Review: Starlux Business Class (A350)

To kick off our trip to Southeast Asia, I booked my wife and I on Starlux Airlines and their flagship route from Los Angeles to Taipei. Starlux has received much fanfare since commencing operations just over three years ago. Positioning itself as a premium full-service boutique airline, it will be up against stiff competition from the highly regarded and fellow Taiwan-based EVA Air and China Airlines.

Starlux’s brand-new A350 boasts a visually striking cabin, complemented by fantastic seats with all the latest technology, amenities galore, and impeccable service across the board. Based on this, Starlux is certainly poised to become a major player if they can continue their expansion and maintain this level of quality.

Is Starlux Airlines now the best business class product crossing the Pacific? Read on for all the details.

Booking Starlux Business Class

Business ClassAircraftRouteFlight Duration
Starlux 1A350-900Los Angeles to Taipei14 Hours 45 Minutes

I booked our Starlux Airlines business class flight via Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. This is currently the only way to redeem points for Starlux Airlines flights outside of their own COSMILE loyalty program.

During the initial launch of Starlux award availability on Alaska Mileage Plan, award space was abundant and pricing was very attractive. However, within a couple of hours, the majority of the award availability had been booked up, with most flights no longer having any availability or pricing at the dynamic rate of 165,000 Alaska Miles per person.

I was able to secure tickets during the initial release of Starlux availability through Alaska Mileage Plan at an introductory price of 120,000 Alaska Miles plus $91.70 USD in taxes and fees, for two people. Our itinerary was a single, non-stop flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Taipei (TPE).

This route, along with Starlux’s other transpacific flight to San Francisco, now starts at 75,000 Alaska Miles per person. If you are interested in this product, learn more about how to book Starlux Airlines business class.

Ground Experience – Oneworld Lounge

Starlux does not operate their own lounge at LAX; however, business class passengers are invited to use the Oneworld Lounge in the Tom Bradley International Terminal. This expansive lounge is used throughout the day by several Oneworld airlines that operate from LAX including Qantas, British Airways, and Cathay Pacific and is also accessible by Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members..

Oneworld lounge in LAX airport.

During the evening departure window, this lounge does get quite busy. However, thanks to its immense size and spacious seating areas, there was never a lack of seating available. Additionally, the variety of food and beverage options is extensive. 

A wide selection of seating is available for relaxing, dining, or getting some work done.

Also, within the lounge is a full-service bar offering beer, wine, cocktails, and barista-made specialty coffees on request.

Upon our arrival, my wife and I enjoyed a cocktail, and shortly before our 11:10 pm departure, we opted for a couple of cappuccinos for a much-needed jolt of energy prior to our flight.

I can’t comment on any of the beer and wine as neither of us had any, but the choices looked to be reasonably varied.

While the self-service buffet at the Oneworld Lounge is quite impressive, we refrained from eating very much during our visit. Instead, we opted for some light snacks, wanting to preserve our appetite for the forthcoming flight.

Despite being tempted by the noodle bar, I resisted the urge knowing that Starlux’s snack menu offered a noodle dish.

For travelers wishing to freshen up prior to their flight, shower rooms are available on a first-come, first-served basis. In each private shower suite, there is a sink, toilet, and walk-in shower.

All in all, the Oneworld Lounge at LAX is a solid lounge space. There is plenty of seating and an extensive array of food and beverage choices. The only glaring drawback to this lounge from the perspective of a Starlux passenger, is its distance from the gate, which is a nearly 20-minute walk. 

Cabin Arrangement

The Starlux A350 business class cabin contains a total of 26 seats arranged in a standard reverse herringbone 1-2-1 configuration, each with direct access to the aisle. The entire business class cabin is between the first and second doors of the aircraft. Additionally, there is one bathroom at the front of the plane and two at the rear of the business class cabin.

Starlux forward cabin courtesy of

As opposed to a dedicated first class cabin, the first row of the forward cabin has four first class seats. These seats feature enhanced privacy from a higher partition, a larger entertainment screen, and a slightly more spacious seat. All four seats were empty on our flight so I had a chance to peek in and take some pictures, which I’ll cover later on.


The Starlux business class seat and cabin are one of the most visually appealing, thoughtfully designed, and technologically advanced on any aircraft flying today. It’s without a doubt the best implementation of a reverse herringbone seat I’ve ever seen, and one could make the argument that it is the best business class seat in the entire industry.

