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Flew business on flight CA970 from SIN to PEK departing 0015, 30 May 2013. Arrived at T1 early but there was no Air China counters. I was told that check-in counters would open after 9.00pm or later and I proceeded to the early check-in counter a few rows away. It was a one-counter for all cabin classes. Not an issue as there was no queue.
After a shopping spree, I proceeded to the SATS Premier Lounge. Air China does not have their own lounge unlike other airlines such as Thai Airway and Emirates. F&B wise was decent but not fantastic. Reasonably good spread of newspapers and magazines.
Seats (not very comfortable) were plenty with separate sections for first and business class passengers but these seats do not have the power sockets unless one chooses seats (in limited numbers) next to the walls. No boarding announcements except for a Japanese airline (think was JAL).
Boarding was smooth but late. Pre-flight drink offered was either orange juice or water. However I asked for champagne which they reluctantly obliged. My thought was they were probably trying to save a bottle in the hope that no one would ask.
Seating configuration was 2-2-2. My chosen seat was 7H but I wanted to change seats as I preferred to be alone (seat next mine was occupied) on seeing last two rows were empty. For mid-night flights, I preferred to be alone. I was unable to change seat because I was told that the last two rows were reserved for crew members.
I would rate F&B on board as below average as the red wines offered were only mainland Chinese brands. It would expect other international wines to be made available for selection.
The only good thing in this flight was that amenity kits (by an international brand but there was no shaving kit inside) were issued. Arrival was late by some half and hour or so. My baggage arrived later that most economy class passengers so it made a mockery out of “priority ” tagging.