If you don’t know much about Starlux Airlines, here’s a little primer to get you started. Based in Taipei, Taiwan, Starlux is Asia’s newest “luxury boutique” carrier and the only airline in Taiwan to offer a “first-class” cabin. From their hub at Taoyuan International Airport, Starlux operates a fleet of new Airbus A350, A330neo, and A321 aircraft to many destinations in Asia including Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore, and Tokyo. However, their footprint in the United States is very limited with only two destinations including Los Angeles and San Francisco. Starlux is not part of an airline alliance yet but they are an Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan partner airline so you can earn and redeem Mileage Plan miles on qualifying Starlux flights.
Starlux Business Class Ground Services
At LAX, Starlux operates from the Tom Bradley International Terminal (Terminal B), and their check-in counters are located in the B counter area. They only have one daily flight from Los Angeles and their counters open up at 8:35 PM for their 12:10 AM flight. I got to the airport around 9:00 PM and there was no wait for me to check in and obtain my boarding pass and an invite to the oneworld Business Class Lounge.
All passengers also get this Dodgers x Starlux Airlines passport holder. I understand the need for marketing and buzz for a new airline but I’m not quite sure I understand the connection between the two. Do Taiwanese people have a strong affinity for the Dodgers? Or just baseball in general?
For their first and business-class passengers and elite frequent fliers, Starlux partners with the oneworld Lounge for their pre-departure lounge services. This makes sense as Starlux is an Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan partner and Alaska Airlines is a member of the oneworld alliance. And quite frankly, I wouldn’t doubt it if Starlux tried to partner up with oneworld eventually.
For food, the oneworld lounge provides a decent self-serve buffet spread with plenty of hot options to choose from but on today’s visit, there was a special “make your own ramen” bar added to the menu. It was a nice touch and I’m glad Starlux provided a cultural flair to an otherwise Western cuisine normally provided in the lounge. You can read my full oneworld Lounge review here.
Starlux A350 Business Class Review
Flight: JX 1
Aircraft: Airbus A350-900
Los Angeles (LAX) to Taipei (TPE)
Depart: 12:10 AM on Monday (12:45 AM actual)
Arrive: 05:30 AM next day (05:23 AM actual)
Duration: 13hrs 38mns
Seat: 6K Business Class
At 11:20 PM, I left the lounge and made my way to gate 152, where our bird was waiting. I took some pictures of the beautiful jet and stood by for boarding to be called. I have to give Starlux some credit here. Their ground staff did a great job of organizing the passengers and lining them up into their respective groups. Boarding is so much more efficient this way and I don’t know why other airlines don’t do this.
On their Airbus A350-900 fleet, Starlux operates one premium cabin with four first-class seats and 26 business-class seats. The seats are configured in a reverse herringbone, 1-2-1 layout. The cabin is clean and sleek and the use of colors and materials make the cabin feel very modern and futuristic. I’ve heard some people complain that the cabin feels very dense and that is true but the lack of overhead bins above the center seats do help with making the cabin feel more spacious and open.
I’m normally not a fan of Collins Aerospace seats but I must admit these next-gen Elements seats are incredible and damn near close to perfection. They are spacious and the design elements are stunning. These seats provide 19.6 inches of width in seat mode, 23.6 inches of width in bed mode, and a flat-bed length of 6 feet 7 inches. The seats also feature a six-way adjustable headrest, a privacy door, and a partition height of 48.5 inches. Once you’re seated with the doors closed, you won’t really notice anything going on outside your suite.
These seats are also configured with large 24-inch, 4K televisions with Bluetooth connectivity, wireless charging pads, several personal reading lamps, and universal/USB outlets. However, no personal air vents are provided.
And interestingly, these Airbus A350s feature electronically controlled window shades, just like on the Boeing 787s.
Entertainment-wise, Starlux has a good collection of new Hollywood movies, TV shows, and music entertainment. There’s also a moving map and a small selection of games but sadly, there are no live cameras.
As for storage, There are plenty of storage spaces for your small personal items such as laptops, iPads, readers, cell phones, and headphones. There’s a small open pocket down by your feet, a medium-sized pocket by the inside armrest, and a large storage compartment by your shoulder, which can accommodate almost everything from headphones and amenity kits to iPads or even a small laptop.
The tray table is located underneath the TV monitor and seat controls are located under the side table.
On this flight, I was seated in 6K, a window seat located on the right side of the plane. Waiting at our seats were a pillow, blanket, amenity kit, and a pair of slippers.
I’m a Rimowa fanboy but these Bric’s branded amenity kits were still pretty cool. They were designed after their Bellagio luggage collection and were stocked with Huygens branded hand cream, facial mist, and lip balm. I wasn’t a fan of the lip balm and the hand cream was nothing special.
Inside the storage compartment, there were Starlux branded noise-canceling headphones and a bottle of Acqua Panna water. The headphones were pretty good and I would rate them similar to my Bose QC-35 noise-canceling headphones.
As we settled into our seats, the flight attendants all came around to introduce themselves and offered us several different amenities. The first flight attendant came around with a welcome drink and a cold towel. The second flight attendant came around to take our meal orders and the third flight attendant passed out pajamas. I’m not sure what the welcome drink was, some kind of fruit juice, but if I’m being picky here, a glass of champagne would have been much more appreciated for a “luxury” airline.
The pajamas were soft but not something I would ever re-wear again. I wore them briefly during the light but they got too hot so I had to take them off and switch into my shorts and t-shirt.
Once all the passengers were settled in, we then taxied to the runway and departed on our 13-hour flight to Taipei. About 30 minutes later, the seatbelt signs were turned off and the flight attendants prepared for our late-night meal service. Here’s a look at the menu.
Dinner started with a shrimp salad appetizer, which was served with a warm bread bowl. The salad was good but very heavy on the capers.
Next up was a mushroom soup, which was DELICIOUS. I don’t even like mushrooms but man, the truffle oil in this was incredible. By far, this was one of the most flavorful dishes I have ever had on a plane.
For my main course, I wanted the Asian option, which was a Chilean seabass in oyster sauce, but it was all gone by the time it got to me, so I went with the beef tenderloin with peppercorn sauce instead. The peppercorn sauce was very good but the steak was overcooked and the vegetables were soggy. This wasn’t my favorite meal.
And lastly, dessert was served with a side of fruit. I couldn’t decide which one I wanted so I asked for both. The flight attendant originally told me I could only have one but he ended up bringing me both because I think he felt bad that I didn’t have much of my dinner. The two dessert options were either an apple pecan tart or a coconut sweet potato sago and neither of them were good. The tart was hard and had a brownie-like density to it and the sago lacked flavor.
After dinner, my tray table was cleared and the flight attendant asked if I wanted a mattress cover. I gladly accepted and hit the lavatory to freshen up. There are four lavatories located in the business-class cabin. They were stocked with mouthwash and Huygens branded body lotion and facial mist.
When I got back, I settled in and watched a movie before falling asleep for about five hours. The bed was incredible. It was wide and comfortable and the footwell offered plenty of room for my legs to move around.
When I woke up, I was feeling a little hungry so I asked for a snack. I went with the wonton noodle soup and a glass of water. The flight attendant asked if I wanted the Angus beef burger also and I politely declined, although thinking back, I should have gotten it also just for the review. The soup was good but not great.
Service-wise, I have to say that the flight attendants were amazing. They were friendly and personable, and they addressed everyone by name. They walked the cabin frequently and always had a smile on their faces. They were proactive in providing service and I rarely had to ask for anything.
About two hours prior to our arrival, the cabin lights were turned on and the flight attendants prepared for our breakfast service. I went with the Asian option, which was a frittata with stir-fried seafood and asparagus, and a side minced pork congee. The congee was delicious. Everything else was not great.
Starlux A350 Business Class Bottom Line
Overall, I would say Starlux is a 4.5-star airline. The seats were very comfortable, spacious, and private and the service onboard was impeccable but the catering on this flight was terrible. Seat, service, and catering are the three pillars of a great business-class product and unfortunately, they only scored well in two of the three categories on this flight. Starlux has a lot of great things going for them but if they are truly trying to be the “Emirates of Asia,” I would say they have some room to grow and improve. And in case you were wondering, between Starlux and EVA Air, I would choose the latter over Starlux. Even though Starlux has a newer and more private seat, I would still choose EVA Air as I think they provide a better overall experience.
Those are my thoughts. What do you guys think? Have you flown with Starlux Airlines Business Class yet? If so, please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!
The other related posts in this series include:
- oneworld Lounge LAX
- Starlux Airbus A350 Business Class, Los Angeles to Taipei
- Plaza Premium Lounge Taipei
- Oriental Club Lounge Taipei
- EVA Air Boeing 777 Economy Class, Taipei to Ho Chi Minh City
- Vietnam Airlines Airbus A321 Business Class
- Sheraton Phu Quoc
- Intercontinental Phu Quoc
- Hoa Sim Business Lounge Phu Quoc
- Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon
- Apricot Lounge Ho Chi Minh City
- Jasmine Business Lounge Ho Chi Minh City
- Starlux Airbus A350 Economy Class, Taipei to Los Angeles