Initial Thoughts On China Eastern’s 777 Business Class

I just got off my first ever China Eastern flight, and figured I’d share my initial thoughts about the flight from Los Angeles to Shanghai (other than the fact that the crew was smoking throughout the flight).

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Prior to taking this flight I was optimistic about China Eastern. I recently flew China Airlines and was very pleasantly surprised, though I realize they’re Taiwan based (though both airlines are in SkyTeam with similar hard products). Furthermore, my last flight on a mainland Chinese carrier was on Hainan, which was excellent for the most part — the crew was friendly and the service was great.

While I knew China Eastern had a bad reputation, I figured maybe they were trying to turn that around. They’ve invested in gorgeous new 777-300ER aircraft, so with the amount they’re spending on the hard product, presumably they want to impress with the soft product as well, right? Wrong…

China Eastern 777 business class seat

China Eastern has reverse herringbone seats in business class, which I consider to be among the best hard products out there. So they get high marks for that.

However, China Eastern has the blandest reverse herringbone seats I’ve ever seen. There’s no color to them, there’s no walk-up bar, etc. It seems like they were happy to write a check for the cost of the seats, but didn’t actually put any thought into how they wanted them to look.

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Ultimately the seat was the best part of the flight.

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China Eastern 777 business class food

It was absolutely disgusting. In fairness, I don’t eat pork, which prevented me from eating the Chinese meal. Even so, you’d think they could come up with a remotely appetizing western menu.

The appetizer was fine…

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…while the main course was possibly the most disgusting thing I’ve ever been served on a plane.

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The mid-flight snack menu had a “Western Western Exquisite Western Snack.”

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What did that consist of? A tiny stale salmon sandwich with fresh fruit. I can assure you, it was not not not exquisite exquisite exquisite.

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China Eastern business class service

This was actually the worst part of the flight. The crew’s English wasn’t too bad, so I really don’t think this was due to a language barrier (though admittedly it was probably partly due to a culture barrier… partly).

China Eastern’s onboard wifi home page advertises “New Boeing 777 offers 5-star hotel service in the air.”

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I think the only person in the world who could call the service on China Eastern 5-stars is Kim Jong-un, assuming he owned the airline.

Where do we even begin?

During boarding I noticed that they had a legitimate espresso machine with milk frothing device in the galley, so after lunch I ordered a cappuccino. I was served hot water with a nasty powder. I tried to order another one later in the flight, and explained that I was hoping for a proper espresso based drink with milk. “We don’t have.”

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Later I wandered into the galley to go to the lavatory and noticed the crew having a huge cappuccino party in the galley, making cappuccinos for themselves with illy pods. At least eight crewmembers were in the galley drinking them while chatting.

The meal service was so sloppy. For example, I’d hand the flight attendant my appetizer and soup plate after they were finished, and she’d put the soup plate back on my tray, because she only wanted to clear enough so that there was room for my main course.

Just about everything about the service was disorganized. The bread was brought out about 10 minutes after the appetizers were served, at which point we were both already done with our appetizers.

The crew didn’t have inside voices, in the sense that during the meal service they’d yell at passengers and one another. I realize that’s largely just cultural and that inside voices often aren’t a thing in China, but…

The crew also didn’t do good safety checks, as there was a lady in business class using the lavatory during landing, and she walked back to her seat once we were taxiing in.

And there were many more things, which I’ll cover in the full trip report.

China Eastern business class bottom line

China Eastern business class is great… if you board tired, full, and with earplugs and a nose clip (unless cigarette smoke doesn’t bother you).

China Eastern has a great hard product and has so much potential, but they just fall flat when it comes to their soft product. The food and service were really underwhelming, probably the worst I’ve had on any transpacific flight.

Delta should be embarrassed of their “strategic partnership” and ownership stake in China Eastern.

Stay tuned for the full trip report!

If you’ve flown China Eastern, what was your experience like?

Comments

  1. Just flew China Eastern from Siem Reap to Shanghai…worst flight I’ve ever flown and they were also smoking.

  2. Lesson learned; do not fly China Eastern or any other Chinese company in business because… the story above.

  3. Might as well get used to it I suppose. Our politicians and busyness leaders are selling us to China. This is our future.

    Start eating some pork.

  4. Why should Delta be embarrassed about their partnership? Delta itself acts ridiculous. So no, delta loves these kinds of things.

  5. Dude, your reviews for Chinese airlines are always bad reviews. I fly Chinese airlines first and business fiar amount, they are very good. Especially domestic first class service. If you are a prince from a royal family, I can see your point. But you are from United States, where “commercial premium cabin” is basically a joke.

    You claim as someone who travels a lot, but your travel is just one airport to another. What is the point to travel if you refuse to learn there are many many more amazing things in the world than “coffee and western food”. If I fly Chinese airlines, I drink tea and eat Chinese food. A Chinese person can find Western airlines’ tea selection is a joke just as you find Chinese airlines’ coffee selection is a joke. I would never post a negative review just over things like this.

    I read one of your reviews for Park Hyatt Maldives, it’s hilarious you consider visiting Maldives as just sitting on the beach doing nothing for a week. Maldives is one of the best spots in the world for snorkeling, diving, and watersports, then you opted for sitting on the beach for a week.

    Dude, you are not a traveler, you are just a flyer. Start doing some real travel.

  6. Lol now you started a debate. Can’t wait for my yyz-Pvg flight because your negative “review” won’t matter to me. This article is hardly a review because you were apparently still feeling emotional from the smoking incident. Get over it.

  7. Sounds like Ben is back to his old tricks of complaining to get reimbursed and miles. Know he is just doing to foreign airlines since the US airlines put an end to his games/fraud.

    Save the drama for your mama.

  8. “Prior to taking this flight I was optimistic about China Eastern. I recently flew China Airlines and was very pleasantly surprised, though I realize they’re Taiwan based”

    Now I can’t tell if you’re just trying to rile people up on purpose

  9. Ok. Sorry to say but I think you are travelling with prejudice against the Mainland airlines. Firstly, I’ve flied hundreds of times with China Mainland airlines and I never felt any smoke odour or weird smell on any my flight. Secondly, I don’t see if there is a problem with the meal, and maybe the machine is only for cabin crews to use. If you only focus on the bad side of the flight, just change the title to “disadvantages of taking China Eastern”. Yes, the China Mainland airlines’ service aren’t good enough comparing to other asian airline companies, but it is not worse than those American companies. Thirdly, you got the ticket with your miles for free, so you don’t have to complain about everything. You chose to fly to China, you chose to fly with China Eastern, and you should have been prepared to adapt the Chinese airlines’ or people’s culture. Thanks.

  10. OMG! If I wasn’t convinced to never fly them after your earlier smoking posts, this is maybe worse – the crew drinking Cappuccinos and denying their J customers. Clearly, they have disdain for the Western passengers paying their salaries.

    I’d let Delta know.

  11. Blandest hard product? It sure looks better than US Airways reverse herringbone I see in some pictures.

    The pork noodle looks fine to me.

  12. @stvr i dont think so. I find that Taiwan and HK cultures can be different from Chinese ones. I hate flying Chinese airlines but I wouldnt hesitate to fly HK’s Cathay, or Taiwan’s China Airlines & EVA Air.

  13. (From another Tom) Hey Credit: I’ve spent more years than I would care to count dealing with debt. I know debt. So it is with considerable authority that I can state, unequivocally, that your comment is incoherent. I don’t think it’s funny either. C’mon, man, you can do better!

