Taiwan’s China Airlines’ first Boeing 777-300ER aircraft has landed at its home base of Taipei. Line number 1227, registration B-18051 is part of a 10 aircraft order. The carrier will induct two more 777-300ERs in October and November this year.
The 777-300ERs will feature a new cabin product designed by award-winning Taiwanese architect Ray Chen. China Airlines will seat 358 passengers on its new aircraft in a three class cabin configuration. Business, premium economy and economy class.
The economy class will feature the new ‘Family Couch’ seats similar to the ‘Sky Couch’ pioneered by Air New Zealand, where three seats convert into a flat surface with the footrests inclining up 90 degrees. China Airlines is the first airline in the world to license Skycouch from Air New Zealand. There will be 30 Family Couch seats in the first 10 rows of economy class. Regrettably, the airline has opted for the 10-abreast 17 inch bone-crunching economy class seating.
The premium economy will feature 39 inch seat pitch in an eight abreast 2-4-2 arrangement. These seats feature a hard-shell back with a seat slide-forward arrangement, similar to the premium economy of Air France. An intelligent move by the airline considering the recent spate of incidents in the United States and on-going debate about reclining seats and the effect on passengers seated in the row behind.
The Premium Business Class will have 40 flat-bed seats in a 10 row herringbone arrangement and will feature the ‘Sly Lounge’ which will offer speciality teas, coffees and a bar, along with green bean cakes, pastries, nuts, tapas and other snacks.
Since this is the first 777 of any variant for China Airlines, the new 777-300ERs will be a new aircraft type for the airline. The flight, cabin and ground crew will need training and a minimum number of landings before it can operate on long distance flights. The carrier will use the new aircraft on the Taipei Hong Kong route beginning October 10th, and commence using the new aircraft on the Taipei Los Angeles service in December later expanding to New York JFK and San Francisco in 2015.