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Flying Air China Longhaul - What To Expect?  
User currently offlineAussie_ From Australia, joined Dec 2000, 1766 posts, RR: 5
Posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 8229 times:

Hi all

I've an upcoming trip on Air China routed:
SYD-PVG-PEK/PEK-SVO//CDG-PVG/PVG-SYD

Between Moscow and Europe I'm flying SN on a A319  Smile

All sectors are 777-200 operated except for CDG-PVG which is A340-300 operated  Smile

Can anyone let me know what sort of service I should expect on board - food, inflight entertainment, seat pitch etc etc.

I also get a free night's hotel in PEK on the way over, as I have an involuntary overnight layover. Considering my flight the next day leaves at 1500, is there time to have a quick visit of the Forbidden City or is traffic/transport so bad that it would be all too risky?? (not sure what hotel I'll be in yet - travel agent is still sorting it out)

29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineUsagypsy From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 60 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 8153 times:

Hey Aussie.....

There is definately enough time to go to the Forbidden City. From theairport into town its about 40 minutesdepending on the traffic and time. I would stay in the city close to the Forbidden City - say the Crowne Plaza which is on the main shopping stret and within walking distance... its relatively cheap for a Crowne Plaza by western standards.... The day you head out, I would leave the hotel about 4 hours before departure - depending on how much time you like at the airport and what day it is, if you let me know, I can give you more details (I live in China).

As for Air China - don't expect much. The planes that are actually used can vary greatly.... I don't know how they manage their aricraft... could be a 767, 340, 777 or 747 on any of the sectors. Although I have only flown them domestically... I have not heard the greatest things about them... usually the domestic crews are very friendly.... food leaves a lot to be desired and the "entertainment" is circa 1980...... Still, I am assuming you are going for price so one can't complain too much.


User currently offline6thfreedom From Bermuda, joined Sep 2004, 3329 posts, RR: 20
Reply 2, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 8120 times:

perhaps check out - >

www.airlinequality.com

PS. most responses for business and first is that it's good value for money.
agree with previous comment - don't expect to much, and you'll be fine!


User currently offlineB2443 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 703 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 8098 times:

I think their domestic service is better than their international service.

I took their 744 SFO-PEK a couple years back, fully packed, old a/c with smelly rest rooms. not impressed at all with their food. All beverages were brought from China. No diet coke or diet anything. No sweetners either. One of the f/a's was kind like "I hate my job" attitude.

But once I was there, I took several flights on their 767/777/747s, which weren't bad at all. F/A's were a lot more professional and ready to provide service. Meals on board was not impressive at all. Would definitely choose CA over MU or CZ within China.


User currently offlineKtachiya From Japan, joined Sep 2004, 1794 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 8061 times:

A few years ago I took their flight KIX-PVG-PEK

The trip there was bad. Well the plane went to the rwy and was about to takeoff then they aborted their takeoff and went straight back to the gate because the number of tickets and the number of passengers on board didn't match. Then the plane took off 2h 30 min behind schedule.

The returning trip the ac was nice!!! Brand new 777-200ER. The only problem is when they were doing the meal service, I got asked beef or fish. I answered beef and the CA gave me FISH!!! (>_<) Oh well. But the landing was smooth to say. The only thing was, we were on the left hand side of the rwy and gradually centered after flaring.

I don't know how they are now. Well enjoy your trip!!!




Flown on: DC-10-30, B747-200B, B747-300, B747-300SR, B747-400, B747-400D, B767-300, B777-200, B777-200ER, B777-300
User currently offlineUsagypsy From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 60 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 8061 times:

I can't agree about their First and Business Class at all! The domestic wide bodies are the same as the ones that fly overseas and the seat pitch is laughable. Their First Class seats on the 747400 are similar to NW World Business Class in the nose and their Business Class is only marginally better (seat and entertainment) than a lot of airlines Economy Plus.

User currently offlineWang767 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 56 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 7972 times:

Flew twice with CA, SHA-LAX and SHA-PEK. It's all right. Just expect more passengers in your flights. US (either LAX or SFO) to China cities flights were and still are the worst, no matter you fly on UA,NWA,MU or CA, every flights are full, you will be amazed that number of the people in one cabin.
THAT's the reason CA, MU and CZ are pretty profitable too.



