Tried & Tested

Flight review: China Eastern Airbus A330-200 business class

31 Dec 2018 by BusinessTravellerAsiaPacific

Background

China Eastern is the second largest Chinese airline and the number seven in the world, with 570 aircraft flying internationally. We flew at 10.10am on one of the total of four direct flights per day from Singapore to Shanghai.

Check-in and lounge 

The check-in in Singapore is fast and efficient. For business class passengers, there are several counters to use. Since the airline does not have its own lounge in Changi Airport, I got an invitation to the SATS lounge. This is, by far, not as comfortable as the lounges of Singapore Airlines, but nevertheless seating, food and drinks are available to international standards. Unfortunately, there was no priority entrance for my flight at the security gate. That cost a lot of time, though boarding was punctual and done in order of class, so I was one of the first fliers on board.

Boarding

On this four-and-a-half hour flight to Shanghai, China Eastern offers two classes: 240 economy seats and 24 business class seats – a classic 2-2-2 configuration. My seat is 9L, a window seat. The service is attentive, as is to be expected in Asia. From the start I had the choice between champagne, juice or water. A pair of slippers and headphones were stowed in the storage space in front of me.

The seat 

It’s a classic, this seat. Straight upright, footwell with shelf space, though no private space at all. Folded out to 169 degrees, it almost becomes a fully lie-flat bed. The product is no longer new, but the upholstery is sleek and comfortable. The nearly 51 centimetre seat width is standard. A tip: on long-haul flights, the airline offers a new business class with single seats (offering more privacy).

The flight 

Flight MU546 left punctually at 10.10am from Changi Airpot for Shanghai. On first look at the entertainment offering, I found films, games and music in surprising abundance. The monitor in the backrest of the seat in front is no longer the most modern model, but completely ok for this short flight. Wifi is offered for free. Bravo! Why one can only use it with a laptop or iPad, and not with a mobile phone, remains a puzzle.

The service is quick and efficient. For food, we had the choice between three dishes. I chose the spicy beef. The red wine – a decent South African – comes in a glass from the galley. I declined the offered dessert, returned to my seat and dozed until landing.

Arrival 

We landed 30 minutes before schedule in Shanghai.

Verdict

A decent flight at a very cheap business class price. The service is friendly and professional, the aircraft are – despite the somewhat aged equipment – very neat. The food selection on my flight was a bit stingy, but ok for a mid-length flight. All in all, a reasonable offering. 

Fact file

  • Flight: MU546
  • Aircraft type: A330-200
  • Configuration: 2-2-2
  • Seat width: 51 centimetres
  • Seat pitch: 150 centimetres
  • Seat recline: 169 degrees
  • Contact: ceair.com

Translated by Michael Allen; original German article (first published in Business Traveller Germany) by Kai Böcking

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Business Traveller December 2019 / January 2020 edition
Business Traveller December 2019 / January 2020 edition
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