China Eastern’s Longhaul First Class: Surprisingly Decent

Filed Under: China Eastern, Travel

Hello from Los Angeles! After flying from Singapore to Shanghai in China Eastern’s (sort of) first class, I connected to Los Angeles. The flight from Singapore to Shanghai was only “sort of” first class because I had the longhaul first class seat, though the service matched what you usually receive in business class.

I was wondering what China Eastern’s first class would be like on one of their flagship, longhaul routes, from Shanghai to Los Angeles. I’ll have a full trip report soon, so here’s a teaser.

To sum up the product in a sentence, I’d say China Eastern’s first class is perfectly okay — the service was well intentioned, food was plentiful, wifi free, and I got a great night of sleep. That’s actually significantly better than I was expecting the flight to be.

There was a Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kit, which was reasonably basic.

There were also pajamas, which were comfortable enough, though not the highest quality ones I’ve been offered on a plane.

The meal was easily the biggest meal I’ve ever been served on a plane (at eight courses, what the heck?!), and I didn’t even ask for most of the stuff I was served.

Service began with mixed nuts, breadsticks, and foie gras. #random

The champagne was supposedly Perrier-Jouet, though it didn’t taste like it, and I never saw the bottle.

The starter consisted of lobster with mashed potatoes, though the mashed potatoes were quite literally frozen solid. In addition to getting a personal breadbasket, I was also offered a selection from another basket, which had corn, purple potatoes, and more.

Next up was a potato and beef soup.

Then there was a salad.

For the main course I had prawns.

Then there was a cheese plate.

Then a fruit plate.

And then I was just automatically served two desserts. What the actual heck?!?!?

None of the food was great, though it mostly wasn’t offensively bad either. I was amused by just automatically being served all eight courses, including two desserts. I nibbled a little bit at everything, and was stuffed by the end of the meal.

I was tired on this flight (it had been a long few days), so slept for about eight hours of the 11 hour flight, which is awesome. The bedding was decent enough.

Much like on the previous sector, the crew was extremely well intentioned. Their English wasn’t great, but they really meant well and were attentive. There were two other passengers in first class, though they didn’t eat, so service was as attentive as it gets.

China Eastern also offers free wifi. While it’s slow and subjected to the lovely “Great Firewall,” it’s still nice that they have free wifi.

Unlike the last time I flew between Los Angeles and Shanghai, the pilots weren’t lighting up the entire flight. I smelled cigarette smoke a couple of times, but that didn’t bother me as much as having that smell the entire flight.

So all things considered China Eastern exceeded my expectations. I had really low expectations and figured this would be one of the worst first class products I’ve flown, though between the spacious suite, the well intentioned service, the filling meal, the free wifi, and the solid bed, I wouldn’t hesitate to fly them again in first class.

  1. Omg the food looks hideously revolting and i wouldn’t trust those chinese with my food.
    I suspect the foie gras had apestos fibres in it to make it taste like the real deal.
    I love it lucky how your so easily pleasured by simply awful low quality harmful offerings.

  2. Tried it once. Never again!! As a Frequent First Class traveller I expect decent food on board and in the Lounge and last but not least “professional and attractive” cabin crew members.

  3. Be that as it may. I dont like the snobbish way you review Chinese airlines. One could almost read more into this…

  4. When flying business or first and transiting through China is there a fast pass or priority lane when going through immigration?

  5. I wouldn’t operate my phone or tablet in Communist China. You will be in their files forever. Better to use a throwaway phone or one designated for Communist uses.

  6. guess what, china eastern’s sop has a claus, says,
    smoking in cockpit while aircraft is on the ground is stricktly prohibited, while in the air is not recommended.

    the policies for all mainland chinese airlines are similar to this i believe

  7. You were served everything because they know you’re a blogger and take photos, that seems fairly clear.

  8. Looks horrible –food, the plastic catacombs, etc…seriously, is this what americanfolks thk is “decent”–perhaps, it was free or upgrade complimentary–hence, low standards.

  9. @ JZ good point. People tend to forget about Wikileaks. NSA literally spying on everyone. Oh well, the greenbacks will say what they say during a Trump era. Not like a Clinton one would have been any better. Over 300 million people, and it was between those two jokers. #smh.

