Saturday, June 30, 2012


When I researched about China Eastern Airlines, before flying to the States, I figured, "No wonder the flight to LA is super cheap. They just gave it a half star out of 5." I read so many nasty things about the airline as far as getting delayed is concerned, uncomfortable seats, poor service and unbearable in flight movies.

At first, before booking my flight, I had to ask colleagues at work as to what their own experience went with China Eastern. Edwin Kamantigue, (whom I know travels a lot and had experienced it once or twice) told me that it went alright, reminded me that all flights get delayed regardless and that there's nothing much to expect in the first place because the fare had cost me just HK5,900 from Hong Kong to USA including tax. Meaning, the entertainment it provides could be annoying but, it'd push you to somehow get a snooze which you needed more for your trip as far as time difference is concerned. I didn't have much to complain about flying with them since it's always a habit for me to read while on a trip. It's my own personal form of entertainment. Compared to some businessmen and techies who had downloaded their own entertainment in their laptops, I prefer having my own entertainment in my hands. But as you can see, I've taken a photo of the accessible plugs at the back of each seat to recharge your gadget for 'em computer addicts, who would in the future might prefer speed rather than convenience. Just to give out viable information, it turns green once it's alright to use. Ideally, after taking off. In addition to what I could let the future passengers of CHINA EASTERN know is that the entertainment sucks for a FACT. When the airplane kind of goes into turbulence, some of the TVs turn off on its own. It gets turned on again but not at the same time. (Refer to the photos below as I took them during turbulent times every 30 seconds.) They also play a movie and then you'll be surprised that in a matter of like around 1 hour had passed, it would switch to a different movie. I was mad and confused at first. And then I realized, it's like watching VCD's. They play the Disc 1 first and then the Disc 2 later after 5 Disc 1 movies were shown. I don't know why but looking at it positively, maybe because the passengers may feel a little bit sleepy at first. In changing to another movie, it will give them ample rest for the remaining Disc 2 of the movie within the 14 hour flight.
I didn't take photos of my food but they were very well served. It was warm and on time. I think that's what's most important. I missed capturing them because I still don't believe that my iPhone can be totally 0% troublesome during a flight even if it's on an "Airplane Mode". I can't risk my safety and that of others. Let those people who still turned them on but the crew kept on going to them asking them to shut it down. I hope somebody could let me know the difference of turned on laptops with iPhones on an airplane mode because honestly, it's really scary. I guess there's none but just so for getting properly informed of what triggers the aircraft's computer system to get damaged when we turn on our cellphones? Please do comment if you have any ideas.

Anyway, the food.... oh yes.... they have good choices. I always went for noodles. Both of the choices present Western and Eastern cuisines. They serve wine too, apple/orange juice, water (I've been going to the back where the flight attendants heat up the food for water and they didn't mind. It had become like a "Help yourself situation.") and sodas. It was pretty difficult to let them know of what you need right away because they don't speak in English. Or at least just slow in understanding it. I believe they all know how to speak. Their approach is a little intimidating and you don't know if they're in the mood or what. It gives you a feeling of "rather not ask".

This one's funny. When I went to the back to take a little walk and to stretch up, I saw this and I couldn't help but take a photo.

That's the thing with second hand aircrafts. It's usually a case of an airline gone bankrupt that they had to be absorbed by a bigger one. And so, they don't want to waste the manufactured/engineered, "good to go" airplanes that they'd just let it be as long as it can bring passengers to their desired destinations. As I've observed, China Eastern Airline tickets' selling factor are the following:

1. AVAILABILITY OF FLIGHTS - They have a flight almost everyday and at the most convenient time of the day. If you leave, 9am here, more likely, you'll reach your destination the next day. For sure, you've had enough sleep by then that you won't have a problem dealing with jet lag. With my flight, I departed at 9am and I reached LA by 12nn. I was good to go the entire day as I've slept quite well.

2. SPEED - They are quite on time. Many comments in one website said that they were most often delayed with all their flights. But as of me, From HK to Shanghai, it was on time. Then Shanghai to LA was actually on time. I took the same route coming back. Even then, it was alright except that with the last flight that got delayed for just 20 minutes (TOLERABLE...) due to the limited buses in Shanghai to bring us to our aircraft going back to HK.

3. CHEAP FLIGHTS - I already shared the amount I paid above. Imagine the savings I made.
4. NON-STOP FLIGHTS - Most of the passengers hail this if American tourists wanted to see Beijing or Shanghai for its renowned tourist spots such as the Forbidden City and Great Wall of China. Some airlines needed to have a layover in some other Asian countries before heading straight to China. I find this as their own strategy (Prohibiting direct access of other airlines to China so that China Eastern Airlines would be much preferred.)

Overall, CHINA EASTERN AIRLINES didn't give me a headache at all. I give them 3.5 stars out of 5. With EVA air, the last time I went to USA, my luggage was lost and it took them a long time to contact the man who had mistaken my bag as his. But CHINA EASTERN AIRLINES, despite my layover in Pudong, Shanghai, to and from the USA, took care of my stuff as expected. I didn't need to get it then check it in again. Plus, they granted the seat that I liked which was along the aisle with no awful remarks nor violent reactions. It went all good.

In Shanghai, I took my time to walk around. When I was hungry, I ate. But it tasted totally different with Hong Kong food. Theirs needed a lot of salt. Hehehe! That part of getting laid over was not fun.

Their airport offered sterile water. That saved me from 4 hours of dehydration.

Folks, CHINA EASTERN is alright. It ain't that bad. I had expected worse.

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