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Part 3: Air China Business Class to Beijing - India and China Trip 2019

Sun Dec 15, 2019 4:37 pm


Video Report

Air China - CA890 - Business Class - Mumbai to Beijing

Chinese High Speed Rail G523 - First Class Report


Hello A'Netters!

For our second leg of our journey we had to get from Mumbai to my wife's hometown - Shijiazhuang, the capital city of Hebei Province, northern China. Our options were either a flight to Bangkok, followed by a 1 stop flight to Shijiazhuang via Guangzhou or else, we could use the soon to be commenced direct flight from Mumbai to Beijing on Air China followed by the excellent high speed Chinese trains to Shijiazhuang (330 KM in 1 hour an 07 min!!!). It was a no brainer and we chose the latter option.

I used Air China India's website as they were giving me a slightly better rate than other websites, including Air China UK website. The booking process was straight forward and was able to book our flights in 15 minutes after navigating through their website. Was also able to pre-select seats for free.

My route and previous trip reports in this series, as below,

1. Part 1: Virgin to Mumbai - India and China Trip 2019
2. Part 2: Tour of Himachal Pradesh - India and China Trip 2019
3. Mumbai to Beijing on Air China, followed by Chinese High Speed train to Shijiazhuang, Video only (This Report)
4. Return from Shijiazhuang Via Chengdu and Doha on Hebei Airlines, Qatar Airways and British Airways

Air China - CA890
Route: BOM - PEK
Flight Reg:B-5956; Delivered to Air China on Sep 2014
Aircraft Type: Airbus 330-300
Seat: 14A
Flight time: 02:45 - 11:40 (02:51 - 11:54)
Actual flight time: 6Hr 33 Min
Distance: 2963 Miles
Load: 29 of 30 in Business class. The back of the aircraft might have been ~25% loaded.
11 Nov 2019
Booking details: Booked on for a total of INR 62,000 for two tickets including all fees and 1 check-in baggage allowance (Economy Superior) + INR 34,000 at the check in counter to be upgraded to Business class.
My Log book: 1st Flight on Air China / 7th flight on Airbus 330-300 / 222nd Total overall flight

Previous day, OCI a bit slow But was done in 5 minutes.

Day of the flight, drive to the airport was quick since we were staying at the nearby holiday inn property. Reached the magnificent terminal 2 by 2330.

The check in counters were opened and there were hardly any passengers.

At the check in desk they offered us an upgrade to business at INR 16800 per ticket ($250). We thought it was a good deal and accepted it. The deal included all in flight business class features, priority bags and priority immigration. Although we could not avail the baggage allowance, lounge access or points accrual for business class tickets. Overall it sounded like a fair deal.

The priority immigration was superb. Airside in 2 minutes. There was a very long queue at the normal section.

Arriving at Mumbai T2, close to midnight

Online Check-in bag drop counter

Mumbai T2 interiors

Diwali celebrations

This area was not well sign posted

The duty free and food court area


Seems to be on time

We had 90 minutes to while away. We walked around for a bit and had some snacks from the food court.

Once again, the art wall is breath-taking and would highly recommend for people who pass by Mumbai airport to spend some time viewing it.

We reached our gates by 0145 and were the first to board the aircraft at 0200.

During boarding I noticed there were quite a few receipts at the desk. These were the official air china receipts for the upgrade, which meant that they were quite a few like us who had upgraded at the counter. I'm not surprised given the rate charged and the length of the flight. It was later evident, when the back part of the aircraft was virtually empty with the business class cabin full except for one seat.

The amazing 'Wall' at Mumbai T2

Heading towards our boarding gate


Heavies at Mumbai

At Gate 69

Our ride to Beijing

Time to board

We were welcomed with a smile which seemed to be the theme of the entire flight.

The business class cabin is very spacious albeit nothing special. There are 5 rows of 6 seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. The cabin looked a bit dated and worn out.

Welcome drink was served followed by the menu and the exhaustive drinks list, which included quite a lot of local Chinese wines.

