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China Eastern: MU5203 05/MAY/10 SHA – LZH Y Cabin  
User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2047 posts, RR: 9
Posted (4 years 4 months 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 18344 times:

Airline: China Eastern
Flight: MU 5203
Equip: Boeing 737-700
Sector: SHA (Shanghai Hongqiao) – LZH (Lizhou)
Cabin: Economy
Seat: 4A
Dep (Act): 8:10am (8:10am)
Arr (Act): 10:35am (am)

Background

Welcome to the new format of my Trip Reports! I figured if I was going to share more of my flights I might as well standardize it a bit so that it makes it easier and faster for me to write.

This was a last minute trip organized by my boss for me and one of my colleagues to go and visit a potential customer. The trip was supposed to have taken place two or three weeks prior, and hence we booked our tickets the afternoon before.

I woke up at 5:30am and quickly packed a backpack with clothes, toiletries, chargers, and all my electronic gear. A backpack was enough since I was only going there for a day. I did at the last minute find a clear plastic bag to put my toiletries in, even though in China they never really care.

At 6:30am a black Buick Regal picked me up and we drove to SHA. Most of the way we had no traffic, except for the last mile or so, because the road into SHA goes from three lanes to one in the space of only a few meters, so this obviously created a lot of confusion.

Pics

Leaving my apartment complex at 6:30am

On the Buick to the airport

Reading about West Shanghai and how hip it is supposed to be

Traffic approaching Hong Qiao

SHA ramp

SHA ramp

Check-In

I went to the check in area C, which was the so-called “First Class / Gold Card” check in area. I figured since Shanghai Airlines is now part of China Eastern but still part of Star Alliance, I should be able to use the desks. Either way, no one checked.

At the check in desk I told the agent I was going to Liuzhou and asked for a window seat. I also asked if I was able to get SQ KrisFlyer miles since it was a FM code-share flight, but she said no, so instead I opted to get CX Asia Miles. She then printed my boarding pass and directed me to the security area.

Pics

First Class / Gold Card check in desks

SHA check in area

Security / Immigration

I headed to the documents check desk and lined up behind the shortest line, without knowing it was a VIP lane. Then someone came to check my ticket and said I couldn’t use that lane. I told them it was a Shanghai Airlines flight and I was Star Gold, but of course they didn’t understand what that meant, and told me I had to get someone from the check in desk to personally bring me to the VIP line. How stupid! I knew I could easily go to another lane, but since I was next in line to get my documents checked, I figured he would let me go. Not so. I played dumb, but in the end I had to change lanes. No problems, though, since I had plenty of time before my flight.

Airside

After my documents went checked I went through the security check point. One of the officers wanted to open my bag after it went through the X-ray machine, and I obliged. Then she took the lower half of my Philips Sonicare toothbrush and asked me what it was. So I took the top half, assembled it, and pretended to brush my teeth. She was still not convinced this was a toothbrush, and had to ask her colleagues whether or not she could let me go with this potential weapon. Luckily one of the other officers had apparently seen one in his life, so I was let go without a fuss.

Pics

SHA airside

Our 73G to LZH

Gate 56 with flights to LZH, PEK, and SZX

Lounge

No lounge access granted.

Boarding

I walked to gate 56 to board my flight. Once there, I gave a quick wake up call to the ladywife-to-be and then met up with my colleague. We chatted for a bit about the purpose of our trip and 5mins later we started boarding. My seat mates in 4B and C, a grandmother and her grandson, were already settled. They got up and I sat on 4A. The young boy, probably about 4 years old, looked like he had never seen a non-Chinese person before as he didn’t take his eyes off me for the entire flight. Boarding was done very fast and we pushed back one or two minutes early.

Pics

Typical seat cover with some sort of Ad

Parked next to a company A330

In flight mag

View towards First Class

First Class seat

Take-Off

I’m not too familiar with SHA’s runways, but we headed to the left active runway as the right one was being used for arrivals. A CA 747 to PEK as well as a FM 73G, MU A320, and Juneyao (code?) Airlines A320 were in front of us. Once this aircraft took off it was our turn. We took off to the north and a few moments later we made a very sharp turn towards the southwest. As usual the pilot never came on the PA and most of the announcements for take-off, etc, were pre-recorded in Mandarin and English.

