During my SkyTeam trip I have been to many lounges, most of which simply met expectations. The KLM Lounge in Amsterdam, for example, was a bit bigger than I pictured, but the amenities, food, and service were exactly what I expected. Even the wonderful Garuda First Class lounge, where I sit now, is simply meeting expectations. But one lounge surprised me: China Airlines’ Terminal 1 business class lounge in Taipei.
I was in Taipei a few years ago with my brother as part of our last great US Airways business class redemption (back then, business class to Asia was only 90K miles round-trip). We were flying Air China from Taipei to Beijing and for whatever reason instead of using the Star Alliance EVA lounge, Air China used the China Airlines’ SkyTeam lounge in Terminal 2. While nothing was wrong with it, I recall it simply as another pedestrian lounge without much character:
During my latest TPE transit, I expected to visit a very similar lounge (only in Terminal 1). Much to my surprise, I found a refreshed and re-designed lounge that made me feel like I was sitting on a large outdoor terrace surrounded by a forest. The dim lighting, dark color scheme and wood that appears in China Airlines’ business class cabin also figures in the lounge design.
The business lounge was rectangular in shape with seating around the sides and food in the middle. One station had drinks and snacks while the other had a large number hot and cold items plus a noodle bar.
The lounge was empty when I arrived and though it filled up as time went on, it never felt crowded. Having just eaten breakfast prior to landing I did not eat anything, but did make use of the internet. Speeds were fast – I was easily able to make several Skype calls.
China Airlines has come a long way in recent years and its TPE Terminal 1 lounge is another testament to that. I’ll include more pictures in the full lounge review.