China Eastern reveals new long-haul cabin

20 Aug 2014 by Tamsin Cocks

China Eastern Airlines (CES) is due to receive the first of 20 B777-300ER wide-body aircraft in early September.

To celebrate the occasion, the carrier has unveiled a new cabin design, with changes across all three cabin classes.

There will be six first class private suites accessible through sliding doors – the first time CES has offered its passengers this level of comfort and privacy. The traditional overhead bins have been replaced with built-in storage compartments in every first suite. The cream-coloured seats recline 180 degrees to form a fully-flat bed.

CES will be offering caviar and truffles to long-haul passengers in first.

Business class features 52 180-degree fully-flat seats in a 1-2-1 layout across two cabins. The seat will be the Zodiac Cirrus kind we have come to appreciate on other B777-300ER operators like Cathay Pacific, American Airlines and EVA Air. Undoubtedly one of the biggest selling points of the Zodiac Cirrus is that it provides direct aisle access for every passenger, which is obviously a big plus in terms of personal space and privacy.

Unlike most of the regional competition, CES has not opted to introduce a premium economy product for the time being.

For economy class travellers the new CES B777-300ER might not necessarily prove to be an improvement over existing models. CES opted for a 3-4-3 (10-abreast) configuration in coach. Air China, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines, for instance, have all chosen a 9-abreast layout in economy on their B777-300ERs.

That being said, CES makes up for it to some degree by installing 12.1-inch PTVs in economy, which are definitely among the largest in the industry.

CES currently has five A340-600s in its fleet. These will be phased out with the arrival of the B777s. The additional 15 models will be used to support the carrier’s long-haul expansion plans.

China’s second largest carrier by fleet size will first employ the B777-300ER on its daily Shanghai to New York (JFK) flights from October.

Dominic Sebastian Lalk

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