Sunday, June 2, 2019

China Eastern Airlines Business Class Xi'An to Shanghai to Singapore Flight Review

We fly China Eastern Airlines Business class, back to Singapore from Xi'An, after a wonderful holiday in Xi'An! 

Our fight plan was as follows:

MU 5010 - dep Xian 0850, arr Shanghai 1125
MU 565 - dep Shanghai 1435, arr Shanghai 2010

As our flight departed Xian somewhat early that morning, we decided to stay at the Regal Airport Hotel for one night, so that our departure could be smooth and easy.   Our flight home would be much smoother than our exciting adventure some days earlier on getting to Xian!

Xian Xianyang Airport Terminal 3 had a dedicated check-in area for China Eastern, which was very near the security clearance.  After checking in (our luggage would be checked through to Singapore), clearing security was quite quick (there were priority lines for Premium Pax) and we quickly found our way to the China Eastern Lounge.  Just follow the signs, not difficult.  The entrance to the lounge looked like this.  I read online that China Eastern operated another lounge at the other end of the concourse.  But this lounge was very near our gates, so made a lot more sense to wait here, at the V1 lounge.


Busy Lounge
Inside the lounge, we found it quite busy indeed.  I made a video of the lounge, and you can see the crowds at the dining area.  There was a decent selection of food, and China Eastern served their signature beef noodles in this lounge too.   Indeed, the Chinese love their noodles, no doubt about that.


Nice Blue Seats
Here are some photos of the lounge.  Nice blue seats.  They looked traditional, but they were pretty comfortable.  You could actually snooze on them (we did for a while) by lounging forward.  The seats gave good support to the next! There were charging points on the floor, in between the seats, making it convenient to charge our devices.  Of course, I had to use my universal plug. You can watch my video at 5:54 to see the charging points.

Rather Sunny!
At times, it felt rather warm, because the morning sun was pouring in.  Yes, this lounge gets the morning sun.

First Class Ticket?
Was a bit tickled when I saw my boarding passes (Red) which stated First Class.  No, we didn't buy First class tickets, ours was Business class fare.  However, it seems that within China, they seem to mix Business and First.  Maybe the concept is like in the USA, where they call domestic business as First Class.  Anyway, it didn't matter, as long as we got our seats!

Our flight was delayed by almost an hour, due to late arrival of aircraft from Moscow.  Apparently MU5010 is a service from Shanghai to Moscow, via Xi'An.  So the plane came in from Moscow.  Didn't bother us too much since we had sufficient layover time at Shanghai as buffer, and waiting in the lounge was comfortable (we found a spot which didn't have the morning sun).  We could wait until the boarding announcements were made before heading to the gate.

MU 5010 Xi'an to Shanghai
Again, we had to take a bus from our gate to the airplane.  Truly, a bus airline!  We got up the mini-bus for Premium Pax, and the ride was about 5 minutes to the aircraft.  I made this video of our flight experience from Xi'An to Shanghai, on board the China Eastern Airbus A330-300 series aircraft.


This Airbus was also retrofitted with their latest cabin product, which looked very similar to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner that we flew on from Singapore to Shanghai.  Some pictures of the cabin (in a 1-2-1 configuration) below.

Notice the slightly staggered layout of the window seats - alternate between true window seat and nearer the aisle seat.

A 1-2-1 formation.  Very spacious, private feel.  Overall, a very solid hard product.

The IFE screens were fairly big.  Good enough for me to watch a movie.

When we flew from Shanghai to Xi'An a few days back on a late flight (dep 2130hrs), the catering was extremely underwhelming - 2 tarts and 5 slices of fruit!  So, I was curious, this time what would we get for a morning flight?  A slice of bread and a drink perhaps?  LOL!

Asian or Western style breakfast?
Fortunately, China Eastern did better than that.  We had a choice of Asian or Western style breakfast.  I chose Asian, not knowing what it entailed. But at least we were decent a decent breakfast (local Xi'An style), which I quite enjoyed.  Bear in mind this is a 1hr 50min flight, so my expectations weren't sky high.  Here is breakfast I enjoyed.  Do watch my video if you want more details of the food, as I examine the food tray more closely.

The flight path from Xi'An to Shanghai wasn't straight.  Wonder why.  Maybe to avoid weather, or traffic congestion, or military airspace.  Well, as long as our pilot got us to our destination safely, I can't complain.

