review: Casa Alitalia Lounge ‘Piazza di Spagna’ Rome Fiumicino Airport
4. Review: Saudia Business Class Rome to Riyadh (Airbus A320)
5. Review: Saudia Alfursan Business Lounge Riyadh Airport
6. Review: Saudia Business Class Riyadh to Jakarta (Boeing 777-300)
7. Review: The Hermitage, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Jakarta, Indonesia
8. A Day in Jakarta: Exploring Indonesia’s Bustling Capital City
9. Review: Garuda Indonesia Domestic Business Lounge Jakarta Airport
10. Review: Garuda Indonesia Business Class Jakarta to Yogyakarta (Boeing 737-800)
11. Review: The Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta – Mgallery By Sofitel
12. A Magical Sunrise Visit to Borobudur Temple
13. A Visit to the Great Hindu Temple Complex of Prambanan
14. Review: Yogyakarta to Surabaya (Indonesia) by Train
15. Review: Majapahit Hotel, Surabaya, Indonesia
16. A Day in Surabaya: Exploring Indonesia’s Second Biggest City
17. Review: Concordia Premier Lounge Surabaya Airport
18: Review: Singapore Airlines Business Class Surabaya to Singapore (Airbus A330-300)
19. A Short Singapore Stopover: Into the City or Stay at the Airport?
20. Review: SilverKris Lounge Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2
21. Review: Singapore Airlines Business Class Singapore to Manila (Boeing 787-10)
22. Review: PAGSS Business Lounge Manila Airport Terminal 1
23. Review: China Airlines Economy Class (Airbus A330-300) Manila to Taipei (current chapter)
24. Review: China Airlines Business Lounge Taipei Airport Terminal 1
25. Review: China Airlines Economy Class Taipei to Rome (Airbus A350)
26. Review: TAROM Economy Class Rome to Bucharest (Boeing 737-700)

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Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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4 thoughts on “Review: China Airlines Economy Class Manila to Taipei (Airbus A330-300)

  • September 15, 2021 at 5:32 pm

    Koen I spotted your obvious mistake!

    ‘Surabaya (SUB) to Singapore (SIN) on Singapore Airlines
    Flight CI 704 – Airbus A330-300 – Economy class, seat 10A’

    Please delete this when done!

    • Avatar photo
      September 15, 2021 at 6:53 pm

      Cheers, I corrected it!

      I had copy pasted the format from an earlier trip report and forgot to change the first bit!

      • September 16, 2021 at 4:26 pm

        Sorry, I’ve found another! That’s an SQ 777 in the pic, not a 787-10.

        • Avatar photo
          September 16, 2021 at 4:37 pm

          You are sharp today Pete! And I clearly not making the mistake..

          (three cockpit windows on each side of the 777 vs 2 on the 787, you are right indeed)


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