UA 858 Heavy from PVG
User currently offlineChinaeastern From China, joined Apr 2004, 348 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 7944 times:

Don't expecty much really. all my trips with CA s**ked really. SYD-PVG-PEK service should be a 777 and their 777s have a 2-5-2 in Y. so if u are doing Y, make sure you don't sit in the middle. nothing in terms of entertainment really. in fact, i can't see while you want to fly with them. i'm trying to avoid fly mainland chinese carriers as much as i can but i do have strong preference on MU than CA. as i simply can't tolerate the meals offered on CA as i'm allergic to spring onion especially the thick ones pekinese like to use. MU's meal are more contemporary as MU is based in PVG. it might be the same to you, but from a shanghainese point of view, i don't like the thick accent from CA FAs also MU FAs are far more good looking than CA's. from SYD-PVG,why not QF? after all, if you need good connection MU's SYD-PVG is non stop and from PVG you can fly direct to SVO with MU as also, MU's CDG service and SYD service are scheduled to connect each other. as an australian, transiting PVG saves you the time to apply for a transit visa and you can also have 48hrs in shanghai. but transiting PEK , you must have a transit visa. also, my friends from beijing told me that CA 176's last leg :PVG-PEK is kinda annoying as you have to clear custom in PVG. BTW, between CDG-PVG, you mentioned a A340-300? CA do not fly CDG-PVG and the only 2 airlines doing that route are AF and MU. AF uses 777 and the 340-300 could mean a MU flight. they used to fly 340-300 but now CDG route has been replaced by 340-600.
anyway, have a good trip any hope you enjoy china.


User currently offlineSmeagol From Canada, joined Dec 2004, 69 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 7866 times:

Aussie,

SYD-PVG-PEK should be CA's B777-200 (CA doesn't have 777ER, they have 10 B777-200 Type A). For CDG-PVG, it could be CA's B752, B736 or MU's B733 & MD-90. I didn't find AF's A343 or MU's A343/346 operating this route.

For CA176/177 flying on SYD<->PVG, the food is just kind of 'looks like it could be' so don't expect too much. No entertainment system for Y class. That's it. Sorry...BTW, I agree that MU's food is far more better.

If you transit in Beijing, for sure you will have plenty of time for a tour to the Forbidden City. You may choose Crowne Plaza as Usagypsy suggested. It is acceptable in terms of the price and service. I know this well as my office is actually nearby Smile/happy/getting dizzy I suggest you leave for the capital airport no later than 12:30 if the flight is on 15:00, because normally it will take a 1-hour drive to the airport from downtown. It will take you maybe 45 minutes from Crowne Plaza to the airport at noon. BTW, it is cold in Beijing now so do bring more clothes with you.

Frankly speaking, both CA & MU are not top-level carriers so it is your call to make the final decision. Guess what? If you are enough with a T7, MU's A346 may be a good alternative as their 346s are pretty new Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Wish you a nice trip to China.



When you look at a pig, no matter from what angle you look at it, it is a pig...
User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4755 posts, RR: 26
Reply 9, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 7802 times:

...i don't like the thick accent from CA FAs also MU FAs are far more good looking than CA's...

Am I the only one to think that this comment is rather feeble and a sorry excuse to avoid an airline?



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineSmeagol From Canada, joined Dec 2004, 69 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 7772 times:

Ryanair!!!

Agree with you! That's absolutely BS and obviously someone is trying hard to sell MU Smile/happy/getting dizzy



When you look at a pig, no matter from what angle you look at it, it is a pig...
User currently offlineSpike From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2004, 1170 posts, RR: 5
Reply 11, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 7756 times:

Fish or Chicken generally and a long flight certainly.

User currently offlineAussie_ From Australia, joined Dec 2000, 1766 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 7606 times:

I was told that if you had a confirmed onward ticket and if your connecting flight was the next available departure, you had 24 hours in PEK without a visa. You get 48hrs in Shanghai...

User currently offlineMdwalkman From China, joined Oct 2001, 208 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 7486 times:

CA is much better than MU. MU's A340-300 is too old. CA's B777 is newer and more comfortable.


