CHINA EASTERN AIRLINES (Xi'an Xianyang Airport to Shanghai Pudong International)- A320-200, FIRST CLASS
China Eastern Airlines is a major airline in the People's Republic of China (PRC). Since being formed on 25th of June 1988, China Eastern Airlines has grown to become one of the world's major international airlines. At the end of June 2012, China Eastern Airlines had a fleet of 305 aircraft, flying to 110 destinations worldwide. The airline has a number of hubs, however the main international hub is at Shanghai Pudong International Airport. China Eastern Airlines is a proud member of Skyteam Alliance, and also owns the subsidiary, Shanghai Airlines.
Route: XI’AN XIANYANG AIRPORT (XIY) - SHANGHAI PUDONG (PVG)
Departure date and time of flight: September 2012
Flight number: MU2155 (ICAO callsign: “China Eastern 2155”)
Flight duration: 2 Hours 10 minutes
Class: FIRST CLASS
Aircraft type: AIRBUS A320-200 (129 in service)
Aircraft registration: B-6760 (First flight 26th June 2011)
Aircraft Serial Number: 4627
Seat configuration for this aircraft:
First Class: 8 seats in a 2-2 configuration on the main deck
Economy class: 150 seats in a 3-3 configuration
Comments on the check-in staff and any issues:
Located 41 kilometers in the northwest of Xi’an city, Xi’an Xianyang is surprisingly a large and busy international airport. With three terminals, the airport covers 5 kilometers and is the largest in northwest China. In 2011, the airport handled over 21 million passengers; I departed from Terminal 3, which was opened recently in May 2012. With the new terminal’s opening, and with a new runway being in operation, the airport will be capable of handling over 33 million passengers a year. The airport is ready to host the largest aircraft in the world, the Airbus A380.
Any baggage issues:
No issues regarding the baggage. Passengers travelling First Class with China Eastern are allowed a generous 40kg free of charge, and 30 kg (66 lbs) for Business Class. For domestic flights, each piece of checked baggage must not exceed 50 kg (110 lbs). China Eastern has a separate dedicated check-in, and a separate security customs from all the other airlines at Xi’an Xianyang Airport.
LOUNGE EXPERIENCE at Xi’an Airport:
China Eastern Airlines has a premium lounge just after security. The lounge can be used by Business and First Class passengers, as well as silver and gold members of ‘Eastern Miles’- the China Eastern Airlines loyalty program. The lounge has sufficient space for buffet food (Chinese only), comfortable relaxing chairs, electric massage chairs, and a small cinema (25 seats maximum). There are also shower facilities available in all the lounges. There are many options for hot and cold Chinese food and Western food.
Punctuality of the flight:
Departed on time, and landed on time at Pudong Airport. Xi’an airport was not as busy as I would have imagined. Understandably being a touristy city that Xi’an is, there were a lot of foreign passengers at the airport. We departed from runway 23L at Xi’an, and had to make a turnaround back to Shanghai, which upon take-off provided a beautiful view of Xi’an city from around 9,000 feet. The Bell Tower in the middle of the city could easily be seen from the sky. At Shanghai Pudong we landed on 35L (which provided a lovely view of the Shanghai F1 circuit as we were stacking).
Comments regarding the pre-flight service:
Hot and cold towels were offered prior to departure in the first class cabin. First Class passengers are offered a selection of drinks including champagne, apple juice, orange juice and a variety of teas (Chinese and Western). The cabin crew took the orders for the lunch service from all the passengers in the First Class cabin prior to departure.
Comments regarding the pre-meal service:
The meal service commended with air hostesses handing out hot towels. A selection of fine nuts was offered along with a choice of drink (orange juice, apple juice, and a selection of teas).
Comments regarding the main meal:
There were two options for the main hot dish meal:
- Fish cakes with rice
- Beef with rice
I opted for the circular fish cakes with rice, and vegetables. Two ridiculously delicious fish cakes were served with hot and fresh boiled white rice. The fish cakes tasted similar to pasties. The accompanying vegetables went well with the dish. There was also a small plate of creaser salad with seasoning sauce, and a bowl of fresh fruit salad.
It was also a nice thing to see a warm roujiamo being served with the main meal. Roujiamo is a traditional food from Xi’an and very much popular with people from all around China. It looks like a cross between a Western style burger and a Turkish kebab. The main meat is beef. Roujiamo can be slightly oily too.
Delicious soft and hard bread rolls were offered from the basket (including garlic bread!). All meals were served on fine bone china, and came with China Eastern chopsticks, and China Eastern branded stainless steel cutlery.
Comments regarding the after meal drinks and in-flight snacks:
Hot and cold drinks were served after the main meal. These included Chinese and Western tea options, as well as soft drinks. Alcohol was served on this flight.
Comments on the in-flight entertainment system:
This China Eastern Airlines Airbus A320-200 aircraft has no individual TV screens (not even in first class), only the small screens that pop out for the pre take-off safety video.
Comments of professionalism of the cabin crew:
The cabin crew were very professional and friendly. Most of the cabin crew for China Eastern Airlines are natives of the eastern region in China (this is especially true for the cabin crew in First Class or Business Class cabins). The airline management is very particular on how their cabin crew staff should be like. They have to be of a certain weight, and height, and must be acquainted to beauty with a smile (this is what I was informed!). Most of the cabin crew do speak good English (especially those in Business/First Class).
Comments on the interior of the aircraft (including seat comfort):
The First Class seats have 58-inch pitch and 20-inch width. The Economy Class seats have a 32-inch pitch, and an 18 inch width. First Class seats feature a reclining angle of 170 degrees. For such a short domestic flight, passengers were offered a pair of luxury cotton slippers, and a thick cotton blanket. The cabin had a pleasant smell, and was very clean. All of the eight seats in the First Class section are covered with a luxury grey cloth that comes embedded with the phoenix bird logo. It creates a sense of comfort, elegance, and belonging to the Chinese culture. It also gives a very warm, fresh, spacious, modern, and touching feeling when you enter the cabin.
China Eastern Airlines have improved quite a lot on most aspects of their aircraft interior. This includes the aircraft seating, the smell of the interior cabin, the cleanliness of the aircraft toilets, and the general positive attitude of the cabin crew members. The aircraft which we flew was the latest new aircraft for China Eastern Airlines.
China Eastern logo and livery:
China Eastern Airlines logo consists of a red and blue circle rain containing a swallow bird flying in the middle. The top half of the circle is red representing a bright sunset, while the bottom half is blue representing the sea. In the eyes of most Chinese people from the East region, the swallow is of a noble character because people praise it and love it.
The fuselage is all white except for the three cheat lines that circle the body of the plane (just below the windows). The three cheat lines are (in order top to bottom): red, gold, and blue.
Overall rating 1-10 (worst-best): 9
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