The crew, upon the first interaction and subsequently throughout the flight, were a bit limited in their English communications skills, but that did not deter them from being courteous, attentive and always with a smile. There were constant water runs throughout the entire length of the flight with our seat drinks area always with a bottle of water.
We disembarked on time and were airborne soon after.

Interiors of Air China A330-300 - Business Class



Great space between the seats


Enjoying a pre-take-off champagne

Before disembarking, our food order was taken down along with the time we wanted to eat.

We had a pseudo dine on demand option, but were advised that we sleep for the first 4.5 hours after when the main meal service, a 3 course breakfast, would be served. I.e. 2 hours before landing.

We opted for this too so we could maximise on our sleep.

Menu for the flight -> They had an exhaustive wine menu


Maybe I should watch some movie with my friends and chill #donaldjtrump

Seat functions

The seat lacked a bit of personal storage -> Seen here is the only one next to the seats

Amenity kit provided by L'occitane


Parked next to our aircraft to Mumbai

Panda themed safety video


My friend was on this flight from London. Arrived late today. I missed seeing him by 30 minutes

Quick visit to the toilet before retiring for the night


As soon as we attained cruising altitude passengers started to recline their beds and call it a night. Air china have a "seat belt always on sign" which means that you need to judge when is a good time to walk around/make your bed etc.

However, by 0315 my bed was set and was looking forward to a much needed kip.

The beds were very comfortable and along with the fairly fluffy duvet provided, I slept uninterrupted until 0715, when the cabin crew switched on the mood lighting to wake us up.

The cabin temperature and the steadiness of the aircraft meant a really good 4 hours of sleep to rejuvenate myself.

Woken up after our (very good) sleep with bottles of water and a fresh towel. NIce!

..and some snacks

The crew began distributing breakfast which was 1 of 2 major disappointments of this flight. It was most certainly just an economy meal with metal cutlery. It tasted alright but nothing special.

The other disappointment being the entertainment unit. The definition was fairly decent but the English choices were very limited. It was alright for this flight since we barely had time to watch a full length film.

Let's check out the IFE now. But the headphones first. It was below par for a business class cabin.

So was the IFE. Below par but acceptable.

Very average (at best) meal on this sector

After breakfast I walked towards the rear of the cabin where the premium economy and economy section were absolutely empty with quite a few passengers having 4 seats for themselves.

I was discouraged from shooting any videos at this point in time, not sure why though.

I liked the way this flight was timed. It was a good move to not serve any food at the start of the flight to maximise sleep time. So in that respect it ticked the right box.

This might've been a one off, but the loads on this flight makes me wonder if this route would be sustainable. Perhaps there's cargo value for this route?

There was a slight bit of turbulence en-route but nothing drastic at all. Overall it was a very comfortable ride and the bed made all the difference. In the end it was most certainly money well spent.

One point of note was that there was not a single announcement made by the captain, for the entire duration of the flight.

Approaching Beijing


Does anyone know if this is a race track?

The block time of this flight is a strange one. At 6 hr and 25 minutes for an average flight time of 6hr 30 minutes this flight is always going to be "delayed". I'm not sure the reasoning behind this. It is quite apparent that the block time needs to be at a minimum of at least 7 hours for this sector.

The A333 was a good ride. Except for the dry air, which apart from the Dreamliner and the A350, is pretty much the same on every other aircraft.

The service on this flight was slightly skewed towards the Chinese passengers. The flight attendant was super nice and extra attentive to my wife (Of Chinese origin and was conversing in Mandarin with them) but not so to others on the fight, including myself. There seemed to be quite a few Polish (Eastern European) passengers on this sector, presumably all from the same organisation. I would rate them average overall. They lacked the wow factor as well as any sort of personal touch.

Rest of the flight was uneventful in a very good way and we landed into a sunny crisp Beijing on time. The views into Beijing airport were quite fascinating.

The impressive Beijing T3 from above

Thank you Air China!


Parked next to an Air China B737-800

Exiting the aircraft


Once on the ground we parked quickly and out by 12:00

It was a fairly quiet time at Beijing and we collected our bags and were out by 1300.

