CHINA EASTERN AIRLINES review (SHENZHEN AIRPORT- SHANGHAI HONGQIAO, FIRST CLASS) – A300B4-605R, MU5330
Route: SHENZHEN (SZX) - SHANGHAI HONGQIAO (SHA)
Departure date and time of flight: December 2011, 16:30pm local time (Beijing)
Flight number: MU5330 (ICAO callsign: “China Eastern 5330”)
Flight duration: 2 Hours 10 minutes
Class: FIRST CLASS
Aircraft type: AIRBUS A300B4-605R (7 in service)
Aircraft registration: B-2325 (First flight 28th March 1995)
Aircraft Serial Number: 707
Seat configuration for this aircraft:
First/Business Class: 24 seats in a 2-2-2 configuration
Economy Class: 250 seats in a 3-4-3 configuration
Comments on the check-in staff and any issues:
The check-in process was a smooth one with no hassle or long queues.I was met at the taxi rank by the China Eastern representative, who took me straight to the special VIP First Class counter. It was a hassle free and rapid process.
First Class passengers can pass through the fast track security lane. The staff were very polite, and efficient in processing the security procedures of all the passengers smoothly and in a punctual manner without any problems.
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 Shenzhen Airport.
LOUNGE EXPERIENCE at Shenzhen Airport:
China Eastern Airlines has a premium lounge just after security. The lounge can be used by both 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, 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, though Western food is not available in the lounges at Beijing Airport at the time of writing.
Punctuality of the flight:
Departed on time, and landed on time (now, that’s rare for Shenzhen Airport!).
Comments regarding the pre-flight service:
First Class passengers are offered a selection of drinks including champagne, apple juice, orange juice and a variety of teas (Chinese and Western). Passengers are also handed out hot towels prior to departure to refresh up. 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 teats).
Comments regarding the main meal:
There were two options for the main meal:
- Hainan chicken with rice, and vegetables
- Prawns in dumpling and egg fried rice, and vegetables
I opted for the prawn dumpling with rice, and vegetables. Three delicious prawn dumplings were served with hot and fresh boiled egg fried white rice. The accompanying vegetables went well with the dish. There was also a bowl of Caesar salad with seasoning sauce, and a bowl of fresh fruit salad.
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 A300B4-600R aircraft has no individual TV screens (not even in Business/First Class), only the bigger screens at the front of each compartment.
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 Business/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. Business 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 the seats in the Business/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 interior was not bad for an aircraft that has been flying since 1995 (18 years!).
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): 10
About Airline PR
This is a special section on Airline Branding, and Airline Public Relations written by me on all the flights I have been fortunate enough to have been on. These are not records taken from somewhere else, but are actual flights I have been on. Most of the flight trips are officially sponsored by the airline companies in order to promote their certain routes, and aircraft. Airline promotion and PR related work in the aviation industry is one of my expertise.
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B777-300ER Cockpit Video 1
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