Based upon my previous flight experience with China Eastern Airlines, I wasn’t necessarily enthusiastically anticipating flying this airline. However, I was quite pleasantly surprised by the service this time.
Getting on and off the plane was executed in an efficient, timely, and civil fashion. When they ran out of the western meal option around the fifth row (which seems to be standard), the flight attendants went out of their way to bring a western breakfast of roasted tomato, ham, what resembled a sausage, and a cheese-flavored pastry from first class, which was almost entirely edible. And, there was a generous free checked baggage allowance, along with a quick and efficient process of checking and collecting one’s bags.
The Chinese government has a majority ownership stake in China Eastern Airlines, which has been a part of the SkyTeam Alliance since 2011. And, in 2012 an announcement was made that China Eastern would forge a strategic alliance with the Qantas Group to set up Jetstar Hong Kong as 50% stake holders.
China Eastern’s primary hub operations are out of Pudong International, as well as Shanghai Hongqiao, the latter out of which they are headquartered. Shanghai Hongqiao is also notably closer to the city centre of Shanghai, which significantly reduces one’s travel time and a wonderful convenience, all things considered.
- Free standard baggage allowance up to 20kg
- Cost efficient
- Quick, easy boarding process
- No in-flight entertainment system
- Website is not the easiest to navigate
- Meal options range from extremely minimal – none, as they seem to generally only supply about 10 – 20 alternate meal options for the entire plane, if any at all
- The standard (non-first class) meals are not advisable
The Pudong International airport is a very large airport and located quite a distance from the city centre of Shanghai, so it is advisable to allot 1 ½ hours +, depending upon traffic, to get to the airport, as well as extra time to get to your gate. The Shanghai Hongqiao airport is a small airport that is located much closer to the city centre. In fact, you can arrive there in half an hour without traffic from the city centre, which makes getting in and out of Shanghai a much easier feat.
China Eastern Airline Rating (one out of five whistles, five being the best): 2.5 Whistles
Other Rated Airlines:
Hong Kong Airlines
As a career sommelier, Kimberley Drake has overseen some of the finest wine programs and operations in America and Asia. Her accomplishments range from working as a sommelier at Jean Georges in NYC to opening Hong Kong’s Café Gray Deluxe as their chef sommelier.
Have a good wine or travel story? Contact Kimberley at Kimberley@NewsWhistle.com.