I was immediately in love with the futuristic spacecraft theme of the business class cabin. While it’s certainly a much different look from what you’ll find on any other airline, I think Starlux executed it to perfection. The cabin and seats are finished in a gunmetal grey with bronze and rose gold accents. The ambiance was nicely enhanced by the warm, dusty orange mood lighting, lending it a sleek and contemporary appearance.

Starlux forward cabin with aerospace theme.

Currently, Starlux Airlines redemptions made via Alaska Airlines cannot be managed online, as the two airlines’ reservations systems haven’t been fully integrated with each other yet. This means that selecting seats, pre-ordering meals for your flight, or managing any other aspect of your booking online is not possible.

To select your seats prior check-in, you’ll need to contact Starlux by phone, as this is the only workaround to this situation. With that said, I selected our seats by phone prior to our flight. I chose seats 3K and 4K, both of which are window seats located on the right side of the aircraft.

Starlux A350 business class seat 4K.

The Starlux business class seat is the latest generation product from Collins Aerospace, featuring many notable improvements over their previous generation business class seat widely used across many airlines, such as Air Canada’s Signature Class and WestJet’s 787 Business Class

Upon boarding, awaiting us at our seats was a pillow, blanket, amenity kit, and a pair of slippers.

Starlux airlines A350 business class seat.

As I’ve already mentioned more than once, this seat is absolutely superb. The Starlux A350 business class seat excels in every aspect, from the upholstery and storage capacity to the surfaces and finishes, along with the outstanding technology and privacy. It checks off every box that one would expect from a latest generation product like this.

Starlux airlines A350 business class seat viewing from behind.

Next to every seat, there is a shallow storage compartment ideal for holding a few small personal items.

Directly under the storage compartment is a touchscreen panel that controls all of the lighting and seat functions of the suite. There is the option to recline the seat into the space-themed “Zero G” mode, which I used throughout the flight while watching some movies.

There’s another storage compartment to the side at shoulder height that contained a bottle of water and the Starlux-branded headphones. In here, you’ll also find the entertainment controller as well as the connectivity panel for the suite, which includes the headphone jack and many different charging options. The charging options include a universal power outlet, USB-C port, USB-A port and a wireless charging pad.

I didn’t have a chance to use the provided headphones because, much to my delight, Bluetooth audio connectivity is available. This allows passengers to use their own wireless headphones when paired with the entertainment system. I’m very much looking forward to the day when this feature becomes standard across all airlines. Nevertheless, even if you don’t have your own wireless headphones, the Starlux branded headphones did appear to be of reasonably high-quality.

Starlux is the first airline to take delivery of an A350 with the newest production standard, which provides a slightly larger cabin and introduces electronically dimmable windows — a feature that was exclusive to Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner prior to this. However, due to our midnight departure from Los Angeles and arrival in Taipei before sunrise, it was dark the entire journey, and I didn’t get to try out the new dimmable windows.

Starlux airlines A350 dimmable plane window.

Each seat has a sliding door to provide additional privacy from the activity in the cabin. This is a growing trend in the design of first and business class seats, and it seems inevitable that it will become a standard feature on nearly all premium cabin seats going forward. While the door on the Starlux A350 isn’t quite as tall as those found in Qatar Airways QSuites, it was more than sufficient and provides a satisfactory level of privacy once seated.

Directly across from the seat is a large 24” 4K entertainment screen. This is the best display I’ve ever seen in a business class seat. The high-resolution screen is crisp and bright and there wasn’t even a hint of lag while browsing the menus.

The tray table slides out from underneath the entertainment screen and then folds out to create a fairly large surface. A notable enhancement in design compared to the earlier generation of reverse herringbone seats is the tray table’s improved stowage, which now aligns more seamlessly underneath the entertainment screen. This creates extra space in the footwell, particularly noticeable when sleeping on your side in lie flat mode.

In terms of legroom, one of the drawbacks of reverse herringbone seats has always been the narrow footwell, which for some people made it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. Along with the improvements to the tray table mechanism, these latest generation seats on the Starlux A350 have made other iterative changes to the shell of the seat, resulting in a more spacious footwell compared to the previous versions.

Adjacent to the footwell, is the literature pocket along with a small storage pocket, which I found useful to place my amenity kit and slippers.

First Class Seat

There are four first class seats on the Starlux A350, which are located in the first row of the cabin. The first class seats are surrounded by a taller enclosure and door. 

Starlux Airlines first class seat onboard the A350.

