Tried & Tested

China Eastern Airlines A330-300 economy class

9 Sep 2011 by Tom Otley

CHECK IN I arrived at Beijing Capital Airport Terminal 2  around 90 minutes before the 0900 departure and followed the directions to zone H for check-in. My MU5104 China Eastern flight to Shanghai (Hongqiao) was described above the counter as the Beijing- Shanghai Express.

There was no queue at check-in, and we walked quickly through to security, whcih took around 10 minutes. From there it was a short walk to the gate where we sat and waiting for the flight.

I hadn’t been through Beijing airport for a while, so I wandered around the airport looking at the shops (Timberland, Gant and Columbia amongst others), and tried in vain to gain access to the lounges using my Priority Pass card.

BOARDING There was already a queue of passengers forming at the Gate when I returned, so I joined the end of it, and we shuffled forward.

THE FLIGHT This A330-300 aircraft was in a 2-4-2 configuration (AC – DEFG – JH) and was packed. For a seatplan click here.

There is ample legroom in economy, and although I was in one of the two centre seats in the middle section of 4, I had no trouble with finding space to get comfortable. As we taxied back the safety video played first in Mandarin, and then, just before take off, the same video played again in English.

We took off only a little late and once airborne, screens came down for the entertainment. In row 22 the screen was directly above my head, and the screen in front was too small to watch, so I did not put on my headphones to find out if there was a choice of languages.

There was no choice of food, which was congee, an unappetising hot beef roll and a fruit salad. I was very hungry but did not eat any of it.

ARRIVAL We arrived on time but then had to wait a little while for the gate to become free, and so only got off the aircraft at 1100. We had checked baggage and this arrived reasonably quickly, but it was 1145 before we were landside with bags and getting to our car.

VERDICT Pretty good. There’s plenty of room in the seats and the staff were polite. The food, however, was awful.


Tom Otley

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