First time poster, long time lurker! I had booked a biz class ticket for an upcoming work trip to Sydney about 6 months ago once China Eastern's new A350 routes were announced. I've been flying China Eastern routinely between the US and Asia as my company's policy requires us to use the lowest "reasonable" fare which is often on MU and I happen to be a Delta loyalist/Diamond so the mileage earnings are a great plus! In general, China Eastern's hard product is solid but their soft product was lacking but as in the case for this flight, both the hard and soft product were some of the best I've experienced. My plane for the flight was B-304N which was delivered November 28th of 2018
My first leg of the journey was LAX-PVG on MU's 777 which was an all around average experience and due to that flight's delay my 3 hour layover in PVG became a 1 1/2 hour dash. The lounge was incredibly crowded as usual so after a quick Tsingtao I headed to que up to board. Boarding was fast and as I entered I was greeted by the cabin purser and led to my seat, 8L, which I chose because even seats are flush with the window for more privacy.
I love these seats after I first experienced them on Delta and not sure if it was just me but these seem a bit tighter and harder to get in/out of…could have been because I was delirious after my first leg. After getting settled, the same purser came by to welcome me and offer me a beverage from a tray which included the standard OJ, water or their MU mocktail, a blend of cranberry and apple I believe. I asked if he had any champagne to which he gave me a wry smile and said "I'll see what I can do." He returned 5 minutes later with a glass champagne and a wink. Based on my previous interactions with the Chinese crews on MU I found this a very welcoming change and a bit out of character but I was in for a treat as all of the crew seemed to follow his lead in a very warm, friendly yet professional manner throughout the whole flight
I had two FAs working my side who were both very attentive and happy. I was handed a menu and asked for my dinner choice as well as my drink choice. I chose the fish which turned out fine yet not particularly noteworthy and I didnt happen to snag a pic.
I was exhausted after dinner so declined the desert + cheese course, laid the bed down and fell asleep for a good 3 hours. Upon waking the whole cabin was asleep and I was antsy so I proceeded to the galley where I was greeted by one of my FAs. I requested coffee which she immediately made and brought to my seat. I started watching Marvel's Venom (great movie) and my FA came with a refill of coffee as soon as I finished. An hour in or so I paused the movie to stretch and went back to the galley. Again my FA was there but this time around she had laid out a tea selection and some snacks. I asked about the tea choices to which she eagerly explained the differences. I chose a Pu'er tea know for its complexity and almost savory quality. For the remaining 4 or so hours, not kidding, I went through a dozen cups of tea with my FA enthusiastically coming by every so often to refill (tea in pic) :)
I go into this long story to try and convey the sincerity of the crew and the excellent and personal experience. It reminded me of Singapore or another great carrier know for this level of hospitality
The screen and the IFE on the A350 were great although the headphones were very poor quality and the WiFi was inoperable during the flight. They did the job but are due for an upgrade
Two hours before landing, enjoying the view out the window, breakfast started. I chose the Chinese meal and I was glad I did. Easily the best dim-sum I've had
Everything on the plate was delicious. The air-dried eel was tangy and salty, the the black sesame bun was out of this world. Even the congee was good
The crew continued serving passengers as the woke, up until decent . The one strange thing about the procedures on MU is that they are very serious when it comes to protocol. During takeoff and decent the crew walked up and down the isle literally a half dozen times to ensure no one was using a device, headphones were off and seat belts were fastened (with harness).
We landed with some serious cross-wind as you can see the plan crabbing into the wind just before touchdown.
I was honestly sad the flight was over but happy to know that I'd be taking this same route back in a few days. My colleagues often give me a hard time for flying China Eastern as it has a bad reputation. This could have been a one-off of a new flagship route, a new plane and an "A team" crew but going forward I wont hesitate booking with China Eastern
Hope you enjoyed reading! Cheers