Review: Juneyao Airlines Economy Class A320 Hong Kong to Shanghai

I’m excited to share this review of Juneyao Airlines since they recently joined Star Alliance as a connecting partner. I bought my flight for roughly $100, which was by far the cheapest in the market. The fare included 20kg of luggage, which seems to be the standard across most Chinese carriers. One word of caution: Juneyao Airlines’ English website is by far the worst airline website I have EVER used. It requires you to create an account to make a booking, the English translations are laughable and there is no way to manage your booking online after it has been confirmed.

So, after checking in and heading through security at Hong Kong Airport, I took a shuttle train to the new satellite terminal, where Juneyao’s A320 was parked.

Juneyao Air HO1306
Hong Kong (HKG) – Shanghai (PVG)
Depart: 11:50AM
Arrive: 2:20PM
Duration: 2hr 30mins
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Seat: 20A (Economy Class)

The boarding announcements were barely understandable, but eventually they started letting people onboard.

The interior of the aircraft was interesting. Their business class looked fine, though not nearly as comfortable as on the A330 Shanghai Airlines uses between the two cities.

Juneyao Air Business Class.
Shanghai Airlines Business Class.

Economy was colorful, perhaps a tad over the top for my taste.

The pillow kind of grossed me out. It looked like it hadn’t been cleaned for a long time. I don’t even think the pillow cover could be removed…

A lot of passengers also asked for blankets, which the crew gladly delivered.

Boarding was extremely efficient. Before the crew announcements started, loud boarding music was being played on repeat. When the crew came on the PA, I unfortunately couldn’t understand a word of what they were saying. How come all of the good local English speakers (who are sometimes almost fluent) in Shanghai work at the tourist markets, while the airlines are left with people who can barely say hello?

We pushed back right on schedule and had a quick taxi to the runway before taking off.

I was determined to watch Desperate Housewives (my new obsession) this flight. All was fine until the person in front of me reclined their seat. Similar to my flight on Shanghai Airlines, the recline was too generous to be comfortable for the passenger seated behind. My laptop was almost folded as the seat came down. I wouldn’t count on being able to get any work done in Juneyao’s economy. There wasn’t any wifi anyway.

When the meal service began I realized that communication would be a serious issue. Between the crew’s limited English, and my Chinese for that matter, it was almost impossible to place my order.

There was a choice between chicken with rice and beef with noodles. Since I don’t eat chicken or beef, I asked for a tray with only sides. The passengers surrounding me and the flight attendant looked at me in absolute shock.

My tray came with two side dishes and a blueberry muffin. The food quality was surprisingly impressive and I enjoyed the little food I received.

When the crew came around for a second beverage service, I asked if they had any side dishes or muffins left. He looked at me and said something in Chinese. I asked again in different wording and he continued to look bewildered by my request. Finally, he aggressively said, “no, no more meals for you!”

I continued watching my show on my half-folded laptop until we started descending. Around 40 minutes before arrival the same flight attendant came by asking everyone to put their tray tables and seat backs in the upright position. That was fine since I could continue to watch the show. Five minutes later he came up to me and said “turn it off.” I didn’t want to argue so began closing my tabs and he started yelling “no, turn off computer.” We hadn’t even begun our descent at this point.

Luckily, I had a nice wing-view to entertain me for the rest of the ride. We touched down smoothly at 2:15pm followed by a long taxi to the gate.

When I left the aircraft I noticed a group of men inspecting our left landing gear. Hmmm….

Bottom Line

Overall, I’d say Juneyao is better than Shanghai Airlines or China Eastern. However, this was still one of the least pleasant flights I’ve had in my life. The communication barrier made the service seem very stern, and while I noticed raising your voice is quite common around Shanghai, it doesn’t translate very well onboard an airplane. At the price I paid, I’d recommend flying with them, but beware that the experience may not be all that nice.

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Comments

  1. Nice review, thanks!

    Had a rather pleasant experience last month in J on their Shanghai – Dalian Flight.
    Economy seems to be quite good also.

  2. Ah Americans and their entitled expectation that everyone must speak good english. Why don’t you learn Mandarin?

  3. I keep telling these foreign businesses, for a mere $100 per hour, I’ll make sure their English language versions of their business materials are written in proper and correct English lol.

    And Joe, if a business puts out anything in a foreign language, the least they can do is to make the effort to ensure their materials are written in that language correctly, otherwise, it looks sloppy and unprofessional.

  4. No, he’s just entitled to the expectation that a customer should be treated with due consideration. What’s wrong with that?

    I’m getting sick of even full service airlines doing their so called landing checks an hour before landing. Singapore airlines and Cathay do this regularly in economy. It’s ridiculous.

  5. Good to see OMAAT has fulfilled its daily quota of bashing China but sucking the Middle East’s d..k

  6. Skit i dom Daniel. Dessa hatare kommer aldrig försvinna. Älskar att du skriver så ofta på OMAAT.

    Från en göteborgare till en annan, du gör ett grymt jobb!

    Fortsätt med det.

  7. Juneyao is a discount airline actually. But its usually been ok in my experience. But I still prefer China Eastern

  8. “Finally, he aggressively said, ‘no, no more meals for you!'”

    Just like the soup nazi on Seinfeld (“no soup for you!”)

  9. @Daniel,
    I enjoy your reviews. Especially at your young tender age, travelling the world and informing us about all the good and sometimes not such pleasant experiences. Keep up the good work!

  10. Please don’t be mean to Daniel. I like this blog and I read every posting. And, to be honest, I have had the same experience with air travel within China: when you are not understood the FA’s can get surly. They don’t have to speak English. They should simply have a card where we can point for usual needs and it is in a multitude of languages. In this manner, the FA doesn’t have to be tense and the non-Chinese speaker doesn’t have to be the recipient of frustration. Now, wasn’t that easy?! Going forward I don’t want to see any mean spirited discourse on this site. It is unnecessary.

  11. Not sure what you are seeing on the pillow, but to me, it looks like a piece of lint… I don’t think it looks THAT bad…my goodness. And you know what, even though the English probably sucks, I don’t even get why every airline must have English translation. I know for safety, but I just find it kind of crazy that a flight from Italy to Spain should have an English translation, or a domestic Chinese flight… yet in the US its English only and if you don’t like it, don’t come attitude…

  12. Im sorry youre vegetarian 🙁

    but anyway great review! Just followed you on instagram! 😀

  13. I concur with Tadd. A language barrier does not necessarily have to result in rudeness. I frequently go to Japan, where language is also an issue. However, an effort is made to try to communicate. I apologize, they apologize, we share a knowing smile, and we try our best to get our point across.

  14. lucky you dont take chicken really?????anyway seems like your worst flight.doesnt????

  15. Is there no comment moderation here? What is the relevance of comment like this:

    – “Ah Americans and their entitled expectation that everyone must speak good english. Why don’t you learn Mandarin?”

    And then couple minutes later he realized that the author wasn’t even American:
    – “Ha ha ha, it is ‘Speak English well’, you illiterate European!”

    Or:
    – “Another stupid post by line-cutter Daniel. Your ignorance is appalling.” -> And exactly what ignorance?

    I think training the commentators to reason and to think logically would provide better discussion.

  16. @Josh travelling in shorts should be banned. FFS not everyone wants to see some gay teen leg in every shot….

  17. Daniel, with all due respect, you are being a little unreasonable to expect high English proficiency. You are in their country where English is not their primary language. (I understand the history of Hong Kong but it’s still part of China now.) I can understand the frustration – I had a language barrier two years ago on a German ICE train – but my opinion is it’s very self-centered to visit a foreign country and take exception that their can’t communicate with you in your language.

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