Review of Air China flight Beijing Rome in Economy

Airline Air China
Flight CA939
Class Economy
Seat 58A
Aircraft Boeing 787-9
Flight time 10:50
Take-off 22 Aug 17, 14:25
Arrival at 22 Aug 17, 19:15
CA   #81 out of 134 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 177 reviews
Carlotherocks
Published on 4th September 2017

INTRODUCTION


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
22nd August Beijing Capital - Roma Fiumicino with Air China Boeing 787-9 (YOU ARE HERE)



photo mappa voli

TRANSFER IN BEIJING


After the two-hour flight from Shanghai-Hongqiao we proceeded to gate E59 to take our flight to Rome
To access to the International departure lounge a boarding pass control is done
photo pek-fco 1
Than we went upstairs to take the APM to Terminal 3E, which handles all the international flights

After riding the APM, which takes about 5 minutes, passengers have to pass through Immigration control and Security checkpoint
The waiting for the immigration took about 10 minutes
photo pek-fco 5photo pek-fco 6
Immediately after there's a short but very badly organized queue for the security checkpoint
Even if PEK is a big international airport this area is a bit smal IMO and everything was caothic
The control is very meticolous but passengers have a small area to prepare their baggages
It took more than half a hour to complete the procedures and access the bright and large departure lounge

The security check area
photo pek-fco 10
In the center of the departure lounge there's a fountain, but nothing compared to the one in DXB
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A Pagoda even in the airport
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I walk around the terminal to find a shop selling plane models but I didn't find anything
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Time for a bit of spotting
Air China 777 to Frankfurt

Korean Air 777 taking off
photo pek-fco 19
Air China 747-8 to Washington-Dulles
I will fly with you one day
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The airport architecture is impressive
I really like Norman Foster's works
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Since boarding time was close I went downstairs to Gate E59, a remote gate
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People were already waiting to board
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Time to say goodbye to China
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THE FLIGHT


The 3,5km-bus ride (calculated with Google Earth) took about 15 minutes
Our plane was parked at the northernmost apron of the airport
A bit of spotting on the way
Japan Airlines 787
photo pek-fco 28
Abandoned Air China 747
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Abandoned Dynamic Airways 767
From August 1985 to October 1994 it belonged to Japan Airlines
photo pek-fco 30
Another 747
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Air China 777
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Air China 50th A330
photo pek-fco 34
And then…our Boeing 787-9
B-7898, delivered in September 2016
It was the same plane we took from Rome to Beijing
photo pek-fco 33photo pek-fco 35
The engine seems bigger from the land
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Beautiful nose
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Dream)Liner
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The Rolls-Royce Trent 1000
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Fuselage shots

Finally onboard
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I gave the Flight report to the Purser and made my way to my seat, 58A
Middle Y section
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Rear Y section
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And then the surprise…my seat lacked of window
Desperately I asked the hostess for an empty aisle seat but the plane was full
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The view of the cabin during boarding
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Safety video was played while we started taxiing
We spent about 20 minutes close to RWY entrance because of the airport congestion
After the takeoff I felt asleep and woke up a hour for the lunch
Moodlighting was turned to orange
photo pek-fco 52
The lunch was made of:

Russian Salad
Bread
Fruit salad with watermelon and melon
Chicken with rice


photo pek-fco 53
I don't remember the other choice for the main course
The lunch was quite standard
photo pek-fco 54
After lunch lights were turned off to allow passengers sleep
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Since I felt a bit "suffocated" in my seat I spent most of the time in the rear galley were the crew had set drinks and biscuits
About middle flight I found an aisle seat two rows ahead
I slept for about 3 hours and half before waking up for dinner
photo pek-fco 57
Meanwhile we were there
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The dinner was as quite similar in quality to the lunch

