Review of Air China flight Shanghai Beijing in Economy

Airline Air China
Flight CA1590
Class Economy
Seat 49A
Aircraft Boeing 747-400
Flight time 01:40
Take-off 22 Aug 17, 09:40
Arrival at 22 Aug 17, 11:20
CA   #83 out of 142 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 183 reviews
Published on 4th September 2017


Hello everyone
The 24th July my parents celebrated 20 years of marriage and they decided to make a family trip for this special occasion
About 2 months before leaving we started to evaluate all the possibilites and in a week we made a sort of round-the-world journey: USA, Caribbean, Fjords' cruise and so on…
After all this we finally decide the destination: CHINA
We booked an organized group tour with one of the best Italian tour operator with departure date 12nd August.
The tour comprised 4 cities: Beijing, Xi'An, Guilin and Shanghai for a total of 12 days
Personally I was very happy because of the many different airlines and planes we would have tried. And obviously also because I've never been to China and it had always fascinated me.
Here is the itinerary:

12nd August Roma Fiumicino - Beijing Capital with Air China Boeing 787-9
16th August Beijing Capital - Xi'An with China Eastern Airlines Airbus A321
18th August Xi'An - Guilin with OKAirways Boeing 737-900ER
20th August Guilin - Shanghai Pudong with Suparna Airlines Boeing 737-800
22nd August Shanghai Hongqiao - Beijing Capital with Air China Boeing 747-400 (YOU ARE HERE)
22nd August Beijing Capital - Roma Fiumicino with Air China Boeing 787-9

photo mappa voli


Unfortunately it's time to come home after having a wonderful journey and spending one day in an amazing city as Shanghai
Our return flight to Rome-FCO will be operated by Air China via Beijing, where we would spend about 2 hours and half

We left the hotel in Nanjing Road in early morning and in about half a hour we reached Shanghai-Hongqiao Airport
This airport handles most of Domestic flights and is also served by a large high speed rail hub
Most of the flights departs from Terminal 2, opened in 2010 for EXPO Shanghai
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As in Xi'An there was a baggage check at the entrance of the terminal
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Large old-style FIDS
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Check-in area for Air China was A, located at the other side of the departure hall
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The check-in was a bit slow because the person in front of our group had some issues with his baggages
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We received BPs also for PEK-FCO flight. The baggages would go straight to Rome
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We went directly to the security checkpoint
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There was no queue and the control itself was meticolous as always
In about 5/6 minutes we were airside
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The departure lounge as seen from the security checkpoint mezzanine
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Our gate, number 48, was straight in front, and I saw her…the Queen of Skies
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This Boeing 747-400 is registered B-2447, and it was delivered to CA in Febraury 1995, 22,6 years old
It has been the 8th 747-400 delivered to Air China and one of the 3 currently in service
I have made many flights in my life but I think is the first time for me to fly on a plane that is older then me (I'm 20)

Since there were almost 1 hour before boarding I made a walk around the Terminal
The departure lounge is very big and has some interesting shops

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It's not an hub without Victoria's Secret XD
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Some spotting:
Air China 777-200
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Hainan Airlines 737 and Juneyao Airlines A320s
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Shanghai Airlines 767s
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Our bird again
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Boarding started about 10 minutes earlier than scheduled
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The gate
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Descending down the jetway I wasn't able to stop taking picture to this beauty
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Maybe the sexiest plane ever…
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Mandatory fuselage shot
The wing looks endless
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For me it was the first time on a Boeing 747
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Stairway to heaven
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First Y section
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Second Y section
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Third Y section where my seat, 49F, is located
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49F is a bulkhead seat on the first row, a bit tight for the presence of the table in the armrest
Fortunately my mother had the 49B and I took her seat
Before take off I was able to change my seat with a very kind person, and obtained the window sit 49A
The view from the seat, with China Southern 777 next to us
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Beautiful wingtip
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Pitch was good and in general the seat was very comfortable. The back was soft and wider than current economy class seats
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Safety card
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The galley as seen from my seat
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Even if boarding started on time we waited about 20 minutes at the stand for airport congestion
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The width of the cabin is impressive
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Meanwhile safety video was played
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China Southern 777 leaving
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And then our turn to go
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Goodbye Shanghai…
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Flaps deployed
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Air China 787
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Taxiing to RWY18R
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Cargo area
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China Eastern A321 in SkyTeam livery
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There was no queue for takeoff
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The four Pratt & Whitney PW4056 went full thrust with a wonderful sound
The plane didn't seem loud as I expected
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And off we go…
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Terminal 1, used for International flights
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And RWY18L/36R
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Pudong District in the distance
It's easy to spot Oriental Pearl Tower, Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai World Financial Center (the bottle opener) and Shanghai Tower, the 2nd World tallest skyscraper
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Last views of Shanghai suburbs before passing through the cloud layer
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Climb was rapid and smooth
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I love to see how the enormous wing flexed during the flight
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Banking over some urban areas
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About half a hour during the flight a snack was served
It was made of a drink and a quite good focaccia
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We started flying over a white blanket of clouds
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The Purser came to my seat to give me the Flight Report back along with a nice gift: a airplane-shaped magnet for the fridge
I really appreciate the kindess of the Captain who also fill the report with infos about engines
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I spend the rest of the flight trying to sleep…the seat's comfort helped me a lot considering that I difficultly sleep on plane
About 30 minutes before scheduled landing we start the descent to PEK
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The city was covered by a layer of clouds
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A car circuit?
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It was very difficult to snap a decent view of the city

