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“Good Value, Mediocre Otherwise”
Review of China Eastern Airlines


Reviewed 27 January 2020

The price of the round-trip, multi-city airfare for my early December trip to China literally could not be beat. It was an amazing deal, but you get what you pay for.

Pros
- Unbeatable price tag
- Cheap seat reassignments ($14 to choose your seat within economy)
- Decent food (fed 3x on our 14 hour flight)
- Friendly FAs
- Free headphones

Cons
- Tiniest, most uncomfortable seating I have ever experienced on a flight
- Limited entertainment options (by limited I mean, not much in the way of "new releases"
- Hard to use US version of the website. I called to ask about how to assign the seats and was told I had to deal with the slow website because they can't take US credit cards over the phone. She could only assign me to a seat that was "free" and there were no aisle seats that didn't require the upcharge. I eventually did it, but it was not user friendly.

What struck me most was the airplane etiquette (not the fault of the airline, obviously) was very different. When someone had to get up to go the bathroom, no one got up out of their seat to let them pass. They literally forced people to climb over them. I am so glad that I was on the aisle because I would not have been comfortable doing that at all. During flight, someone set off the lav smoke detector - you could smell cigarette smoke in the airplane. Who does that?? Again, this is not a reflection of the airline, but rather certain passengers, but my recommendation would be to pay the $14 to make sure you're assigned on an aisle.

The food wasn't bad, thought breakfast was not really breakfast. We were served dinner twice. The first time I had the chicken and rice and the second, the pork dumplings with noodle. In between those two meals, they served a chicken salad sandwich (tuna on the return home). If you have dietary restrictions, you might want to bring snacks for yourself because that sandwich snack didn't have an alternative. They also didn't have diet soda - only regular Coke and Sprite.

The only other thing that I was surprised at was that you couldn't have headphones in during take off or landing. Until the plane was at 10,000ft - we weren't allowed to have headphones in and then an hour before landing, they required that headphones were taken out. Different from US FAA regulations, so be prepared for that requirement before you go.

We only encountered one delay (from Shanghai to Beijing) - which honestly, we had no idea what was going on because there wasn't anyone manning the desk in Shanghai until the flight boarded. We kept having to find updates on various boards because English is not spoken much inside the airport. We relied heavily on Google translate, so highly recommend you have a translator app if you don't speak the language. It was a life saver!

Would I fly again? Sure - for the deal I got, yes. But I'll be bring more lumbar support, some snacks and airpods!

Date of travel: December 2019
    • Seat comfort
    • Customer service
    • Cleanliness
    • Food and Beverage
    • Legroom
    • In-flight Entertainment
    • Value for money
    • Check-in and boarding
2  Thank melindalyn
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed 26 January 2020 via mobile

Following is my review of the business class experience from Shanghai to Los Angeles: Transfer process in Shanghai is the easiest of the three cities in China I've passed through. Lots of walking, but no time spent in queues. The China Eastern lounge is huge. Food options are decent and wifi is just barely passable, but don't expect to relax and read. It's more chaotic in the lounge than in the terminal. I've flown this route four times now and it's been the same old 777 with the small lie-flat seats in business class. Barely big enough for a comfortable snooze. And virtually no stowage space, just enough for a pair of glasses, headphones, and a magazine. By comparison, Xiamen air's business class pod is spacious, more comfortable, and loaded with nooks and crannies for stowage. Food was plentiful and above average. I pre-ordered special meals (seafood). Main meal was 4 courses and the second meal 2 courses. As to the service performed by flight attendants, the first time I flew with China Eastern I was expecting terrible service based on reviews I had read by reputable travel bloggers. Something must have changed however, as the interactions I experienced were outstanding. Flight attendants were friendly and attentive. The only negative I can point to as to their performance was that the toilets weren't cleaned as frequently as needed, with a good amount of pee built up on the seat and floor. 

