Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Asia > China
Reload this Page >

United Airlines or Air China to Beijing?

United Airlines or Air China to Beijing?

Old Jan 23, 09, 1:21 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: CDG, COS
Programs: Delta GM, United Premiere Gold, Air France
Posts: 108
United Airlines or Air China to Beijing?

Who has better service in economy? It looks like flying Korean won't work, so its between these two. Who has better food? I know neither offers AVOD. Bleh.
whit5721 is offline  
Old Jan 23, 09, 2:47 pm
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 31,795
Originally Posted by whit5721 View Post
Who has better service in economy? It looks like flying Korean won't work, so its between these two. Who has better food? I know neither offers AVOD. Bleh.
If you don't qualify for E+, then CA is better IMO. But, you didn't say where you're originating and why KE doesn't work. IIRC, you are the same person who wants to go to ULN and XMN. If so, connecting in Korea or Japan makes a lot of sense (and affords a better choice of airlines).
moondog is offline  
Old Jan 24, 09, 9:49 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 237
Originally Posted by whit5721 View Post
Who has better service in economy? It looks like flying Korean won't work, so its between these two. Who has better food? I know neither offers AVOD. Bleh.
CA have better legroom, 34 in, UA is 31 in (or 32 in if you are VERY lucky), on a long flight the couple of inches does make some difference.
SQ4000 is offline  
Old Jan 25, 09, 5:06 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: DCA, ex-IAH
Programs: nada
Posts: 1,367
I have been on both in Y (E-). Food choices are better and include western on UA. Also, if you're a drinker, UA offers free beverages in Y on Asia flights (TPAC+NRT). CA offers a choice of juices, coke, sprite?, and hot drinks, all out of a large bottle (ie, no whole cans or stuff like diet).
YMMV, but on the UA flights, they had sandwiches and snacks in the galley. I don't recall getting up to check on the CA flight.
However, flying on the 744-combi was a great experience. Between what I mentioned, a slight dislike of CA service, and reduced UA miles, I can't see a reason I'd personally fly CA longhaul again.
crnk is offline  
Old Jan 25, 09, 5:15 pm
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 31,795
Originally Posted by crnk View Post
Also, if you're a drinker, UA offers free beverages in Y on Asia flights (TPAC+NRT).
Not any more ($6 a pop).
moondog is offline  
Old Jan 25, 09, 7:43 pm
  #6  
Ambassador: China
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Malibu Inferno Ground Zero
Programs: UA AA CO
Posts: 4,836
Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Not any more ($6 a pop).
Well at least its a "real" drink. Try to find that in China for <$12
except at an expat bar.
anacapamalibu is offline  
Old Jan 25, 09, 11:29 pm
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 31,795
Originally Posted by anacapamalibu View Post
Well at least its a "real" drink. Try to find that in China for <$12
except at an expat bar.
1) SH is the only city in the entire country where normal bars try to swing the $12 thing, and even there are probably 5,000 establishments that can serve a better <insert drink name here> than United Airlines for less than $6 (it's a pretty low bar). In BJ, the price point seems to 50% less than SH's, but that's changing. As for second and third tier cities, you'll probably end up drinking beer, but it certainly won't set you back a paycheck. IIRC, on my last visit ti Xi'an, my younger cousin and I walked into a hip nightclub across the street from our hotel and dropped y200 in exchange for 30 (warm) Bud Ice bottles.

2) I would like to note that the OP did not list the availability of booze as a criterion for airline selection. But, since that topic has been broached, I will point out that (almost) all of non-PRC Asian carriers do a pretty good job in this respect and most of them have AVOD as well. UA, AA, DL, NW, and CO, by contrast, all want your money, and provide surly service to boot. Meanwhile, CA can hook you up with warm beer, but doesn't have the audacity to charge for it.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not one of those people that likes to get wasted on airplanes (learned this lesson once, when I was 20 en-route to HKG from SFO), but I like enjoy a glass of bad wine at 30k feet now and then in order to reward myself for surviving the check-in process.
moondog is offline  
Old Jan 26, 09, 12:35 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: WAS via RDU, FLL, PHL and TYO
Programs: UA Gold, Hilton Dia, Radisson Gold, Hertz 5*
Posts: 3,875
One of my buddies in Beijing famously remarked that "every five dollars you save in China will buy you a hangover the next morning."

