Review: China Airlines Lounge Taipei Airport Terminal 1

Filed Under: China Airlines

For the return portion of my trip I was flying Philippine Airlines from Taipei to Manila to Toronto, thanks to a great business class fare (~1,200USD). That would allow me to finally experience Philippine Airlines’ A350 business class, which has been on my radar for a while.

I had spent the night at the Novotel Taipei Tayouan Airport after arriving from Penang, and in the wee hours of the morning headed back to the airport to review a couple of lounges.

Philippine Airlines uses the China Airlines Lounge in Terminal 1 for their business class passengers, so I was looking forward to checking that out.

China Airlines Lounge Taipei Terminal 1 Review

Taipei Taoyuan Airport is China Airlines’ hub, and the airline has four lounges there. I had reviewed China Airlines’ Terminal 2 Lounge in the past, though in this case could check out their flagship lounge in Terminal 1.

China Airlines Lounge Location

China Airlines has two lounges in Terminal 1. After clearing security and then immigration, just walk either left or right, and then down the hall you’ll see the escalator and elevator leading up a level to the lounges along the center of the terminal.

Taipei Taoyuan Airport Terminal 1 lounges

In the same area you have two China Airlines lounges, two Plaza Premium lounges, a Cathay Pacific lounge, and the Starlux Airlines lounge.

Taipei Taoyuan Airport Terminal 1 lounge locations

China Airlines’ most well-regarded lounge is the very first one on the “A” side.

China Airlines Lounge Taipei entrance

China Airlines Lounge Hours

The China Airlines Lounge Terminal 1 that I was using is open daily from 5:30AM until 11:30PM, which covers virtually all departures at the airport.

Interestingly the other China Airlines Lounge just a couple of lounges over is open daily from 5:30AM until 9AM, and then from 11AM until 3PM, so I guess it’s only open for peak periods.

How To Access The China Airlines Lounge

Generally speaking, the China Airlines Lounge is a SkyTeam business class lounge, meaning it can be accessed by:

  • China Airlines and other SkyTeam business class passengers
  • SkyTeam Elite Plus members traveling on a SkyTeam airline same day can also use the lounge, and can bring a guest

Philippine Airlines also contracts to use the lounge, and perhaps there are other non-alliance airlines that use the lounge as well. This lounge doesn’t belong to Priority Pass, though.

China Airlines Lounge Layout & Seating

There was a large entrance to the lounge with about half a dozen staff standing around ready to welcome people. Despite having a mobile boarding pass from a partner airline, I was invited in within seconds.

I love the natural elements the lounge uses, including wood and stone. There was a long entryway leading into the main part of the lounge.

China Airlines Lounge entryway

There were some magazines and newspapers along one of the walls in this area.

China Airlines Lounge magazines & newspapers

There was also a door leading to the Paragon and Emerald exclusive area. The door was closed so I’m not sure if it was actually closed, or if they just open that section when an eligible guest arrives.

This is for China Airlines’ own elite members, and apparently this area has seating for 68 guests.

China Airlines Lounge Paragon & Emerald Exclusive area

The entrance to the business class lounge was at the very end of the hallway, and had seating for 154 guests.

China Airlines Business Class Lounge entrance

The business class lounge was gorgeous. Inside the entrance were some dining tables with two seats each.

China Airlines Lounge seating

China Airlines Lounge seating

Along each side of the lounge were a couple of dozen couches, which is the main seating option in this lounge.

China Airlines Lounge seating

China Airlines Business Class Lounge seating

Seriously, how pretty is this for an airline lounge?!

China Airlines Lounge seating

The lounge doesn’t have natural light due to its location, though China Airlines did a great job with making the most of the situation. Not only did they choose decor that works well with minimal light, but there was also a wall with plants and some (non-natural) light.

In the back of the lounge are some communal tables, as well as some more dining tables.

China Airlines Business Class Lounge seating

China Airlines Business Class Lounge seating

China Airlines Business Class Lounge seating

I thought the decor was lovely, and this is easily one of the nicest business class lounges I’ve been to in Asia in terms of decor.

China Airlines Lounge Food & Drinks

Not only did the lounge have nice decor, but it also had a solid food and drink selection. While the main buffet was in the back of the lounge, just inside the entrance was an area with a coffee machine, juice, liquor, wine, and some bread and pastries.

China Airlines Lounge buffet

China Airlines Lounge food selection

China Airlines Lounge food selection

China Airlines Lounge drink selection

China Airlines Lounge drink selection

The main dining area in the back of the lounge had a variety of hot and cold dishes, as well as a custom noodle bar. I’ll let the pictures of the food speak mostly for themselves.