    (Just recently, for example, you said, “Hi Lucky!” in a View from the Wing post that had a comment from Ben. Nice touch.)

    And hey Tom: Your comment would’ve been ok had it not ruled out completely the possibility — just the wee possibility — that China Eastern might indeed suck. That little error really destroyed any chance you might’ve had to be taken seriously. Too bad for you.

    Now what do I think about all this? I’ve spent some time over the years doing business in China. Enough said.

  14. well keep in mind the food was sourced, cooked and loaded at LAX so the local caterer should also share part of the blame for poor quality.

  15. Now I have to say something, especially given the amount of racial hatred amongst the comments section.

    I’m a business man based in San Francisco and I go to China 3-4 times a year and Europe 2-3 times a year. I love traveling on different airlines so I’ve been a fervent reader of your blog. But this is probably amongst the most disgusting and prejudiced posts you have ever written. And let’s not forget the things you wrote about BA CW.

    Firstly, I’m well aware of our cultural differences with Chinese people, especially the whole smoking issue. As someone who is very sensitive to smoke, I agree that many restaurants / hotels in China smell terrible because of lingering smell of smoke especially in toilets. But I have to say that out of all the times I’ve travelled on mainland Chinese airlines, both internationally and domestically, I have NEVER EVER EVER smelled smoke. Lucky, since about the only “proof” you had of someone smoking on the plane is the captain smelling like a chimney at the baggage claim (and that could have just as likely to be that he visited the smoking room at the airport), I am calling BS on that. Also, I’m sure that anyone who has been to Japan and the Middle East will concur that smoking indoors isn’t just a Chinese thing, yet people are happy to fabricate facts to insinuate prejudice against ONLY Chinese people. And for the people that are quick to denounce mainland Chinese pilots for being reckless and power-hungry, remember that mainland Chinese airlines are still amongst the safest in the world with no major incidents in the past 10 years.

    Secondly, onto the actual topic of the flight. I have flown the China Eastern 777 in biz about 2 roundtrips since they started serving SFO, multiple roundtrips on the 777 from LAX and China Eastern A330 before that. To be fair, the food on China Eastern is not great. It’s kind of in between US carriers and the best Asian carriers. But in my last trip on China Eastern on the outbound I had scallops as the appetizer and grilled lobster noodles as the main, and for the breakfast I got a full dim sum platter. And I got Capuccino AND Dragon Well tea. The mid-flight snack is gross, agreed. But main courses are absolutely on par with CX. The cabin crew has always been friendly to me (even though their English isn’t great). I have seen them get together to chat at the galley, but never with a loud voice and always while working on something. I understand that sometimes the services and foods differ, but what you are writing is SO FAR from my experience I had to write something about it. I’m also at the point where I question your motive.

    Lucky, you pride yourself as someone with taste and you try to be fair. It’s clear that this time your unconscious bias has clouded your judgements and you have sunk to the level of making up things to prove a point. This is unacceptable.

  16. I thought the seats, especially the head rest towel(?) looked very elegant. The meal with the noodles looked gross though.

  17. I am sort of hoping that this awful MU flight is a harbinger of things to come. I’m being selfish (and a bit sadistic, as I normally would not wish a terrible long-haul flight on anyone) but there is much entertainment value in Ben’s more peevish trip reports.

    And then there’s the more practical value: bluntly honest reviews of premium cabin offerings are priceless for those who, over the course of months & years, save up miles to splurge on that once-in-a-lifetime trip.

  18. Delta should be embarrassed? Hahaha, seriously? Say that again when they decide to retire all their MD planes and stop ripping off customers.

    The seat looks great to me. The food does not look that bad, either.

  19. This seems like a totally fair report and I’m happy that Lucky is able to be honest. There are a lot of hateful comments, but I don’t see anything that Lucky actually deserves criticism for. If you’ve flown this airline many times and never smelled cigarette smoke, well that is a helpful data point, please post it in the comments, but don’t act like Lucky’s a liar just because he did on this flight. Same goes for the food quality etc. And some comments are just bizarre — a cappuccino machine just for the flight attendants? It’s offensive to say there are differences between the cultures of Taiwan and mainland China? Lucky’s reviews of flgihts are invalid because he doesn’t spend a lot of time on the ground, even thought flight reviews are the whole point of the blog? You are only allowed to sit on a beach on vacation if there isn’t good diving or watersports available?

    Keep it up Lucky. Most of us love hearing an authentic voice.

  20. Great report!, Enjoyable reading! I really wanted to try China Eastern First class.

    I wondered if Matt ordered Chinese option for lunch?? Would it be different? The pasta looks really bad… but to be fair, the Asian option on AA, UA, DL, LX, LH, BA are all inedible, and I call it dog food. Even in International First class, LH Japanese meal isn’t different from an average westernized Asian/Japanese food around the corner in west Hollywood. Sushi is like $8-refrigerated ones from QFC. I can say that Asian option offering on Western/ME carriers are definitely lower average than that offering on Asian carriers… and so the reverse experiences are expected.

    For western option, well I am Asian so what do I know about western food? At least I spent $$ to try Michelin star restaurants around the world. So I think that western food on most major airlines are bad too. From my experiences, the only Airlines that provide edible food are AF, NH, JL, and I believed that is because these two countries have great food cultures so even preparing food is not the main part of flight attendants job descriptions, they are able to pull it.

    Eat pork!

  21. @ italdesign — Hah, fair enough, though that’s a product that was introduced *many* years ago, while this is a brand new product. Standards should be slightly different, because at the time US Airways’ reverse herringbone seat was cutting edge, while in China Eastern’s case it was simply a copy cat version.

  22. @ K. Y. — As far as my bias against Chinese airlines go, I’d suggest reading my Hainan review from earlier in the year.

    It sounds like you might be the one who is biased if you think the airline installed a cappuccino machine for the exclusive use of their crew members. They would be the first airline *ever* to do so, if that’s the case.

    And as far as not paying because I used miles go, well, maybe then you just shouldn’t read my reviews. I review airlines side-by-side and compare their products, regardless of how I paid for them. There’s nothing “free” about a mileage ticket — the airline got paid for it, and I had an acquisition cost for those miles.

  23. If the author understands Asian culture a little bit, he may know something called karma .
    I am just wondering what bad things the author has done so far to experience this flight, which was called disgusting multiple times in the post. I and @Jonathan have no such experience.

  24. @ stvr — My point is, they’re both SkyTeam airlines based in Asia with reverse herringbone products, so after being very pleasantly surprised on China Airlines, I thought “maybe SkyTeam isn’t that bad after all, and China Eastern is good as well.”

  25. I would not be surprised if it turned out the rude comments on this post came straight from a Chinese propaganda center.

  26. Must have been your particular flight. I was on the PVG-YYZ China Eastern on two week old 777 and had great food. My ‘Western Style” menu choice was Lamb Cutlet with Cajun Potato.

    But it was interesting when they interrupted the english safety video so they could take-off. Then they resumed the safety video just before 10000ft.

  27. I am surprised the catering looked like that. But then, you get what you order.
    Inflight meals produced at LAX, in general hold an OK standard, but the main course for your dinner service looked like a CHML.

    Well @Lucky, I would like to send my regards for at least posting the review, and letting the rest of us “stand-off” this experience,

  28. I too am a businessman, but unlike some of the commenters here, I’m not Chinese and do not feel like I have to defend the Chinese airline from losing face.

    I’ve traveled to China dozens of times, and I’ve smelled smoke coming from the cockpit before. I brought it up with a friend in the mainland who flies a lot, and he laughed and said that many pilots smoke in the cabin and that nobody dares question them. He also said that he has seen pilots sexually harass flight attendants, but that’s the topic of another blog post.

