Review of China Eastern flight Qingdao Shanghai in Economy

Airline China Eastern
Flight MU5514
Class Economy
Seat 47a
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 01:30
Take-off 19 Apr 15, 08:05
Arrival at 19 Apr 15, 09:35
MU   #39 out of 87 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 169 reviews
Daniel00
By 2277
Published on 24th April 2015
On to part 3 of 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 (http://flight-report.com/en/report-10032.html)
4/19/15: MU5514 TAO-SHA (THIS REPORT)
4/20/15: UA87 PVG-EWR (http://flight-report.com/en/report-10192.html)

Found this China Eastern building in Qingdao!
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This trip seemed to be flying by! It was hard to believe we were already on to our last city. After (yet another) early start in Qingdao, we set off for the airport.
When we arrived, it reminded me greatly of the airport in Xi'an. All of the airports in China seem to be very open and very clean. However, Qingdao seemed to be less chaotic! It may have been less crowded, but it was obvious it was significantly over capacity.
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If you've been following this set of reports, you'll know that check-in has not been the best. Luckily, it went very smoothly in Qingdao. Our group spread out into about 5 lines and finished within 10 minutes. Security, however, was much more painful. A bunch of kids had decided to buy lighters, and that resulted in a huge debacle that was challenging to figure out given the language barrier. We eventually figured it out and went to the security checkpoint, and went through quickly due to the small airport. We were gateside by 7:15.
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Luggage carts with working TVs! Somebody bring this to America please.
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The spotting in Qingdao would've been amazing (there was a great view of both the apron and the runway), but since it was so early and not a particularly nice day, I couldn't see anything unless I ramped up the shutter speed to 1/15th of a second (instead of my usual 1/640) which resulted in some very blurry photos :(
Regardless, Scoot appeared, and I couldn't miss that, along with a few others.

Our gate, 13B, was another bus gate, so we crowded on and started driving. I had seen two China Eastern planes sitting remotely, one with the new livery and one with the old.
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The bus turned, and we headed for the plane with the new livery! YES!
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We boarded the bird of the day, B-6005, a 12 year old A320. Once again, I was assigned to a non-window seat (51C), but yet again managed to switch, this time to 47a (one row in front of my previous flight). 3 in a row!
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Not until we got on the plane did I realize we were actually flying to Hongqiao, not Pudong. Cool! I thought I was going to miss Hongqiao, so this was a pleasant surprise!
We pushed back at 08:02, 3 minutes early! Since when did planes leave early lol.

Takeoff was at 08:09, just 4 minutes late, on runway 35.
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I might just not have noticed it on the first flight, but the windows seemed ridiculously low on this plane. You had to bend over a significant amount to see out. Really weird. My seat also had a bunch of random lumps in it, making for a somewhat uncomfortable flight.
Our meal came around at 08:35, just 25 minutes after takeoff. Luckily, I was able to eat this time, whatever illness I had faded! We were given a different box than the last flight, this one seemed rather dented and beat up, almost like it had been used before (sorry about the shadow)
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This meal consisted of cake, water, a roll, and some veggie crisps. I put that in quotes because nobody tried them, because nobody could get the bag open! Oh well, the rest was still tasty. Unfortunately, we only got one round of drinks this time, probably because it was such a short flight.
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The TVs showed us the exact same sequence of ads, followed by the exact same episode of Tom and Jerry.
The TVs went up, and they came through the cabin and made us switch off all of our electronics at 08:58. I barely had enough time to eat everything (in fairness, I spent about 10 minutes trying to get the darn bag of veggie crisps open).
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We touched down at 09:22 on runway 36R. What a short flight.
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We pulled into our gate 12 minutes after touchdown, 1 minute before scheduled arrival, and got off into another spotless, but stuff and humid airport.
Last view of our plane
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We made the 10 minute long walk to the baggage claim, and the first bag I saw there was mine! Awesome.
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Hopefully you enjoyed this report, see you soon for the finale! Comments are always welcomed :)

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Verdict

China Eastern

5.0/10
Cabin5.0
Cabin crew4.0
Entertainment/wifi3.0
Meal/catering8.0

Qingdao - TAO

7.4/10
Efficiency8.0
Access7.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.5

Shanghai - SHA

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

Conclusion

Qingdao Airport- A little rundown, definitely over capacity (good thing they're building a new one!), but still spotless.

Seats- Would've been nice except for the lumps in the seat and oddly placed windows

Food- Came in a beat up box, but still tasty

Crew- Robotic again- didn't see a single smile

IFE- Identical to the last flight, so very boring

Flight was right on time

Weighing the delay from the last flight, this and the previous flight were probably similar in overall rating, but the actually flying on this plane was much worse

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3 Comments

  • Comment 134790 by
    NGO85 1622 Comments

    A bunch of kids had decided to buy lighters
    - Lighters are definitely a no-go in China, I think I've always seen the bin to throw them away before the security/immigration check points.

    Luggage carts with working TVs! Somebody bring this to America please.
    - Forget the TVs, how about just bringing free luggage carts to the US?

    That's great that you got to fly one with the new livery, I didn't think there were too many narrow-bodies repainted at this point in time. So, you definitely got lucky!

    My seat also had a bunch of random lumps in it
    - I'm sorry, but I had to laugh when I read this description. And you wonder why that person gave up their window seat so easily ;)

    At least you didn't have to do paxbus in SHA.

    Overall, looks like a good 1-hour domestic flight in China since it actually arrived on time. You knock the FAs, but they completed a full service in that time, you wouldn't see that efficiency in the US.

  • Comment 142649 by
    marathon SILVER 9674 Comments

    Too bad the lighting conditions were poor, because TAO is indeed plane spotter friendly, and is served by many airlines.
    I was puzzled by the too low window comment. The location of the windows of the A320 series aircraft seem quite standard to me. Was the seat unusually high ?
    A belated thank you for this report !

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