Please excuse my poor English.
User currently offlineUal747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 7476 times:

Stay at the Beijing Grand Hotel. You can find it online at www.LHW.com. When I was in school at Beijing Capital University, I would treat myself on some weekends with a night stay at this hotel. Many rooms have a view of the forbidden city and usually at night, they have some sort of entertainment in the atrium lobby. Great hotel, a little pricey, but worth it.

UAL747


User currently offlineChinaeastern From China, joined Apr 2004, 348 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 7414 times:

Mdwalkman:
my comment:
MU is much better than CA. this is based on your ridiculous comment.

Smeagol:
welcome to A.net.
i should have said that in earlier thread.

i'm not trying to sell MU tickets. in fact, i would never do my most frequent trips between MEL-PVG either. i mean talking about direct service, QF 129/130 should be the best option although i always stick with SQ as they provide really good connection time and i quite like SQ. i wouldn't mind flying MU is their fare is ridiculously low but for really personal reasons, CA joins KE on my list of airlines never to fly with. i do apologise for the really personal comment here but nothing comes for no reasons.

also notice:
my username doesn't represent i'm a big MU fan, but just let people know that there is such an airline in mainland china, in fact i don't mind calling myself CZ either. but i do have to point out the fact that CA is taking advantage over MU and CZ by just being Air China. i mean the 3 airlines are rivaling each other and why should 1 be pointed as a flag carrier while the other two being called eastern and southern which sounds like really doggy and regional carriers? i mean when talking about countries in comparable size of china: US: there is no airline which is called Air US, in Australia: there is no airline which is called air australia Sad QF sounds really really cool to me). If CA wants to call it air China: by my standard: they have to be significantly better than MU and CZ , and penetrate all the international network out of mainland china incl. equal number of flights out of PEK,PVG and CAN. surely chinese aviation is not heading towards a monopoly, so, i would suggest CA to RENAME itself to china northern which has just been freed up.or what ever direction they like to create a fare competition environment. why should CA occupy such an important code which is just next to AA and BA while MU and CZ sound so random and irrelevant to their names?

well, i'm not trying to sell MU and anyone is more than welcome to fly with CZ as well. but however, i am trying to promote shanghai to anyone in the forum. we don't have all the historical interests which beijing has but there is something else there. if you still decide to go to beijing instead of shanghai, that's fine and en tout cas, we're all in china.

welcome to china!!!!


User currently offlineDBCooper From Brazil, joined Jun 2004, 195 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 7361 times:

I just flew CA LAX-PEK RT last week in Biz Class.

Service was OK...I must admit I slept almost the whole way to PEK (I was flying from GRU and was wiped out). Left LAX bang on-time, but arived PEK :40 late due to headwinds. Choice of Chinese or Western food. Can't comment on dinner (slept right thru it); thought breakfast was fine (of course I was pretty hungry after missing dinner).

Coming back we were 3:15 late leaving PEK due to the late arrival of the a/c from the USA (required enroute landing due to headwinds). As a consequence, I knew before I left I was going to miss my connection. Argh. Again, service was adequate as was the food (same choice of Chinese or Western food). I also thought the F/As were reasonably attentitive. No shortage of Western softdrinks, etc.

Seats were different; "old style" to PEK (kind of like AA's F seats on a 757, but with a very good "winged" headrest) but "new style" to LAX (more comfortable than AA's J seats on a 763).

744-Combi both ways (B-2468 coming back).

I plan to fly the same route in January.

Enjoy...


- DBC


User currently offlineMdwalkman From China, joined Oct 2001, 208 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 7276 times:

Chinaeastern:

Sorry, I only talk about the aircrafts about these two airlines, not service. I had many times in CA, MU and CZ's domestic flights. Actually, I think there is no difference among them. When I choose flight, I care aircraft type more than service.

Though there isn't Air US, don't forget US Airways. And does NW or UA complain their codes are less important than AA?

About Shanghai, it's too modern. If you want to visit a Chinese city with many skyscrapers and western style, Shanghai is the best. If you want to know something about Chinese history and culture, you should visit Beijing and Xi'an.