  29. I love this blog but I think you are a little salty about the smoking. I think the seats look nice if not a little boring. When I flew China southern business from PVG to JFK I had a wonderful crew that was super kind and accommodating and the Chinese meal was the best airline food I’ve ever had. I will agree the western cuisine is horrible. I understand you had a bad crew but I wouldn’t go ahead and shame the whole airline.

    P.S. I never smelled any smoke on the plane.

  30. We are going to Shanghai this fall for five days, our first time to mainland China. I would love to hear what you think about the city.

    I love your honest reviews.

  31. When I took MU JFK/PVG in biz class in May, the FAs went around after dinner service to ask pax if they needed PJs. I said yes and got a set. On the return flight, they didn’t go around to ask but I asked for a set. I only wore the bottoms of the PJs as I already had a T-shirt on. The pants were comfy but there’s only one size for all.

  32. We’ve routinely flown China Eastern within mainland China with much better results than described for the overseas flight, fortunately.

  33. I wonder if the commenters understand Lucky is responding to the flight he took, not the flights they took? Or that any idiot can recognize the smell of smoke, one of the two smells that are instantly recognizable and that you definitely don’t want on an airplane (the other being flatulence)? I particularly liked the comment that the Illy machine was for the exclusive use of the crew.

    I flew domestically a lot during the years I lived in Shanghai and frankly the service was fine even great sometimes and generally the passengers too. The airplane food though was pretty much universally disgusting. All of my experience was domestic and not international, but having lived in China I can certainly imagine that the flight Lucky took was as bad (to him) as he says it was.

  34. Folks remember that Ben does this blog primarily to review premium cabin flying. This is so we have a good idea of what the product is like. This way we can make a good decision on how to use our hard earned miles or cash. Pointing out that smoking by crew or poor service or food is simply a review. Since China Eastern like so many mainland Chinese airlines are investing billions in aircraft to serve international destinations Ben is simply pointing out the details of the product. I think that its way too politically correct to say we need to accept poor service or food and to accept a different culture as an excuse. These airlines are choosing to fly international business destinations with a premium product and therefore should rise to the occasion. I could completely agree with accepting of just local culture if they were serving domestic destinations with an economy product.

    Also to those that complain that Ben is a flyer and not a traveler and point out his lack of details on his destinations should remember that the purpose of the blog is to review the flying portion. He has said hundreds of times to go to blogs with specific information regarding destinations.

  35. @John

    Because Ben NEVER gets rude comments or comments that challenge his opinion? So it must be the propaganda machine? Project much?

  36. @Henry “a little salty about the smoking”? I don’t really think that is fair. I personally hate the smell of cigarette smoke and I’m sure many others (Lucky clearly included) do too. If I’m paying for a seat on an airplane, whether it is first class, business class or coach, and paid in dollars or miles or renminbi or wampum, I shouldn’t have to sit there and smell or breathe in smoke for 14+ hours (lets not even get into the discussion of exposing children on the plane to second-hand smoke). I don’t think it is too much to ask to expect a smoke-free flight when the flight is STATED TO BE SMOKE-FREE, and, uhh, it is 2016. People don’t smoke on planes in 2016, and especially not pilots and crew; cultural differences be damned, that just isn’t acceptable anymore. I would be complaining about this too if I were Lucky.

  37. For crying out loud, cut you cultural insensitivity bs, people. Bad service is bad service, breaking rules (smoking) is breaking rules. The man had a bad flight and he is sharing his experience with his readers

  38. Although I dont like the food of Chinese airlines either, Chinese flight attendants still provide way better service than those rude American flight attendants do.

  39. I have flown on China Eastern 777 transpacific TEN times this year. Each flight echoes what Ben wrote. To. The. Dot.

    Facts are facts. Can’t rewrite them no matter how hard you try or how many Chinese government agents try to change facts.

  40. While smoking is obv bad, tbh i think americans get wayyyy to sensitive over it than asians, europeans and middle easterners. From London to Paris to Beijing to Bangkok, people smoking in public without being judged while in the States everytime I’m smoking outside I get people walking by and intentionally faking a cough or looking at me weirdly. Well, get over it.

    On another note – whats the champagne (or more like sparkling wine) served on this flight? Please tell me its something even worse than Duc de Paris

  41. It’s a freaking blog, he’s just reporting what he’s seeing. Also if u think he’s just against chinese airlines read the air China trip and the hanitan trip report. I don’t even understand what the fuss it.

  42. I am chinese and I can pretty much attest to this article as some of the examples of why I refuse to fly with many mainland chinese airlines. Crew and passengers smoking in flight is not uncommon. Its been in chinese news. It happens quite frequently. They’ll smoke in the lavatory, come out with smoke billowing behind them and flight attendants telling them smoking is not allowed followed by the passenger saying “I wasn’t smoking” (cig smoke still drifting out of the lavatory). My main concern is air safety. Its not a stretch for the chinese to scoff at safety rules and regulations as something you put on a piece of paper and then ignore in practice. Its in our blood. But people should relax. He’s talking about one airline not every single plane that comes out of china. Me on the other hand, I’ll probably say that. No thank you I’ll stick to cathay, JAL or singapore. You can call me a racist against my own people. I don’t care. 🙂

  43. “Prior to taking this flight I was optimistic about China Eastern. I recently flew China Airlines and was very pleasantly surprised, though I realize they’re Taiwan based”

    This is really funny. China Airlines from Taiwan is actually one of the most dangerous airline to fly with based on their safety record. So good luck with China Airlines! This statement tells this guy is not a credible reviewer at all.

  44. This review is exactly one of the main reasons I hate SkyTeam from the bottom of my heart: China Eastern and China Southern Airlines.

  45. The one time I have ever been asked to pour my own drinks was China Eastern. Another time, they grabbed my meal when I was still eating. Their FAs just don’t care and are quite rude.

  46. @Kim While it’s true that China Airlines used to have a poor safety record, they’ve really revamped their safety and maintenance policies over the years. Also, their service has always been excellent.

    Instead of always attributing China’s poor service reputation to culture, how about trying to learn how to treat people decently from other airlines. Your response clearly shows your class. Typical Chinese attitude. Good luck with China Eastern!

  47. Well, Lucky, the good news is that all of these critical comments from Chinese government agents is really increasing the click count for this post. 😉

  48. The food looks fantastic to me. Your ignorance in appreciating different food styles should not be an excuse for at least that biased review.
    Besides, food served on major three US airlines are sometimes far more unacceptable. I’ve also experienced a lot of rude FAs, especially on United. Could you spend some more time reviewing United in the future?

  49. @Kim

    Please explain how Ben’s credibility is diminished by your antiquated view of an airline’s safety record. Last I checked, safety and inflight service have zero correlation.

  50. First, lets draw the line between taiwanese airlines n chinese airlines.

    Taiwan: china airlines n eva air.

    China: air china, china eastern, china southern n hainan. (Big 4)

    Do not mix china airlines n compare with the 4 major chinese airlines. Its like comparing soy milk with milk. They are different, even though they appear the same.

    I cannot agree with comments attacking Lucky of racial bias becos he complaint of smoke, while others have not smelt them when they fly more often with chinese airlines. Lucky did not complain of smoke in his hainan review.

    Good for u that ur flights r smoke free; that shld be the way. What happened to lucky’s flight is unfortunate n a few others got it on their flights as well as commented here.

