Review of China Eastern flight Shanghai Xiamen in Economy

Airline China Eastern
Flight MU5661
Class Economy
Seat --
Aircraft Airbus A321
Flight time 01:35
Take-off 31 Oct 11, 07:15
Arrival at 31 Oct 11, 08:50
MU   #93 out of 132 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 146 reviews
marathon
By GOLD 10071
Published on 1st September 2013
This report was originally posted in my native French. This is one is the second segment in a two week vacation in Mainland China in November, 2011.

Taipei TSA – Shanghai Pudong PVG (Shanghai Airlines 802) in French here, in English there
Shanghai Hongqiao SHA - Xiamen XMN (China Eastern 5661) in French here , YOU ARE HERE
Jinjiang JJN – Guangzhou CAN – (Shenzhen Airlines 9548) in French here , in English there
Guangzhou CAN – Xiamen XMN (China Southern Airlines 3805) in French here , in English there
Longyan LCX – Shanghai Hongqiao SHA (Juneyao Airlines 1146) in French here, in English there
Shanghai Pudong PVG - Taipei TSA (Shanghai Airlines 801) in French here , in English there

Arrival by taxi at Shanghai Honqiao's Terminal 2 at 6:06 am. It is SHA's main terminal, beyond which a brand new and gigantic new high speed rail station has been built.

photo P1150102a

It is much earlier than needed, because check-in of domestic flight closes usually at T-30'. Except when the Chinese authorities are edgy, like when I bought that ticket online in September.

photo increased%252520security

Why this security reinforcement of? The reason is never provided, but the reason was transparent to whoever is used to China: the National Holiday (October 1st) was coming up and the Chinese police is always nervous at the approach of anniversary days. Apparently, the Communist takeover does not gather unanimous support here. In early October, that warning had vanished from the screens.

photo P1150105%252520pano%252520a

My margin was much more than you would imagine, because I was booked on flight FM9253, departing at 8:10. But at check-in, in a mixture of Mandarin and English, the employee told me something like delay 7:15, or maybe 7:50. The first hypothesis was the correct one : was it a consequence of my FB Elite status (Shanghai Airlines and China Eastern had joined Skyteam), or plain aircraft filling optimization? I was not going to protest against a delay of minus 55 minutes.

Of course, my comfortable margin had instantly vanished, and by the time I reached without hurry gate 52, boarding was starting. I nevertheless had the time to take the picture of these A320s next to gate 52.

photo P1150108aphoto P1150111a


Better flight, better trip? it is a reference to Shanghai's 2010 World Expo motto, whose colors the MU plane in the background still displays.

I was not going to board any of these aircraft, but one parked away from the terminal.

photo P1150114a

This is it, distorted by the panoramic fusion of two pictures.
photo P1150117%252520pano%252520aphoto P1150124a

This A321 is not quite usual, because the layout has three rows of business class versus the usual two, with a gigantic seat pitch which would rather that of medium hal flights. There they are, taken when being last to leave the aircraft.

photo P1150171a

On the other hand, the seat pitch is less than usual in economy

photo P1150170a

No problem for me, but a Chinese much taller than I had the knees in the seat in front of him.

photo P1150129a

The plane si parked next to a Shanghai Airlines 757.

photo P1150128a

Take off before two Spring Airlines A320s.

photo P1150133a

Note the half dozen red tails of Shanghai Airlines planes.

photo P1150135aphoto P1150136a

The left side is that of the sun's direction and I coud not take useful landscape pictures. Some interesting lighting effects once above the cloud layer.



As far as the meal was concerned, it was quite disappointing on the domestic Chinese scale, which is way a bove the French domestic one, and cannot be seen from the US domestic one. The quantity is there, but it is quite stuffy and tasteless, and the water ration is not enough to help get this down the throat.

photo P1150148a

The coffee is a beverage which is as strange as that served on the previous FM802 flight. Small wonder, since FM isa subsidiary of MU. After this second tasting session, I decided that i twas probably a 0% coffee ersatz, quite remote from the original taste, but nevertheless interesting.

Descent on the island of Xiamen, bordered with industrial harbors.

photo P1150157a

Nobody will be surprised to see many Xiamen Airlines planes in Xiamen (XMN).

photo P1150161a

But there is also this rarity: an aircraft of Yangtze Express (a freight company in the Hainan Airlines group)

photo P1150162a

Several Shandong Airlines aircraft

photo P1150165a

And a Xinhua Airlines plane, hiding an ordinary Air China plane.

photo P1150167a

Lots of planes of Hainan airlines and its associated airlines, actually.

photo P1150172a

The same Xinhua Airlines

photo P1150175a

There is not much of a crowd in XMN, and the unusual absence of separation between departing and arriving passengers makes it easier to appreciate the wide architecture of the building.

photo P1150176a

I disembarked last, and my luggage arrived at the same as I did in the luggage delivery room. How many airports have a piano in the luggage delivery room?

photo P1150177a
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Verdict

China Eastern

7.6/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering6.5

Shanghai - SHA

8.9/10
Efficiency9.5
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness8.0

Xiamen - XMN

8.5/10
Efficiency10.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

Punctuality: maximum grade of course, since I flew on the previous flight, which was on time. The reduced seat pitch was not a problem for me, and the plane was 75% full, which left the center seat empty next to me. On the other hand, the meal was disappointing.

Information on the route Shanghai (SHA) Xiamen (XMN)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 3 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Shanghai (SHA) → Xiamen (XMN).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is China Eastern with 6.9/10.

The average flight time is 1 hours and 30 minutes.

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