Hainan Airlines Will Fly A350 To Boston

Filed Under: Hainan

Hainan Airlines is generally regarded as the best mainland Chinese airline, and I’ve had positive experiences flying with them.

The airline primarily flies 787s to the US, as they have 38 of them, including 787-8 and 787-9 variants. The airline already has a varied business class product.

Hainan’s 787 business class

Some of Hainan’s 787s feature fully flat forward facing seats in a 2-2-2 configuration.

Then some 787s feature reverse herringbone seats.

Now the airline is introducing yet another new type of reverse herringbone seat on their newest 787-9s.

Hainan Airlines will be mixing things up, as they’ll soon be operating their first Airbus A350 to the US.

Hainan Airlines will fly the A350 to Boston

As of May 12, 2019, Hainan Airlines will fly the A350 between Beijing and Boston, which marks the first US route for which they’ll use the A350. The A350 will be replacing the 787-9 that currently operates the route.

The Beijing to Boston flight is operated with the following schedule:

HU481 Beijing to Boston departing 1:55PM arriving 3:10PM
HU482 Boston to Beijing departing 5:10PM arriving 7:00PM

The airline took delivery of their first A350 last fall, and currently has four of these planes in their fleet, with a further 11 to be delivered.

Hainan Airlines is owned by HNA Group, which has been having financial trouble. It’s interesting that several HNA Group airlines had A350 orders, some of which have been delayed. For example, Beijing Capital Airlines had A350s on order, but those were postponed. The same is true of Hong Kong Airlines.

However, Hainan is getting some A350s nonetheless.

Hainan’s A350 business class

If you’re flying Hainan’s A350 from Beijing to Boston, what should you expect in terms of the business class product? Well, oddly the airline has selected yet another new business class seat, though that may be because these planes were initially intended for Azul, so they maintained the planned business class product.

Hainan’s A350-900 used for Boston will feature an identical configuration to the Hong Kong Airlines A350-900 that I flew from Hong Kong to Los Angeles last year. It will feature 33 business class seats and 301 economy seats.

Business class seats will be in a staggered configuration. This is one of the better staggered configurations out there for sure. Below are some pictures of the Hong Kong Airlines seats, which are identical to the Hainan ones, except for the finishes.

Bottom line

Hainan’s 787s feature three different types of business class seats, and now their A350s will feature yet another new business class seat. So if you’re a regular on the Boston to Beijing route, expect a new type of business class seat starting in a few weeks.

Whether reverse herringbone or staggered seats are better is very much a personal preference. I probably slightly prefer reverse herringbone seats, though I like these seats as well.

Comments
  1. One bonus of the A350 over the 787 on this route is that passengers can take comfort in the fact that they won’t be on a plane built with “shoddy production” according to the workers who build it.

  2. @Endre, as Beijing is exactly 12 hours ahead of Boston during the northern summer, it looks like the PEK-BOS leg is clocked at 13hr 15min and the BOS-PEK leg is 13hr 50min

  3. @Endre – Odd that someone who flies “paid first class 90% of the time” is so curious about a business class flight on a crap Chinese airline. Saving those pennies by flying in economy to one day scrounge up enough for a business class ticket are we? lol

  4. Hainan Airlines is generally regarded as the best mainland Chinese airline.

    Should rather be written:

    Hainan Airlines is generally regarded as the best “Skytrax income” mainland Chinese airline.

  5. I cannot comment on long-haul business class, but I certainly don’t agree that Hainan Airlines is the best mainland Chinese airline for flights within China. In fact, I would put it among the worst.

    Air China, China Eastern, and others offer an extremely pleasant flight experience between major mainland Chinese cities. Planes are comfortable with good entertainment, they always serve a substantial meal, and they even have some nice lounges (especially Air China’s PVG lounge). I am an American and I also tend to find the service lovely and the English level is quite good among their crew.

    Hainan was actually my worst Chinese airline experience, and I’ve even flown some of the mainland Chinese low-cost carriers. The flight attendants are not trained in even the most basic safety precautions. There was a huge line to use the bathroom midflight and when extreme turbulence hit (to the point where the captain asked FAs to sit), the FA just let the passengers continue to stand in the aisle. Eventually, she had them crouch in the aisle instead of returning to their seats. She had absolutely no idea what she was doing and it was scary to imagine how she would handle an emergency. Also, they somehow spilled a large amount of urine in the galley floor. Overall, a terrible experience and I try to avoid Hainan domestically, though it might not be an issue for long!

  6. My problem with Hainan is their schedules. They have useful flights for me, but not when they only fly them 2 or 3 times a week. They fly alternatively from Chengdu or Chongqing from JFK nonstop depending upon the day, but it would be more useful for them to choose one and serve it everyday. They clearly want to sit on the routes rather than serve them properly.

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