    I think it is a problem that shld be addressed n not swept under carpets or worst, distracted by accusation of lucky being racist. Its either they did smoke or not. And if this is a common enough occurence, is it ok for it to continue?

    Finally, i find it strange illy coffee goes to crew n not customers. I hope it is a misunderstanding. With lucky’s report, i will consider avoiding china eastern.

  51. I don’t understand all the hatred against this post. As someone who is from Asia and has flown Chinese air carriers both short and long haul. I find nothing offensive here. Everything he’s described with regards to crew’s attitudes to meal service is absolutely true. I’ve seen it for myself. While there might be some cultural idiosyncrasies between passenger and crew, there are somethings that are universal… serving your passenger a coffee with a machine that’s for the passengers and not the crew perhaps?

    How do Chinese carriers ever expect to be truly ‘global’ if they continue sub-par service?

    Seriously, it’s an attack on the chinese culture but an attack on the service quality of an airline! Americans have no problems gripping about how lousy US based carrier service is so why not the reverse? URGH

  52. so, LAX-PVG, AA 788, UA 789, DL 772, MU 773, which airline/product would you prefer, points aside?

  53. If the flight is non-smoking and the pilots broke the airline’s rule throughout the flight, demand a refund. Its not like you could step off the plane midflight and take another airline.

  54. Looks like social justice warriors have nothing to do other than writing here. You SJWs are killing the internet. I could wrte a 10 page essay on all the SJWs and their comments but fortunately I am not a SJW and I don’t have that much time.

  55. I know this article is based on your feeling toward the flight experience you had, my advice to you is be open minded when comes to review. You do fly a lot no doubt but you are not learning other cultures, your review always based on you self-centered American or western stand as I can see from many of your articles.

    You said “China Eastern has the blandest reverse herringbone seats I’ve ever seen”. What’s wrong with the seats? I think they are beautiful.

    You said “the main course was possibly the most disgusting thing I’ve ever been served on a plane” Again you are so self centered and use your standard to judge. Food you think the best you ever had may be disgusting for others”. Food may not be to your liking is fine but using disgusting is just wrong.

    You said “A tiny stale salmon sandwich with fresh fruit. I can assure you, it was not not not exquisite exquisite exquisite.” Again your own standard to judge as I don’t see anything wrong as a snack, presentation is pretty good. May be you were expecting blue fin tuna.

    I feel like you are going out of your way to put down your flight experience with China Eastern and I hope you are not having a motive to get compensation like some others said.

    Thank You again for some of your informative and useful posts but for this one it’s forgettable.

  56. Flown China Eastern Airlines and Air China before (haven’t had the “pleasure” of flying China Southern or Hainan yet). I can personally say that after flying a variety of other Asian airlines (EVA, China Airlines, Singapore, Cathay, Asiana, Japan)…that China still has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to service. They tend to have decent hard products coupled with an incredible lack of knowledge surrounding soft skills or customer service. As an Asian myself, I can definitely attest that it’s a cultural thing. I think there’s potential for change though. Maybe they’ll get there in 50 years…who knows

  57. I have to fly China Eastern at least once or twice every year (between Shanghai and Fuzhou, since they’re pretty much the only option if the flight departs Pudong) and I think the last time I actually received decent service was about 2 years ago. For the most part, the experience was just like how Ben described it though at least nobody was smoking…

  58. @ Forreal22,

    For one, I never agreed with the “poor service” from beginning. I don’t think mainland Chinese airlines’ service is among the best in the world, but they are far far away from the worst like how Lucky described either.

    For two, attack people on their “class” for having different opinions over a blog and airline service actually shows more of your “class”.

    For three, I think recommending an airlines that is ranked one of the most dangerous airlines in the world is extremely irresponsible. Even their last fatal accident was in 2002.

  59. Way to “out” the haters, Ben! These guys aren’t truely outraged by the content, but just found an opportunity to pounce on you in the name of “racism.” They’re trying to break your reputation by disingenuously referring to you as a racist. Their true outrage comes from knowing you are profiting on credit card referrals and they’re not. Go Ben go!

  60. I am Asian, and I have found a number of Ben’s recent posts greatly annoying. But this is not one of those posts. Unlike some of his other posts (e.g., his post proclaiming the best seat on AA’s 788, after having flown the plane like 2 times), this post clearly reflects his personal experience and opinions. Moreover, far from being culturally insensitive, he openly acknowleges that some of his misgivings may be (partly) based on cultural differences. I wonder what cultural biases those who are so vehemently attacking Ben have…

    I am clearly biased, but personally, I found this post entertaining and useful.

  61. Based on that one comment, US flight attendant unions will now lobby for crew only coffee machines. Look what you have done.

    And to the other critics: it’s a review. It’s inherently subjective. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. (The food didn’t look all that bad to me, but that’s probably why I am not a paid blogger)

    I appreciate this review, and I will avoid China eastern. Thanks, Lucky!

  62. It is also funny everytime someone says anything good about China, they are “government agents”. I’m sure these stereotypes are coming from American media, can I say this is the definition of brainwash?

  63. Well living in Shanghai and a member of sky-team, I fly China Eastern and Shanghai airlines most of the time. Although on intercontinental trip I always fly European airlines. To be honest the service is not perfect but the staff is always nice to me. I never noticed smoking aboard (after a few hundred flights in the last 10 years) and security is more strict then with other western airlines. I’m not even allowed to use my iPad 30 min after take of and 30 min before landing. No telephones in flight mode. I think this is all overdone but it shows the strict rules.
    On the opposite I never fly American companies anymore. I used to fly Northwest between Europe and North America before it was taken over by Delta. I remember my last flight was horrible. I got a jewish meal and my daughter a halal meal while we both ordered vegetarian meals. The seat number was even on the tray but the staff has no clue how the numbers work. Actually they don’t care at all.
    In my opinion China Eastern is at least beter then Northwest/Delta and the good thing is that they are improving all the time instead of standing still. And the slender staff (both male and female) looks much prettier.

  64. Let’s be real here. Lucky was mostly objective on the review here. Maybe a little emotional about the smoking smell which maybe completely destroyed his experience. He had nice review on Hainan Airlines, and Air China. I don’t think he has a bias against Chinese airlines. But for this specific flight, he prob just got some bad crew.

    The hard product is above average among transpacific flights, if you put US airlines in the pool. As for soft product, we all know Chinese airlines are hit or miss. If they consistently hit, they would become CX or SQ already. If they consistently miss, we wouldn’t have so many nice comments about China Eastern here.

    I personally flew MU many times before. I had wonderful experience with them on some of the domestic flights between PEK to SHA, when I got Japanese grilled eel on rice which tasted great (I’m Asian, and I love Asian food), in economy class! And cabin crew was extremely friendly and helpful. I also had horrible experience on MU from PVG to BKK. Food was horrible, cabin crew were rude and didn’t show up in the cabin at all after the first hour of meal service.

    So this particular flight, I think Mr. Lucky was unlucky

    P.S. I had definitely smelled smoking on Air China long haul flights a couple of times!!

  65. Unbiased trip report and it actually provides us readers some useful opinions for our future trips into China if there’s any. You have to admit that Chinese carriers nowadays all have above-average hard products while still lots of improvements can be done in soft products. While Lucky wrote them out without any reservation, some Chinese readers may feel offended since author’s “westerner’s point of view” hurt their national dignity / pride. Like it or not, it is just part of the Chinese culture.