Airport toll plaza
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Last moments on air before landing on RWY1/19
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Beautiful Terminal 3C
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Endless flaps
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Welcome to Beijing…again
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Landing was a bit long and therefore the brake a bit rough
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Terminal 3E
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Air China 737
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Air China A321 landing
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Asiana Airlines A330
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Air China 777
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Asiana Airlines A330
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Reaching our stand at Terminal 3C
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Bye Bye
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Desembarking I asked to the Purser if it was possible to visit the cockpit and he brought me upstairs
He introduced me to the Captaina and F/Os
One of the F/O showed me the cockpit and explained me that the -400 version is used on domestic routes while -8, newer and more technologically advanced, is used on international routes
He also showed me the crew rest area
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The height of the cockpit is unique
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The lie-flat business class
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I greeted the crew and thanked them very much
I've visited the cockpit many times but 747 has been a unique experience
Goodbye Queen of Skies…hope to fly with you again
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Desembarking through the glass jetway
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Another view of the endless wing
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Bye bye :D
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Since we had about 2 hours before departing to Rome we went straight to International transfer
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Our gate was already showed, E59, and I will later discover it would have been a remote gate
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International Transfer area was close to the gate we came
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I will continue to report the rest of the transfer in the next report
Stay tuned…
See more


Air China

Cabin crew9.0

Shanghai - SHA


Beijing - PEK



The journey itself was amazing because it has been the first time for me on a 747
The old-style seat was very comfortable
I'd love to thank again the Air China crew because they let me visit the cockpit

Information on the route Shanghai (SHA) Beijing (PEK)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 7 reviews of 3 airlines on the route Shanghai (SHA) → Beijing (PEK).


The airline with the best average rating is Hainan Airlines with 8.0/10.

The average flight time is 2 hours and 3 minutes.

  More information


  • Comment 411727 by
    Razza_Pr 215 Comments

    Greetings, Carlotherocks, and thank you for this FR.

    What an experience it must've been for you, to be able to ride on board the Queen of the Skies the first time. And what a pleasure it was for me to read your report. Well done, I must say.

    "The Purser came to my seat to give me the Flight Report back along with a nice gift: a airplane-shaped magnet for the fridge"
    -A nice gesture from the crew. I'm sure they also appreciated your enthusiasm for what most passengers would probably think to be nothing much but an old aircraft needs replacing.

    How was your transfer experience in PEK? I've not heard much positive things about transferring in a mainland Chinese airport.

    Thanks again for this FR. Cheers!

    • Comment 411738 by
      Carlotherocks AUTHOR 47 Comments

      Thank you very much for your appreciation! Every time I fly I try to improve my reports as much as I can

      I think that people working in aviation (pilots, crews, engineerings, etc.) do it for a single reason: passion
      And I think that finding someone who shares this passion, even a passenger, encourages to do everything better

      The transit itself is just a document control. The real "pain" of PEK is the main control hall for passport and baggages which seems to be insufficent for the big mass of passengers going through the airport. I had an argument with a lady because there where just 3/4 trays for dozens of passengers :P
      Best wishes for all. Cheers

  • Comment 411779 by
    Book_Gazette 5 Comments

    Lucky for you to hitch this Queen for a ride. I rode a DL 744 from NRT to PVG just 4 years ago, and the jet engines sounded so nice! You also got the old fashion first generation seats and it's hard to believe that they flew these on long hauls just a few years ago. Those CA pilots were pretty nice to letting you in.

  • Comment 411832 by
    KL651 TEAM 4481 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.
    What a treat to get on a 747 for such a short flight.
    This plane was definitely unique.
    The domestic catering is better on MU or HK than on CA though.

    • Comment 411833 by
      Carlotherocks AUTHOR 47 Comments

      Thank for the appreciation :)
      Initally I didn't believe to see a 747 on a domestic route but than I considered how busy a route like Beijing-Shanghai could be and how many people live there. It's like Roma-Milano but proportioned to the population
      The catering was definitely lower than MU that gave us a real meal (check my report PEK-XIY if you want)

  • Comment 414571 by
    pwecar 53 Comments

    Thanks for the report, how lucky you are!

    The purser didn't allow me to visit the cockpit nor passing the flight log to the captain, so sad.

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