Weather was bright and sunny as we approached Shanghai Pudong.  Managed to get a very nice view of Shanghai Hongqiao Airport from the air.  There was an aircraft landing on the runway too. Cool!


Arrival into Shanghai Pudong
Landing was smooth. Recall, when we arrived in Shanghai en-route to Xi'An, we had assumed that our onward flight was on track. This time round, I immediately turned on my flight app which could show me the arrivals/departures at the airport. Yes, our onward flight was on schedule.  Of course, don't just trust the app, check the departure boards in the airport itself.  It looked ok.  Phew!

So we made our way past security and immigration, to the departure area for international flights at Shanghai Pudong, and took the escalator up to the China Eastern Lounge.  This was supposedly China Eastern's flagship lounge.  It was rather crowded when we got there, as it was lunch hour, but we could still find a nice table for the two of us on the first level.

Food - I had 2 servings of this Nasi Goreng style rice with fish, and I couldn't resist trying that bun.

The second floor of the lounge was a lot more quiet, with many seats and very few passengers.  Head up here if you want a quite place to nap or chill. Of course, don't forget to set your alarm for your boarding time!

Another angle of the second floor.  Yes, the boarding announcements were made, but they weren't that loud.  You could miss them if you are not careful.

Boarding Time
It was time for us to board the aircraft (we waited till the boarding announcement), and we headed off to our gate.  Our aircraft was boarding from Gate 212, which was a bus boarding gate.  When we reached the gate, they had already started general boarding.  It didn't look like there was a line for priority passengers!

Well, we just followed the other business class passengers who went to the front of the line, showed the staff our tickets, and they let us through.  We headed to the mini-van for premium passengers and enjoyed our final ride on this same type of mini-bus.  We have had so many bus rides on this trip that I've lost count!

The aircraft that would be flying us to Singapore was a rather new Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  Every passenger, premium or not, had to use the same staircase up to the airplane.  I took this photo to show my parents.  The steps were steep.  Given their age, I had advised them not to take China Eastern.  Not sure if my mother can make her way up and down such steps.


Another look at the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  Pretty neat!  We weren't in any rush to board, so we let the other passengers board first.  The weather was great, and I took many photos of the plane.  See the front gear - serial number of this plane was B-209N.  She was delivered to Shanghai Pudong on 31st March 2019.  Very new!

Flight Review - Shanghai to Singapore on the China Eastern Dreamliner in Business Class
Here is the flight review video on this Shanghai to Singapore leg.


The cabin was beautiful.  Very classy.  For this flight, I was seated in 8L, which was a window seat. (as in right next to the window)

The welcome drink was champagne, orange juice, or water. I chose the champagne. This time round, the menus were placed at our seats. I took a glance through, and from the applicable menu for our flight. China Eastern has the habit of printing a single menu that can last them for many, many months. If you watch 3:30 of my video you will see that the menu is colour coded - Red for Odd month 1st to 15th, Orange for Odd month 16th to 31st, Blue for Even month 1st to 15th and Green for even month 16th to 31st.

I guess this system saves them printing costs. For my dinner, I chose the 3 cup chicken with rice. The cabin crew asked whether I would like dinner to be served immediately upon takeoff, or later. As our takeoff time was about 2:30pm (i.e. too early for dinner), I asked to be served later. The crew said the service would be at 5:30pm, as landing was slightly past 7pm. I said ok. After the flight took off, cabin lights were dimmed, and most passengers were watching movies or took an afternoon map. The crew came around with drinks service, and I got some white wine to go with the mixed nuts that they gave out. It was good. The seat could be converted into a flat bed easily (push button) and I took a short nap. For some reason, I woke up automatically, just before dinner time. Perhaps I was getting hungry! Dinner was served. It wasn't like gourmet food, but the taste suited me just fine.

My tray table was ready for dinner service.  They gave me the red wine first.

My 3-cup chicken with rice meal.  The taste wasn't bad at all!

Well, that pretty much wraps up my Trip Report, Xi'An to Shanghai to Singapore on China Eastern Business class.  This was our first time on China Eastern, and putting aside the slight trauma we had with delays and cancelled flights on Singapore to Xi'An leg, it was a great experience for the price we had paid! 

Would we fly with China Eastern again?  Yes!  But we would also know that their flights may be delayed/cancelled etc, so we would be mentally prepared for it all. 

Thanks for reading and watching my videos!

8 comments :

  1. Great Review! Can't wait for your next flight review

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