  10. @EY

    From what I understand by the rules and regulations, the DOT’s jurisdiction does not apply to operational incidents outside of the US airspace.

  11. Which is why I use multi-routing VPN with multi trace detectors when surfing anywhere, especially within the US.

  12. Different Perspective – But if you ignore the commentary, and just look at the photos it does not seem that bad. I could easily imagine a story where lucky was describing a very nice flight on a US3 in F*. Good hard product, decent (though not great) food and staff not obnoxious.

    *or D1, given DL think they are a cut above biz on UA or AA

  13. @Endre

    Attractive cabin crew. Part of the service is to be able to look a pretty ladies/men. I hope you don’t haven’t produced any offspring I hoped people with these views on objectifying people were a dying breed.

  14. @Number1

    Since you are such a bigot and blatant racist, why don’t you just go ahead and denounce anything the Chinese make? I’m sure the phone you are using or the computer you are typing on to produce the racist jabs are made by the Chinese.Most likely they specifically put the asbestos fiber in them for your enjoyment, then what the [email protected]#* are you still using the Chinese made stuff?

    Sir you are indeed a disgusting piece of sh*t from a Sh3thole country.

  15. @Lucky

    Every single one of your reviews on the mainline Chinese carriers brought out about the same racist crowd.

    Maybe you can do a blind test next time, putting up a post with just the pictures of the seats and food without saying which airline it was. I’m pretty sure some of the usual racist comments on here would produce entirely opposite comments.

    And to set the record straight, I see no issues with the food in Lucky’s pictures. It may not be at the level of CX or JL, but definitely miles ahead of US3.

  16. Surprising decent? So you assume their product will be below decent before you stepped on the plane? What a biased reviewer you are!

  17. @Lucky Just curious why you didn’t try out the double bed in the center seats in either flight? I know you mentioned you were the only passenger in the previous flight.

  18. @Jackie

    He was basing that on his underwhelming experience with their business class.

    Again, not sure people understand what racism means. People here might be biased/bigoted, but not seeing the racism, unless Chinese is now classified as a race?

    With regards to asbestos in the food…not the norm in China, but one needs to be careful:

  19. Hello all Chinese people commenting on this blog.

    I love your women. They are beautiful. Though a little too shallow, fake, materialistic and racist too. White fever is alive and well in China.

    Now be nice.

  20. Don’t see anything racist here. Only sore loser snowflakes popping their Trump comments. Chinese get what they deserve. Ethnically, I’m Chinese. Nationality wise, I’m Red, White, and Blue!!

  21. @debit oh come on. Stop with your prejudice attitude. You must be blonde, since so many of your comments are ridiculous. I get why everyone is offended by your racist and obnoxious viewpoints.

  22. @Adam living in Trumpmerica? Useless and disgusting comments. Guess you think it would be all right if they start to make racist and prejudice viewpoints about Americans or Europeans or what not! Entitled, narcissistic attitudes.

  23. Please get back in Garuda’s F class and do another review please!!! Loved the flight and can’t wait to do it again!

  24. Sorry, but a meal service that involves “quite literally frozen solid” mashed potatoes cannot be described as decent in any way.

  25. Once again it’s possible that Ben probably got favorable treatment, judging by all the food. Though the food is kind of pathetic. The prawns as a main course looked like an appetizer.

    Why didn’t you insist on seeing the bottle of champagne?

    I also wish you would tell us how much this flight cost.

  26. It looks good and apropos for an asiatic carrier. that’s the point. it ‘s an oriental carrier. I am asian and our culture is very different than western. Hence, please evaluate it with that in mind not constant comparisons to the west’s economic hustling and crazy capitalism and latest/ greatest nonsense. thank you.

  27. Sorry, Losie, but plenty of Asian carriers – Cathay, ANA, Asiana, Korean, and Garuda, among others – offer much better looking (and probably better tasting) Western dishes on their menus. And also better service as well. So it really has nothing to do with being an Asian carrier.

    The food itself looks rather blah. I mean, that salad looks like something you would get served in business class.