From one amazing terminal building (BOM) to another (Beijing, PEK)

Did the e-Registration this time. Hopefully from the next visit on, the process would be quicker


Shuttle to the main terminal building

Baggage hall

Bags have arrived safely

Exiting the airport

Used the luxury limo service. I think they target foreigners for this service. It is very good, albeit around 2.5X the price of a normal cab. We had 4 suitcases, which may not have fit on the normal Beijing taxis.


The upgrade was well worth it. The beds on this aircraft was very good and made all the difference. Service was a typical Chinese airline and it would be best to not expect too much. I have had better experiences on China Southern.

Their food presentation and quality can most certainly be improved and would be the same for their IFE too.

The bottom line was Air China bought us safely and comfortably, direct from Mumbai to Beijing on time and conveniently.

Hope you liked this edition of my trip report. The last one is coming soon. Watch this space.

Until then, happy and safe flying, Adios!
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Re: Part 3: Air China Business Class to Beijing - India and China Trip 2019

Sun Dec 15, 2019 4:38 pm

Previous Trip Reports

Part 2: Tour of Himachal Pradesh - India and China Trip 2019
Part 1: Virgin to Mumbai - India and China Trip 2019
BA A350-1000 New Club World Suites - To Madrid and back
Linked In Post
Bank Holiday weekend to Romania - BA and Wizz Air
Bank Holiday weekend to Ireland - BA and Aer lingus
Part 4: South American escapades - Domestic Peru on LATAM(s)
Part 3: South American escapades - Bye Bye Chile, Hello Peru!
Part 5: South American escapades - Is there a worse way to get back from Lima to London?
Part 2: South American escapades - Over to Torres Del Paine and back
Part 1: South American escapades - On BA's Longest flight to Santiago
Part 2: Hopping across India on Indigo and Air India
Part 1: Emirates from London Stansted to India and back
One World to Myanmar - BA and Cathay Dragon
Hopping across Myanmar (Burma)
Christmas and New Years at Croatia - 2018
Birthday trip to The Ice Hotel - Swedish Lapland
Part 6 (Final) trip to Kyrgyzstan - Back from Bishkek to London via Istanbul
Part 5 trip to Kyrgyzstan - Air Astana from Urumqi to Bishkek via Astana
Part 4 trip to Kyrgyzstan - Air Arabia from Mumbai to Urumqi via Sharjah
Part 3 trip to Kyrgyzstan - IndiGo from BLR to BOM
Part 2 trip to Kyrgyzstan - Jet Airways from Dubai to Bengaluru via Mumbai
Part 1 trip to Kyrgyzstan - Virgin to Dubai on A340-600 (G-VNAP)
Weekend trip on Austrian to Vienna - A321-100
Oman Air - London to India and back - A333 & B738
Part 5 - Long way to Vietnam - Return from Shanghai on BA B77W Club World
Part 4 - Long way to Vietnam - China Southern - Hanoi to Shanghai
Vietnam Domestic on Vietjet
Part 2 - Long way to Vietnam - Vietnam Airlines A350 to Saigon - Business Class
Part 1 - Long way to Vietnam - BA to Shanghai - Club World
Weekend trip to Budapest on FlyBe (SEN) and BA (LHR)
Part 4 - KLM from Beijing to London via Amsterdam - B787-9 & ERJ190
Part 3 - Spring Airlines - Seoul Incheon to Shijiazhuang - Airbus 320-200
Part 2 - Korea Domestic on Korean Air and Jeju Air
Part 1 - London to Seoul on KLM? No. Air France? No. Korean Air?
Part 5 - Canadian Escapades - Vancouver to London - BA A380-800 - Club World
Part 4 - Canadian Escapades - Edmonton to Vancouver - WestJet B737-800
Part 3 - Canadian Escapades - Toronto to Calgary - Air Canada B767-300ER