Sheesh, even the minibar at the (awesome) Baiyun airport hotel only wanted something like $3 for a Tsingtao. And I had been in China long enough to know that this was a colossal ripoff when an enormous bottle of awesome Tianjin brew costs less than a buck.
joejones is offline  
Old Jan 27, 09, 10:12 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: DCA, ex-IAH
Programs: nada
Posts: 1,367
Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Not any more ($6 a pop).
ah, thanks for the update. that is sooo sad, I really enjoyed drinking the time away on my way to HKG/SIN a couple of years back.
crnk is offline  
Old Jan 27, 09, 10:18 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: DCA, ex-IAH
Programs: nada
Posts: 1,367
Originally Posted by moondog View Post
2) I would like to note that the OP did not list the availability of booze as a criterion for airline selection. But, since that topic has been broached, I will point out that (almost) all of non-PRC Asian carriers do a pretty good job in this respect and most of them have AVOD as well. UA, AA, DL, NW, and CO, by contrast, all want your money, and provide surly service to boot. Meanwhile, CA can hook you up with warm beer, but doesn't have the audacity to charge for it.
I know the OP didn't bring up booze. The OP also didn't indicate seat pitch as a constraint, and that was brought up, too. I just added it as a comment about experience (based on a UA TPAC less than 2 years ago). Personally, I don't drink much on planes (I think I can count the number of segments on one hand), but I do care somewhat that the beverage selection is more than coke/tea/coffee/juice, since I like to drink diet when I can.
crnk is offline  
Old Jan 31, 09, 11:43 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Shanghai
Programs: ANA Plat, AA gold, SPG Gold, HH Silver
Posts: 84
Umm, I'll usually do just about anything to avoid flying CA internationally, even if that means using UA! not a big fan of either one to be honest, but I feel that UA is the lesser of two evils. Made the mistake of using CA once, JFK-PEK, and went back in time to the 80's for a little over 12 hours. Lousy service, lousy food, no PTV, only a projector showing a mix of old english and chinese movies. Seat was REALLY stiff to the point it hurt my butt and made it numb after siting in the seat for a little while. Also kinda smelled funny, and gate/boarding was chaos. Never on time. Why would I want to travel like that?? Domestically, yes I'll use CA b/c there just as good if not better than anything else around, plus i get *A miles/benefits these days, the same reason I use UA/US domestically in the states. However, internationally, UA isn't that much further up on the list than CA. Plus on the return PEK-JFK, i then had to fly, of all airlines, UA, going JFK-IAD, like a 45 min flight. I managed to get my bags from CHINA, through customs, and to the united transfer desk, with 2hrs+ before my flight and UA manages to lose my bags for a 45 min flight, that was also delayed for some reason, didn't see the bags for 3 days. After coming back from PEK, to have my bags lost on the JFK-IAD portion of that trip, wow that had me pissed. Then lying to me multiple times about where they were and how long it'd take, having to talk to the indian people (thank you outsourcing) on the phone who speak bad english (even the UA employees at the airports hate them, what does that say when your own fellow co-workers don't like you, actually had a desk agent say "was this an indian woman on the phone who told u this?" with an annoyed&confused tone to me when I asked a question). After that paethetic showing I didn't use UA for at least 2-3 years.

I personally like using NH, great service, decent PTV AVOD entertainment, punctual, effecient, and clean. All around a much better choice. Plus, free booze, even in economy you get beers, wines, and liquors. its little things, you ask for a whiskey, they pour you a double chivas 12 year. ask for a coke, they pour it and give you the can. ring the FA call button and someone actually comes to you, definetly in less than 30 seconds. frequent drink runs, edible food, and wether your in front or back (i've flown both with them, but more frequently the back than the front) they still treat you decently. If you're sleeping, they'll wait until your awake and then like in less than 5 minutes would be asking you what you would like for your meal, in Y class. I mean these kind of things just (sadly) don't happen these days on UA, and they never have (nor will in the near future) on CA. Plus, they've never been late departing or arriving from my frequent use, always have my bags on the belt by the time through customs (never lost them), and always satisfied with their service.
bossCJ is offline  
Old Feb 2, 09, 9:20 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Shanghai
Programs: ANA Plat, AA gold, SPG Gold, HH Silver
Posts: 84
Sorry for the long post, but i think I showed my well-earned contempt for both CA and UA here, they just make me so annoyed sometimes. Just did another trip with UA IAD-ORD-MSP-DEN-PDX-IAD visiting friends in those different cities on a multi-stop trip while i'm home for a little bit in the states. Only reaon I use them is for the mileage earning I get with my *A partner. They still haven't proved my feelings about them wrong. Can't manage to keep to a schedule to save their lives, planes all look almost as old as the CA planes, and god help you if you need to find a customer service agent.
bossCJ is offline  
Old Jun 15, 17, 11:20 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Programs: Burrito Elito
Posts: 170
Sorry to revive this thread, but has anything changed in the last years given new on board service, aircraft types, etc?

My choices for the transpacific leg would probably be
UA 787 SFO-XIY
UA 777 IAD-PEK
CA 777 IAD-PEK

Thanks!
cordileran is offline  
Old Jun 16, 17, 10:15 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Tri-State Area
Posts: 4,733
Originally Posted by cordileran View Post
Sorry to revive this thread, but has anything changed in the last years given new on board service, aircraft types, etc?

My choices for the transpacific leg would probably be
UA 787 SFO-XIY
UA 777 IAD-PEK
CA 777 IAD-PEK

Thanks!
Probably more help coming if we know class you intend to book
dtsm is offline  
Old Jun 16, 17, 8:11 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Programs: Burrito Elito
Posts: 170
Originally Posted by dtsm View Post
Probably more help coming if we know class you intend to book
Oops...coach all the way. My back is already hurting just thinking about it.
cordileran is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: