Review of China Eastern flight Singapore Shanghai in Business

Airline China Eastern
Flight MU566
Class Business
Seat 8A
Aircraft Airbus A330-200
Flight time 04:35
Take-off 17 Jan 17, 23:10
Arrival at 18 Jan 17, 03:45
MU   #95 out of 124 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 139 reviews
hometoyyz
By 3558
Published on 25th February 2017
Hello, and welcome to the continuation of this quick jaunt to Singapore with China Eastern. For those of you trying to keep up, here’s the rundown:

MU208 YYZ-PVG 1/15/2017 - Right here
MU543 PVG-SIN 1/16/2017 - Right here
MU566 SIN-PVG 1/17/2017 - You are here
MU207 PVG-YYZ 1/18/2017 - Coming soon

After a very enjoyable day of exploring Singapore, I made my way back to Changi’s Terminal 3 for about 7:00, deciding to take my dinner in a lounge there.

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China Eastern’s check-in was easy to find and well-marked, seemingly paired with other SkyTeam partners. The counters were for the most part closed, but one Early Check-In desk for MU was open, with only one person ahead of me in line.

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I quickly had my boarding pass for Pudong and onwards to Pearson. I ask the agent if she can give me one of the window seats in the forward mini-cabin for PVG-YYZ (MU for some reason seems to block these seats from being selected prior to check-in), and she tells me that 6A is the best she can do for me. Since that’s the first row of J on the 77W, I’m sure that’s fine. I wonder if she thought I was fishing for a free upgrade to F? I’m also given an invitation to the SATS Premier Lounge, which I suppose I should have suggested, seeing as how SATS provides ground services for MU at SIN.

Boarding pass in hand, I make my way towards departures, which is guarded by Giant Pikachu. I always forget how nice it is to just quickly clear immigration, and be free to move around, since SIN does security at the gate level. One of the benefits of being a city-state is that every flight is an international flight, I suppose.

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There’s no lineup for immigration, so I’m quickly airside.

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From this central location, it’s a short walk and then up an escalator to the mezzanine level where the lounges are located at Changi. The SATS lounge is easy to find.

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It’s not yet rush hour at Changi, but it’s still pretty busy on the concourse below.

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Boarding pass scanned, I’m quickly invited inside to explore. There are a few people in the lounge, but it’s by no stretch of the imagination busy.

It’s not a very large lounge, but is tastefully laid out with just a few different types of comfortable lounge chairs

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A few workstations along one wall.

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Foot massage chairs for the weary traveler.

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But these high-backed comfy chairs are my favorite, providing a good spot for solo travelers.

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The seats also offer a good view down onto the tree-filled restaurant area below, which adds a little bit of noise, although nothing annoying.

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I’ll see your shelf of reading materials, and raise you a whole aisle of shelves of reading material.

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It’s time for dinner, so let’s check out the blue light specials at the buffet.

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We start with breads and a toaster.

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Fruit and dessert

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Chicken drumettes and sweet and sour fish.

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A penne dish.

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A Japanese curried rice dish.

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Noodles and veggies.

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An Indian vegetarian curry and rice.

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Two types of mini-pies — a mushroom pie, and beef redang.

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Salad fixings, cheeses, sandwiches, and other chilled options.

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The bar isn’t exactly extensive.

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But there are a number of cold drinks available.

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And hot drinks too, with a pair of coffee machines.

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And finally, the best feature of the buffet, a “self-serve” fresh-made laksa station.

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I head back to my seat with the first round of my snack — some laksa. Laksa is one of my favourite Singaporean dishes, and this one doesn’t disappoint. It proves hearty, with a nice balance between spice and coconut sweetness.

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WiFi is fast and is wide open — so if you’re in Singapore and need some free WiFi without doing the registration rigmarole, you might want to park yourself outside this lounge. Gratuitous corporate shot, obviously.

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After a while, I’m hungry again, so I grab myself some rice, a couple of sweet and sour fish pieces, and a couple of pies, as well as a pair of desserts. Nothing special, but it does the job.

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The lounge also has showers, although I did not partake this time.

After puttering for a while, it’s nearing departure time, so I make my way down to the gate, which is already pretty full. The good news is there’s no wait for security at the gate, though, which makes the gate security experience all that much better.

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I wait there for a few minutes, until a China Eastern agent walking towards the doors starts a mad stampede of humanity towards the gate itself. She does a good job of holding the throng at bay, and sorting out who should actually be boarding at this point, Sky Priority.

Flight: MU566
From: Singapore Changi (SIN)
To: Shanghai Pudong (PVG)
Date: 1/17/2017
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
Registration: B-5962
Seat: 8A
ATD (STD): 23:12 (23:00)
ATA (STA): 03:45+1 (04:10+1)

For this flight, I’m in seat 8A, the third row in the forward business class cabin. This will be my first time in a reverse herringbone on an A330-family aircraft. It’s amazing how similar it is to the 77W product, and yet how different, with obvious compromises needing to be made to fit the same 1-2-1 configuration on the 332 as on the much-wider 77W. The colour scheme is also decidedly different than the cream-heavy 77W product.

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The seat comes equipped with a very decent pillow, and a light blanket, which seems to be MU’s regional standard.

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Slippers, along with safety card and other literature, are in the aisle-side cubby.

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The standard MU headphones, which are terrible, are located in a little pocket under the main part of the window-side console.

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Seat controls, reading lights, a simple IFE control, and all your ports (headphone, USB power) are located all together in the upper window-side wall of the pod.

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As expected, legroom is good.

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The footwell is a little on the small side, which one has to expect with the narrow cabin of the A330. But I didn’t find it too restrictive — although my feet did end up against the plastic grates when the seat was put flat.

