China Eastern reveals new long-haul cabin

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

Share with your friends


Share your thoughts

  • Another outfit joining the ranks of airlines whose business seats are superior to those of BA. Does BA not feel the heat? When introduced 15 years ago the BA seats were revolutionary but in the year 2014, who wants to be in a coffin-like seat with no isle access and virtually no personal stowage?

  • I too am fed up with the BA coffin, sold at premium pricing. I’ve recently defected to CX, AA and other airlines that provide 1-2-1 layout in business class as I can no longer ‘downgrade’ back to BA’s CW. It’s crap, old and packs us in like sardine. Thanks but no thanks.

  • This seat is rapidly becoming the standard for business class to the point that soon it will be a “me also” play for the airlines. The only choice will be whether you prefer beige, grey or green upholstery! So will be interesting to see what the big players (BA included) do over the coming years. Clearly just going down the easy “Zodiac Cirrus” route will not be an option for them.

    Re the comments about BAs current offering, there is a simple solution – don’t fly them!

    Lets not have this thread, launched in response to China Eastern’s new product, getting hijacked by yet another oh so predictable BA CW thread. The title of the article is China Eastern reveals new long haul cabin, not “BA doesn’t reveal new long haul cabin” !

  • Thank you for all your comments.

    Gold-2K, you won’t have to wait too long for new J products other than the Zodiac Cirrus. Cathay has just announced a new long-haul business class product with the arrival of their first A350s in 2016.

    I’d be surprised if they didn’t set another benchmark.


  • One point not mentioned in the comments above is the fact that economy passengers lose out when carriers bring in more spacious business cabins.

    Space is the most precious commodity on any plane … so those carriers adopting 1-2-1 layouts in business class simply take the space from economy class.

    Of course, not all carriers are acting this way currently, but most are and when the B77X enters service in a few years’ time you will see all carriers moving to 3-4-3 in their B77X economy classes (because this variant’s cabin is being engineered for this configuration).

  • To be fair, Economy passengers pay some incredibly cheap prices for long-haul travel that can’t possibly cover the cost of their actual flight, hence the general lack of low-cost carriers in the long-haul market.

    The Business and First cabins have traditionally been where the airlines make their actual profits, so I’m not surprised they’re getting better while Economy gets worse. Increasingly, travellers in all classes are getting what they paid for.

Post a comment

17 + 15 =