    DL’s ambitious strategic tie with MU can only hope for more seamless travel to destinations in China. For other East Asian destinations, NRT and ICN are always top notch hubs for transfer, followed by TPE for Skyteam flyers. I always avoid PVG due to congested air traffic, not mentioning so-so lounge and ground service.

  66. SJW’s (and i am a liberal): If you want to read prejudice , it would be this question and comment:
    Did any crewmember squat in the aisle by your seat and defecate ?
    If not, I’d call it a win .
    Question: Is the crew banned from smoking in China?
    I’ve met some very nice, very cultured young Chinese people China. Very respectful….

    These employees certainly aren’t.

    Oh, and you gotta love the traffic this generates

  67. Hey guys! Why are you hating Lucky? His experience looked as above and he wrote about it. Based on how frequent traveller he is, I can trust his reliable opinion. This is his blog and he can write anything he wants. If you don’t like his way of blogging/travelling etc then simply leave.

  68. @Kim
    “For three, I think recommending an airlines that is ranked one of the most dangerous airlines in the world is extremely irresponsible. Even their last fatal accident was in 2002.”
    You are right Kim. Airlineratings.com gave all Chinese companies the same rating as American companies. So better to take the train next time.

  69. Appreciate the review Ben. I am Asian myself, and I gotta feel for your experience. I can also say these rude comments above must have come from the Chinese nationalists or communist agents lol. Ben is reviewing his flight based on his experience, and there is nothing rude about that. Many other people here also attest that they have similar experience too. Maybe the airlines need to look at themselves abd try to improve their soft products.

  70. I’ve lived in China for multiple years and I’ve had great services in a few places in China. Hainan Airlines deliver great service consistently so I will say that great service exists in China and it’s not being insensitive culturally to expect great service.

    That said, I’ve found that China Eastern and Shanghai Airlines to be bad most of the times. I’ve had some great flight attendants on those airlines but that’s been the exception rather than the norm.

  71. Avoid Mainland Chinese carriers like the plague.

    * poor customer service

    * dirty

    * rude and disrespectful mainland Chinese passengers (now you know why Hong Kongers are embarrassed to be associated with their mainland cousins).

    Do not confuse Taiwanese carriers (which are much better) such as China Airlines and EVA with mainland Chinese carriers.

  72. Mike S.

    EVA is good. I will not take China Airlines for their terrible safety record. Meanwhile, mainland Chinese airlines are much better in safety records.

  73. @Jose
    “Again you are so self centered and use your standard to judge.”

    Given the quality of the English in your post, I suspect that English is not your first language. It’s very good! I know many people who can’t write in a second language (I myself can do so in three). For future reference: I suggest that you look up the meaning of the word review. I don’t know where you are from; in the U.S., a review is intrinsically subjective—go ahead and look up those two words as well.

  74. People will choose to believe what they wanna believe in. Some people in comment section want to believe that all the reviews that defend Chinese airlines come from Chinese government agents, then be my guest. Honestly I’m not surprised because just take a look at what’s going on with the presidential campaign. There are way too many stupid people everywhere, especially in the US. Maybe one’s experience will be better everyday, not only in-flight, if one learns to respect others and another culture. There’s better way to write about personal experience without using any of the degrading language.

  75. As a white American, I love traveling to places like Hong Kong, Taiwan, Philippines, etc. They worship you like you are God just because you are white. They always kiss your ass, give you special treatment, as you are way above them if you are white. But in mainland China, not the case at all, being white doesn’t get you any privileges! I totally understand Ben’s frustration with Chinese airlines, no special treatment for white people! Terrible!

  76. @Mike S.

    Yes they made a mistake this time (provided that Ben was truthful about what happened), but bad service does exist sometime, and I see the US carriers do no better than Chinese carriers with respect to service. FYI, mainland airlines have a better safety record than the Taiwanese counterparts. There is no need to spew your hatred by taking this opportunity. If you are a foreigner, I hope you could give other Chinese airlines another chance, since this kind of incident, from my experience, is not that common. If you are Hong Kongnese or Taiwanese, you should realize that no matter how embarrassed you are, western people will always associate you with being Chinese or Asian. Your hatred towards your people or country is not likely to earn you any respect from anyone.

  77. Personally I think it’s an unbiased trip review, and good for people who have trips to China in the future as for what to expect. But I can see why some Chinese readers feel offended by the review. After all, it is part of the culture.

    DL’s ambitious strategic tie with MU will work at level of “providing more seamless travel to China” at best, for other East Asian destinations, transfers at NRT and ICN are no-brainer, followed by TPE for Skyteam flyers. I would avoid PVG anytime due to the congested air traffic, so-so lounge and ground service.

  78. I’ve flown China Southern (f and j) and Air China (j) this year and frankly I thought both were poor for service and food but …. by no means the worst I’ve had. I’ve had a shocking experience with Virgin in j that has stuck with me for years.El AL, SAA and BA are also pretty bad in my experience but nothing was as crappy as being stuck on a United 787 in the “Business First” seat that was barely better then a premium economy seat from Sydney to Los Angeles with awful food and rude service bordering on the obnoxious ..that was REALLY BAD ! There is no doubt that the mainland Chinese airlines are way behind the top tier in premium cabin service but are they really much further behind then BA,AA, Delta or United ?

  79. @jey False. Mainland airlines have a better safety record than China Airlines (national carrier of Taiwan) ONLY. EVA Air is one of the safest airlines in the world and has a better record than the mainland airlines. In addition, the service on mainland airlines is typically poor and consistently worse than China Airlines, EVA, or Cathay. Also, people from Taiwan and Hong Kong are completely allowed to be proud of who they are and distinguish themselves from people from China, because they are not the same. Your last sentence is illogical as you assume Taiwan and Hong Kong = China, a view which only people from China continue to shove down other people’s throats. There are distinct cultural, economic and societal differences between the three, which largely explains why Chinese airline standards lag behind the majority of Asian airline standards. Lastly, the majority of my “western” friends know that these are different countries. Don’t generalize.

  80. Given Ben’s overwhelming experience with premium cabins, he is certainly in a very credible position to evaluate China Eastern’s product. And he found the product on this flight to be severely, even bizarrely, lacking. And he thoroughly documented as to why he thought it was so inferior.

    Well, just look at many of the responses by people racing to defend China Eastern’s honor. Let’s see…Ben was called untruthful and racist. Americans were called stupid. Somehow criticizing MU was akin to defaming the entire Chinese culture!

    All these rants have been vastly entertaining but their venomous nature does make me suspicious of the writers. The tone of some of the rants reminds me of the comical condemnations one heard from Beijing’s propoganda machine way back in the 1970’s. Or from North Korea’s present day media.

    Just too funny. I’m now anxiously awaiting the full trip report.

  81. @ Forreal22,

    Your post exposed that you are someone who is from either hong kong or taiwan, and a self-hate Chinese. It is pathetic that you are throwing all this politics into a blog that discusses airlines services because nobody really cares.

  82. Would this a bad time to say that China should get out of the south China Sea? Stop being bully with a bad airline. Just be a normal country with a bad airline.

    Ok carry on.

  83. China Eastern sucks, but has improved. Take this route 6 years ago (346 with RECLINERS for business class) and you’ll want to jump off the plane in the middle of the flight.

    Oh, I’m a Chinese government agent who’s told to go to some obscure aviation blog to post.

  84. For the smoking part, I believe it’s not acceptable for most people. For the meal or coffee part, I don’t agree with you like many others. If you choose to fly one Chinese airline, you should expect better Chinese food or tea than western food or coffee. Just like restaurants in US. If you want to have a western meal, are you going to pick a Chinese restaurant and expect to always have a great one there?

    From the fact that you are criticizing China Eastern’s product so badly, I believe the product they served in your flight must be below average. But blaming things like serving the bread after 10 minutes of appetizer looks funny to me.. In China, there is actually no concept of appetizer for Chinese food..

    Also, as mentioned in some other comments. it’s pathetic that quite a few people believe all comments against Ben’s review are from Chinese government agents… I’m pretty sure that these narrow minded people never travelled to any other country…

  85. I dont do chinese.
    I regard them and their culture on par with rodents.
    In fact they eat dog cat rodents.
    They are vile and uneducated sub humans who frankly need to be extreminated.
    Vile rodents

  86. Hey Lucky, your disappointment on this China Eastern flight is certainly understandable. It’s what I felt like after I had my first trip on BA Club World. Rude service, bad food, economy-like hard products, etc… I was so disappointed and told my friend I would not fly BA transatlantic biz anymore. However, after I fly more BA, I find their service varies widely. And most attendants are actually friendly and decent. I then realize I was a little too judgmental at first.

    All people have a sense of right and wrong. As an Asian living in the U.S., I always find It’s interesting to have a more open-minded view of the world, and learn about those cultures that are different from mine. Travel makes me face my arrogant ideas and complaints as book smarts and instead look at each experience as a chance to learn. 🙂

  87. Being forced to inhale known human carcinogens like arsenic, benzene and formaldehyde from second hand smoke is not a cultural sensitivity issue.

  88. Those who have a Citibank credit card (how can you not have a prestige card if you read this blog), if you try to put a travel alert at Citi website, you’ll notice that Taiwan is listed as a province of China. So based on the logic from some comments, Citibank is run by the Chinese government?

  89. Dude i really dont get the Kim Jong-un thing okay. Its ur choice to have bad comment for Chinese Airlines, coz everybody has different perspectives, but those K jokes CAN NOT be made like that okay?

  90. So, Ben writes a review critical of BA.
    I don’t see any Briton feeling offended or ashamed or defensive.
    Then, Ben writes a a glowing review on BA.
    I don’t see any Briton now beaming with pride and honor.

    But, when Ben writes a review critical of a Chinese airline (or hotel, or anything Chinese),
    I often read comments that go like this: “As a Chinese, I am ashamed and I apologize on behalf….”
    And when Ben writes a glowing review on some Chinese stuff,
    I now read this type of comment: “As a Chinese, am happy and proud that…”

    Yes, this is definitely a cultural thing: this strange outdated cultural mentality that you are somehow responsible for the wrong-doings of others, and conversely, that you are somehow the receipient of praises of other people’s good work.

    Wake up your idea!
    Isn’t it already more than one to two hundred years ago when one person’s crime against the emperor resulted in the death penalty for 9 layers of relatives?
    And hasn’t it been also more than hunders of years ago when one person becoming a scholar brings pride to his whole province?

    This is 221st century, for goodness sake
    When Ben criticizes China Eastern Airlines, he is not criticizing you, or China, or 1 billion Chinese!
    You don’t have to feel ashamed, or offended!
    Are you the CEO of China Eastern?
    Don’t think too highly of yourself – you are a nobody, unrelated to China Eastern.

    And when Ben praises Hainan Airlines, he is most definitely not praising you, or China!
    Who are you to beam with pride, smiling from ear to ear?
    Are you the one running Hainan Airlines?
    Again, don’t think too highly of yourself, you are a nobody, quite unrelated to Hainan Airlines.

    Just who do you think you are, to part-take in the blames and prides of others? Others do wrong, you are not to be blamed. Others do good, you should not take the credit. Remeber, You are a nobody! You are responsible only for your own behavior, good or bad. You don’t represent anything or everything chinese. You are not China!

  91. @Lucky, you need to stop replying the comments on this post. It is obvious a lot of them are posting comments in support of Chinese airlines because they’re being asked to do so (~ahem, it’s obvious who controls them). I’m Chinese and have flown China Eastern, China Southern, Air China and other Asian and American carriers. My friend is a pilot at China Eastern. I can vouch for your story. China Eastern pilots do smoke on the flight deck, that’s a fact. Not all of them, but some of them do. They also fail to carry out proper safety checks. That’s also a fact. Service can be hit or miss with American based carriers, but I would never hesitate to fly an American carrier because they care more about safety. And it’s not so much about safety because as you rightly pointed out, safety records don’t mean much statistically speaking, but it has to do with professionalism. Your blog is about travel (usually front end travel), so it is definitely expected that you would comment on the quality of food and other such amenities. Keep doing what you do mate! Can’t wait for the full trip report and the patriotic responses from the Chinese government agents.

  92. I recall my very first trip to China. For business. We flew United from SFO-PEK. As I recall, the plane was full. Mostly Asian passengers. Was quiet during the flight, service was fine, but the thing that told me I was in for something I’d never seen, was during landing. No sooner had the rear wheels hit the runway in PEK, virtually everyone was up out of their seats, grabbing stuff from the overheads and pushing their way to the front of the plane. WHILE WE WERE STILL CRUISING DOWN THE RUNWAY. I recall looking at the flight attendant sitting on the jumpsuit across from me, she didn’t even bat an eye. I asked if this was normal, and she said “You have no idea.”

    That. Smoking. Poor service. Bad food. Seems to be their trademarks.

  93. Seems like a fair review – and a lot of unreasonable reaction.

    Seat is great, but the decor not to Lucky’s taste (personal preference)
    Food – not great, but given dietary limitations not given every opportunity, and no feedback on what/why the main course wasn’t good. Not really clear if it’s just a case of Lucky not liking the dish, or it being prepared poorly. It’d be useful to see more feedback on that. The stale sandwich – we get a clear idea of what was subpar. The main meal – we just know you didn’t like it.

    The cappuccino – conceivably could be a language issue where they have packets labeled cappuccino, or the machine could have been down for a bit, or it could be for first class…or it could be lazy crew. I’d probably go for tea on a chinese airline anyway.

    The angry rebuttals are hilarious, and in many cases clearly not grounded in reality (a crew-only espresso machine? Someone that can tell a sandwich is not stale from Lucky’s photo? “could not have been smoke”?)

    The hard product was good, pending smoke sensitivity I’d get good rest. The food, like most airlines, isn’t something to plan around. The service sounds like about what I’d plan for from any carrier not specifically known for good service (and hope to be pleasantly surprised) and having a language/culture difference.

    For this particular journey – there’s competition from american carriers, but also for various legs JAL,UL, KE, CX, etc. – so it’s reasonable too compare against those alternatives. For flights to China – unless adding stops the alternatives for the longhaul route are more the american carriers.

    It will be interesting to see them at their best now that they are “on to you”.

  94. kinda reminds me of my last biz flight to lhr from ord on American Airlines. The service/food was similar and the plane we were flying STILL had those old fashioned ashtrays. I couldn’t believe it! thank goodness that it was a saver award, because I would have been madder than a wet hen if I had paid full price.

  95. LOL!! Thanks for the review! Have never flown China Eastern, but also don’t plan on it in the foreseeable future. Ughh and what’s with all these trash / political talks in the comments. Last I checked, this is a miles/points/travel blog.

  96. Why is everyone ganging up on Lucky? He wrote an honest review based on HIS experience during the flight. He is entitled to an opinion and that opinion does not always have to be positive.

    I recently flew China Eastern from Bangkok to Shanghai and can honestly say it was perhaps the worst 15 hours of my life. (yes it took 12 hours!)

