Friday, December 12, 2014

China Airlines Lounge in Taipei (Divine!) and Korean Air Business Class (A Joke!)

This airlines lounge and airlines review post is long overdue but better late than never, right?

I flew from Taipei directly to Seoul and decided to bite the bullet and stay in Taipei for as long as possible for the sake of my client.  To do so, I opted to skip the earlier Cathay flight and instead had my secretary book me on the later Korean Air flight.
Super retro signs advertising the business lounge

I soon came to regret that decision with the burning of a thousand suns.  But the regret was not immediate, because at first at the airport I was really enjoying the zen, organic, original and creative design of the China Airlines lounge.

I loved the design - the rough hewn wood planks, the stone slabs, the marble floor, the big bonsai tree, the muted lighting, the huge oversized glass lanterns… you get the idea.  So as much as China Airlines sometimes gets a bad rap, their flagship lounge is delightful.

The soup was delicious, the fruit was fresh, the soda water was plentiful, and they offered a delicious array of TWG tea… and that was about all I know because I was struggling with the aftereffects of my greasy lunch.

The nightmare really didn't begin until I was getting ready to board my Korean Air flight.  Everyone around me was bundled in boots and down jackets and I, in my thin cardigan and blazer, was really starting to get nervous.  I was feeling cold in anticipation, I kid you not!

Anyway, once I boarded the plane, disaster struck.

I was shocked - no, appalled!! at the business class seats of Korean Air.  Oh. Em. Gee.

The seats had two settings - slightly inclined, and barely slightly more inclined.  There was a metal footrest that would come down after much budging.  There was a tiny tv screen which for half the flight I did not realize existed (it's the kind you pull up from the side armrest).  They did not turn off the fluorescent lights in the cabin for the entire duration of the flight.  The light bounced off of the starkly turquoise seats in a migraine inducing combination.  I wish I had had the time to get a good picture of the business class cabin, but I was seriously too miserable.

The flight was delayed for an hour and half (please God, no…) but I guess that's not so much Korean Air's fault as it was the Taipei airport's fault.  Seriously, I have become so incredibly spoiled by Hong Kong air traffic control and the entire airport system in general.  How is it that nearly every single flight I've taken out of Taipei is delayed?  Disgusting.

I had heard good reviews of the food on Korean Air, but I am afraid I was really in no mood to deal with this this time around.  I barely touched my bibimpap, which came with a vacuum packed tray of white rice:

I wasn't yet so far gone that I couldn't appreciate the tube of hot sauce.  How quintessentially Korean.
The spread:

Yeah… I'm sorry but I don't think I will be taking Korean Air again if I can help it… well, unless I literally have front row seats to some of this crazy (also here and here)?  

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