Review of Air China flight Beijing Hong Kong in Business

Airline Air China
Flight CA109
Class Business
Seat 15A
Aircraft Airbus A330-300
Flight time 03:05
Take-off 21 Dec 17, 13:35
Arrival at 21 Dec 17, 16:40
CA   #81 out of 134 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 174 reviews
toyion
By 1955
Published on 23rd December 2018

Routing


My apologies for the delayed review again. I flew Air China business class, from Tokyo to Hong Kong via Beijing in Dec 2017. This report covers the second leg from Beijing to Hong Kong. I had 1.5 hour for my transfer which I thought would be safe for myself and my luggage, but it was not the case.

I've got my boarding pass of this flight at Haneda already. Air China is a Star Alliance member but I was surprised that their ground handling agent was JAL but not ANA. The boarding pass and luggage tag were also printed on JAL paper.


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Obviously Beijing Capital Airport was not designed as a transfer hub. Connecting passengers have to walk through a very narrow and dark passage with just a few counters. After my boarding pass got stamped, walked downstairs (very narrow again) and queued for a chaotic security check. Many transferring passengers were squeezed in a cramped space with just two security counters. Staff keep shouting flight numbers to let passengers with tight connection time go first. I would say the whole process was disastrous. After getting myself thru the security check, my flight was already making the final boarding call. Need not to mention no time for checking out the Air China Business Class Lounge.

CA109 Beijing to Hong Kong


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Air China A330-300 (Reg: B-8577)


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Air China's A330-300 business class comes with flat-bed seats in 2-2-2 configuration. So passengers sitting on the window sides don't have aisle access if you got a fellow passenger. I masked the feet of my fellow passenger in order not to affect your appetite.


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Had a glass of orange juice for my pre-departure drink


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The menu and wine list of this flight. The menu will be taken away after taking your order (Probably they'll reuse it). A bit odd comparing to airlines like Cathay or ANA. But it's good in term of environmental friendly.



Taking off from Beijing Capital Intl Airport, misty as usual


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Soon the meal services were started. I had a glass of Greatwall Dry Red Wine produced in Hebei Province of China. I don't usually drink red wine so I can't give any comment.


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For the main dish, I chose the Chinese option - Gongbao Chicken. A bit greasy but taste good. The appetizer Five Spicy Smoked Pomfret was a bit weird, I just left it behind.


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Desserts: Cake and sliced fruit.


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After meal services, lighting was dimmed for a while before landing


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Flying over Zhuhai and Macau. All flights from Guangzhou FIR must fly via this point to enter Hong Kong airspace.


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Landed HKG at about 4:40pm


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At the luggage claim, I kept my eyes on the carousel but I couldn't find my suitcase. I headed to the luggage lost & damage counter to figure out what happened. The gentleman at the counter key in my luggage tag number and told me "Your luggage is now on the next flight CA115 and expected to arrive after 2~3 hours." We all love flying F, but this time another word starting with F came up in my mind. Luckily my family is living in Hong Kong so the situation was not that bad. The gentleman told me to go home first, my suitcase will be sent to my home using express courier once arrived Hong Kong. Finally my suitcase arrived at about 1am midnight!

A Property Irregularity Report was given to me. 


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It was the first time I see a luggage tag in red mark, and a RUSH sign.


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Verdict

Air China

6.4/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew7.0
Entertainment/wifi5.5
Meal/catering6.0

Beijing - PEK

5.4/10
Efficiency2.0
Access7.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness6.5

Hong Kong - HKG

7.9/10
Efficiency7.5
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

Avoid transferring in Beijing unless you have plenty of connecting time (say >3hrs), or you fully understand the possibility of missing flight (both yourself and your luggage). I can't deny the prices of Air China are really attractive, most of the time you could fly on their business class with just a bit more than the prices of economy class of premium airlines such as Cathay or ANA. But, it DOES come with a cost.

For the flight itself, I have no complaint as you get what you expected on Air China.

Information on the route Beijing (PEK) Hong Kong (HKG)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 18 reviews of 4 airlines on the route Beijing (PEK) → Hong Kong (HKG).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Cathay Pacific with 8.4/10.

The average flight time is 3 hours and 39 minutes.

  More information

11 Comments

  • Comment 481431 by
    lagentsecret SILVER 10621 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this FR

    An unpleasant transfer with a disastrous process.

    The seat is quite confortable, especially for a 3 hours flight

    "I don't usually drink red wine so I can't give any comment."
    At least, will you drink it again ?

    The cake looks being a sweet buttercream cake

    The meal seems to be average at best.

    Did you have to close the window shades ?
    It was a daylight flight !

