For many years I’ve felt a special hatred towards China Airlines, the kind of hatred normally reserved for murderers, rapists, the RIAA and Microsoft. Two years ago I decided to stop flying China Air once and for all. At that time, they compared with Singapore Air as follows: Singapore Air had monitors in front of every seat, and nice headsets to go along with them; passengers could watch movies on demand or play video games during their long flights. China Air had a shitty little headset which usually only worked for one ear, and five or ten radio channels that all sucked. Movies were only available in the larger screens dispersed around the cabin and passengers couldn’t choose which ones to watch. Singapore Air had a very safe track-record. China Air racked up more accidents, injuries and deaths than just about any of their competitors. Singapore Air had mildly uncomfortable seats. China Air had torture devices re-labeled as seats. Singapore Air had decent food. I literally threw up after one China Air meal. I’m sure you get the idea.
Well, this year I had no choice. Since I went home to see my family during the New Year, just like every other freaking Chinese guy and his idiot step-cousin, I couldn’t be choosy about airlines. After realizing I was stuck with China Air, I felt total despair. This time wasn’t so bad, though. They had the same snazzy movies on demand & video game set-up as Singapore Air has had for a long time. The food wasn’t so bad, either. All in all the flight was quite tolerable. It wasn’t perfect, though. When I arrived at the airport, they asked if an isle seat would be ok. I said sure, but that a window seat would be even better if they could arrange it. Stupid me. They gave me a window seat, right next to the wing. If I pressed my face against the window, I could sort of make out some stuff way in front of us, but that was it. To make matters worse, the seats were so cramped that I couldn’t sit normally. Since there was no room for my knees, I had to sit with them splayed out to the sides- frog style. Needless to mention, passing people was almost impossible. To make matters worse, an old woman who seemed to be in her 70’s was sitting next to me. Since she couldn’t stand up very easily, I had to contort myself and pick up one foot at a time with my hand to stretch in such a way as to pass her. I felt like a real scum every time I had to go by her like that to get to the bathroom.
All flight announcements were “trilingual”, but the English was so bad I honestly couldn’t make half of it out, even after hearing the same announcement in Chinese. On the good side, the service from the flight attendants I got was the best I’ve ever experienced; they even talked to me in Chinese after they realized I wanted to use it. All in all, I give the flight a 4/10 and I’ve decided that China Air isn’t nearly as bad as it used to be. Next time I have to fly home, if it’s at least $10/flight hour cheaper, I’ll fly China Air instead of Singapore Air.