  28. China Eastern can still sell their seats very well without improving anything. Tons of Chinese fly with them anyway. I think that’s the problem with them. They just don’t have motivation for any improvement.
    BTW, If you don’t like them, just don’t fly with them, why always so much hate? There are definitely more decent options for transatlantic flights, like JAL, ANA, even Hainan and AA.

  29. @jackie – He is not being racist. China Eastern has a poor reputation. I flew from Bangladesh to LX on China Southern. My mother did the same trip a few months ago. She found a much cheaper option on China Eastern but was actually urged by a friend who is a travel agent to avoid the airlines. We both flew Y class. Hoping that China Eastern quality is really improving so we all have more quality options in the future. BTW, I am not a fan of China Southern (lousing ground service), but my wife who has asthma claims that it has the cleanest planes she has ever flown. Her allergies start as soon as she is on a plane, but did not on China Southern.

  30. They have to improve, nor maybe want to improve. They’re oriental carriers mainly for asians –we don’t fancy food or fancy flash, or the latest greatest things in vogue. That’s a hustling-capitalistic thing. Maybe try a western carrier for the tv shows, the fancy foods, and (fake) smiley faces. If you don’t like China Easterns, perhaps, don’t ride them unless you get an upgrade or freebie. Thank you everybody.

  31. LOL at the snowflakes calling others “racist” just by pointing out simple truths….

    we all know china eastern isnt the best, so suck it up and accept it, not too hard. Where are you haters accusing Lucky of talking bad about chinese carriers when he praises Cathay, Eva…?

    Exactly. Take a chill pill.

  32. To the negative and especially the RACIST readers commenting here (yes Debit and Number1 I’m referring to YOU) – please stop with your uneducated and racist remarks because you’re (it’s spelt like that so you might want to improve your grammar too) horrible persons.

  33. and schar- by using snowflake as a derogatory remark; you’re excluding yourself from any intelligent discussion. But then again; you voted for a sexist pig that has no respect among the world leaders and less with his own wife…

  34. This blog is turning into sophomoric bullshit in comments. For those of us who actually try to learn something from these guys, putting up with pre-pubescent political discourse gets old quickly.

    I for one, fly MU first class several times per year. Would rather fly that routing to BJS via PVG then the lower quality American Carriers. The hard product is good, and the food is not so bad. In the end, for people that fly for living, its all about the sleep. In this case, the sleep is excellent.

    Prefer 2a.

  35. @schar LOL And OF COURSE, because I’m Asian American, I cannot POSSIBLY love the USA and couldn’t possibly come from a family who has had over 7 members serve in the USA military beginning with WW2. #StandForTheAnthem #StandForTheFlag

    And their name-calling continues. Talk about unintelligent discussion. 😉

    If you really want to talk about a racist airline, look no further than CX. If you’re Asian and male, forget about getting any service if there’s white guys present — but I’ve mentioned this before… ;-P

  36. @Louis

    I’ve never experienced such an event on any CX flight. The crew has always served from front to back, bar the exception of a few customers with MarcoPolo/OW Emerald.

    I understand every crew is different, and there may well be (and probably are) a handful of racist crew members, but is your racism remark based off a single flight or multiple occurrences on different routes/aircraft?

  37. @Bob Spheil Over 29 flights ex-USA-HKG and beyond in F (and yes, I’ve had some really fun crews). Just love going to the F Lounges and people watching all the Asian dudes getting ignored by the waitstaff (we have to go to the bar to get our drinks). It’s comical. Note: I take absolutely no offense as I accept it as the norm. Casualty of being an ABC. LOL

  38. “They have to improve, nor maybe want to improve. They’re oriental carriers mainly for asians –we don’t fancy food or fancy flash, or the latest greatest things in vogue. That’s a hustling-capitalistic thing. Maybe try a western carrier for the tv shows, the fancy foods, and (fake) smiley faces. If you don’t like China Easterns, perhaps, don’t ride them unless you get an upgrade or freebie. Thank you everybody.”

    Sorry, that argument doesn’t work, when you consider how many fantastic Asian airlines there are now. Many with delicious food, and fancy flash/things in vogue. There are some good Chinese ones as well. China Eastern is not one of them.

    I’ve never seen anything of the sort of racist behavior happening on a CX flight. At all.

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