A Look At Xiamen Air’s New 787-9 Business Class

Hello from Xiamen! Andrew and I just flew from Los Angeles to Xiamen, which is a new route for Xiamen Air that just started a few weeks ago. More exciting than the new route as such was that we were flying on a new 787-9, featuring Xiamen Air’s newest business class product.

Xiamen Air’s first US route was from Seattle to Shenzhen, which I reviewed last year. That route was operated by a 787-8, featuring both business and first class. I thought the seats were fine, though what impressed me most about the experience was the soft product.

What’s interesting is that Xiamen Air decided to eliminate first class on their new 787-9s, and instead installed a new reverse herringbone business class product. While I’ll have a full trip report soon, I wanted to share my initial thoughts on the experience in this post.

Xiamen Air’s new business class cabin is gorgeous. Not only does it have my favorite kind of reverse herringbone seats, but the finishes are nice as well, in my opinion.

In terms of amenities, each passenger got two pillows, a day blanket, and a duvet. I wish there had been some sort of mattress pad, though I managed to get a solid six hours of sleep (the flight time was about 14 hours), as I found the seat to be really comfortable. The late night departure probably didn’t hurt either.

In terms of other amenities, there was a nice Crabtree & Evelyn amenity kit, as well as slippers.

Xiamen Air offers complimentary inflight wifi, which is fast (I was able to use a VPN, so I could access Google, etc.). This is a huge selling point for Xiamen Air over other Chinese airlines, as very few have wifi, let alone wifi that’s pretty fast and free.

The flight left LAX shortly after midnight, which is way past my bedtime. As I remembered from my previous flight on Xiamen Air, the way they do meal services is interesting.

They serve everything on trays, though not in the same way other airlines would. Other airlines give you a tray and then remove the appetizer and salad plates, then bring out the main courses, etc. In other words, with most airlines there’s a single tray that’s used.

In the case of Xiamen Air thy bring you a tray with the appetizer and salad, and then remove the tray.

Then they bring you a tray with the main course (steamed seabass) and soup (braised lotus root red date soup with pork spare rib), and then remove the tray.

Then they bring you a tray with the dessert (fruit, mango cheesecake, and ice cream), and then remove the tray.

I appreciated how efficient the crew was, given the late night departure. The meal service was done an hour after takeoff, which I think is the fastest meal service I’ve ever had in an international premium cabin.

Breakfast was equally quick, and consisted of cereal, an omelet, fruit, and opera cake.

As far as the crew goes, they were efficient, friendly, and robotic. I feel like the previous Xiamen Air crew I had was a bit more charming, but the ladies working business class were still very good, and I have zero complaints.

I continue to think that Xiamen Air offers one of China’s best business class products. The 787-9 has a phenomenal hard product, free wifi, fairly good food, and efficient and friendly service.

I’d recommend them in a heartbeat, especially as they’re part of SkyTeam, so they’re a great option for earning and redeeming miles. Add in the fact that they often have great business class fares, and this is a very attractive option.

If you’ve flown Xiamen Air, what was your experience like?

Comments

  1. Apparently they’re selling paid business class from LAX to Sydney via Xiamen for a reasonable price even compared to mile redemption.

  2. The cabin looks super boring, though. What specifically about it did you like? As far as stylings and finishes, I’d posit this cabin is nothing compared to China Airlines or Air France or Air Canada’s cabins with the same (or nearly same) seats. This cabin looks like a doctor’s office. And nobody enjoys those.

    Curious about the seat covering, though. It looks like it’s just plain vinyl. All I can think is butt-sweat and back-sweat and how unbreathable it would be to sleep on. How did it feel in that department? I’m stoked for a full review because Mainland China is next – 3-1/2 years living in Asia and I still never made it past HK.

  3. @d very reasonably priced to Sydney, the only problem is the super long layover in Xiamen. You’d arrive in +3 days when it’s all said and done.

  4. We just returned from our trip from LAX to China using Xiamen Air, and I have zero complaints. The food, service and (I will agree about a bit more padding for the seat) flight were all superb. BTW, the fist class lounge in Xiamen is to die for!

  5. @Trex – It’s probably a good idea to have 1-2 days of layover in Xiamen if you have Chinese Visa valid for 10 years. I heard the city is amazing, definite worth a visit.
    Nowadays there are fewer and fewer Cathay/JAL award availability through AA or Alaska, so this is still a considerable deal.

  6. @Lucky- How did you go about selecting seats? I will be traveling in this cabin in April (LAX-SHA, PEK-LAX) and it doesn’t seem like it’s an option on Xiamen’s website.

  7. “I continue to think that Xiamen Air offers one of China’s best business class products. ”

    I disagree. While Xiamen Air indeed offers one of MAINLAND China’s best business class products, Cathay Pacific (based in Hong Kong, China) and EVA Air (based in Taiwan, China) offer China’s best business class product.

    Is it “I travel from Hawaii to United States",or “I travel from Hawaii to the MAINLAND / CONTINENTAL United States”? Americans never forget to add that word when talking about their own country. Nor do they find it troublesome or unnecessary to add that word. Quite the opposite – all Americans (except the confederate supporter?) would have found it wierd to say or hear something like this: “I travel from Texas to the United States”.

  8. wow some airlines only allow u to pick 1or 2 desserts out of 3 they offered…but Xiamen serves u all of the three!

  9. @John:

    That’s a valid point regarding Hawaii and Mainland and the confusion from lack of proper verbiage – something most Americans grow up hearing and intuiting and rarely explain to American dialectically-disinclined. That said, it’s contextually known that when Americans discuss Hawaii (and to a lesser extent Alaska) relative to the other 49 states, the term “The States” refers to the continental (or contiguous, for Alaska) United States if the term Mainland is not used.

    So a Hawaiian would say, “I’m going to see my family in The States,” and the listener would contextually know that refers to Mainland. At least that’s how I used the term when I was there and how my friends there now refer to us Mainlanders.

  10. @John you’re severely mistaken as Taiwan is not part of China. Officially Taiwan is still the Republic of China.

  11. Lucky would be cool to see you review JFK-FOC, Xiamen’s second base although the operation is of a smaller scale compared to XMN

  12. @ John – Add in the fact that Cathay Pacific’s product is far inferior to what seems to be portrayed here…and you also left out China Airlines!

    (I won’t deny the fact that Hong Kong is sovereignly part of China, but Taiwan certainly isn’t)

  13. Flew business with Xiamen air from Amsterdam to Xiamen about a month ago.
    Initially while selecting the seat, it seemed to be the old 2-2-2 business set-up with first class but luckily enough, this was adjusted a few days prior.
    As you mentioned, was happily surprised with the soft product and the wifi speed!
    The way they brought out the food was quite special as you already mentioned. However, compliments to how they replenished the dishes in the pace of each individual passenger.
    The flight attendants did a great job at keeping an eye on you.
    Only thing I didn’t understand was the full seat belt 🙂

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