The first class seats have a slightly more spacious suite along with a larger 32” 4K entertainment screen. Additionally, the upholstery and finishes appear to be a bit more luxurious.

Starlux Airlines A350 first class seats side by side.

Yet, from my observations, there appears to be a fairly minimal distinction between the first class seats and the business class seat. The improvements in privacy, storage space, and larger entertainment screen are marginal at best. Furthermore, since it’s not currently possible to book Starlux first class through the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, all we can do is look at it for now.


The cabin crew provides a turndown service for passengers wishing to get some rest after the meal. The seat converts into a fully flat bed, and when combined with the provided mattress pad, pillow, and soft blanket, is one of the most comfortable lie flat setups I’ve ever experienced.

Sleep was certainly going to be a priority on this nearly 15-hour flight that departed at midnight. The provided bedding was incredibly soft and luxurious, which contributed to a very solid sleep. This also underscores the seat’s design and roomy interior. The abundance of space around my shoulders as well as in the footwell made it easy for me to get comfortable in any sleeping position without much difficulty.


As I was going through the amenity kit, the cabin crew were passing out pre-departure beverages along with a warm towel. The cucumber mint drink was quite delicious.

The amenity kit is made by BRIC’s, a luxury brand based in Milan that produces handmade travel bags and leather goods. The kit included products from Huygens along with an eyeshade, a dental kit, socks, earplugs, a hair brush, lip balm, facial mist, and lotion. 

Starlux A350 business class amenity kit.

During the pre-departure service, we were also handed a set of pajamas. Although the pajamas were high quality and quite comfortable, I thought the choice of color was a peculiar decision. Nevertheless, receiving pajamas on a business class flight is a nice touch, as most airlines don’t offer any loungewear at all. 

Starlux A350 business class pajamas.

Lastly, we were provided with a pair of slippers and a shoe bag.

All said, this is a fantastic offering of amenities and should be more than enough to keep anyone comfortable on this long journey.


Because of this flight’s midnight departure, only a late-night exclusive international menu is available for dinner. This is somewhat of an abbreviated menu and consists mostly of western-inspired items. Starlux does offer the ability to pre-order dinner online, including from a Taiwanese menu. However, as I mentioned earlier, this isn’t currently possible due to the inability to manage Starlux bookings made through the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.


I think offering a limited menu on late-night departures actually makes a lot of sense. Most of the time, I don’t find myself needing a large meal just prior to wanting to get some sleep. Moreover, I think that simplifying the menu in situations like this allows the cabin crew to serve meals with greater efficiency in contrast to offering a wider variety of options. This, in turn, could help avoid unnecessarily prolonged dinner services.

The late-night dinner service is a mostly set menu for all business class passengers aside from the main course, which had four different options. 

While the late-night food menu is quite limited, the drink offerings are quite impressive. Cocktails, mocktails, spirits, beer, juices, teas, and more were all available.

The extensive list of beverages continued with a nice selection of champagne, red and white wines, and port. 

Dinner and drink orders are taken at the same time and I decided to try one of Starlux’s signature cocktails, the Sci-Fi Cosmos 2.0, which was served alongside the starter. All flights departing from LAX feature several Los Angeles-themed details, including this LA Dodgers stir stick.

The starter was a potato salad with grilled octopus and was served about 40 minutes after takeoff. The starter also included a choice of bread along with some butter and olive oil. Although octopus isn’t something I ever order for myself, I did thoroughly enjoy this dish and it set a high bar for the forthcoming main course.

I went with the grilled tenderloin for my main course, which came out surprisingly well executed for an airplane steak. I’m usually quite weary of beef dishes on airplanes, as they often come out way overdone. However, this is one of the better tenderloins I’ve had, it had a nice sear on it and overall acceptable doneness.

I will also note that prior to this course a soup was offered, but I decided to skip the soup as I really didn’t want to eat too much just before going to sleep. However, my wife did have the spinach soup and said it was one of the highlights of her meal.

The dinner service was wrapped up with a fruit plate and some ice cream. A perfect way to end an overall pleasant meal. 

Although I had no issue with the dinner service, Starlux and Alaska Airlines need to get their systems in order to allow for pre-ordering meals (and managing other aspects of a reservation) for these redemptions. Increasingly, meal pre-ordering is becoming a standard feature in premium cabin experiences, which Starlux does indeed offer. Therefore, it’s surprising that this issue has been allowed to persist for as long as it has.