  97. I live in Hong Kong and am not surprised by any of this post, nor the knee-jerk reactions of many commenters.
    This is a review of an airline, NOT a country. It’s an international flight, and one has every right to expect an international standard product. The flight departed from the USA, and was catered there, so why should one expect the western food to taste bad?
    While I personally would rather stay home than travel on a mainland Chinese airline, I don’t think Ben shares the same bias and his positive reviews of other mainland airlines show this. His MU flight sounds truly dreadful and is not an attack on China.

  98. Geez, there are quite a few defensive commenters on this post, lol.

    I’m sure my standards aren’t up to Ben’s standards as I’ve only flown a few J segments (CX, SQ, EY, DL) and the rest in Y. However, after having flown Air China a couple of times, it would seem mainland Chinese carriers are not the greatest, though not the worst either. I believe Ben is being a bit harsh on the seats, as blandness is really subjective. Comfort, which Ben alluded to, should be the primary objective and reverse herringbone seats certainly accomplish that goal.

    I can definitely believe the food and service to be below average as I’ve experienced those myself. I wouldn’t say they are trying to be bad or rude, but are just unrefined at this point. As an American born Chinese (parents from Hong Kong) and having been to both HK and the mainland, it would seem that people from the mainland are just not as cultured and well-mannered at this point. I think it will gradually get better with time.

    Flying other Asian airlines (CX, SQ, JL, etc) over mainland carriers is still the way to go for now.

  99. I’ll say the seat looks pretty nice to me anyways, prolly Lucky is just not a fan of this color? I’ll also expect better Chinese food than western food, better selection of tea than coffee on a Chinese carrier. Other than that, I have nothing to defend for this particular flight. Oh BTW I m Chinese, but not a government agent if anyone would wonder.

  100. Who said “business class is all about the seat”? This overall very negative conclusion seems very biased, and undermines your blog’s credibility IMO. It really doesn’t look and sound THAT bad (except the smoking part…). Also as a world trotter you probably are aware that powdered coffee is quite common in many Asian places and it is not always considered inferior to brewed products as in the US. For example, the salmon sandwich snack seems appropriate for business class, and is much better than what most US airlines offers.

  101. and personally the seat color looks fine to me… it really isn’t something that is worth so much rambling against. The pattern on the pad at the top is actually quite pretty. The way you describe it just sounds angry.

  102. They use western 3 times so you know it’s really western.
    I can almost see the next line in the menu to be “*not Northern, Eastern nor Southern.”

  103. I have the opportunity to travel on Chinese carriers a great deal and for the most part this review is on point. I also find food and service on Hainan Airlines to be good. I find the crew on CZ and MU to lack training and are perhaps hired based solely on their looks and not abilities. The food is always pretty bad INCLUDING their Chinese options. China does have decent Chinese food it’s just not served on the aircraft. It seems on flights I have been on in J or F the crew migrates to the galley or turns off the lights right after meal services never to return. No water no offers to refill drinks nada. Believe me this is not a cultural thing. What is cultural is that no one will complain about poor service as its expected. If these carriers want to make inroads (which they are) to the foreign market, they need to be able to compete at a global level. (That includes proper English descriptions for meals) I just got off a ANA flight and looked at the menu and it was as described in normal English. Hope MU and CZ our reading these experiences and taking them seriously and actually improving their service. I did notice a lot of the 50 cent army on here. You can tell that it’s them as they accuse Lucky of being a racist and not really address any of the issues he actually brought up. (That’s going out to you @Kim you 五毛党 )
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/50_Cent_Party

  104. Ryan Silveira says:
    July 28, 2016 at 4:14 pm
    I have the opportunity to travel on Chinese carriers a great deal and for the most part this review is on point. I also find food and service on Hainan Airlines to be good. I find the crew on CZ and MU to lack training and are perhaps hired based solely on their looks and not abilities. The food is always pretty bad INCLUDING their Chinese options. China does have decent Chinese food it’s just not served on the aircraft. It seems on flights I have been on in J or F the crew migrates to the galley or turns off the lights right after meal services never to return. No water no offers to refill drinks nada. Believe me this is not a cultural thing. What is cultural is that no one will complain about poor service as its expected. If these carriers want to make inroads (which they are) to the foreign market, they need to be able to compete at a global level. (That includes proper English descriptions for meals) I just got off a ANA flight and looked at the menu and it was as described in normal English. Hope MU and CZ our reading these experiences and taking them seriously and actually improving their service. I did notice a lot of the 50 cent army on here. You can tell that it’s them as they accuse Lucky of being a racist and not really address any of the issues he actually brought up. (That’s going out to you @Kim you 五毛党 )
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/50_Cent_Party

  105. @ Ryan,

    A retarded statement of “China does have decent Chinese food” makes everything you said worthless.

    Do you expect people to take you seriously when you say things like “France does have decent French food”, “Mexico does have decent Mexican food”?

  106. It’s funny how many people from Hong Kong (a city of China) here are bashing China over a blog talking about airlines service. I’m sure when you live in a 20 square feet little cell like most Hong Kong people do, your mind gets really twisted.

  107. @Kim I actually live in Xiangtan in China near Changsha. It appears you a re making this a personal arguement to dissuade from the facts that were presented by Lucky’s review. What I said is there is plenty of good food available but for some reason it does not make it to Chinese carriers in general. The whole HK vs Mainland thing is a bit old. Do realize you are not CHINA and you are not CHINA EASTERN. Why take it so personally? Criticism of China Eastern is not a criticism of you personally. Maybe they can take the feedback given and use it to actually improve their service. Who would have through feedback can actually be of value to a consumer driven business?

  108. I flew China Eastern business class from LAX to Shanghai in the fall of 2014. My experience was just fine, other than the food, which I agree was inedible.

    The seats were not the herringbone pattern shown above, but rather, regular side by side configuration with 3 sets of 2. Other than feeling like I was sleeping with a stranger, the lay flat seats were basically like kicking back in a La-Z-Boy.

    Their English wasn’t the best, but hey, I was the minority. I was literally the only non-Chinese person in business class. They did well enough that we could communicate. I felt they were attentive and very polite, so I have nothing bad to say about the service. I did laugh at how bad some of their written English was, just as you note about the “western exquisite western snack”. But I encountered that many, many times in China.

    Thankfully, I didn’t encounter any smoke as that would have been a deal breaker for me since I’m highly allergic.

  109. Any race issues aside, this truly looks like a terrible long-haul business class flight. I’d be livid if I had paid cash for the fare.

  110. This is actually pretty funny that you mention the cigarette smoke. I have recently moved to Shanghai and have been flying with CES the past year – all business. The first time I flew with CES on the JFK to PVG leg, I was shocked to smell cigarettes. I just thought the crazy economy class riders were toking away, but now it makes sense that it was the crew. I’ve smelled it again on the SFO to PVG flights. The food – absolutely the worst in the industry. However, for the seats (which is the best thing) is consistent and the inflight entertainment is solid. The Wifi on the plane is great however the crew doesn’t allow you to connect via smart phone. BS! Other than that I still fly CES and I’m flying to SIN today. It’s the best out there at the moment so I can’t complain. I would choose this over a layover in ICN anyday – and I would choose this over United.

