Flight Review: Starlux Flight 732
Updated: Sep 30
Starlux is a must fly. Barring the pitch and width of the seat, minus the footrest, you would think you’re in Premium Economy.
Flying on STARLUX has been on my mini bucket list item since their inaugural flight to Macau in 2020. The plethora of positive reviews that flooded the travel feeds in the days following its initial flights only solidified my desire to fly with Taiwan’s newest airline.
The opportunity finally arose with a family trip to Taiwan in late March, The tickets were booked, and the expectations very quickly started growing, and if you haven’t read the TLDR, I was left beyond impressed, barring a few teething issues.
First things first, the trip departure and arrival time may not be best suited for tourists headed to Taiwan, the departure and arrival times for both inbound and outbound legs arrive and depart at rather awkward hours, you will arrive in Taipei in the late evening and depart for Singapore in the early morning, effectively losing you two nights of accommodation.
However, the arrival time into Taipei would play perfectly into STARLUX’s long-term plan to connect passengers to North America. These North American flights have been slated to start in April 2023 with the new A350-900 with its first destination to Los Angeles.
Schedules and new routes aside, let us take a dive into the inflight service and amenities on board.
Check-in and Boarding
STARLUX operates out of Changi Terminal 1 and utilizes check-in row 1. Check-in is available three hours prior to departure.
Two dedicated check-in counters are available for Business Class and COSMILE Explorer/Insighter passengers, while Economy passengers have their own counters. Check-in, baggage drop, and immigration are swift in Singapore.
It's a pleasant surprise that STARLUX issues proper boarding passes, unlike the flimsy paper-type ones that many airlines are using these days.
Our flight was served by B-58304, an eight-month-old aircraft at the time of writing.
Although boarding was delayed by 20 minutes due to the late arrival of the aircraft, separate lines for COSMILE Insighter/Explorer and Business Class passengers ensured a smooth boarding process. Despite the delay, boarding was completed quickly, and the plane was pushed back from the gate within 15 minutes after boarding.
The seat/aircraft layout
STARLUX's A330-900 Economy Class, which has a configuration of 2-4-2 layout and 269 seats. It's worth noting that seats 35 A and K lack windows, so avoid them if you're looking for a view.
At first glance, the seats seemed narrow, but I was pleasantly surprised by their comfort level and back support during the four-hour flight. Plus, the ample legroom and adjustable headrests made the ride even more comfortable.
I have to say, the standout feature of the flight for me was the 13.3-inch 4K personal inflight entertainment screen, which is unheard of in Economy class. The IFE system was top-notch, featuring Bluetooth connectivity, a USB 3.0 Type A port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. However, I did wish there were more movie options available, especially for the longer flights the airline has planned to North America.
I was also impressed with the in-seat power and the 60W USB Type-C connector that charged my very power hungry MacBook Pro in just over three hours. The airline provided a blanket and pillow. STARLUX also provided plastic headsets for the IFE systems, that in my honest opinion, was rather meh. Other amenities such as eye masks and toothbrushes are available on request.
The tray table was easy to use with two folding steps, and there was an extra tray for drinks. The seat pockets held the STARLUX inflight magazine and duty-free sales catalogue, which I appreciated being in physical copies.
The meals offered on both journeys were nothing short of perfect.
All the meals were served with proper metal cutlery, a rarity in today’s world.
Meal service on the Singapore-Taipei leg for economy class passengers were of the following choices.
Broccoli Pasta with Shrimp, served alongside a Duck Confit Salad, Fruit Salad, Coffee Cake and Bread Roll
Tandoori Chicken with Rice, served alongside a Duck Confit Salad, Fruit Salad, Coffee Cake and Bread Roll
My choice was the Broccoli Pasta with Shrimp. The pasta was amazingly Al-Dente, and I am still left impressed that it was not soggy or mushy like the microwavable convenience store type meals that we have all grown to expect of airplane food, the shrimp was very fresh and same goes for the fruits. The coffee cake was one of the better ones I’ve had too!
The meal on the Taipei – Singapore leg were equally amazing, but include one of Starlux’s signature meals that was prepared in collaboration with Hutong
Hutong Branded Beef Yakiniku with Rice, served alongside a Shrimp Salad, Freshly Cut Fruits, Yoghurt and a Bread Roll
Congee with Quinoa, Mushroom and Fish, served alongside a Shrimp Salad, Freshly Cut Fruits, Yoghurt and a Bread Roll
My choice was the Beef Yakiniku, the beef was moist and flavourful, Tamago was cooked to perfection, and the vegetables were seared and done to perfection. For the first time, I found myself wanting more vegetables, something I seriously thought I would never hear myself say.
I am rather pleased that STARLUX has collaborated with food establishments from Taiwan, something that one does not see often on airlines.
Pardon my enthusiasm with regards to the lavatory situation on the aircraft, however, my mind was utterly blown by how clean it was, how well stocked it was, and how fresh it looked compared to other older aircraft, or as compared to the ones on other airlines. The attention to detail was beyond mesmerising, everything from the vanity mirror and premium hand crème and facial products from THANN down to the custom made JX branded toilet paper. There was not one bad thing I could say about the toilet, even if I so wanted to.
Inflight Wi-Fi was one of the bummers on the flight, the airline offers pre-purchased Wi-Fi plans for passengers, 30MBs for $5USD and 100MBs for 10USD, I found that even after purchasing an internet plan, I was regularly disconnected from the service, and beyond that, the use interface was a tad confusing to use.
The service onboard the aircraft was flawless. The crew were warm, welcoming, and did their best to accede to requests from passengers. They were professional and very well trained. The crew I interacted with were very proficient in English as well as Chinese and Hokkien and could code switch with relative ease and speed. Being the enthusiast that I am, I requested for a cockpit visit, that was denied on both departure and return leg, however the crew more than made up for it by offering playing cards and extra snacks! They are one of the loveliest set of crew that I have ever encountered while flying!
STARLUX is shaping up to be one of the giants in Asia, their Stellar Service, Amenities, Food Selection and much more is only going to solidify the stronghold I am confident that the airline will achieve.
However, there are some things that are left to be desired, such as the less than impressive Wi-Fi system and the lack of Movies and TV Shows to choose from to name a few, I am sure these are teething issues that will be sorted out in due time.
Nevertheless, I am glad to have flown with STARLUX and I am certain that I will be flying with them on my next trip to Taiwan, or beyond.