Pics

CA to PEK

FM ramp

FM and MU in front

Juneyao Airlines

More traffic behind

Company 73G to… somewhere

You can see a FM 767 in Star Alliance theme… Probably not for long

In Flight

After the sharp turn to the southwest, we continued climbing for another 15 – 20mins until we reached our cruising altitude. For the first part of the flight the weather was very good, with clear skies and a surprisingly clear, smog-free view of the earth below.

Just as we levelled off, the F/As first came around the cabin offering pillows and blankets (for free, of course). After this the meal cart came around and we were all offered a meal box. The contents were some sort of sausage stuffed in a bun (somewhat similar to a hot dog), a small piece of cake, a pack of apple chips, and a pack of pork floss (it’s like eating pork-flavoured thread). There was a small cup of water that came with the box. Only after all the boxes were distributed did the F/As come offering drinks. I had a coffee, which as usual on Chinese airlines it’s one of those Nestle 3-in-1 instant coffees (coffee, creamer, and sugar). I was a bit peckish, so I also ate the contents of the box, save for the pork floss, which I didn’t care for.

The rest of the flight was pretty quiet. Not much turbulence or movement in general. The overhead screens came down and repeatedly played a Shanghai Expo advertising video.

Pics

Cruising

F/As serving breakfast

Meal box

Meal box contents

Cabin view

Landing

At abour 10:05am we started our descent to LZH. The skies were not clear anymore and as we went through the thick layer of cloud it got slightly bumpy. The scenery was quite nice on the approach. A lot of farms and these very interesting mountain formations. They look similar to those found on the thousands of islands in Halong Bay, in Vietnam, or in Guilin, which is just north of Liuzhou. They are basically tall but narrow limestone formations. Quite nice to see.

We landed on runway 32 and then made a 180 degree turn to backtrack the runway on our way to the terminal. There were quite a few military planes on one of the aprons, although they looked very old and unused. However, on the return I saw about 3 or 4 of them landing in LZH with open parachute and all.

The terminal in LZH is on the older side. Maybe 20 or 39 years old. It is well maintained, but obviously LZH has not yet received the money to build a brand new, modern, airy terminal as have many other cities in China.

Pics

On approach

Backtracking

LZH tower and terminal

Cockpit

Tail

Ramp (on the return leg)

Baggage Claim / Immigration

We didn’t check any bags, but since the airport is so small, I took the opportunity to snap some pics before we met our hosts and headed off to Laibin, another city about an hour north of Liuzhou.

Pics

Gate waiting area

Check in area

Conclusion

Another day, another pleasant domestic flight in China. The CA / FM / MU crew are nothing out of the ordinary, but they generally perform the service efficiently and with a smile. If anything, flying domestically within China is more pleasant than in the US. No big fuss at security, a meal even on 1 hour flights, etc.

As always, comments are appreciated!

Cheers
Coal


Nxt Flts: VA SYD-CBR-SYD | QF SYD-DFW | AA DFW-TLH-MIA-DFW | QF DFW-SYD
10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineps76 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (4 years 4 months 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 17395 times:

Hello(!),

Just to say many thanks for the more unusual report/pics etc. Looks like a pretty sweet flight and having a meal box/drink etc. for free must be pretty nice(!) How expensive was the ticket? Is China Eastern like a full-fare airline and do they have low-cost airlines in China. Bit of a shame about no captain on the PA. It's always nice to know who's driving up front(!) The airports look pretty nice too, nice and airy and not too much chaos.

Many thanks,

Pierre


User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2047 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (4 years 4 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 16954 times:

Hi Pierre

Thanks for the comments. This ticket was pricey as it was booked the afternoon before. I think it was over RMB3,000. China Eastern is indeed a full fare airline, and one of the three majors in China (the other two being Air China and China Southern).

They do have a handful of LCCs in China. I think the biggest ones are Juneyao and Spring Airlines. There might be a few more, but I am not aware. Not sure I would travel with those airlines though.

Yes the new airports in China are very nice, especially PEK.

Cheers
Coal



Nxt Flts: VA SYD-CBR-SYD | QF SYD-DFW | AA DFW-TLH-MIA-DFW | QF DFW-SYD
User currently offlineEddieDude From Mexico, joined Nov 2003, 7582 posts, RR: 42
Reply 3, posted (4 years 4 months 1 week 13 hours ago) and read 16923 times:

Hey Steve! Very cool trip report! As always! Keep them coming!

Quoting Coal (Thread starter):
The young boy, probably about 4 years old, looked like he had never seen a non-Chinese person before as he didn’t take his eyes off me for the entire flight.

