China Eastern Airlines A340-600 Economy

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  • Anonymous


    I purchased two International round-trip tickets with China Eastern Airlines. Both went bad. The first one is a conjunction ticket for my mother marketed and sold by China Eastern, with only its confirmation number, ticket number, and airline codes on the itinerary, although the first leg was operated by Delta. The Delta flight had to be delayed because of a mechanical problem and there was no other flights that would make the connection on the same day. As instructed by Delta, I tried to reschedule my flight with China Eastern because Delta didn’t have access to the International leg. I made literally dozens of phone calls and tried to be understanding on our part that we would be satisfied with any date as long as it can be confirmed because I didn’t want my mom to be stranded unnecessarily at connecting air port. I was directed back and forth between their Shanghai, New York, and airport offices, and yet no one would confirm the seat for an alternative date, even if they were available at the time of my calls. They insisted that it was not their fault and they were not responsible for making the changes. Either I would need to pay penalty fees (apparently penalized involuntarily for the mechanical problem of a plane that they code-shared with Delta) to have confirmed seating because, as they explained, the seats could be potentially sold to other people, or as they cheerfully suggested, my mom fly to New York, but depending on the availability, might have to stay over nights at the airport without them providing hotel room. Of course this is unacceptable so I tried to call them day after day to get information on the next day’s seating information, and they kept telling me the flights were over-sold, until I finally gave up, called Delta, explained the situation and begged for their help. Luckily Delta was willing (and able) to make a new reservation for us under their airline codes (including both legs), although the actual flights were exactly the same as those China Eastern lied to me as oversold. This caused four days’ delay. In addition, China Eastern wouldn’t let us cancel a subsequent, separate reservation with them, which couldn’t be simply relocated because of the undetermined schedule. Is China Eastern indeed free of responsibility on tickets they marketed under their own name and is it really allowed to continue to sell tickets before trying to help delayed passengers? I don’t think so.

    The second ticket for my father had several schedule changes, but we agreed to all of them. After my father took the departure flight, however, they made yet another schedule change and the only choice this time involved an overnight stay at the airport (!). So I asked for a cancellation through Priceline. It took China Eastern a ridiculously long 2 months to decide whether to accept my request, again despite dozens of calls, many times waiting on the line for over an hour. This procrastination directly resulted in me paying over $200 more for making a new reservation. If the delay was due to the time to process bank transfer, China Eastern could at least confirm to Priceline and myself that the refund would eventually be approved so that I could start making a separate reservation earlier. In addition, the final refund was less than half of the total cost of the round-trip ticket. China Eastern explained it was one way fare for the original booking class. However, as a passenger we have no way of verifying their internal pricing (as far as we can tell, one way ticket is much more expensive than half the round-trip ticket). Luckily the difference is not large. Nonetheless the delay and refusal of China Eastern to resolve their own issues on both tickets and lying about seat availability are very disappointing. It seems that as a state-owned company, China Eastern has the least fear of losing business, and its employees know it well and don’t have the smallest incentive to help resolve problems.

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