Please excuse my poor English.
User currently offlineSmeagol From Canada, joined Dec 2004, 69 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 7236 times:

Chinaeastern,

Nothing personal. I don't think code is a show stopper, does someone care about that? I won't argue (and I can't figure it out) who is the best Chinese carrier, but apparently MU is not the best one Laugh out loud Anyway, I do hope someday any Chinese carrier appear on the TOP10 Smile/happy/getting dizzy



When you look at a pig, no matter from what angle you look at it, it is a pig...
User currently offlineAeroWeanie From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1609 posts, RR: 52
Reply 19, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 7194 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

I flew SFO-PEK, PEK-XIA, KWL-SHA, PVG-SFO on Air China, all within the month of November 2004. I also flew XIA-KWL on China Eastern.

The SFO-PEK and PVG-SFO legs were both on 747-400s. The aircraft were in good shape. Seat pitch wasn't bad, compared to US airlines. The food was reasonable and the service was good. Leaving SFO on the first flight, they boarded us at the correct time (United agents handled the boarding), but there was a two-hour delay to fix some FOD damage on the number 3 engine. They served food and drinks during the delay and let people wander on the jetway. Much better than how Garuda treated us many years ago during a 10-hour delay in Singapore to fix the gearbox on the number 3 engine of a very trashed 747.

The interesting part was the return to SFO. Two ICE officers in the jetway forced everyone to show passports before allowing us to enter the terminal. Despite this, a woman showed up at the immigration desks, claiming to have no passport and asking for refugee status. This all happened in the line next to mine. She was quickly surrounded by several pissed off ICE officers.


User currently offlineLegacyins From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 2080 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 7128 times:

"The interesting part was the return to SFO. Two ICE officers in the jetway forced everyone to show passports before allowing us to enter the terminal. Despite this, a woman showed up at the immigration desks, claiming to have no passport and asking for refugee status. This all happened in the line next to mine. She was quickly surrounded by several pissed off ICE officers."

We are not ICE ( Immigration and Customs Enforcement ) officers. We are Customs and Border Protection Officers. It is a daily occurrence to get "No Docs" off certain flights. If there was a pax w/ no documents, she may have flushed the doc in the restroom or there was Multiple flights and may have come off a different flight.



John@SFO
User currently offlineAeroWeanie From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1609 posts, RR: 52
Reply 21, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 7094 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

I wasn't certain if you folks are ICE or CBE. I actually had typed DHS, which covers both, but changed it to ICE.

I think she was on our flight - she was Chinese and well dressed. My guess is that she flushed her documents in the restroom between the jetway and the immigration desks. I imagine that those toilets clog often.


User currently offlineB2443 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 703 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 7026 times:

Are we comparing service between CA, MU and CZ? I would not rate CA service any better than MU's or CZ's. But at least I feel safe with CA. CA's 777 is a lot better than CZ's 777 in terms of seat pitch or width.

I would not agree at all that CA is at any advantage in its name/code. I think HU is better in terms of in flight service.


User currently offlineSmeagol From Canada, joined Dec 2004, 69 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6959 times:

AeroWeanie,

A silly question: what is FOD damage? Is it serious?



When you look at a pig, no matter from what angle you look at it, it is a pig...
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6577 posts, RR: 55
Reply 24, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 6946 times:

I flew CA 777 PEK-HKG in June 2001 and it was a nice flight. Food was good and plentiful, western softdrinks (Coca Cola etc) and audio entertainement with western music. No movie on that short flight but they should have it on the longer flights. Flight attendents were friendly as well.

I posted a trip report in the trip report forum of my CA 777 experience.

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
25 Captain.md-11 : FOD= Foreign object damage, can be a simple repair or a major one depending what object came into contact with the aircraft eg damage to the tires by
26 AeroWeanie : The acronym FOD originally described the damage created (as Captain.md-11 indicated), but has evolved to describe what causes the damage. Hence my red
27 Aussie_ : Any comment on the facilities at Beijing and Shanghai airports? Also can anyone confirm whether I need a transit visa for my under-24hr stay in Beijin
28 AeroWeanie : The Beijing Capitol airport (PEK) is very nice and modern. If I remember right, the bathrooms rated about 4.5 (out of 5). Bathrooms are the true test
29 Legacyins : I am going out on CA 986, SFO-PEK, tomorrow in business class. I have flown this route and class a few times. I have my little 7" DVD player to keep m
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