Review: Xiamen Air Business Class 737 Chengdu To Xiamen

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Xiamen Air 8442
Chengdu (CTU) – Xiamen (XMN)
Monday, October 2
Depart: 3:15PM
Arrive: 5:55PM
Duration: 2hr40min
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Seat: 12A (Business Class)

At the door we were welcomed by two flight attendants and pointed in the direction of our seats. Xiamen Air’s 737 business class cabin consists of just eight seats, in a 2-2 configuration.

Xiamen Air 737 business class cabin

The seats were well padded and comfortable, though a bit outdated-looking.

Xiamen Air 737 business class cabin

We had assigned ourselves the aisle and window seat on the left side in the second row, 12A & 12C.

Xiamen Air 737 business class seats

Seats in economy looked reasonably comfortable as well, thanks to the lack of slimline seats.

Xiamen Air 737 economy class cabin

Legroom in business class was excellent, and probably a few inches better than what you’d find on a domestic flight in the US.

Xiamen Air 737 business class legroom

On the outer armrest were the manual seat controls, which didn’t seem terribly responsive.

Xiamen Air 737 business class seat controls

Immediately above that was the storage for the tray table, which could be folded in half.

Xiamen Air 737 business class tray table

On the interior armrest were the audio controls, which could be used for the overhead entertainment.

Xiamen Air 737 business class audio controls

Waiting at our seats were pillows & blankets, which once again weren’t packaged and didn’t smell great.

Xiamen Air business class pillow & blanket

In the seatback pocket were a pair of slippers and a shoehorn.

Xiamen Air business class slippers

Unfortunately our seats didn’t have power outlets, though they did have individual air nozzles.

Xiamen Air 737 business class individual air nozzles

Business class quickly filled up, and once everyone was settled in, the crew distributed warm towels.

Xiamen Air business class pre-departure towel

There was also the choice between orange juice and hot water, and I selected the former.

Xiamen Air business class pre-departure juice

Boarding was efficient, and as the process started to die down, the crew came through the cabin to take meal orders for the flight. By 3:30PM the door was closed, though it took another 15 minutes until we pushed back, apparently due tot he amount of traffic at the airport. During that time the safety video was screened.

Xiamen Air 737 on pushback

We had quite a long taxi to the departure runway, though as always, I love looking out the window, and saw a Juneyao A320, China Southern A330, China Eastern A320, Sichuan Airlines A320, and more.

Juneyao Airlines A320

China Southern A330

China Eastern A320

Sichuan Airlines A320

By 4:05PM we were cleared for takeoff on runway 2L for our 2hr25min flight.

Taxiing Chengdu Airport

View after takeoff from Chengdu

View after takeoff from Chengdu

Our climb out was a bit bumpy initially, but within a few minutes we found smooth air.

View after takeoff from Chengdu

The seatbelt sign was turned off about 15 minutes after takeoff.

Xiamen Air business class cabin

One slight annoyance with my seat was that the window shade wouldn’t close. The shade was jammed up so far in the window that it couldn’t move and there was no way to use it. That didn’t bother me much since it was a daytime flight and I wasn’t planning on sleeping, though it does seem like something they should fix.

About 20 minutes after takeoff the crew distributed personal entertainment devices and headphones — the selection was identical to what we had on our outbound flight.

Xiamen Air business class entertainment device

Once that was complete, the meal service commenced. The menu read as follows:

First tablecloths were distributed, along with drinks — I ordered a (cold) water.

Xiamen Air business class table setting

The entire meal was served on one tray.

Xiamen Air business class dinner

This included a celery and ham appetizer (which I didn’t eat, since I don’t eat pork).

Xiamen Air business class meal — celery with ham

I’m not sure what exactly the below was, but it was pretty decent.

Xiamen Air business class meal — soup 

For the main course I ordered the steamed fish with chopped chili, which I didn’t especially like. It was chewy, so I just had a few bites.

Xiamen Air business class meal — steamed fish with chopped chili

Andrew had the braised beef, which seemed to be the better of the two options. Both came with white rice.

Xiamen Air business class meal — braised beef ribs

Then there was a fruit plate.

Xiamen Air business class meal — seasonal fruit

Lastly there was a dessert consisting of orange and cranberry mousse.

Xiamen Air business class meal — orange and cranberry mousse

The crew was attentive during the meal, though disappeared once it was done. Of our Xiamen Air crews, this one was the least attentive, as on all other flights the crews kept passing through the cabin to see if anyone needed anything.

I got some work done for the rest of the flight, and before I knew it we were starting our descent, about 30 minutes out.

Airshow enroute to Xiamen

At this point I visited the lavatory at the front of the cabin, which was pretty no frills.

Xiamen Air 737 business class lavatory

We had a beautiful sunset as we approached Xiamen.

View approaching Xiamen

View approaching Xiamen

Xiamen Air has some unusual automated announcements, or at least the translated versions are (maybe they make more sense in Chinese). But as has been the case on every Xiamen Air flight, there was an announcement reminding us that “Xiamen Air is [our] sincere friend.” This time around there was also an announcement that went on for quite a while explaining the things one can do in Xiamen. Oddly this wasn’t accompanied by a video, which would seem more logical. Nonetheless hearing about some of the sights made me excited about visiting Xiamen.

View approaching Xiamen

At 6:30PM we touched down in Xiamen, and from there we had a very short taxi to our arrival stand, where we pulled in about 40 minutes late.

Gate arrival in Xiamen

We quickly made our way out of the airport, and within five minutes were in a taxi headed to our hotel.

Xiamen Airport arrivals facility

Xiamen Air 737 business class bottom line

While this flight was pleasant, it was probably the least impressive of our Xiamen Air flights. The flight was a bit delayed, the crew wasn’t as attentive as the others, and my window shade was broken. Nonetheless Xiamen Air’s 737s are quite comfortalbe, with plenty of legroom and well padded seats.

  1. Maybe it’s their slogan: 人生路漫漫,白鹭常相伴, which literally means Life journey is long, but egrets will always keep you company.

  2. You were flying CTU- XMN and LAX-ICN simultaneously . I was wondering whether what the longest period you’ve spent without flying is ?

  3. You don’t eat ham but you do eat proscuitto?
    You realize they’re from the same magical animal, right?

  4. Xiamen Airlines serving satay noodles? I wonder what’s the taste like. I’m from Singapore, therefore seeing that on the menu really makes me curious on how their satay noodles going to be like.

  5. Also their business class seats seem similar with the economy class, the only thing different will be with leg rest?

  6. You sure the soup wasn’t made from pork? Pork soup is a lot more common than chicken soup. Besides, that looks like some kind of melon, maybe winter melon, which goes well with pork. Yum! – many happy memories from childhood eating soup that looked like that – made from pork.

  7. @schar – It’s his personal preference. He also doesn’t like beer which is a betrayal to his German heritage.

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