I had to make a last-minute flight booking on a recent trip between Taipei and Tokyo. There are many airlines on this route, with Japanese airlines like ANA and JAL and Taiwanese carriers like EVA Air, China Airlines, and STARLUX. Unfortunately, STARLUX tickets are usually much more expensive, but the prices were roughly the same on this occasion, so it was a perfect time to finally get to try STARLUX. The narrow-body A321neo was the cheapest option, but STARLUX actually operates all of their different aircraft types on this route, including the A350 and A330-300neo.

Flight JX804
Cabin Economy
Equipment Airbus A321neo
Aircraft B-58204
Flight Time 2h 53m

INSIGHTER Priority Check-In

When STARLUX first launched, they offered a status matching program between various airlines. I was able to use my BA Gold status to match with STARLUX’s highest tier, INSIGHTER. I’ve had it for a while now, but this was finally the first time I could put it to use.

My journey started 4 hours before departure at Taoyuan International Airport’s Terminal 1. Despite arriving quite early, check-in was already open, and I could drop my luggage off before heading down to the land-side food court for some lunch.


Once through security and immigration, I headed to the lounge, which I was invited to use, thanks to my INSIGHTER status.

I really like the STARLUX space-themed branding, and the design is fantastic. Despite being such a new airline, they have a dedicated lounge at TPE. It looks great, but it is tiny. The lounge doesn’t even have restrooms inside, so you’ll have to walk outside to find the nearest restrooms (which doesn’t feel particularly premium).

The offerings at the lounge are delicious, though. There’s a small a la carte menu offering breakfast options and lunch/dinner options. The buffet selection was also nice, with plenty of beverage options, cakes, desserts, tea, coffee, and spirits.

The staff in the lounge was very friendly and attentive. If it wasn’t for the small space and the lack of restrooms, this would be a 5-star lounge!

Bus-Gate Boarding

Unfortunately, today’s flight turned out to be a bus-gate departure (a bit of a rare experience at Far East Asian airports). Because T1 at TPE is relatively small and cramped, most narrow-body departures use bus gates.

At least we were already informed at check-in that it would be a bus gate, and the check-in agent told us it was “very far” from the lounge. It was only around a 10-minute walk from the lounge.

The bus-gate departure area was crowded and somewhat disorganized (due to the lack of space). Thankfully, due to my INSIGHTER status, I could board Zone 1, which, to my surprise, turned out to have a dedicated Starlux-branded shuttle bus exclusively for business and status passengers, which felt very premium.


The STARLUX A321neo cabin looks very smart. The first 2 rows offer a dedicated business class section with 2-2 seating. The remaining 29 rows in Economy Class are 3-3. I would love to try the STARLUX business class sometime, but I was sitting near the back of the plane.

Upon entering the aircraft, the cabin crew welcomed me abroad and swiftly personally escorted me back to my seat on row 30. A few minutes later, another flight attendant welcomed me onboard, greeted me by my full name, and explained that they had prepared slippers and a blanket for me (I guess this is one of the small perks you get as an INSIGHTER member).

The economy seats felt spacious, well-designed, and were really comfortable. Every seat also came with a large (and very responsive) IFE featuring many movies, entertainment, maps, shopping, and even food/beverage menus.

A full meal was served on this flight, and a large selection of drinks, including alcoholic beverages, like wine, spirits, and even a signature cocktail.

The food was delicious. However, despite working efficiently, receiving my meal near the back of the plane took a long time. But I can’t fault the crew for this since it takes time to serve a meal and beverage to nearly 200 passengers.


Overall, it was a great short-haul flight. However, if I were choosing between STARLUX and EVA Air or China Airlines, I would choose the cheapest option and wouldn’t go out of my way to choose STARLUX. I’m looking forward to trying one of their wide-body jets or Business class sometime in the near future!

Read More Reviews

Make sure to also check these posts out