Xiamen Air’s New 787-9 Features China’s Best Business Class Product

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Earlier I shared my excitement about Xiamen Air starting 3x weekly flights between Xiamen and Los Angeles as of June 27, 2017. The SkyTeam airline has fantastic service and great introductory business class fares, so I’m excited about it.

As I wrote about earlier, a couple of months ago I flew Xiamen Air between Seattle and Shenzhen, and had a fantastic experience — I flew the outbound in business class and return in first class. The airline greatly exceeded my expectations, and as far as I’m concerned was on par with Hainan, which is generally regarded as China’s best airline.

The problem with both Xiamen and Hainan are their lackluster business class seats, as they both “just” have fully flat forward facing seats.

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Hainan 787 business class

I’m a bit conflicted, because usually I say business class is all about the seat, but on Chinese airlines I have a different opinion. Take China Eastern, for example, which has great reverse herringbone seats and wifi. Despite that, flying with them is unpleasant due to the smoke odor in the cabins (the pilots love smoking inflight), the subpar food, and the unpolished service.

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China Eastern 777 business class

Well, the good news is that it looks like Xiamen Air is actually installing a new business class product on newly delivered planes, as pointed out by reader Bombardier.

Xiamen Air is in the process of taking delivery of the Boeing 787-9, which will feature reverse herringbone seats in business class. The 787-9 aircraft won’t feature a first class cabin, which is a smart decision, in my opinion, since reverse herringbone seats are almost as good as Xiamen Air’s first class seats.

Xiamen Air 787 first class

Xiamen Air will be flying the 787-9 to LAX, so you can expect that to be available on the route. Here’s a site (in Chinese) which has pictures of the new plane.

Between the reverse herringbone seats, complimentary wifi, very polished and friendly service, and good food, I think that Xiamen Air’s 787-9 business class will by far be the best business class product offered by any Chinese carrier.

Delicious Xiamen Air business class lunch service

Anyone disagree?

  1. I read your Rolling Stone interview and it ended with a hint of sadness. Even though you experience the high-life through airlines/lounges, you do it all alone. The word in the article used frequently towards the end was “escape” and it’s sad to me that your life is more of an escape rather than filled with people. We’re relational beings, and flying around the world to escape doesn’t seem any different than playing video games or drinking. Not that I’m judging you; I’m judging what you’ve chosen to value in life – which is isolation masked in luxury, vs. relationships and really investing in people. Do you feel known and loved? How many people can you say you really know, and who really know you? Do you want to settle down? At the end of your life, will you be satisfied that all you were known for is this blog and frequent flyer miles? I hope that’s not what is mainly mentioned at your funeral. I think that’ll be a sad life. Curious to know your opinion.

  2. That above comment is obviously written by someone who doesn’t read this blog! I guess all the friends and lovers you travel with don’t count ? Hello Ford! It’s like they have nothing better to do with their time then to troll the internet and be hurtful. I love your blog and think you have made a wonderful and emotionally full life for yourself (as best as I can tell reading airline news and reviews!)

    Speaking of Chinese airlines it’s sad this won’t be flying out of NYC and doesnt fly direct to Shanghai and Beijing which is where my husband does his business so he is stuck on sub par China Eastern. I think it’s crazy that Delta doesn’t fly non-stop to either of these cities from NYC making United the only legacy carrier that does.

  3. @Rolling Stone: You’re that overfed know-it-all bossy brat in school that constantly stinks of sugar. Always full of advice and concern about others but afraid of mirrors. You’re woefully inconsistent and reek of envy.

    While you’re partially right in that relationships are important to some people, I can’t imagine many enjoying a relationship with you. I suspect that many of your friends would love to travel as much as Lucky. Anyhow and anyway, so long as it’s far away from you.

  4. @Simon: “you are partially right in that relationships are important to some people” … do you believe what you wrote? I imagine you to think relationships are important to all people. Answer me this question: at the end of your life, do you care more about who is around your how many miles are in your account?
    Sounds like you are reluctant to admit a truth. And besides, I’m asking the blogger, not you.

  5. Ben, I fully agree with your comments on Xiamen Air, except you have not been to Xiamen airport and experiencing Xiamen Air home based lounge! I will leave to you to experience yourself! Transit at Xiamen Airport is the worst in China in my view! Lounge is worse than the one you experienced in Changsha, at least it was the case last year!

  6. I would argue that Hainan A330-300 1x2x1 which is perfect for individuals and couples traveling together is better than a reverse herringbone seat. I find the reverse Herringbone seat a pain when traveling as a couple, even when sitting in the middle of the aircraft. The only one up Xiamen will have is the inflight wifi

  7. Slightly off topic…

    I have to fill in for an ill colleague on a trip to Auckland. Employer graciously booked me (for one leg) in first…on China Southern’s 787 from CAN to AKL. I have reread Lucky’s CZ review; and, I don’t know if I should be filled with dread or gleeful amusement at the notion of sampling such a comically bad premium product. But the bottom line is that I’ll be happy as long as I have my books, a functioning seat, and a flight attendant that knows how to make a decent bloody mary. Has anyone had a recent experience in CZ first?

    As far as @Rolling Stone goes, we all need to be more respectful and understanding of his condition. He’s obviously suffering from “I took a freshman year psychology course and now I’m Dr. Phil!” syndrome.

  8. @Rolling Stone: It will be difficult for you to comprehend, but not everyone is like you. And, a majority of us have the interpersonal savvy to not take the socially clumsy approach you have here. For someone so concerned with relationships, you show little talent for them. You have the tact of a potato.

    Perhaps you had an overbearing mother or were given every toy and sweet thing you wanted. But, sitting in a chair with a sticky mouth, covered in crumbs and judging others poorly paints a sad picture of the know-it-all kid who grew up to become a social potato.

  9. Those cheap plastic-impregnated “leather” seats are terrible for a longhaul business class. Might be the best of China, but it’s not luxurious. Too much sticking to the seat and sweating

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