Review: Xiamen Air 787-9 Business Class Xiamen To Los Angeles

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Xiamen Air 829
Xiamen (XMN) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Tuesday, October 3
Depart: 8:05PM
Arrive: 6:00PM
Duration: 11hr55min
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9
Seat: 14L (Business Class)

I’ll keep this review relatively short, given that my review of the outbound flight was detailed. This time around we boarded through the forward door. Actually, all passengers boarded through the forward door, which meant that the boarding process was significantly less relaxing than usual.


Xiamen Airlines 787-9 business class cabin

I was in seat 14L on this flight, the same as on the outbound.


Xiamen Airlines 787-9 business class seat

Waiting at my seat on boarding was an amenity kit, headphones, a newspaper, a bottle of water, and the menu and wine list. A couple minutes after settling in pre-departure beverages were offered, with the choice between lemon water and champagne.


Xiamen Airlines business class menu, amenity kit, headphones, water, etc.

Also at my seat was a light pillow and blanket (later in the flight they distributed more substantial bedding).


Xiamen Airlines business class pillow & blanket

Once most business class passengers were settled in, the crew came through the cabin to take meal orders.

Even though boarding only started at 7:50PM, the door still closed right on-time, at 8:05PM. On this flight business class was only about half full, while economy seemed to be maybe two thirds full. As soon as the door closed the captain made a welcome aboard announcement, and informed us of our flight time of 12 hours to Los Angeles.


View prior to pushback at Xiamen Airport

At 8:15PM we pushed back, at which point the safety video was played. As we taxied out I first turned on the airshow for the flight.


Airshow to LAX

I then checked out the entertainment selection, and decided to watch Mr. Bean’s Holiday. While I’m a Mr. Bean fan (or at least used to be), I had never seen this movie.


Xiamen Air business class entertainment selection

By 8:35PM we were airborne from runway 5.

Xiamen Air has efficient service, and just 20 minutes after takeoff the meal service began. The menu read as follows (the drink list was the same as on the previous longhaul flight, so check out that review if you want to see the list):

Service began with a warm towel and mixed nuts.


Xiamen Air business class dinner — warm towel and mixed nuts

Just a minute later the first tray was brought out, with the appetizer and salad. The appetizer consisted of salmon and duck.


Xiamen Air business class dinner — appetizer & salad

For the main course I ordered the braised prawns with curry sauce with mixed vegetables, mushrooms, and potatoes. The dish was good, though I don’t want to know how unhealthy the sauce was, as it tasted like pure butter. That meal was served with a chunky tomato soup.


Xiamen Air business class dinner — main course

For his main course, Andrew chose the braised beef short ribs with scallions, mixed vegetables, mushrooms, and steamed rice. They offered him the Chinese soup to go along with it.


Xiamen Air business class dinner — main course

Then it was time for the mango mousse dessert and a fresh fruit plate.


Xiamen Air business class dinner — dessert

Lastly, little containers of Haagen-Dazs ice cream were distributed.


Xiamen Air business class dinner — dessert

This was one of the better meals I’ve had on Xiamen, and as usual, the crew was efficient as could be, as the meal service was done just 75 minutes after takeoff.

Given that the flight would be landing in Los Angeles in the evening, my plan was to try and sleep for the first half of the flight, and then work for the second half of the flight. I requested the additional bedding, though the crew didn’t offer to make my bed this time. Not that there’s really much to “make” as there’s not a mattress pad or anything, but they crew did offer on the outbound.


Xiamen Air business class bedding

I got super comfy and was ready to doze off, though then we hit some rough air. Really rough air. The turbulence continued for hours, and was significant and consistent enough that it prevented me from sleeping. But I was still tired, so I just sort of tossed and turned for a few hours, though I’m not sure I got all that much sleep.


Xiamen Air business class bed 787-9

Eventually as we approached the international dateline (a bit over five hours into the flight) I decided I might as well get up, as I wasn’t going to get any more sleep.


Airshow enroute to LAX

Airshow enroute to LAX

I got out my laptop, connected to the free (and fairly fast) inflight wifi, and started working. The crew noticed I was awake, and offered me a drink, so I requested a coffee.


Xiamen Air business class coffee

There was a small snack bar in the galley behind business class.


Xiamen Air business class bar

I spent the next several hours working, and eventually we were just under three hours from arriving in Los Angeles. At that point the cabin lights were turned on and the pre-landing meal service began.


Airshow enroute to LAX


Airshow enroute to LAX

The pre-landing menu read as follows:

As you can see, there was a mid-flight snack option of a “dried fish floss sandwich with potatoes,” which is apparently a “western favorite.” Hmmm….

Service once again began with a warm towel and mixed nuts.


Xiamen Air business class meal — warm towel and mixed nuts

This meal service started with a crab sticks salad and a creamy mushroom soup.


Xiamen Air business class meal — appetizer & soup

For the main course I selected the fried noodles with seafood, which was served with pork soup and fresh fruit.


Xiamen Air business class meal — main course & fruit

To finish off the meal the crew came through the cabin with little plates of yogurt.


Xiamen Air business class meal — yogurt

During the meal I started watching Despicable Me 3. I’ve never seen any of the Despicable Me movies, surprisingly.


Xiamen Air business class entertainment selection

After the meal there were still about 2hr30min left in the flight, so I decided to sleep for a bit, now that it was smooth. I was woken up by the captain’s pre-landing announcement, informing us that we’d be arriving in about 45 minutes.