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Almost immediately, a flight attendant offers a hot towel as boarding continues.

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PDB choices are orange juice and water. I guess the champagne is only offered on the ground in China.

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The screen is of the flip-out variety, and seems to be a newer generation than on the 77W, judging by the touch controls on the lower bezel of the screen.

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A look across the cabin during a lull in the action of boarding. The rest of row 8 would remain unoccupied for this whole flight. The load was maybe about 60 per cent in the forward J cabin.

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Located between doors 1 and 2, this seat doesn’t offer a lot to see out the window during boarding.

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Close up on the headphones. I didn’t even bother to open them.

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MU’s slippers are very good, though.

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A flight attendant stops by, kneeling to inform me that a breakfast will be served after takeoff, which is a bit odd, since it will “just” be midnight. But okay. Between an omelet, congee and dim sum, or pork noodle soup, I choose the former, because apparently I’m not feeling terribly adventurous. She asks if she can wake me if I’ve fallen asleep after takeoff, and I say yes. She tells me this is a good idea, because if I eat, I’ll be able to sleep the rest of the flight. That’s the plan, alright.

Pushback is just about on time, as the safety video rolls. I find it interesting that the computer-animated video is obviously aircraft-specific beyong the “must be different” parts, like the illustration of exits. In this edition, the happy young traveling family boards what is clearly a 2-4-2 A330 cabin, as oppsoed to 3-4-3 in the 77W video.

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It’s a short taxi, and there’s not much in the way of traffic at this late hour, so we’re soon lined up and away we go, getting a good look at SIN on our way into the night sky.



Once we’re in the air a few minutes, the IFE system is engaged. It’s quick and pretty easy to use. I decide to not even start a movie this time, as I’m clearly feeling a little tired, running on about four-hours of on-the-plane sleep the night before, and having been up for about 18 hours since then. I put on an episode of Modern Family to keep me entertained through dinner. There are only two episodes loaded, which seems a little odd.

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Supper/snack/breakfast service begins very quickly, with the table set and a hot towel offered.

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My drink order, champagne, is then presented with some mixed salted nuts. Because who doesn’t love chamapgne with an omelet at midnight?

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And then the breakfast tray is presented. One slight oversight — I have to request a spoon for the yogurt, which is quickly delivered.

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The omelet itself is pretty good, a little “tough” but tasty. Odd choices on the accompanying vegetables, though. The potatoes and grilled tomato make sense with the breakfast theme. But snow peas?

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The raisin danish was nothing special.

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MU’s fruit seems to be consistently very god, though, and this was no exception.

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Snack done, I put my seat back and continue watching TV while I finish my freshly-refilled champagne. Between the champagne and the general exhaustion, I did not see the end of the episode, and am quickly asleep. I get a solid three hours or more of sleep, only waking up when a cabin announcement is made that we’ll be landing in about 30 minutes. I guess I found the seat acceptably comfortable.

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I’m greeted by another hot towel service to help freshen up after my sleep.

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Time to visit the lav — there’s just one at the front, immediately behind the flight deck. It’s nothing special, but it sure is a lav.

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Remembering my disappointment at remaining parched after waking up on my flight in from Shanghai, I decide to get proactive, and after coming out of the lav, request a glass of water from a flight attendant in the galley. She heads aft to get it for me from the galley by doors 2.

To my surprise, though, when I reach my seat, there’s a glass of water awaiting me. Apparently this crew is much more proactive. Also to my surprise, the water is hot. It’s not my first choice, but when in China, I suppose….

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Soon enough, we’re told to stow everything and get ready for landing. It’s a rainy late night in Shanghai.

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And touchdown.

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It’s a long taxi, along a route that seems to involve a lot of S-turns for a plane to pull off. But eventually we park…. at a remote gate, next to our twin.

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Yep. We sure are at a remote gate. This mini-bus would pick up a handful of J pax, myself included, before leaving the rest of the premium cabin to hop on the regular bus.

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One last look across the cabin as we get ready to exit through door 2L.

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And a good chance to finally get a look at our ride on the short walk to the bus.

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I’m the last person to get on the mini-bus, and it’s quickly away, driving us back to Terminal 1. On the way, we pass at least ten gates at the main terminal, and none of them are currently occupied, which makes me wonder why they inflicted the remote gate on us, but whatever.

We’re released into the terminal very close to customs and immigration, which isn’t exactly busy at this hour.

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From there, international transfers are pretty easy to spot… but they’re not open yet. I join a small mob of late night would-be transit pax in waiting, and finally the doors open about 4:30.

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It’s a bit of a mob getting through the passport and boarding check pass, as the automatic gates seem to be acting up a bit, but soon enough I’m through. And with just a handful of pax trickling through that checkpoint, transit security is very quick.

A few minutes before 5:00, I’m back airside, and off in search of a lounge and breakfast.

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And that’s where we’ll pick this story up with the final installment of this trip.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you on the final leg!
See more

Verdict

China Eastern

7.6/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew7.5
Entertainment7.5
Meal/catering7.5

SATS Premier Lounge

7.5/10
Comfort8.0
Meal/catering7.0
Entertainment8.0
Services7.0

Singapore - SIN

8.9/10
Efficiency8.5
Access8.5
Services9.5
Cleanliness9.0

Shanghai - PVG

8.0/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness8.5

Conclusion

A decent flight on MU's newest 332 configuration. Leaving at the hour it did, this flight met expectations. That is to say, I got some sleep. The catering (of breakfast) was a little odd, coming as it did in the beginning of the flight rather than the end.

But the crew was decent, the seat very comfortable, and water was not only available, but proactively provided after waking up. Even if it was hot.

Informations on the route Singapore (SIN) Shanghai (PVG)

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