    "It was the first time I see a luggage tag in red mark, and a RUSH sign."
    Not enough !
    Or they didn't care about all these tags

    See you soon (or not ;) ) for the next flight

    • Comment 481510 by
      toyion AUTHOR 47 Comments

      Hi Lagentsecret, thank you for stopping by!

      >The seat is quite confortable, especially for a 3 hours flight

      Yes the seat is decent for a short to medium haul flights. Indeed I flew from Beijing to Singapore on Air China and same type of aircraft too. I had a nice dream and the seat is perfect if you don't mind no privacy and jump over your fellow passenger when going to washroom while fellow passenger is sleeping.

      >At least, will you drink it again ?

      I don't usually drink red wine so I probably won't lol, but it's quite interesting China has their own red wine manufacturer, actually this red wine is available from the Beijing Air China First & Business Class Lounge

      >The cake looks being a sweet buttercream cake

      That was a hazelnut cake (from the menu), but from my memory it was dry like a cleaning cloth

      >Did you have to close the window shades ?

      Usually I'll close the window shades as not to affect other passengers :)

      >See you soon (or not ;) ) for the next flight

      I'll write the review for the return flights asap, hopefully lol

  • Comment 481451 by
    STAR-ALLIANCE-FLYER 46 Comments

    Sad to hear that, BUT really good report!!

    Had similar stories with CA at PEK on CA 985 form CKG to PEK back in 2016...... It;s miserable....

    On your way back, MAKE SURE to use Singapore Airline Lounge, which is free for you since is Star Alliance Members. Also Thai Lounge. United. I look forward to a full review of those 3 star alliance lounges:))

    • Comment 481454 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4945 Comments

      This report is from 2017 so that probably won't happen :-)

    • Comment 481511 by
      toyion AUTHOR 47 Comments

      Hi STAR-ALLIANCE-FLYER, thank for reading!

      >Had similar stories with CA at PEK on CA 985 form CKG to PEK back in 2016...... It;s miserable....

      Sorry to hear that. But I can't deny the ticket prices of Air China are very attractive... especially for their business class to Southeast Asia. You just invest a bit more than economy class of other airlines and get a better seat, also 125% mileage (for me I accumulate them into ANA)

      >On your way back, MAKE SURE to use Singapore Airline Lounge, which is free for you since is Star Alliance Members. Also Thai Lounge. United. I look forward to a full review of those 3 star alliance lounges:))

      I think in the opposite way lol. Of course I was eligible to access SQ/UA/TG lounges in HKG, but the default lounge for Air China is the CNAC VIP Lounge (a contract lounge mainly for Chinese airlines). Because I have NH*G status, access to SQ/UA/TG lounges is always available for me, but the CNAC VIP Lounge not. So this time I chose the CNAC VIP Lounge instead of *A lounges. To be honest, SG lounge in HKG is a bit overrated from my point of view. Of course they provide decent food selections but the drawback is too crowded. For peak hour you can't even grab a seat in the SQ lounge. My favourite goes to the United Club, food is not on par with SQ but not bad at all. Most importantly the United Club in HKG provides an open space and quiet environment comparing to SQ. For the TG lounge, don't expect much... I'll cover those three lounges for the coming reports! (Please be patient, sorry lol)

  • Comment 481453 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4945 Comments

    Hi Toyion, great report as usual! PEK seems to be a nightmare for international-to-international connections. I guess technically HKG counts as international since there are different visa rules than mainland China. Hopefully the new gigantic Beijing airport will be better planned for transit passengers.

    Otherwise it seems like it was a nice flight and really good value for money with lie-flats on a 3-hour flight. The catering looks decent, at least visually.

    "I masked the feet of my fellow passenger"
    - Thank you for that! Bare feet gross me out, haha.

    Thanks again for another great report!

    • Comment 481512 by
      toyion AUTHOR 47 Comments

      Yes you're right. Flights to/from Hong Kong and Macau are counted as international flights as they require immigration control. One more thing forgot to mention is that, you can't connect to Whatsapp, LINE, Facebook and Twitter in Beijing Airport, and we all know the reason why :)

  • Comment 481457 by
    YGeorgeW SILVER 92 Comments

    Thanks for the trip report! I've flown through Beijing a lot and I go out of my way to avoid having to connect to somewhere else - I try to terminate and then take the train. HKG is a bit far for that though.

  • Comment 481498 by
    ShinBi 8 Comments

    Thanks for the report! I've flown through PEK on CA recently from ICN to LAX and I picked a 7 hr transfer just to make sure my luggage won't get lost as easily. It's nice to see CA having better service compared to their fellow country airport service.

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