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Cathay vs China Air - comments? Intl. flight from US

Travel Forums Asia Cathay vs China Air - comments? Intl. flight from US

1. Posted by andy_d (Budding Member 40 posts) 7y

Just looking for general consensus on both airlines. China Air is cheaper but wondering if I'm better off with Cathay even if I have to pay more (~200)

2. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 823 posts) 7y

Both are fine airlines. Cathay is up there amongst the best in the world, but I was quite happy with China Air too. The way I see it, what do you get with a better airline? Better movies, a nicer meal, more frequent drink service? If that stuff is really important to you, go with the cheap one and when you arrive at your destination take that $200 you've saved and go to a nice restaurant, treat yourself to a movie of your choice, have a few drinks, and have money to spare for your holiday.

3. Posted by andy_d (Budding Member 40 posts) 7y

My only concern with picking an international flight is about the flight / plane itself. Most of my future flights will always be compared to Czech Air which was the worst airline I've ever been on. I still remember seeing the plane from the window - myself and two other friends were petrified by it - looked like an older plane (and it was) and too small for international. Obviously still was capable for international flights but that entire flight to Czech Republic was probably the worst experience I've ever had on a plane. I don't really care about entertainment or food on the plane - I bring my own entertainment and snacks just in case.

But with that said, I hear China Air is actually pretty good in comparison to Cathay but I ended up with Cathay because it fit with the flight times I wanted with a long enough layover in a city so I get to wander around a little before I leave Asia.

Ended up getting a pretty good deal through a travel agent. Saved $600 on what it would have cost me to book online :)

4. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1687 posts) 7y

Quoting andy_d

Just looking for general consensus on both airlines. China Air is cheaper but wondering if I'm better off with Cathay even if I have to pay more (~200)

In the past I used China Airlines a lot from the US to Asia. I like CI. I have had several flights on Cathay also and it was okay. I think the food on Cathay and NWA, my current airline for Asia, is better than CI. What I really liked about China Air is their arrival time in Asia!! I hate getting up early for a flight! When I used Cathay it was within Asia and I am not sure of their arrival time in Asia when flying from the US.

I flew out of JFK at times and other times flying out of LAX and SFO. I like their schedule of leaving the US late at night and arriving in Manila or Bangkok during the day hours. For me, anytime I can arrive in a foreign country during the day hours is a plus. That is when you get to use cheaper transportation and have a full night in a hotel instead of paying for a full night and arriving around 1 a.m. and getting a half night.

The only reason I switched to NWA is that I get more benefits, more bonus miles with my platinum or gold card, more free upgrades than I ever got with CI. Also I fly out of Boston and at the time I switched over it was not as easy to book CI direct from Boston. I fly often and like my free flights and upgrades. If I only few once or twice a year I would still stick with CI. I fly out of Boston. I either flew to JFK and then with CI flew to Alaska and then to Taiwan and then to the final stop. Other times I used frequent flier miles to get me to SFO-LAX for free and pay cash from there to Asia.

I remember one thing I did not like with CI. At the time I used them they had 747's for the US to Taiwan portion of the flight. On the flights I used, in economy, they had a metal footrest that you could lower. Good if you have short Asian legs but a pain if you have longer legs and like to shove them under the seat. The metal footrest would be hard on my shins. I always tried to get seat in the back area where the tail narrows and get the side seats that was only 2 across instead of 3 across. Those seats always had a space in front of it. One good thing about CI that I remember is with a gold card they would leave the seat next to you vacant if you asked them to. They would only add a person to that seat if they were fully booked up. But not too many free upgrades like I get on NWA!
So, up to you!

[ Edit: Edited on 23-Jun-2009, at 20:09 by karazyal ]