Review of China Eastern flight Xi'an Qingdao in Economy

Airline China Eastern
Flight MU5021
Class Economy
Seat 48a
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 01:25
Take-off 16 Apr 15, 08:30
Arrival at 16 Apr 15, 09:55
MU   #45 out of 95 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 165 reviews
Daniel00
By 2463
Published on 23rd April 2015
Welcome back to my series of reports on my trip to China! A reminder of the routing

4/10/15: UA89 EWR-PEK (http://flight-report.com/en/report-10026.html)
4/14/15: Beijing to Xi'an on a train (this isn't train report haha)
4/16/15: MU5021 XIY-TAO (THIS REPORT)
4/19/15: MU5514 TAO-SHA (http://flight-report.com/en/report-10057.html)
4/20/15: UA87 PVG-EWR (http://flight-report.com/en/report-10192.html)

Luckily my teachers are laying off on the homework this week-more time for flight report-yay!
I'll start off with a quick synopsis of our train ride between Beijing and Xi'an…it was brutal. First off, it took six hours. The seats were dreadfully uncomfortable, and if the person in front of you reclined, there was no moving from your seat. No power plugs, no PTVs, just a few tiny overheads only playing car commercials and things of that nature. The seats were configured 3-2, md-80 style!


Side note-does anyone else have extreme difficulty uploading pictures to this site? It can upload one at a time, then stops at 100%, and I have to choose all my photos all over again. Help!?

Anyways, onto the planes :D
We got to the airport around 6:30am, 2 hours before our flight.
Terminal 3 at Xi'an airport was clean, bright, open, and crowded!
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We went to the check in area for China Eastern, where we tried a new approach to checking in. We gave one of our chaperones all of our passports, and they attempted to check us in all together. Spoiler alert- IT DIDN'T WORK. We must've stood there for 30 minutes before they finally figured out what to do with us. I guess checking in 1 by 1 at EWR was a better idea. Of course, this meant less time for spotting :(
Once through the checkin area, there were tons of shops BEFORE security-huh.
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We made our way to the gate- a bus gate, number H03. When we got there, there were no shops in sight, and it was legitimately as dark as this photo shows it to be. Luckily we only had 5 minutes at the gate before they started boarding us onto a bus.
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No spotting from this area :(
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We sat on the bus for what seemed like forever. We finally started moving, probably went 100 feet, then went into reverse and parked back at the gate for another 5 minutes. ????
We finally set off for real, and had the longest bus ride ever. T3 at Xi'an is on the eastern side of the airport, and they decided to park our plane next to all the planes at T2, on the eastern side. Another instance of ?????.
We got off the bus at 08:15, and I made my way back to seat 48a. I had again gotten assigned to 48c, but got lucky and switched to a window seat with a classmate (2 times in a row!). Today's plane was B-2338, a 14 year old A320.
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The seats were the complete opposite of slimline, they almost looked like the old recliner seats you see in domestic first, but without all the legroom.

At 08:29 (1 minute before scheduled departure) a FA came on said (in barely understandable english) that there was a mechanical problem and they were checking it out. cool.
The windows were VERY dirty and scratched, but I took pictures anyways. Biggest surprise of they day: Finnair flies to Xi'an? as well as Orient Thai, must've been a charter, as I know they don't have any scheduled flights to XIY.

We pushed back at 09:14, 44 minutes late. The FA came on and welcome us aboard this Airbus A3120 I laughed out loud and got a bunch of looks from people around me. Too bad nobody understands AvGeek humor. The overhead screens came down and played a boring safety video. Twice. Again, ?????
The plane in front of us, coming from T2 went to 05L, the runway on the western side of the airport, and I figured we would follow, but nope, lets taxi all the way back to where we started and use 05R, where everything was landing. Is this a test of how many times I can use ????? in a single flight report?
Oh well. We took off at 09:34, 64 minutes behind schedule. We could have been there by now!
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We hit our cruising altitude of who knows what, and the overheads came down and started playing car commercials. Just like the train! Then we got an advertisement for the new 77Ws, followed by an episode of Tom and Jerry (those were the days).
Meals started coming at 10:06, unfortunately I was very sick at this time on this trip, so I only had a little of everything (solely for review purposes), or else it would've all come up and been in my lap. This meal consisted of a roll, 2 different types of cakes, a butter cookie, some wasabi chip things, and water. Everything seemed pretty tasty, although not very healthy :/
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This made me laugh
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As soon as they finished giving out the food and drinks, they rolled the carts up to the front and we got a second round of drinks! I've never seen that before, but I like it! The crew on this flight was very blah. They got what they had to get done, but without a smile or any form of personal interaction.
Note the China Eastern writing on the wing (I don't speak Chinese, but I'm going to assume that's what it means)
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Now, here's the really interesting part. I made sure to take note of the exact time of this. At 10:52, they came through the cabin, tray tables up, window shades open, seats up, electronics completely shut off, and earbuds taken out, EVEN IF YOU WERE'NT LISTENING TO MUSIC!! I was really baffled by this, and since the cabin crew didn't come by after that announcement was made (and enforced), I just kept everything on.
We did a circle (seems weird for such a small airport) and then landed on runway 35 at 11:24- 89 late. whoopee.
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Not much spotting was done, but we pulled in next to this guy
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And finally, the baggage claim (singular!!) how cute.
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Hopefully you enjoyed this report! Comments are welcomed as always :)

