We certainly received VIP treatment on the ground, but how would our in-air experience be? Even better…
We were escorted from the lounge directly onboard the plane, bypassing the queue, and found ourselves among the first onboard. A pair of FAs warmly greeted us and helped us to settle in.
China Eastern 231
Shanghai (PVG) – Colombo (CMB)
Thursday, July 28
Duration: 7hr, 25min
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
Seat: 3A (Business Class)
The FAs were very nice. Very, very nice. They also happened to be particularly beautiful. Clearly, they knew who we were.
So I’ll just say this about the service now – it was flawless. Polished, warm, and at least in appearance very genuine. Toward the end of the flight we received the following note—
With the note came a request to fill out a survey concerning the flight. Wendy, who took special care of us, was amazing. If all FAs were like her, I would not hesitate to recommend China Eastern to everyone.
But everything else?
China Eastern A330 Business Class Seat
While the China Eastern 777-300ER is a wonderful aircraft with excellent reverse herringbone seats, the A330 has a much older seat. Neither lie-flat nor particularly comfortable, the seat was fine for a daytime flight to Colombo but would not have been comfortable on an overnight flight. To make matters worse, it was falling apart. The fabric headrest cover had fallen off and was not properly re-fastened. The cabin features 24 seats in a 2-2-2 configuration.
Blankets and pillows were disappointing as well, more fit for economy class than business.
Amenities including an eye mask and toothbrush were offered–
A cold towel and champagne or water were offered after boarding:
China Eastern A330 Business Class Food
The biggest disappointment was the food. We encountered a thunderstorm, which delayed our takeoff for over an hour. During the delay FAs offered us what I imagined was the pre-arrival snack. Despite being in the third row, we were served before anyone else.
It consisted of afternoon tea: two finger sandwiches, a scone/cookie, a single cherry tomato sliced in half, and grapes.
We finally took off about 90 minutes late.
After takeoff, lunch was served. The choices were spaghetti with bolgonese sauce or steamed Bossa fish. I ordered fish while Ben ordered pasta. Unforantuely, it just wasn’t very good. It tasted like a bad microwave dinner…
Here’s the menu, once again printed for the whole year–
No dessert, just the sliced fruit.
China Eastern A330 Business Class Lavatory
FAs entered the lavatory after each use and cleaned it. Even the toilet paper was perfectly folded like a luxury hotel. That said, the toilet seat was grimy and falling apart.
China Eastern A330 Business Class IFE
During the delay I checked out the IFE onboard. Selection was meager and the screen had a limited solution that created a grainy effect.
The only thing I watched–
Most of our IFE came in the form of our seatmate across the aisle from us, who spent the entirety of the ground delay trying to take the perfect selfie.
When she noticed us, it seemed we were included in all her pictures, so I have no qualms posting her photo…
We made up about an hour of time, arriving into Colombo only 30 minutes late.
Ben’s review is more detailed, but I feel like this particular review is more for entertainment than for practical use. Clearly, China Eastern either had a long briefing with our FAs or brought in a special crew, because we were given very special attention. I have no reason to believe everyone receives this kind of special treatment, making this review much less helpful.
Couple that with the poor seat and food and you really have an airline that may best be avoided.
Note, I would fly China Eastern again if given the chance. I believe in second chances. But I am skeptical.