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Experience with China Eastern Airlines

Singapore, Singapore
1 post
Experience with China Eastern Airlines

I've read many reviews about China Eastern Airlines.

I am wondering how are your experience with it because I've seen many reviews of flights being delayed/changed without being informed.

I've booked a flight from SIN - PVG - Seoul and would like to hear from anyone on their experience with C.E.

58 replies to this topic
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
2,329 posts
159 reviews
1. Re: Experience with China Eastern Airlines

Have a look at www.airlinequality.com for some recent reviews.

Personally, I prefer to pay more and avoid Chinese airlines. The crew's English ability isn't always good and the food, at least for me as a vegetarian, is foul. Probably the biggest drawback is the possibility of being stuck around huge local tour groups who can be badly behaved.

Just my two cents' worth.

Bangkok, Thailand
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
Level Contributor
15,839 posts
71 reviews
2. Re: Experience with China Eastern Airlines


I've flown them a few times to/from the US and PVG and several times to/BKK and PVG (all as a staff/nonrev pax)

My thought would go like this... Are they bad? No... You'll get there, safely and probably with no major "issues".. So from a functional basis, no issues at all.

That said, I also say (and agree with #1) that they have a fair bit of room for improvement. Like most of the PRC-based airlines, they're not all the old (all being a part of the former state-run CAAC) and as such, that overall "newness" shows in some of their operations, where a older carrier like SQ, CX or even PR has had more time for their staff and overall operation to learn and improve.

English skills? I'd probably rate that a mid-6 to low-7 out of 10... Someone like CX, TG or JL might be closer to a mid to high-9 .... But a 6 or 7 doesn't translate (for me) to a case of "they won't understand me" or "I won't get good service because of their language issue"

One of the things that I always try remember, while English is the official language of international aviation, the carrier is always going to have a "bias" towards the native language of its country.. As such, I'd expect MUs flight attendants to speak adequate English, but much better Chinese.

Food? I'm easy here.. I don't have a dietary need, so pretty much anything works for me.. I would also say that like the language issue, I would expect (and it does) their food to "lean" more to the Asian/Chinese side of the culinary scale, than to Western options.

All told, would I fly or recommend them? I would IF it represents a better price than someone else (like a CX, TG or similar).. I wouldn't take them IF the price was the SAME as CX or TG as that to me isn't a good value (price to what you get ratio).

You could do worse, you could do better.. But if flying MU is a decent savings over other higher/better rated carriers, then I would in fact give MU some serious consideration as a value-play.

Travel Safe,

Shanghai, China
Level Contributor
9,988 posts
3. Re: Experience with China Eastern Airlines

I have flown MU since they started their operations and it was mostly ok for me. The only time I was angry with them was when they didn't let me on the plane because I was 5 minutes late at check-in. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xghzX573wY

My latest flights with them where SHA-HKG-SHA and they where both on time, uneventful and with inedible food. The flights before that where FRA-PVG-BKK and return. Again all flights on time, food out of FRA one of the best I ever had in Y, out of PVG horrible and out of BKK acceptable.

On 3 out of the 4 sectors I even got a glass of wine from C class, although they apparently don't serve wine in Y.

Pacifica, California
Destination Expert
for Pacifica
Level Contributor
11,399 posts
4 reviews
4. Re: Experience with China Eastern Airlines

I flew them between San Francisco and Shanghai a few months ago. They have the slimline seats, which are very uncomfortable for long flights. Food and IFE were so-so. Their flights were about 20% cheaper than the next cheapest airline.

I also flew them on a couple of short hops between Shanghai and Japan, and those flights were fine. Too short for the seats to start hurting my back.

China Eastern isn't on my "Do Not Fly" list, but if the prices and schedules were comparable with other airlines, I'd go with one of the other airlines.

I was reading in The Economist recently that only 30% of Chinese flights are on time because of airspace restrictions in China. Two of my four flights on China Eastern were delayed.

Edited: 12 August 2014, 09:50
Hong Kong
Level Contributor
638 posts
211 reviews
5. Re: Experience with China Eastern Airlines

Flew with them in May for both short-haul (HKG-PVG) and long-haul (PVG-FCO). English abilities lacking, as expected. Food was awful leaving PVG but great leaving FCO. Shanghai catering is absolutely horrendous and I could not believe they would serve a re-heated fishy-taste eel rice on a plane. Felt sorry for the Japanese tour group behind me that had to endure the awful food smell.

China-Japan flights are not too full given the diplomatic spats of late, so you get to enjoy a more spacious cabin although the language and food issues persist. They do try but don't give you the 5-star service like on CX/SQ.

I flew with them because they were 60-70% cheaper than direct options with CX. I wouldn't consider mainland carriers unless they were at least 30% cheaper. PVG is notorious for delays, which are across-the-board for all airlines so it's not MU's fault. Long-haul flights are prioritized so would not normally be so badly affected but any short-haul connections can endure typical 2-4 hour delays or the odd unexplained cancellation.

Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
2,329 posts
159 reviews
6. Re: Experience with China Eastern Airlines

That's a good point about the problem of delays in China. I remember seeing a news story recently that said flights at a particular mainland airport (Shanghai, I think) had been severely delayed and/or cancelled as the military had decided to do some training thing. That's on top of the usual delays mentioned!

30% cheaper? They'd have to be free for me to fly them :p

Level Contributor
3,930 posts
70 reviews
7. Re: Experience with China Eastern Airlines

I flew them SIN to PVG last month. It was my first and only experience.

I got very lucky and was upgraded to BC.

I was impressed, cabin crew spoke good English (note the passengers were over 50% caucasian in the BC cabin). The food was fine too, a really tasty noodle dish and fresh fruit salad.

I chose this airline as their flight times were the most convenient and as it was a one way ticket their flight prices were about 25% of SQ.

Toronto, Canada
1 post
8. Re: Experience with China Eastern Airlines

We just returned form China via China Eastern...worst experience of my life....delayed fkights, lost luggage, food poisoning, rude staff, two bottles of wine for the whole plane, missed connections, you sit on tarmac for hours without aircondiioning, 7 hours to get flights rebooked- only got assistance when immigration stepped in and told China Eastern that they actually had to do something

9. Re: Experience with China Eastern Airlines

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Las Vegas, Nevada
1 post
10. Re: Experience with China Eastern Airlines

Worst airline I have ever flown. The flight itself was fine it was all about customer service around the flight. Being on hold for between 2-3 hours and transferred 3-4 times to finally get a hold of someone who told me that I could change my flight for just over $1000 was a bit irritating for a one way flight when I repurchased a flight from a Korean airline the same day for $775. The worst part of my experience was that I was blatantly lied to about being able to change my ticket. I went to the airport the day of my flight, nearly 2 hours early, and spoke with one of the men at the counter and asked if there was any possible way I could postpone my flight and if there would be any extra charge. He took my passport looked up my flight and gave me a card to their main office and said that they would be able to do it and the only additional charge would be if I had to change from my basic seating to a more expensive seat. The whole reason for me wanting to change my flight was because I was puking and had bad diarrhea... probably due to the change of food from what my body was used to but I would have dealt with and just flown that night if I would not have been lied to. I could keep ranting on about how I know for a fact the flights are rarely ever full and fly out nearly if not every night but I will end here. WILL NEVER FLY WITH THEM AGAIN

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