China Airlines Business Lounge buffet

China Airlines Business Lounge buffet

China Airlines Business Lounge buffet

China Airlines Business Lounge buffet

China Airlines Business Lounge buffet

China Airlines Business Lounge buffet

China Airlines Business Lounge buffet

China Airlines Business Lounge buffet

China Airlines Business Lounge buffet

China Airlines Business Lounge buffet

China Airlines Business Lounge buffet

China Airlines Business Lounge buffet

China Airlines Business Lounge buffet

China Airlines Business Lounge buffet

China Airlines Business Lounge buffet

For a business class lounge I’d say that’s a pretty outstanding food selection.

China Airlines Lounge Bathrooms, Showers, And Nap Rooms

The bathrooms, showers, and nap area, were in the hallway between the entrance to the lounge and the business class section. There was a nap area that had two partitioned off rooms, each with a daybed.

China Airlines Lounge nap area

Both the bathrooms and shower rooms were well maintained and nice.

China Airlines Lounge bathroom

China Airlines Lounge shower room

China Airlines Lounge T1 Bottom Line

China Airlines’ T1 Taoyuan Lounge is excellent, among the best major business class lounges I’ve seen in Asia. The decor is beautiful (and nicely matches the carrier’s onboard cabins), the food selection was good, and the lounge has shower rooms and nap areas.

In my opinion this is significantly better than any of the lounges that EVA Air has at TPE.

If you’ve visited the China Airlines Lounge Taipei, what was your experience like?

  1. I was there in August and it was literally wall to wall people in the lounge . I agree it’s a nice lounge, but not when there are no seats.

  2. I was there a few years ago – looks like it was empty when you were there! It was slammed with people when I was there, but one of the nicest lounges I’ve been to with great food – there was a long wait for a shower. I annoyed my gf at the time by insisting I take a shower after our JFK-TPE flight while then connecting to KIX, even though we were about to head to the gate when my name was called. Love an airport shower though! (We made the flight just fine)

  3. Am I the only one surprised by how lowsy EVA’s lounges are at TPE? Seems like a missed opportunity for one of the world’s best airlines. That said, the have pretty nice shower rooms 🙂

  4. I find EVA to be the best in Business Class across the Pacific but their lounges tend to be below average. It would be nice to see facilities upgraded along these lines.

    PAL – especially ground service and connecting through Manila – is probably the worst option in South East Asia. I try them every few years then swear it off again. Friendly crews, but ground service can be frustratingly messy; and the inflight product is not sophisticated. However, you seem to be well adjusted to this with all your AA travels out of Miami.

    Happy travels.

  5. No. Just no.

    This lounge is terrible. Except the case they have revamped it completely in the last 4 months (pictures look the same), it’s not good.

    Half of the sitting was uncomfortable. The space had the feel of a cave. There was no natural light, and the ambient lighting was way too dark. Worst part was the capacity, or there lack of. Horribly crowded! Even priority pass lounges have been better! And I was there on a Saturday. Between the people and the smell of food and lack of natural light, it was positively suffocating. I ran out to the gate early.

    This seems to be China Airlines style, because their SFO lounge feels exactly the same (af lounge downstairs feels much more breathable, even though it’s priority pass).

    Lucky seems to have a soft spot for China Airlines, which I feel to be unwarranted.

  6. So your final analysis Lucky is that EVA is better overall in the air, but China Airlines has better lounges in Taipei?

  7. This is one of the few areas where China Airlines is better than EVA. EVA should really upgrade their lounges. They can easily close off one side (preferably The Star, since that’s more dated than The Infinity) and renovate without too much impact.

    Starlux still seems like the top of the pack though, with a la carte dining.

  8. The food quality improved significantly since they switched the catering to Novotel, the food used to be sub-par but it’s much better now. The paragon/emerald area has a different made to order menu similar to those of other F lounges which is pretty nice.

  9. I agree with Ben. The CI lounges at TPE are pretty good. As for the business class lounge admittance, anyone ranging from gold member to paragon member in CI Dynasty’s program can access it on any ticket. As for the exclusive area, I have used it before as it is a more secluded area reserved for emerald and paragon members. The door is unlocked as you need to be escorted in there and there will be another attendant checking you in at the front. There is a smaller buffet section with complimentary a la carte dining. I know emerald members can bring in a guest.

  10. Hi, does anyone know, if you can exit departures areas, back through to arrivals? I’m flying J class with CI from SYD-VIE in May, with an 18 hour transit. Hoping to use the CI lounge in terminal 1 to shower and freshen up, before clearing immigration/ customs and heading into the city for a few hours.

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