Part 2 - Canadian Escapades - Quebec to Toronto - WestJet Encore Dash8 Q400
Part 1 - Canadian Escapades - London to Montreal - BA 787-8
Weekend in Bilbao - BA A320 - Photo + Video Report
Cambodian Escapades - China Southern B787, A321 and A320
Domestic Cambodian Escapades - Sky Angkor - KOS-REP - A320
Weekend in Zurich - Swiss and BA (Club Europe) - Airbus 320-200
Weekend at Cinque Terre - BA to Bologna - Airbus 320-200
Journey to the East (Part 5, Final) - BA B747-400 (Club World)
Journey to the East (Part 4) - China Eastern A321-200
Journey to the East (Part 3) - Etihad 5th Freedom Route
Journey to the East (Part 2) - BA, JAL, Etihad, China Eastern
Journey to the East - BA, JAL, Etihad, China Eastern
Norwegian And Air Baltic To ARN And RIX
London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320
Part 4:India Domestic-9W, AI, SG On A321,B737,Q400
Part3: Phuket To India - Bangkok Airways -A320-200
Part 2:Thailand Domestic -Nok Air And Thai AirAsia
Part 1:Qatar Airways - Thailand And India
Part 3:BA Club Europe - LCA-LHR - Boeing 767-300
Part 2:Blue Air - Athens-Larnaca - Boeing 737-400
Part 1: Aegean Air - LGW-ATH-JTR - A320-200
Ryanair London(STN) To Lake Como (BGY)
Weekend In Belfast - Aer Lingus A319-100
BA First - PEK To LHR - Mid J B747-400
China Railway (CRH) - Video Report - SJW - Beijing
BA CW - Upper Deck To Beijing - High J B747-400
LAN Dreamliner (J) Experience - MAD FRA
Weekend In Trondheim - DY/SK - Boeing 737-800/600
Baltic Escapades - VNO/TLL/RIX On W6,BT And OV
South France - EasyJet A320 BA A319
UK To India - The EK Way - B777-200/300 & A380
India Domestic–Jet Airways And Indigo–A320/ATR 72
BA A320/321 - LHR To Berlin TXL - Christmas Day
China Southern - LHR-CAN-HKT - B787/A321
Cool Blue To BOS And Got Blue? To LAS - E190 A320
Mahalo Hawaii, Hello NYC - DL B767-300
Aloha! The United Way - B777-200 And B737-900
VS Little Red To ABZ And EZY Return
24 Hours On A 787! - Final Leg CZ - AKL-CAN-LHR
Part 5 - BHE-WLG-AKL On NZ Beech1900D And A320
Part 4 - MEL-AKL-ZQN On QA And NZ B738\A320
Part 3 - CNS-MEL On JetStar A321-200
Part 2 - SYD - CNS On Virgin Australia E190
Canton Route Part 1 - LON-SYD - CZ DreamLiner/A332
DREAM(liner)ING Of Hainan - China Southern
Panda Calling - BA LHR To CTU - Club World
China - The Low Cost Way - Spring Airlines - SJW-CTU
China United Airlines (KN) - CTU - SJW - B737-700
Norwegian B737 - LGW-TOS-BGO-LGW
Jet Airways: LHR – COK
Barra Trip – that was not to be
Dusseldorf Calling - BA & EZY - Club/Eco - A321
Part 5: PVG-LHR - BA - Economy - B777
Part 4A&B - SHA-SJW-SHA - FM: Eco: B737
Part 3A&B : DXB-HKG-PVG: CX & KA :Eco: A333
Part 2: KWI-DXB - FlyDubai - Economy - B737
LHR - KWI - BA 747 - Part 1 - Middle East -China
Morocco Trip - LGW-RAK-TNG-LHR - EasyJet & Iberia
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Re: Part 3: Air China Business Class to Beijing - India and China Trip 2019

Wed Dec 18, 2019 7:35 am

Thanks for this report - looks like a good trip. The seats are similar to what Turkish has in their J class. I know the trend is towards the "pod" seating, but I really think this 2-2-2 layout is more spacious and comfortable for sleeping.
More than a dozen years flying in and around Asia...
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Re: Part 3: Air China Business Class to Beijing - India and China Trip 2019

Wed Dec 18, 2019 8:35 am

Thanks for the comments.
Yeah, it was indeed a very comfortable cabin to sleep in. Pod gives you a more private feel whereas this 2-2-2 layout is more airy.

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