Fresh salad
Bread
Lemon tart
Beef with noodles


photo pek-fco 61
The cabin during meal service…
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…and after
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The only decent pic I took from my aisle seat
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We started to descent
Cabin was prepared for landing
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Approaching Rome
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PHOTOS TAKEN BY MY SISTER
Condos in Rome suburbs
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Rome city center with Colosseum (in the middle of the pic)
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Air China raked wingtip
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We would land on RWY34L, generally used at FCO to handle heavies because of its proximity to International terminal
The landing path is over Tirrean Sea
photo pek-fco 73
The cabin immediately before landing
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Fiumicino Marina
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R(H)ome sweet Home
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China Eastern A330 landed behind us from Shanghai-PVG…
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…and docked at the gate next to us at the new pier
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The cabin during disembarkation
I went to the Purser to have the Flight Report back and the only thing written by the Captain was a smile
No need to say that I neither tried to visit cockpit
photo pek-fco 81

ARRIVAL IN ROME


Fuselage shot from the jetbridge
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I was the last to leave the plane
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I love this elegant nose
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Bye bye Dream)Liner
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Going upstairs for Immigation and Baggage Claim
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China Eastern A330 disembarking from PVG
photo pek-fco 89
Last view of our plane
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Time to see the arrival mezzanine of the new pier
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Alitalia 777 in old livery
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Alitalia 777 in new livery
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Aerolinas Argentinas A330…differently from the departure floor, the arrivals one gives more spotting points
photo pek-fco 95
The new pier is very good
Well done Aeroporti di Roma!

Having the ePassport we turned left
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Sorry for the blurry picture but I wanted to show the new eGates area…
photo pek-fco 101
…and renovated passport control area
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Baggage claim area
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Carousel 6 for our flight

We took baggages in about 5 minutes and, after greeting other group mates, made our way to the exit
photo pek-fco 109
Even the baggage claim hall at FCO has been recently improved
photo pek-fco 110
Finally at home
photo pek-fco 111

This is the end of my flight report and of the entire journey
I was positively impressed by China and I hope to visit again this fascinating country
And I also hope to write soon another report :D
Bye bye and thank you for the attention
See more

Verdict

Air China

6.0/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew5.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Meal/catering7.0

Beijing - PEK

6.5/10
Efficiency7.0
Access7.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness7.0

Rome - FCO

8.1/10
Efficiency8.5
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

This experience with Air China wasn't good as the previous flights (FCO-PEK and SHA-PEK)
And the object of my critic is the cabin crew: even if they are very professional they work as machines without any warmth.
When I asked for a aisle seat because I felt suffocated they reacted as I had asked to a computer for a free seat
IMO a crew member should be more "human" with passengers, obviously keeping their professionality

Related

6 Comments

  • Comment 411759 by
    OH-LWE 33 Comments

    I have had terrible experiences in the past with them flying 777-200ERs from JFK to PEK without any type of IFE...ugh!
    But, I am pleased to see that Air China has offered a very modern product with their 787. I think this cabin is their best one so far.
    Sorry to hear about the fact that you didn't have a window for much of the flight. That must have been tough!
    What is your opinion on the entertainment system of the flight? Were there many Western and/or recent options? TV shows?
    Thanks for this trip report, and happy flying.

    • Comment 411782 by
      Carlotherocks AUTHOR 47 Comments

      The IFE seemed to be a little chaotic :/ there was a good mix of Chinese and Western movies but they are in a totally casual order
      For example I discovered one hour before landing that there was "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" but it was at the end of the list
      Since I tried to sleep as much as I could I didn't see any film
      The airshow was indeed very good :)
      Thank you for the appreciation and happy flying you too

    • Comment 414576 by
      pwecar 53 Comments

      Air China had never operated 777-200ER, only 777-200

      So I guess you were in a 777-300ER

  • Comment 411780 by
    Book_Gazette 5 Comments

    Well thanks for taking a look at China and experiencing their ever improving airline service. PEK's T3 is amazing and I almost got lost when I went there. It's also sad to see those abandoned B747s, as most seem to be converted to a BCF airplane and then fly for CA's cargo airlines. At least service has improved from an old 747 with no PTVs to a very modern Dreamliner

  • Comment 414156 by
    KL651 TEAM 4455 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.
    Too bad CA wasn't as good as on the other flight and that you experienced the robotic and cold chinese crew, which is a risk I'm not sure I'm ready to talke (that and their lack of english).
    The windowless row is a real letdown, epecially for an avgeek!

  • Comment 414577 by
    pwecar 53 Comments

    Thanks for another great report

    Welcome to China again!

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