Snack Menu

Starlux offers a snack menu that passengers can order from at any time throughout the flight. In addition to the paper menus provided, passengers can access the complete food and drink menu through the entertainment screen, as illustrated below with the snack menu. 

After getting a bit of sleep and having roughly 5 hours to go, I decided to order the Vietnamese pho and a cup of tea. As far as the food goes on this flight, this was probably the best item from the menu that I had, rivaling the memorable pho we enjoyed while traveling through Vietnam.

One of the crew members, whom I’ll praise further later on, caught me clumsily attempting to use a pair of chopsticks and kindly offered me a fork with a wry smile, asking, “Do you need this?”

With fork in hand, I finished off the entire bowl and probably could have gone for another, but I thought better of it, as breakfast would be coming up shortly. 


Breakfast service began as we were passing over the Korean peninsula. For this meal, both a Western (Exclusive International) and Taiwanese (Authentic Asian) option were available. I opted for the Taiwanese option, whereas my wife decided on the Western menu.

After our orders were taken, I was brought a cold-pressed juice along with a warm towel. Following those, I ordered a cappuccino to sip on while I waited for the meal to be delivered.

The Asian breakfast consisted of plain congee, pork frittata, poached chicken, vegetables, and some toppings for the congee. All the items in this dish were incredibly tasty, and the portion size was just right for me since I wasn’t very hungry by this point. 

Meanwhile, my wife was served the Western starter, which was a zucchini and artichoke salad accompanied by a bowl of Greek yogurt and a basket of bread.

For her main, she had the French toast with a mixed berry compote.

Lastly, we both finished off our breakfast with another cup of coffee along with a plate of fruit.


Service on my Starlux flight was exceptional from start to finish. I was initially concerned when I saw all of the cabin crew wearing masks, which they wore for the entire flight, as I thought it might make conversing difficult. However, communication turned out to be seamless and was never an issue. Each time the crew came to my seat they knelt down to speak with me and addressed me by name throughout the flight.  

They consistently demonstrated a proactive approach in promptly clearing empty plates and other items from my tray table, always politely confirming before removing anything.

Overall, the crew was a delight; each member appeared genuinely committed to providing a world-class experience, which is something that doesn’t come across very often on any flight.


The high-resolution 24” 4K displays in Starlux’s business class seats are about as good as they get. The touchscreen was extremely responsive and the interface was easy to navigate.

The entertainment system included movies, TV shows, music, and games. The library wasn’t the most extensive I’d ever seen, but there was a decent selection of Hollywood new releases and classics.

If you’re lying down and unable to reach the screen, you can also manage it using the handheld remote.


Starlux offers free messaging to all passengers and free unlimited Galactic Wi-Fi to all business class passengers. I found the Wi-Fi to be reliable and fast throughout the flight. YouTube videos even loaded quickly and played with minimal buffering.

For economy and premium economy passengers, the two available plans are honestly laughable and way out-of-step with the current trends in Wi-Fi offerings from most major carriers. 

The two available options are:

  • $5 USD for 30MB of data
  • $10 USD for 100MB of data


I feel very fortunate that I was able to secure two Starlux business class seats at the special introductory rate of 60,000 Alaska miles each. This turned out to be one of the best premium cabin experiences I’ve had to date. 

Starlux really doesn’t miss a beat. The stylish cabin features industry-leading reverse herringbone seats, top-notch food and drinks, a myriad of amenities, and free Wi-Fi.

Of course, there are still some areas for improvement. Chiefly, the existing gap in Starlux’s reservation systems, which prevents Alaska Mileage Plan members from managing their bookings online, has persisted for far too long. However, all things considered, it’s easy to overlook a relatively minor issue like this because the hard and soft product is so compelling. 

It goes without saying that Starlux business class is one of the best Alaska Mileage Plan redemptions currently possible. The Taiwanese carrier has now added itself to an already very populated cohort of Asian airlines widely recognized as some of the best in the world.

Jeff Jamieson

Jeff Jamieson

Contributor at Frugal Flyer
Jeff stepped into the ring of points and miles in 2018, this was during his first trip to Italy where he had only just dipped his toe into what was possible with loyalty programs. After eating pizza twice a day for two weeks straight and taking in all that Tuscany of Rome had to offer he knew he was hooked on “la dolce vita” of points and miles. Always fascinated with aviation, Jeff obtained his Private Pilot’s License in 2006. Now he fuels his affection for travel and aviation by seeking out new strategies while building upon existing opportunities along with the help of his close circle of fellow travel enthusiasts.


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