  111. @Kim – from your writing style I can see that you didn’t receive the best education abroad, especially in geography. Hong Kong is a SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION OF CHINA and NOT A CHINESE CITY. They have full autonomy with their own currency and immigration controls and everything except national defense and foreign affairs. Unfortunately people like you are only mindless trolls on the internet and wimps in real life. 你丫就一低级小粉红喷子。

    @Ryan – the correct term for these people is 自干五 because MU knows better than to employ people like Kim to be their agents – they do more damage to the company’s image everytime they post. Last time Lucky wrote the report on CZ they actually responded and promised better service while MU trolls like Kim is only going to drive people away. Thank God I don’t live anywhere near a MU hub.

    @Lucky – even some people based in Shanghai are trying hard to avoid MU, so I’m not even remotely surprised about your experience. Also smoking on the cockpit is quite a grey area since it’s not explicitly banned under 14 CFR § 252 or CAAC regulations, but you can argue that the CAP and FO violated § 252.9: “Air carriers shall prohibit smoking whenever the ventilation system is not fully functioning. Fully functioning for this purpose means operating so as to provide the level and quality of ventilation specified and designed by the manufacturer for the number of persons currently in the passenger compartment.” Of course, if you can prove that the CAP and FO smoked on the ground, that’s even better because it’s a violation of both FAA and CAAC regulations and CAAC do enforce it rigorously (in this case a paltry fine of RMB 10, or US$1.50, shall be given). The maximum fine for smoking is RMB 50 or US$7.50 under CAAC regulations (haven’t updated since 1997).

  112. This is my first time at your blog site. I was encouraged to visit here since some of my friends who often travel China Eastern Airlines (CEA) felt that your comments about this airline are off-base. But, because of your alleged popularity as a blogger, your claims, as you know, can nevertheless be damaging. These claims they made against you interested me, and so I navigated to this blog page. Yet, after reading your remarks about this airline and the “evidence” to support them, I found myself siding with them. In light of this, I thought I should try, like some other commenters, to counterbalance some remarks made by you against this company as well as inform you as to what passengers want when flying long haul flights.

    I have lived in Shanghai, China for over 15 years. And, at least four times per year, I return to the US to visit with family etc. While abroad, you learn about different cultures, ways of life and their habits. That is especially the case if you actually leave the airport. For instance, the Chinese culture is mainly a smoking culture. Just about everywhere you go, eat and visit–albeit, the government is making strides to end this–you will see smokers. As you may or may not know, just like eating delicious Chinese hotpot, cigarette smoke and nicotine cling to teeth, hair, skin, clothes, luggage and so on. Now, since you have traveled so much, you must know what chain smokers do prior to boarding long haul fights, like LA to Shanghai. In case you don’t know, I will tell you: they smoke and smoke a lot. Why do they do this? They do this because they don’t want to endure withdrawal symptoms during the flight. Knowing this, then, it should be no surprise to any frequent traveler that these people, their clothing, carry-on luggage are laced/stained with the strong odor of tobacco.

    Now, saying this, I have to admit, that while having traveled in both CEA’s business and first class to and fro China, I have never noticed the odor. Perhaps, your nose is too sensitive? I don’t know. But the failure of you to consider this possibility while in your rather juvenile quest to find the source of the odor (Is this the state of quest in the modern world?) suggests that your quest may have had very little to do with finding the truth. Instead, your inquiry may have been aimed at accomplishing something else? Perhaps, getting unjustified compensation from CEA for your alleged suffering?

    I am sorry to say this as well but your many travel miles have taught you little about comfort on long haul flights. My time in the air dwarfs yours for sure. But, I know something about comfort when traveling. The soft hues of brown (or has you call them, “bland” colors) that blanket first and business class are not designed to get passengers excited or aroused. These tones instead are intended to help passengers remove stress, relax and get some sleep. Sherwin-William company knows this to be the case. (Go to: http://www.sherwin-williams.com for interior bedroom colors.) Why use these colors? It’s a long haul flight! As you know, most passengers are hoping not to stay up during the whole flight in pursuit of petty quests. That’s in part why the flight crew dim lights and close window shades. When do we desire hot, lively colors. We usually want bright, stimulating and neon colors and tones at birthday parties, trance concerts and amusement parks. Perhaps, blogger, you fail to see the difference? Or, perhaps, you don’t understand the impact color has on the psychology of the mind? I really can’t answer this for you but feel unlucky to have to share this information with such a seasoned traveler.

    Chinese idiom: 欲加之罪,何患无辞; translation: If you are out to condemn someone, you can always trump up a charge.

    Sincerely,
    Mike Kohler
    California

  113. Well I’ve known some china eastern pilots and FAs, not to mention the names but few friends of mine were invited into the cockpit to have some red wines, and they do smoke In the cockpit, which crew and pilots think it’s normal.

  114. I agree with Ben, China Eastern is the weakest link among Chinese airlines! Compare with the services(hard and soft) from US airlines, I am not sure who is the worst one! Shame Qantas partnered with both China Eastern and American!

  115. Based on a mix of personal experience and trip reports from friends, mainland Chinese carriers should be avoided if possible. Actually, that’s the same rule that I apply to the legacy US carriers as well. It’s a race to the bottom, folks!

    Sometimes, on MU, you can have a pleasant flight. Last year, I wound up on MU725, PVG-HKG due to my original flight going mechanical. It was a new A321 and the food was horrid. However, the flight crew was professional, friendly, fine in basic english (which they tried out on me) and there was no cigarette smoke (this flight). The plane was clean and other than a delay getting out of PVG, was fine. I was hoping that this reflected an overall improvement; instead it was the exception apparently.

    So when you have to fly to mainland China destinations, if you have a good flight on a mainland airline, be happy about it. Which is the same rule for mainland US destinations and legacy carriers as well.

  116. You are clearly being flooded with comments from the Chinese propaganda shops. See the recent Bloomberg article entitled “China Fakes 488 Million Social Media Posts a Year: Study” at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-19/china-seen-faking-488-million-internet-posts-to-divert-criticism

    Hey, look on the bright side! It’s a sign that they think you have influence!

    Hard to believe the stupidity of how they operate, but I suppose when you’re dealing with a rather ignorant populace, it must work enough of the time to be worth it. (I believe the US is now trying the same experiment on both sides of the presidential election.) 😉

  117. Thanks for the headsup, Lucky. There is NO f**king way I’ll fly PRC airlines. By the way, I am no pale face and do not worship the ground Lucky walked on.

  118. As someone based in socal and routinely fly to East Asia for business upfront, I can tell Lucky is definitely biased toward Chinese people and culture, there’s clearly a condescending undertone in this article and the other posts on mainline Chinese airlines. If you ask, I do think the Chinese culture of idolizing Caucasian people is to be blamed here. When even A&F starts to put non-white faces in their posters, you’ll be amazed to find how many Billboards or posters have absolutely only White faces on them, even for those local brands. This is not just a problem for the mainland, but also prevalent in greater China region (including HK and Taiwan) and other east Asian countries like Korea and Japan.

    This cultivates a sense of privilege among the unsuspected white travelers to China. And that sense of privilege inspires condescending attitude towards the hosts, in this case the Chinese airlines under review. I have read Lucky’s other posts regarding legacy U.S. carriers and I can assure you the UA dragons are 1000000% times worse than the FAs from the Chinese airlines but you don’t sense the same sense to tone in his reviews.

    The Chinese are easy targets to pick on, apparently, with Trump now in the WH. But let’s keep racism and prejudice out of professional reviews, if you call it that.

    @Tom Aug 2: Your comments is hilarious and uneducated at the best. It reminds me of the South Carolina guy who showed up at Comet Ping Pong this week with the AR15s. Typical mindless trolls who trusts anything the conspiracy theorists cooked up, blaming other posters as trolls, how ironic.

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