Xiamen Air 787-9 mood lighting

As we descended the crew distributed landing forms for the US. Not that I needed a form, but it is interesting that they didn’t have any in English.


US landing form

The views of the California coastline on descent were gorgeous.


Descending over California

We flew along the coast, until we turned east and could see LAX off on the right side.


Approaching LAX

Two turns later we were on our final approach for runway 24R.


Approaching LAX


Airshow approaching LAX


Final approach to LAX

Our touchdown was smooth, and we had an unusually long taxi to our arrival stand. While the remote stands that Xiamen Air uses are on the south side of the airport, we had to taxi around to the north and then come back around. At least it got us some good views of some widebodies.


Air New Zealand 777 LAX


Taxiing LAX


Norwegian 787 LAX


Singapore Airlines 777 LAX

Fortunately our captain taxied with purpose, and we were at our arrival stand by 5:40PM.


Arriving at our remote stand LAX


Xiamen Air 787 upon arrival

From there we had to get on a bus to be brought to the Terminal 2 immigration facility. Usually arriving in the US with Global Entry is a breeze, though in this case we first had to take a bus to the terminal. They packed the bus full to the brim, and then it was about a 10 minute drive to the Terminal 2 immigration facility.


Bus to terminal at LAX

We arrived at the facility by around 5:55PM, though the door to the bus didn’t open. We waited and waited and waited. There was no announcement, and no bus driver in sight (he had gotten out of the bus). We ended up being stuck in the bus standing still for over 30 minutes.

I was furious. Not for myself, but because there were quite a few seniors and other mobility challenged people who were crammed in there like sardines, and had new clue how long it would be. If they knew this was going to happen, would it have killed them to let us know what was going on?

My assumption was that the immigration facility was packed and that they didn’t let us off the bus because there was no room in the facility. Nope. In this case there wasn’t a single other passenger in the facility.

As I went through Global Entry I asked the officer about the situation. “I know this isn’t your fault, but do you have any clue why they held us on the bus for over 30 minutes without any sort of communication?”

“We were just talking about that. We showed Xiamen having a 5:40 block time and were wondering where you guys were. We didn’t request the hold.”

Xiamen Air 787 business class bottom line

Everything about this flight within Xiamen Air’s control was excellent, including the service, food, cabin, etc. The flight would have been a bit more restful if it hadn’t been so bumpy, but that kind of turbulence seems to be the norm for the first half of an eastbound transpacific crossing. I was annoyed by the arrivals process, but that’s outside Xiamen’s control. Having Global Entry I never thought it would take an hour from the time of landing to being through immigration.

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Comments
  1. Once the midfield concourse at LAX opens it should be a relief Rather odd it doesn’t park at t2 as a skyteam carrier.
    Better prioritise an international flight and bus domestic customers to and from a remote stand

  2. Slight type-o, “The turbulence continued for others” should probably be “for hours” unless you had some special part of the plane that did not have turbulence which I that’s not something AA or Delta charge extra for I don’t think is possible. 😉

    Also really wonder how a fish floss sandwich is a western favorite…

  3. Flying through China to Bangkok in 2 weeks

    Slightly worried that so many of the food choices have fish and seafood (which I don’t eat)

    Guess I’ll binge before the flight just in case!

  4. When I flew Xiamen inbound to Seattle this year, they also gave me a Chinese US Customs form, but they gladly gave us an English one although funny enough we didn’t need it pass SEA customs as we could do it electronically.

  5. Stuffing people into a bus and making them stand and wait for 30min is terrible. Somebody (perhaps bus driver who left) should be held accountable. This is just another example of the insensitive ad inconsiderate Immigration/Customs dept. They are usually rude to visitor and returning US citizens. I’ve never seen a smile from them, unless they’re joking with each other? And now this??? I hope less tourist come to this unwelcoming country.

  6. @Richard L
    Did you not read the conversation between Lucky and the immigration officer?

    This is what Lucky has written –

    <>

    Note the last sentence the officer said – We didn’t request the hold. So the immigration did NOT request the hold of the bus. Somewhere someone just dropped the ball – may be the bus driver?

    Contrary to your comment that ” I’ve never seen a smile from them”. we almost always get a “Welcome Home.” from the immigration officer once he finished the formality. Occasionally the officer said, “have a good flight back home.” or “have a good day.” or some similar pleasantry. And we are not native citizens.
    So I dont know whether it is your bad luck or what that you are never welcome back as returning US citizen.

  7. @Richard L do you actually think the bus driver is a customs agent? ICE has nothing to do with running those buses. It is usually Swissport or a contractor like that. That’s like yelling complaining to a valet at a restaurant that your food is too cold.

  8. LAX is not one of my favorite airport arriving on international arrival flight, not competent.
    Also what kind of curry sauce is that? Doesn’t look like curry sauce to me at all, not Indian curry, not Thai curry, not S.E. Asian curry, not jap curry, definitely it’s Xiamen airline style curry I guess.
    Too bad Lucky didn’t get a picture of the fish floss sandwich. Fish floss is more popular in Taiwan. In Singapore we used to eat DIY pork floss sandwich at home when we were young, if I remember correctly, around the 90s, the bakeries started selling pork floss bun. It’s a big hit, now many bakeries and coffee shops started selling them. They are delicious local snack, I will recommend to try it.

  9. I’m SkyTeam Elite Plus, and Amex Plat cardholder. If I’m flying Xiamen economy, can I use Delta Sky Club in T2, or only the KAL lounge in TBIT?

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