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Air China

Arizona
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3 posts
30 reviews
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Air China

We are planning a trip to China through China Spree. They only use Air China for their travel, both domestic and international. I have not been reading very good reviews about Air China. Has anyone flown economy from San Francisco to Beijing? Is it worse than or same as any other long distance carrier? Is it worth the extra $2400 to fly business?

Bangkok
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
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15,528 posts
71 reviews
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1. Re: Air China

Hi,

I've flown Air China in both Y and C class on their PEK-SFO v.v. services.. This was back in August 2009 (in C) and October 2009 (in Y)

Their still run their SFO-PEK-SFO services using older B74M (combi) equipment.. You may want to ask if their Combi's have been or are planned to be reconfigured with the new version seats..

This is what my B74M seating was like:

http://tinyurl.com/yd7p6ms

On this particular day, due to a mechanical issue back in PEK, they sent a regular B744 and not the combi (74M) version that is normal. I have *heard* but not verified that the 74M's are still outfitted with the old style 127 degree recline seats and not their new sleeper seats.

This is what their new generation seats look like:

http://tinyurl.com/yzcnb5w

Service? I'd say it's punctual and programmed, and you'll be served according to what Air China's in-flight service guides call for.. My only mark against them is that unlike other Asian carriers like Asiana or Singapore, their service isn't very "forward thinking".. you need to ask for things before they're supplied and asking for things out of cycle tends to be slow. I find that this tends to be the norm on most of the international PRC carriers (Air China, China Southern and China Eastern)

Is it worth it? That's a very personal decision.. Some would rather "suffer" a bit and have that extra money to spend at their destination.. others would gladly pay the Business fares and fly that long in relative comfort. On the grand scale of long haul Business Class products, I'd rate it an overall 3/5- but this assumes you are in their new seats-- if not, a 2/5.

Travel Safe,

Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
647 posts
50 reviews
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2. Re: Air China

Personally, I would take any opportunity to take Business Class. For Air China, they also treat you better (in case of delays) since a Star Alliance contract states that "premium passengers" should be handled carefully. They're quite ok for an airline, around the standard of United but the Chinese version.

Bangkok
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
Level Contributor
15,528 posts
71 reviews
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3. Re: Air China

Hi,

TB raises a good point... Since CA is a Star Alliance member you do have an additional layer of protection in that UA also operates a daily SFO-PEK and SFO-PVG flights that could possibly be used as your alternate flight- should it come to that..

The only problem with those options is that the UA PEK flight departs three hours *before* the Air China flight does, the Shanghai fight also departs earlier-- so the Air China delay or cancellation would have to be known in advance and passengers notified to check-in earlier if possible.

Travel Safe,

Arcadia, California
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2,627 posts
63 reviews
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4. Re: Air China

Air China is okay. I've flown them domestically and internationally and it is overall standard like other international Chinese airlines (I like China Southern a bit more compared to the other two). Food is okay, AVOD is a bit behind.

Some people I've seen domestically complained about them not being punctual, complaining to the FA while we were on a delay. I personally have only been on a delayed filght (30+ minutes on the tarmac) once with Air China.

As for the product, one of my relatives have flown on their business product several times (the new product) and complained about the product being squeaky (moving parts not well oiled).

GOPBI, both of the pictures are of the new product, right?

Vancouver
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14 posts
111 reviews
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5. Re: Air China

Hi Traveler,

We just got back from Beijing on Air China. It was absolutely the worst experience of my extensive travel experience. Here's a summary of what happened. I hope it helps for your future travel:

YVR-PEK A330. A trip to end all trips. Will never fly Air China again. Inflight movies - poor quality, second rate moves (3) played over and over to and from PEK (same movies). Seat video did not work and were not willing to fix so no inflight entertainment. On return flight video screen worked but no sound. Again would not fix or reseat as plane was 100% full. Seat in front reclined for entire trip as it was unable to stay forward even during take-off. Seatbelt on my seat broken and would unfasten.

Food! OMG! Was so foul could barely get a few mouthfuls down. Contained some type of meat but was not recognizable. Travelling companion ate half of his and threw up in airline bag two hours later. Eventually filled two air sick bags. Rang stewardist for assistance. She would not help just directed us to the bathroom line-up to get rid of sickness bag which was leaking onto our laps. Two of four toilets on plane were broken and taken out of service by halfway through flight. Lines to remaining washrooms were long and down the isle - up to 30 minute or more waits. When did get into bathroom it was soiled on floor and seats. Will never take Air China again. Worst experience of my life. Travelling companion spent next day 1/2 in bed recovering.

6. Re: Air China

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