Maybe the kid found it weird that you were taking pictures like, well, a little kid... that or he just thought you were ugly. Lol.

Quoting ps76 (Reply 1):
Is China Eastern like a full-fare airline and do they have low-cost airlines in China.

Air China (Star Alliance), China Southern (SkyTeam) and China Eastern (currently unaffiliated, in the process of completing its merger with Shanghai Airlines, and soon to join SkyTeam) are the main Chinese airlines. I guess you could say they are "full service" carriers considering that they belong to alliances, have frequent flyer programs, codeshare with other domestic and international carriers and offer complimentary meals on board.



Next flights: MEX-GRU (AM 77E), GRU-GIG (JJ A320), SDU-CGH (G3 73H), GRU-MEX (JJ A332).
User currently offlinePVGAMS From China, joined Apr 2009, 55 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (4 years 4 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 16746 times:

Nice report!

Quoting Coal (Thread starter):
I played dumb, but in the end I had to change lanes.

A pity times are changing. Playing dumb here used to work all the time!


User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2047 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (4 years 4 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 16482 times:

Quoting EddieDude (Reply 3):
Maybe the kid found it weird that you were taking pictures like, well, a little kid... that or he just thought you were ugly. Lol.

  

Quoting PVGAMS (Reply 4):
A pity times are changing. Playing dumb here used to work all the time!

Indeed! Must be the Expo... Hopefully everything will go back to normal after October.

Cheers
Coal



Nxt Flts: VA SYD-CBR-SYD | QF SYD-DFW | AA DFW-TLH-MIA-DFW | QF DFW-SYD
User currently offlineannaaero From United Kingdom, joined May 2010, 12 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (4 years 4 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 15938 times:

Hi Coal,

Interesting post. This just reminds me of my trip to Shanghai in April. Pity that I missed the Expo cause it opened on 1st May. Did you go to see the pavilions?


User currently offlineba319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8542 posts, RR: 54
Reply 7, posted (4 years 4 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 15868 times:
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Hi Coal,

Nice report and the new format, much better.

Quoting Coal (Thread starter):
I went through the security check point. One of the officers wanted to open my bag after it went through the X-ray machine, and I obliged. Then she took the lower half of my Philips Sonicare toothbrush and asked me what it was. So I took the top half, assembled it, and pretended to brush my teeth. She was still not convinced this was a toothbrush, and had to ask her colleagues whether or not she could let me go with this potential weapon. Luckily one of the other officers had apparently seen one in his life

- How wierd, thought these were everyday items, even in China.

Looking forward to more reports in due course.

Best Wishes

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2047 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (4 years 4 months 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 15220 times:

Quoting annaaero (Reply 6):
Did you go to see the pavilions?

Not yet. I live in Shanghai, so I still have plenty of time to go. I will go at the end of May for a day or two and if it's worth I might go again at the end, in October.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 7):
Nice report and the new format, much better.

Thanks Mark!

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 7):
- How wierd, thought these were everyday items, even in China.

Maybe not the sonic toothbrush! I think the security lady thought it was some sort of weapon.

Cheers
Coal



Nxt Flts: VA SYD-CBR-SYD | QF SYD-DFW | AA DFW-TLH-MIA-DFW | QF DFW-SYD
User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5090 posts, RR: 55
Reply 9, posted (4 years 4 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 11898 times:

Quoting Coal (Thread starter):
The CA / FM / MU crew are nothing out of the ordinary, but they generally perform the service efficiently and with a smile. If anything, flying domestically within China is more pleasant than in the US. No big fuss at security, a meal even on 1 hour flights, etc.

= I think this summarizes it very well.

Quoting Coal (Thread starter):

Welcome to the new format of my Trip Reports! I figured if I was going to share more of my flights I might as well standardize it a bit so that it makes it easier and faster for me to write.

= Trust me, you'll be glad you did it  .

Thanks for sharing this report. It is a great insight as I find Chinese domestic carriers fascinating.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2047 posts, RR: 9
Reply 10, posted (4 years 4 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 11565 times:

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 9):
= I think this summarizes it very well.

  

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 9):
Thanks for sharing this report. It is a great insight as I find Chinese domestic carriers fascinating.

Sure! Thanks for the inspiration for the structure of the reports.

Cheers
Coal



Nxt Flts: VA SYD-CBR-SYD | QF SYD-DFW | AA DFW-TLH-MIA-DFW | QF DFW-SYD
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