China Eastern’s First North America A350 Route (Business Class Suites With Doors)

Filed Under: China Eastern

Late last year China Eastern took delivery of their first Airbus A350-900. In addition to the plane as such being the newest technology, China Eastern chose to update their onboard product on this plane.

Specifically, China Eastern’s A350s feature business class seats with doors, which are virtually identical to the seats offered by Delta on their A350s (which isn’t that surprising, given that Delta owns a stake in China Eastern, and the two airlines also have a close partnership).

The airline has a total of 20 of these planes on order, though so far they only have five in their fleet. Well, for those looking to fly this product across the Pacific, there’s some good news — China Eastern has just revealed their first North American route to be operated by the A350.

As of June 28, 2019, China Eastern will fly the A350-900 daily between Vancouver and Shanghai on the following frequency:

MU581 Shanghai to Vancouver departing 1:20PM arriving 9:10AM
MU582 Vancouver to Shanghai departing 1:20PM arriving 4:35PM (+1 day)

This route is currently operated by the A330-200, so this represents a significant upgrade, both in terms of the onboard product, and in terms of capacity.

In addition to China Eastern often having attractive paid business class fares, the airline also has a good amount of award availability on the route, should you want to redeem any SkyTeam miles (including Delta SkyMiles) on the flight.

As a point of comparison, China Eastern’s previous flagship plane was the 777-300ER, which features reverse herringbone seats in business class.

If you do fly China Eastern, make sure you manage your expectations when it comes to the soft product, which isn’t great, in my opinion.

Bottom line

While China Eastern’s soft product leaves a lot to be desired, this is an excellent hard product. It could be worth routing through Vancouver to fly it, if that’s not too inconvenient. I hope we see A350 service also added to some US routes soon.

Anyone plan on taking China Eastern’s A350 between Shanghai and Vancouver?

  1. It sure beats the garbage that AC flies to China!
    Even the soft product you think is lousy is still miles ahead of what AC offers.

  2. Just flew this plane PVG-SIN on MU. The doors are disabled (cover over the release button in side the suite) and the seat controls are not at all intuitive compared to Delta’s version of this seat. I never have any trouble finding a comfortable position on Delta’s A350s but this seat has some really wonky controls that made it impossible.

    With the seat controls as they are I still prefer MU’s 777 seats.

    The soft product on all my recent MU flights (international and domestic) has been fine – nothing special – but for the price in J I’ll accept the weaker F&B.

  3. I predict that the China Eastern daily flights with the Airbus A350-900 between Vancouver and Shanghai starting this month of June 2019 will be hugely successful and popular.

  4. @Caroline.
    Do you care to share your reasoning why this will be hugely successful and popular?

  5. @Bob I have flown both MU and AC in Business and I can tell you that AC is superior in every respect, and at least equal in terms of hard product. MU locks the doors on all of these planes. They have doors, but you can’t use them. So it’s no better/worse than AC’s Reverse Herringbone. The food and IFE is much better on AC though.

  6. @PaulR: “The soft product on all my recent MU flights (international and domestic) has been fine – nothing special – but for the price in J I’ll accept the weaker F&B.”

    My wife said the same thing for a recent MU business class flight from NYC-SIN return. The paid business class fare on China Eastern was 35-40% cheaper than any of the Middle East 3, European or non-Chinese Asian carriers.

  7. I have seen multiple reports that that are disabled (both on A350s and 787s) and myself witnessed the fact that they are disabled. I’m not sure what this reviewer was experiencing, or whether it is on a plane-by-plane basis, but the doors in J are locked out. And actually, if you look at most pictures of their cabin, they only show the doors being closeable on the first row of seats, which are a different travel class. The only doors that closed were the 4 ‘Business Suite’/First Class seats at the front of the cabin on my flight.

  8. I just took CE from LAX to PVG round trip on a business class. Although I agree that soft products could be better, like warm meal or better food selection, I had no problem of enjoying the flight. The only thing that I would like to see it happens…..we definitely need FAs who speak English, especially, in a business class or beyond!

  9. I have flown CE on several routes, PVG-SIN, PVG-HKG etc and all have been Business Class and due to the lower fare. You get what you pay for. Check in is crazy. They usually can’t find my reservation (I have never been able to check in on line) so it becomes a useless discussion with a language problem. Requires a supervisor who is usually rude and eventually figures out that I actually have a reservation, but never the seats I reserved. My April 16 flight PVG-HKG Business Class I was told I was not entitled to any baggage. NONE. Who ever heard of that. Supervisor told me to call my agent. I Booked the flight myself. Due to the possibility of missing my flight I was forced to pay $150 US for my bags. Of course, you almost always have to take a bus to and from the plane, packed tight with no seats. Their meals are not eatable or even identifiable, Never again. I’ll pay more for a better airline. I rate China Eastern 1 Star.

  10. I will explain the door issue. Every Chinese plane with sliding doors for each seat needs to be certified and given a license from CAAC to ensure 100% safety. For 787s, they won’t do the certification until all of them are delivered. For A350s, most of them have been certified with few newly delivered ones uncertified. In terms of service, I would like to mention that, the FAs provide much better service to CE platinum members, they have iPads to see the status of every passengers. CE has a very high service standard to their elite members, if a platinum member complains about an FA to customer service, even without concrete reason, the FA will be immediately suspended from flying international routes. So, as a CE and Delta platinum member, I really enjoy their service. By the way, CE platinum can be recognized by Delta, Delta boarding pass will show status as Platinum Medallion instead of normal Elite Plus.

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