A new Taiwanese luxury airline is launching flights from Taipei to the US. See inside the swanky Airbus A350 flying the 12-hour route.

Starlux business class cabin.
Starlux is launching its first-ever flights from Taipei to the US on April 26.Starlux Airlines
  • Tawainese luxury carrier Starlux Airlines is launching nonstop flights from Taipei to Los Angeles in April.

  • The carrier will use Airbus A350 aircraft equipped with first, business, and economy class cabins.

  • Unlike other startups that launched as low-cost carriers, Starlux entered the market as a full-service airline.

A new airline is heading to the US this spring.

A white Starlux Airlines A350 with gold and black design.
Starlux Airlines

On April 26, Taiwanese luxury carrier Starlux Airlines will launch its first-ever flight from Taipei to Los Angeles.

Starlux Airlines A350 business class.
Starlux Airlines A350 business class.Starlux Airlines

The route, which will compete with established Taiwanese carriers EVA Air and China Airlines, will fly five times a week until June when it will ramp up to daily service.

A China Airlines Boeing 777 taking off from Los Angeles.
A China Airlines Boeing 777 taking off from Los Angeles.AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

A fleet of Airbus A350-900 aircraft will power the transpacific trek, journeying 12 hours across some 6,800 miles.

A white Starlux Airlines A350 with gold and black livery.
Starlux Airlines

Starlux also flies the Airbus A330neo and the Airbus A321neo aircraft — the narrowbody plane being equipped with lie-flat business class seats.

Starlux Airlines A321neo business class seats in upright position.
Starlux Airlines

The company's first A350 was delivered in October and is part of an 18-strong order that was first placed in 2018 — back when there was little known about the startup.

Starlux's first A350 with sign in front.
Starlux's first A350.Airbus

Starlux was founded by aviation tycoon Chang Kuo-wei, the former chairman of EVA Air — a highly-acclaimed Taiwanese airline decorated with awards for safety and service.

EVA Air.
Huy Thoai/Shutterstock

Source: EVA Air

His father, Changi Yung-fa, founded EVA. But, a power struggle erupted after Yung-fa's death and pushed Kuo-wei out, opening the door for Kuo-wei to use his experience to build a competing carrier.

Starlux' first class seat, 1G.
Starlux Airlines

Source: CNN

Launching its inaugural flight in January 2020, Starlux bills itself as a "luxury" airline promising a full-service experience.

Starlux business class cabin.
Starlux is launching its first-ever flights from Taipei to the US on April 26.Starlux Airlines

It's actually one of the few startups to not enter as a low-cost carrier, like Avelo Airlines in the US and Norse Atlantic Airways in Europe.

Norse Atlantic Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Norse Atlantic Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner.Norse Atlantic Airways

The airline's new flight to the US will be its first route outside of Asia. Starlux hoped to start long-haul flights sooner but its 2020 launch was unlucky timing as COVID halted travel about three months later.

Starlux Airlines A350 flying.
Starlux flies to nations throughout north and southeast Asia, like Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.Starlux Airlines

Nevertheless, the company will soon achieve its US milestone. Starlux already has partnerships in place, including with the LA Clippers, and it hopes to eventually join an airline alliance, COO KW Nieh told Executive Traveller in 2021.

People lined up on stage for the ceremony announcing EVA Air joining the Star Alliance.
EVA Air held a ceremony in 2013 to announce it joining the Star Alliance, which also has members like Lufthansa and United Airlines.Mandy Cheng/AFP via Getty Images

Source: Executive Traveller, Star Alliance

Starlux's A350s will be configured with 306 seats across four cabins, including 240 in economy, 36 in premium economy, 26 business, and four in first.

Starlux A350 economy cabin with amber coloring.
Starlux Airlines

First and business come with the expected bells and whistles of premium cabins, including a privacy door and a lie-flat bed…

The sliding door partially opened.
The sliding door in business class.Starlux Airlines

…a side table and a cubby for storage...

Starlux's business class seat with a side table, lamp, and cubby.
Business class (pictured) comes with a lamp as well.Starlux Airlines

...a large seatback screen...

The seaback TV in business class.
The business class seatback TV.Starlux Airlines

...power ports (including wireless charging), a mirror, and a remote...

Starlux A350 power ports in remote in business class.
Business class charging options.Starlux Airlines

...a large tray table...

Starlux Airlines business class tray table.
The business class tray table, lamp, and TV.Starlux Airlines

…and “Zero G” seats that help reduce fatigue on long-haul treks.

A person sitting in Starlux' first class partially reclined with blue ambiant lighting.
The first class seat partially reclined. Like business, the product has a side table and cubby, but no lamp.Starlux Airlines

Moreover, decorative wall panels will put "passengers at ease as they board the aircraft," according to Starlux.

One of the brown and beige wall panels with vase and plant designs.
Starlux Airlines

First class does come with a few added perks though, including a wardrobe and a 60-inch-high sliding door, which is about 12 inches higher than business.

The sliding door partially closed on the left, the wardrobe door closed on the right.
The first class seat with the sliding door partially closed. The wardrobe, which is closed, is on the outside of the seat.Starlux Airlines

Moreover, it has a 32-inch flatscreen TV — business class offers a 24-inch screen.

Looking into the first class seat with headphones on the tray table and TV.
The first class TV and tray table. The product is pretty similar to business.Starlux Airlines

But, these are the main differences. First does not boast a separate bed like what is seen on carriers like Singapore Airlines or Qantas' upcoming A350-1000.

First-class seating on a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380, which can be combined with the neighboring suite to create a huge room with a double bed and two loungers.
First-class seating on a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380, which can be combined with the neighboring suite to create a huge room with a double bed and two loungers.ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images.

See Qantas' new cabin suites on what will be the world's longest nonstop flights journeying up to 21 hours

The first class placement at the front of the cabin is actually similar to what airlines like JetBlue Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways are doing with their "business class plus," which offers more space using the bulkhead.

Virgin Atlantic A330neo Retreat Suite.
Virgin Atlantic's Retreat SuiteVirgin Atlantic Airways

Virgin Atlantic just flew its first-ever A330-900neo on a brand new route from London to Florida — take a look inside the swanky jet

While business and first are nice, a majority of Starlux passengers will sit in the economy sections. According to the carrier, regular coach has a 3x3x3 layout with adjustable headrests, a 13-inch seatback screen, and power ports…

Starluck A350 economy class with close up of brown headrest.
Starlux Airlines

…while premium economy is in a 2x4x2 layout with added amenities, like a footrest, a legrest, and 40 inches of pitch. The screen is also larger at 15.6 inches.

Starlux Airlines premium economy seat recline with legrest and footrest out.
Starlux Airlines

It's important to note that Starlux's widebody plane is one of the first New Production Standard A350s produced, meaning it is four inches wider than its predecessors and has improved performance.

Starlux A350 premium economy with screens and seatbacks.
Starlux Airlines

Airbus launched the redesign in September with the option to have 10 seats per row in economy — a way to compete with Boeing's upcoming 777X.

Airbus' 10-abreast seat layout.
Airbus' 10-abreast seat layout.Airbus

Airbus debuts new A350 cabin that seats 10 people a row to compete with Boeing's new flagship 777X — look inside

However, Starlux has opted to keep the traditional nine-abreast seating on its A350s, so its premium and regular coach seats can offer more space and comfort.

Starlux A350 economy cabin with brown headrests.
Starlux Airlines

Moreover, the new A350 design also offers dimmable windows that block 99.99% of visible light. This, combined with Starlux's special ambient lighting, can help reduce jet lag.

The blue, pink, and orange ambient lighting onboard Starlux
Starlux is the only airline to customize its onboard lighting depending on the time of the year — the three modes include Chinese New Year, White Christmas, and Moon Festival.Starlux Airlines

While each cabin screen on the A350 is a different size, every TV will offer 4K resolution and Bluetooth capabilities, meaning personal wireless headphones can be used onboard.

Regular economy seatback screens with welcome message.
Starlux Airlines

Moreover, all Starlux passengers can pre-order meals on the Taipei to Los Angeles flights.

A Starlux economy meal.
A Starlux economy meal.Starlux Airlines

The airline says it will offer "exquisite dining including Taiwanese signature dishes" that will create an "at-home experience in the air."

A Taiwanese Starlux meal.
A Taiwanese first and business class meal.Starlux Airlines

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