Lincoln Tan flies aboard China Airlines flight CI151 from Taipei to Sydney.

The plane:

Thrilled to be on board the airline's newest aircraft, an A330-300. Overhead storage was larger than normal, making it easier to get things out of the carry-on.

Class: Economy.


Seat: 24J. It had a comfortable, adjustable head rest, and 6.5-inch touch screen personal entertainment system showing all the latest movies and TV shows.

Check in: Pretty smooth and standard; of course it did help that I spoke Mandarin.

Boarding: Following announcements of delay, the boarding was hurriedly done. Passengers were rushed to our seats, where we were again made to wait for a further 45 minutes before the plane moved.

Service: Poor and a total disappointment. I was asked to move up to Business Class about 90 minutes before landing so as to be able to rush out on landing to catch a connecting flight. While there, I was treated like an invisible passenger, with my request for drinking water ignored. I made a second request in Mandarin thinking it might help, but that too was not entertained. The only communication a flight attendant made was to request that I put my seat back into an upright position.

On time: The plane landed more than two hours late in Sydney and did not meet the connecting flight to Auckland. Ground staff were less than helpful, saying the next available flight was eight hours later, but I had to reconfirm with the airport's transit desk when it opened two hours before the flight. No apology, drink or meal vouchers were provided — and with no Australian dollars, I was less than prepared. I did get on the flight, which got me into Auckland after midnight instead of the original 4pm, but with all my checked luggage missing.

The final word: I would think twice about flying China Airlines again.