China Eastern First Class is a product I have been interested in for a LONG time. It’s something that has hardly been reviewed so I thought to myself I should try it soon. I had thought about when I could try it and remembered I had to be in New York in April for the Freddie Awards, so about 4 weeks ago I booked the ticket with 152,000 Qantas points. I’ve spoken about the product a few times now and those posts can be found below:
- A Product I’m Extremely Interested To Review
- What Have I Got Myself Into – China Eastern First Class Booked
- My Thoughts On My Upcoming China Eastern First Class Flight…
I spent about 6 hours in the China Eastern First Class lounge (which was more than enough) and I made my way to the gate 10 minutes before boarding started.
Boarding was absolute chaos. People pushing in everywhere, screaming and yelling seemed to be the complete norm. Boarding was delayed by 10 minutes but after the short delay, I made my way onto what would be one of the more interesting flights I have taken.
For this flight, the only seat I could choose was 1A. There was only 1 other passenger onboard, the others were off-duty staff. I came to know this as they were going in and out of the cockpit.
The cabin is very spacious and only consists of 6 closed suites. There’s also no overhead bins which really makes it a spacious cabin.
As I arrived at my seat there was a welcome note and 2 menus, one for meals and one for beverages. One of the crew members came around to take my order as soon as I sat down then took my menu away. I explained that I needed to take photos of them first but she couldn’t understand me.
The suites are quite wide, comfortable and spacious. As a comparison in size, they feel almost the exact same as Etihad’s 787-9 First Class suites.
Once I was settled in, one of the crew members came and asked if I would like a drink. I requested a water with Ice but that didn’t happen.
Awaiting at your seat will be your pyjamas, slippers and an amenity kit by Salvatore Ferragamo. This really surprised me as it’s the same brand Singapore Airlines use in First Class.
The kit comes with a face cream, lip balm, cologne, dental kit, eye mask, comb and ear plugs. You could also use the ear plugs for nose plugs if your crew is smoking onboard hehe.
The Salvatore Ferragamo amenities are very nice and it was a great surprise to see that’s what China Eastern have.
The ottoman is where they will be stored when you first arrive at your seat. The interesting thing about the ottoman is that it’s where the tray table is stored when your seat is made into a bed.
Overall the colour of the suite is pretty boring and plain but it’s reasonably comfortable and private which is always a good thing.
The seat features a newer style IFE remote controller and you may notice it’s upside down. I’d love to know what they thought when they realised it was installed wrong.
Next to the controller is where the seating function controls are found. Also on the control panel is a do not disturb button and lighting controls.
Also next to the IFE remote is where the headphone jack, USB port and In-seat power point is located.
Above all of that is where the reading light and individual air vent is found. However, I found out the air vent doesn’t actually do anything…
I tried to open it a number of times and it doesn’t open. It’s evident with all the dust and rubbish inside of it…
Also at your seat is the Pillow and Duvet. I will say, China Eastern First has some damn good pillows onboard.
During boarding, the front baggage storage area has a selection of drinks available. Underneath this is where your luggage will be stored.
China Eastern only serve one champagne in First and it’s Perrier Jouet which retails for about $47 USD.
The middle suites are possibly the coolest thing about the first cabin because they can be made into a double bed, very similar to Singapore Airlines Suites. Interesting story to say about this later in the post…
As I sat in my seat ready for takeoff, I started to take my shoes off and change into the slippers. One of the crew members saw me doing this and unwrapped the slippers and placed them at my feet and took my shoes for me. Very nice touch!
I also decided to change into the Pyjamas which I believe are one size fits all. They were quite long for me but comfortable.
This is what the ottoman looks like with the tray table stored. It also can’t be sat on by another passenger if you were wanting to dine together.
After takeoff, the crew came around and handed me a pair of noise cancelling headphones. They worked well but were quite uncomfortable, make sure to take your own.
After takeoff, the front storage space has a bigger variety of beverages available.
I was able to get a quick photo of the lunch menu before the crew took it away:
For lunch, I decided to go for the Western option. The service started with a rather large Amuse Bouche.
It also included a bread basket with butter. The attention to detail on the butter is pretty cool. For those not aware, that’s China Eastern’s logo.
Various types of bread to choose from.
After the Amuse Bouche was some type of soup which was well… Interesting.
Next was the Balik Salmon with Caviar. I was surprised to see they had Caviar onboard but the amount was VERY limited.
Next was what I was told was a salad, It just consisted of plain lettuce. However, a crew member came around with a tray of 3 dressings to choose from. That part was pretty cool and it gave the salad a little more life.
After my ‘beautiful salad’ was the Grilled Chicken breast with a mustard cream sauce.
Right after the main meal was some cheese with crackers.
Followed by a few types of fresh fruit.
Then came the desserts which were alright.
I loved the attention to detail on this one though!
And finally were the pralines.
So what was the food like? Ok. The amount of food was quite large and it tasted alright, does it rank with Etihad, Emirates, JAL and CX? No, but it was reasonable.
The thing that I loved the most about the meal service was how fast it was done. The crew were extremely attentive during that time and would clear a plate within 2 minutes which really made the service quick and effective. If only that followed through for the whole flight.
During the meal service, there’s also some snacks available at the front of the cabin if you’re still hungry.
Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
After eating quite a lot of food, It was time to have some much-needed sleep. I asked the crew member looking after me if I could have the double suites as it was unoccupied but she gave me a strange response. ”You can’t sit there, you need to pay extra”, right…. But after being refused to use them another off-duty passenger went and slept in them, that makes no sense at all?. I then asked for my bed to be made and the crew couldn’t understand what I was talking about. It took a bit of explaining and demonstration but It was made about 10 minutes later.
Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
The bed is fully flat and a thin mattress topper is put on top. It was reasonably comfortable but as I was tired it was perfect. I ended up having about 5 hours of sleep.
Good night world from 38,000 feet!
After waking up after 5 hours of sleep, it was time for more food. Now I understand what people meant by don’t expect much from the meal service…
This was the beef entree, it could have also been renamed as ‘cardboard’.
And for the main, this was supposed to be a beef curry but was more a maccaroni and ketchup dish.
And to finish off was some fresh fruit, this was the best dish by far.
After eating more not great food I decided to watch a movie. The selection of entertainment is very limited, especially in the TV category. I was half way through watching a movie when the screen went black and the system went back to the home screen. Ok then…
There’s also wifi available which was downright unusable. The speeds were terrible and It couldn’t load one page.
A few hours after that we landed in JFK and deboarding was quite a mess. One of the passengers was obviously travelling with friends and before we had even got to the gate they all came up to First and were all talking on the phone loudly and were pushing passengers out of the way to get off the aircraft when we arrived at our gate, oh China Eastern…
This was definitely the oddest and most interesting flights I have taken. The hard product was actually great and I really enjoyed that part. However, the soft product was terrible and needs to be improved. The crew while attentive during the meal service never came through the cabin mid-flight. In my eyes, this is quite disappointing
Would I fly them again?
After this experience, I would have to say No. It was alright but there are many other products out there that I’d much rather fly.