Date of travel: January 2020
    • Seat comfort
    • Customer service
    • Legroom
    • In-flight Entertainment
    • Value for money
2  Thank JMK_The_Wanderer
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 26 January 2020 via mobile

I will review the business class experience for this flight. I arrived at BKK airport 2.5 hours before departure, which it turns out was way too early. Check in process was easy, with only two people in the line ahead of me. Business class ticket at this airport gains you access to priority security and immigration process, which is such a treat as compared to the economy class process. From the front door of the airport to my seat in the Thai Airlines lounge took a total of 25 minutes, most of which was spent walking to the E concourse. Boarding was no problem, but once on board I was quite disappointed. The last two times I had flown this route, the airplane itself was a different model, with lie flat seats and 20 inch HD entertainment screen. This plane was a A321, and thus only three rows were dedicated to business class, certainly no lie flat seats, and a low res 10 inch screen. Leg room was ok, but when the person in front of me reclined it felt a bit cramped. Food service was above average, seafood meal included squid, shrimp, and fish with pasta. Flight departed and arrived on time. Truly the only disappointment was the use of the older aircraft with the tiny business class section. Oh, and also the build-up of pee on the floor in the lavatory. Not really acceptable on a 4.5 hour flight with only 10 people in the business class cabin. 

Date of travel: January 2020
    • Seat comfort
    • Customer service
    • Legroom
    • In-flight Entertainment
    • Value for money
2  Thank JMK_The_Wanderer
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 26 January 2020

The first leg of the flight, Los Angeles to Pudong in China, was tolerable. It was when we arrived in Pudong for our layover and found out that our next flight had been canceled that things got real bad, real fast. Any of our questions were met with orders to move on. We were sent to a China Southern help desk, which was located inside security in the arrivals halls. They had 2 people working at the desk, and it took over an hour to be told that they were putting us up for the night at "their" hotel, and to wait on some benches where a lot of other people were waiting. When I again attempted to get more info., such as if their was a restaurant at the hotel, I was told very rudely to "go over there and wait." So we waited for another hour, and then finally someone came over and told us all to follow them to the bus. So this huge crowd of people started to follow him, but for some inexplicable reason we all had to put our luggage through an X-ray machine in order to exit the building. By the time we did this and got past security we could not find our group, so we went outside and could find no-one, and nothing that looked familiar. Trying to get anyone to help us was a joke. We were directed back into the building, requiring us to go back through security, and then told to go back outside 2 more times! The police outside the building actually laughed at us.. Finally we were allowed back into the area where the help desk was located, we waited in line again, were told to wait on the benches again, and then directed to the buses which ended up being on the upper level, which we could have found the first time if someone had just told us where to go. So 5 hours after we had landed we arrived at the hotel, were handed a cup of ramen noodles for our dinner, and then 4 hours later had to be up to catch our morning flight out of there, which I was all to happy to do! No one in the entire airport that we encountered smiled, no one cared. They just do the bare minimum that their job requires. I will do all in my power to never set foot in that country again, and I will certainly never fly China Southern again. I don't understand why people who don't like tourists would work in an airport, and/or for an airline.

Date of travel: December 2019
    • Seat comfort
    • Customer service
    • Cleanliness
    • Food and Beverage
    • Legroom
    • In-flight Entertainment
    • Value for money
    • Check-in and boarding
3  Thank mollymelanie
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 23 January 2020 via mobile

This company and every sub company underneath them does not understand customer service. If you have any issues good luck trying to fix it with their people. Terrible experience terrible customer service not worth the hassle. I should’ve just spent the extra 200 and gone with a more reputable company. Everything from ticketing, to their website, to their flight attendants, is disorganized. They need to learn how to serve their customers if they want to survive as a company. Honestly I’m not sure how they’re not out of business yet

Date of travel: January 2020
    • Seat comfort
    • Customer service
    • Value for money
2  Thank 463tanyaj
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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