FlyerTalk Forums - View Single Post - Easter trip to Asia with LX,LH,MU(F) and SK,OZ,TG,CA,LH(C) and Korean KTX(Y)
Old Apr 27, 12, 4:24 pm
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 600
Flight 7: HKG-PEK - Part 2 CA Flight

Flight 7: HKG-PEK - Part 2 CA Flight
CA110 / A330-300
Seats 12D&H / C Class

New A330
180 degrees lie flat seats
LED mood lightning
Ground service effective
Useless IFE
On board service below average

Now our Air China flight to PEK. Let me say first, than we have flown extensively on Air China before both in Y and F (domestic on A340s), but actually never on C. Our global feeling with Air China, it that it really is the Ryanair of *A, and that service is usually quite bad. The only reason we've flown so much with CA before, was because of their *A affiliation, and because quite frankly at that time there was nothing better in China. Not sure it still is the case, I read Hainan Airlines is supposed to be quite good. But I'll check that some other time.

Anyway, the only thing we were looking forward to that day was a widebody aircraft. And we hoped for comfortable seats.

Our wish was granted. A brand new A330-300 waited for us at the gate:

Boarding was done again through a priority line and we were soon able to discover a nice cabin. To be clear, I am not a fan of Air China's choice of colours but the cabin was at least new, spacious and clean, which according to my experience with CA is already an achievment in itself!

View from my seat, please note the unpacked blanket on pic 1 (some seats had fresh, packed blankets, some not) and a new "clean" one I requested on pic 2:

Let's hope there will be no smoking on the flight deck this time:

The seats were comfortable in both seating and sleeping mode. The only issue really, is that the adjustment possibilities were to say the least, limited:

All in all, the cabin felt good. One bad point was the overhead bins over the middle seats. These were not "moving down" like on SAS's A3xxs for example. They were fixed on the roof, and you needed to lift your luggage then much higher in order to put in place. It was also impossible to look inside the bin to check if something had fallen of your bag (I'm 175cm). Cheap and unpractical.

After having had a nice lunch in the SQ lounge i was quite full, so on that flight, I did not had anything but dessert. My girlfriend on the other hand, still ordered the food just to check it out. As expected, it was disappointing:

It is to be noted that no menus were handed out. Meal orders were taken before take off with the typical choice rice or noodles. No Champagne was available on this 3H35min flight. That broke my heart

Instead I had a bit of Ice Cream, here at least Air China made an effort with a well known brand and a Pepsi:

In the same time I started checking out the IFE with the nice large screens (15 inches I think). That turned out to be also quite a disappointment. The first menus and the fancy remote were promising:

The choice of languages was interesting:

The choices seemed more than enough:

But unfortunately, the menus took ages to load, and the navigation was a nightmare as the arrows were not always loaded and activated properly.

Also, many times the system was crashing and coming back to be home page. In conclusion: USELESS! I used at least 20 minutes to get a movie started...

The headphones were decent:

No amenity kits were available. I asked and was told, they did no had any.

Finally, my last thoughts about the Airbus cabin goes to the LED mood lightning. Very cool indeed:

To sum up, my thoughts about Air China remains the same. We got lucky on that particular occasion to score a brand new aircraft with an up to date hard product which compensated for the mediocre soft product (good check in agent but she was only doing her job, boring lounge, no fresh blanket, no champagne, mediocre catering, and below average service all in all).

Arrival in PEK, went better than expected. At immigration, we found a custom officer who spoke perfect english at the international Transfer counter. He asked us to proceed that day to the "APEC - D/L only" (Diplomat) counter, where we were granted transit without a visa for 24 hours.

The only documents we needed to show were our passport of course and the boarding card for our flight out of PEK the following day. No questions asked. We got a big stamp in the passport (takes a whole page), and were let through.

Conclusion: Timatic was right, Chinese embassy was wrong. This time.

Last edited by JamesBond_ppk; May 28, 12 at 12:16 pm
JamesBond_ppk is offline