Review – China Eastern 777 First Class Shanghai – New York

by Zac George
a person standing in the back of a plane

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:

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.

China Eastern First Class lounge

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.

China Eastern 777 First Class

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.

Seat 1A

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.

China Eastern First Class 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.

Seat 1A

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.

Suite 1A

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.

Water & Hot Towel

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.

Amenity Kit, Pyjamas & Slippers

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.

Salvatore Ferragamo Amenity Kit

The Salvatore Ferragamo amenities are very nice and it was a great surprise to see that’s what China Eastern have.

Salvatore Ferragamo Amenities

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.

Ottoman Storage

Overall the colour of the suite is pretty boring and plain but it’s reasonably comfortable and private which is always a good thing.

Suite 1A

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.

IFE Controller

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.

Seating Controls

Also next to the IFE remote is where the headphone jack, USB port and In-seat power point is located.

Headphone Jack, USB port, In-seat Power

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…

Individual light and air vents

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…

Non-working air vent

Also at your seat is the Pillow and Duvet. I will say, China Eastern First has some damn good pillows onboard.

Pillow and Duvet

During boarding, the front baggage storage area has a selection of drinks available. Underneath this is where your luggage will be stored.

Welcome Drinks

China Eastern only serve one champagne in First and it’s Perrier Jouet which retails for about $47 USD.

Perrier Jouet


China Eastern logo

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…

Middle Suites

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.

Noise Cancelling Headphones

After takeoff, the front storage space has a bigger variety of beverages available.

More beverages after takeoff

I was able to get a quick photo of the lunch menu before the crew took it away:

Lunch Menu

For lunch, I decided to go for the Western option. The service started with a rather large Amuse Bouche.

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.

China Eastern Logo Butter

Various types of bread to choose from.

Bread Basket

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.

Caviar with Smoked Balik Salmon

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.

Lettuce Salad…

After my ‘beautiful salad’ was the Grilled Chicken breast with a mustard cream sauce.

Grilled Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce

Right after the main meal was some cheese with crackers.

Cheese and Crakers

Followed by a few types of fresh fruit.

Fresh Fruits

Then came the desserts which were alright.

Various Desserts

I loved the attention to detail on this one though!

China Eastern 777 themed dessert

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.

Small Dessert Snacks

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

1A made into a bed

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!

Suite 1A made into a bed

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’.

Beef with Satay Sauce

And for the main, this was supposed to be a beef curry but was more a maccaroni and ketchup dish.

Beef Curry

And to finish off was some fresh fruit, this was the best dish by far.

Fresh Fruits

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.

Entertainment Screen

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.

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Harrison Mendes April 27, 2017 - 10:45 am

Definitely not your best miles redemption.

Nuff said.

George April 27, 2017 - 11:01 am

Latam airlines (JJ/LA) also have Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kit in their premium business class. They are quite nice 🙂

jody April 27, 2017 - 11:21 am

I wanted to be surprised by this review, but alas, I wasn’t.

James K. April 27, 2017 - 11:23 am

Interesting review, thanks!

Ryan April 27, 2017 - 11:30 am

Ive never been on a smokeless MU flight. This flight had no smoke?

Gweegin April 27, 2017 - 12:27 pm

In my opinion, catering for Chinese airlines, and in extension many hotels and restaurants in China still can’t get Western food right. Better stick to Chinese food.

Also, they haven’t got their service levels right either.

MattJ April 27, 2017 - 12:56 pm

OK review… bit it’s OK because the flight and experience was OK… I was expecting more. Shame you haven’t done F with Garuda! Now I’m looking forward to my flight in a few weeks!

FabinhoBP April 27, 2017 - 1:06 pm

I am sorry to say this is probably the worst first class long haul I have ever seen and I feel bad you wasted your valuable miles in such poor redemption.
I’d rather travel a dozen business class instead of this cheap thing China Eastern calls first class.

Mike April 27, 2017 - 3:10 pm

What’s wrong with the service? I could hardly see any flaws except for occasional communication deficiencies. I don’t recall CX or EK would place those slippers for you either. This is miles better than any F products of any U.S. carrier.

Also, the lounge review seems also extraordinarily biased. From the pictures, it is on par with the F lounges of CX in Hong Kong, and the F lounges of JL in NRT. I personally like to be left alone rather than being constantly approached. The PVG ground service, including dedicated checkin area, and personal escort through security and passport control, is downright impressive.

Western/white supremacy at play deep down somewhere?

Zac George April 27, 2017 - 7:52 pm

Mike – thank you for your comment. The ground service was fantastic, I really did enjoy that part but as for the lounge, I didn’t find it to have the ‘wow’ factor. I’m not saying it’s a bad lounge but it’s also not the best lounge. You must have had a much better experience than I did and that’s fine, the service isn’t always the same for every flight and every crew member. Thanks for reading.

Martin May 1, 2017 - 6:33 am

“Western/white supremacy at play deep down somewhere?”

Don’t be silly, it was on objective review. There are other reviews of so-called “first class” products on mainland Chinese carriers and they all demonstrate a vastly inferior product. I would recommend the new business class product on EVA or China Airlines (Taiwan).

“This is miles better than any F products of any U.S. carrier.”

Wrong. I would rate United Global First and AA international first as superior. Again, avoid carriers from mainland China, they are vastly inferior.

“it is on par with the F lounges of CX in Hong Kong, and the F lounges of JL in NRT.”

Wrong again. It is nowhere near CX the Wing or Pier and still not as good as JL F lounges at NRT and HND. Carriers from mainland China should be avoided.

B. M. April 28, 2017 - 12:05 am

Mike, you obviously have not seen or tasted the nasty shit they call food China Eastern serves both in the lounge and onboard. On par with CX and JL?? Yeah…. right.

Louis April 28, 2017 - 3:34 am

American processed cheese can not be called cheese LOL

George April 28, 2017 - 6:15 pm

I have traveled on this plane in first class on several occasions. I used China Eastern frequent points to upgrade from Business Class. Like Mr. George, I found the First Class Suite very comfortable. I also agree that the food is not the best, but they are not bad. I disagree with Mr George about the service. I found the attendants are most diligent and helpful. ( I suppose it helped that I speak Chinese.). Considering the price difference between China Eastern and “Western Airlines”, I think it is very good value. I have no hesitation in travelling with them in the future and recommend to my friends.

Travlermb April 28, 2017 - 9:16 pm

Flew them in biz, found the seat uncomfortable and the food was not great with small portions

Martin May 1, 2017 - 6:47 am

“Boarding was absolute chaos. People pushing in everywhere, screaming and yelling seemed to be the complete norm. ”
“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…”

In my travels this is simply par for the course on how mainland Chinese behave – rude. This is in contrast to my experiences in Taiwan which is much better.

Back to the flight. It is simply false advertising that this can be called International First Class. After bad experiences on China Southern, Air China and China Eastern, I avoid them totally. There is a reason they price their product cheaper – it is an inferior product (specifically the soft product). They also allow their pilots to smoke on the flight deck. Any business product from SQ, CX, JL, NH, OZ, BR, CI, KL, TG, MH or GA is preferable. Carriers from mainland China should be avoided.

Sara May 19, 2017 - 4:14 pm

The amount of flatulence from The disgusting foul smiling chineese Food was insane. Never again

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