Review: China Eastern - Business Class - Airbus A320neo - Shanghai PVG to Chiang Mai CNX


Trip Report Index:

Introduction
China Eastern - Business Class - Boeing 777-300ER - New York JFK to Shanghai PVG
China Eastern - Lounge 36 - Shanghai Pudong Airport
China Eastern - Business Class - Airbus A320neo - Shanghai PVG to Chiang Mai CNX
Thai Airways - Royal Orchid Lounge - Chiang Mai Airport
China Eastern - Premium Economy - Airbus A320neo - Chiang Mai CNX to Shanghai PVG
China Eastern - Business Class - Boeing 777-300ER - Shanghai PVG to New York JFK

Flight Details:

China Eastern Flight 205
Shanghai (PVG) to Chiang Mai (CNX)
Depart: Saturday, July 20 at 10:05 AM (Actual 9:54 AM)
Arrival: Saturday, July 20 at 1:25 PM (Actual 1:07 PM)
Aircraft: Airbus A320neo
Seat: 7J (Business Class)

Booking:

This was our second leg on our itinerary from New York to Chiang Mai. I outlined the booking drama on one of the first posts and once again I contacted China Eastern via email to reserve seats. Business Class on their A320s features two rows (6 and 7). I selected seats 7 J and L, so we could recline without bothering others. 

Boarding:

After a ten minute walk, we arrive at the last possible gate in the terminal, gate 26.


At exactly 9:20 AM, boarding began. SkyPriority, Business Class and Premium Economy (more on this class to come) went first. Again, I was one of the first.


As we headed down the jet bridge, I noticed that this was not a standard China Eastern A320, but rather a brand new A320neo. No wonder I could not find a matching seat map on their website. Our plane, B-302W, was delivered to China Eastern in September 2018, meaning its just under a year old.

Cabin:

Although the cabin did not have lay flat seats, the finishes were reminiscent of our flight from JFK.


Business Class consisted of 2 rows in a 2x2 configuration. The seats were huge and plush and had a good amount of legroom.


Boarding for the flight was relatively quick, and the plane ended up going out with 7 of the 8 seats filled. The couple across from us made it just in the nick of time before leaving.


As we waited to leave, I noticed something very interesting. While Business Class had beautiful touch screen monitors, Economy and Premium Economy had nothing. Zip. Nada.


This was a good chance for me to see that the Premium Economy tickets we'd booked back to Shanghai were actually real. As I said before, I could not for the life of me find this seat map anywhere on any site, including China Eastern's. 


Awaiting at our seats was a menu, slippers and bag, headphones, eye mask, as well as a small blanket and pillow.


I noticed this plane featured air vents, which was a welcome change.



While boarding finished up, we were offered a choice of orange juice or water.


We were also given a warm towel.


Flight / Meal Services:

We departed early at 9:54 AM. As we taxied to the runway, I looked at all the planes I never get the chance to see in the US.


I found it weird that the crew closed off the curtain, considering it explicitly says to leave it open.


Right before we took off, it was opened up. Finally, at 10:10 AM, we took off. Our climb out was pretty choppy and I kept a close eye on the airshow. We were heading west right after take-off, but did a full 360 turn and began heading away from Chiang Mai. Not sure why, but it was certainly an interesting flight plan.


The monitors were frozen on the airshow, so I thought maybe they weren't enabled for passenger use. The flight attendant assured me this was a mistake and turned them on.


Next, the crew came to take our orders. Just like on my last flight, the menus were printed for the year. It read as follows.




I selected the chicken for my meal with a red wine to drink. As I waited, I looked around the seat. There was a huge amount of features, including power ports.


There was also a remote that pulled out of the right side of the chair.





On the left was a headphone jack and the recline button.


The monitor swiveled, so it could be seen when the person in front of you reclined. There was a non-functioning USB port, as well as another headphone jack.


The meal service began about a half hour after take off with another a towel, table cloth, water and the wine I had selected.


Shortly after the meal came. It was served all on one tray.


The food on this flight was absolutely outstanding. The stir-fried chicken was delicious and garlicky. The salad was good, although I didn't like the salted beef. I had yet to be disappointed by food on China Eastern.

About an hour in, our trays were collected and I tried to watch some TV and snooze. It was unfortunately tricky, as the child in front of me had her iPad at full volume. Though I asked the crew to intervene, the girl turned it right back up moments later. As sleep wasn't an option, I checked out the restroom.


It had similar amenities.


The toilet paper was consistently folded.


I did manage to snooze a tiny bit, but two and a half hours into our flight, we hit some serious turbulence that lasted for the last hour. In an effort to stay awake through my day, I ordered a coffee. It came promptly.


I never needed to ring the call button on this flight as the Business Class flight attendant was constantly walking through, refilling beverages and checking to see if everyone was okay. She even shooed away passengers from Economy as they tried to pass through the curtain. The service on this flight felt way more proactive and personal than on our last one. About 30 minutes before landing, we heard from the captain for the first time. Landing cards were also distributed.

Arrival:

At 12:43 PM, we landed at Chiang Mai ending out 3 hour and 33 minute flight. Unfortunately, we were 40 minutes early, so we were held for a bit. At 1:07 PM, we "arrived" and deplaned moments later.


Courtesy of FlightAware

Bottom Line:

China Eastern once again provided a safe, comfortable and relaxing flight. Although these seats were simple recliners, the soft product was much better.

All images from the author, unless otherwise noted.

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