See you in the next report!
See more

Verdict

China Eastern

6.5/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew5.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Meal/catering8.0

Xi'an - XIY

7.8/10
Efficiency7.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Qingdao - TAO

7.2/10
Efficiency8.0
Access7.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.0

Conclusion

Xi'an Airport T3- Nice, new, modern, clean, a little dark

Seats- comfy! decent legroom

Food- Good but unhealthy

Crew- Seemed like robots, no sign they were enjoying themselves

IFE- Tom and Jerry was a nice touch, but thats only 15 minutes unfortunately

Flight was very late

Overall, not a terrible flight, but not great either

Related

10 Comments

  • Comment 134603 by
    NGO85 1622 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this report, your first taste of Chinese airlines! I have a trip with MU coming up next weekend, I've been dreading it for months. MU has the worst reputation of China's Big 3. Think of it as flying UA in the US :)

    The seats were configured 3-2, md-80 style!
    -Or B717 style.

    Terminal 3 at Xi'an airport was clean, bright, open, and crowded!
    -Welcome to every airport in China, I've heard them described as sterile.

    they decided to park our plane next to all the planes at T2
    -This happens in Europe too, so it's a universal problem. I don't think there is any rationale for the remote stand they park planes at, I think it's just a crap shoot from when that plane arrived and what was open. I've had really long bus rides and really short bus rides.

    Chinese domestic flights are notorious for delays. I'm yet to incur a delay on a Chinese carrier, but I've never flown domestically before.

    We hit our cruising altitude of who knows what, and the overheads came down and started playing car commercials.
    -This is pretty standard on narrow-bodies in Asia that lack personal IFE.

    Seemed like robots, no sign they were enjoying themselves
    -Welcome to China. I've never met a chatty Chinese FA, but they do their jobs efficiently which is generally good enough for me.

    You might seem shocked to hear this, but that catering looks below average for a Chinese domestic flight.

    One baggage claim at Qingdao? It's a pretty big hub for China Eastern and Shangdong Airlines, there have to be more than that. They are starting construction on a new airport in Qingdao soon.

    -------

    Side note-does anyone else have extreme difficulty uploading pictures to this site? It can upload one at a time, then stops at 100%, and I have to choose all my photos all over again. Help!?
    -You can't work on the report while the photos are uploading. I normally just do all the uploading and then write the report in Word before pasting it in and adding the photos.

  • Comment 134608 by
    Wingslover 670 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this report with us. XIY Terminal T2 must be very different from T1 as T1 is full of shops airside (see my FR XIY-PVG). MU's domestic product looks similar to CA with a worser looking pitch.

  • Comment 134609 by
    Wingslover 670 Comments

    Ps: I suggest you to use a photo hosting website like Photobucket instead of uploading your pics here

  • Comment 134610 by
    Wingslover 670 Comments

    Ps number 2: I don't think catering on US Domestic flights is much healthyer

  • Comment 134611 by
    SKYTEAMCHC GOLD 8381 Comments

    Thanks for this very good report. The cabin looks old fashioned but confortable and the meal box is quite Nice for such a flight !

  • Comment 134621 by
    beijinner 164 Comments

    Thanks for the reports!

    About the earbuds, China is still in the turn off all electonic devices during take off and landing even in flight mode era.

    About the FA, sometimes they are really good but chinese are not usually chatty when flying.

    You should definitely have taken the night train between Beijing and Xi'an. You get a full bed and really cheap bar and food service.

  • Comment 134708 by
    JOET73 227 Comments

    Thanks for this report.
    The catering you had unfortunately becomes standard in China.
    The arrival, as well as the departure BTW, are separated for China eastern in Qingdao, thatcs why there s only 1 baggage claim.
    If you are uploading your pictures from China, that s a pa7n in the ***. You have to use a vpn or you m7ght turn crazy.

  • Comment 134784 by
    Rl 777 809 Comments

    Great FR with lots of detail! Thank you for sharing it.

    Finnair actually offers scheduled flights to XIY, 3 weekly flights during summer.

    The food offering seemed to be nice on this short flight, even though it may not be the healthiest food on the planet.

    Can't wait for PVG-EWR!

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