Review of China Eastern flight Chengdu Shanghai in Economy

Airline China Eastern
Flight MU5414
Class Economy
Seat 56J
Aircraft Airbus A321
Flight time 02:50
Take-off 18 Mar 17, 15:40
Arrival at 18 Mar 17, 18:30
MU 170 reviews
NGO85
By SILVER 334
Published on 10th November 2022

background


This series was a trip to China back in 2017 with stops in Shanghai, Chengdu, and Jiuzhaigou. The LAX-CTU round-trip was booked through Delta and the 3U and CA tickets were purchased as one-way tickets through Ctrip to complete the routing since there are no SkyTeam codeshare flights to JZH during low season. The routing is:



pre-flight


Originally, our plan was to take advantage of a long 6+ hour layover in CTU to take a taxi to the Sichuan Museum and Du Fu Cottage. Seeing the state of the air in Chengdu, we opted to just take the next available flight to PVG/SHA. We exited the baggage claim and went back up to the check-in counters to try and get rebooked on an earlier MU/FM flight.


photo 1

The agent we found was able to rebook us on a 15:40 flight to PVG, the 15:00 flight to SHA on FM was just about to start boarding so we agreed to just take the 15:40 flight on MU. We took our boarding passes and immediately went towards security.


photo 2

FIDS and security at CTU T2.


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Chinese airports love signage on the floor.


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After clearing security in less than 10 minutes, we quickly went off towards our gate.


photo 5

A pro-Mao panda.


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Our plane at the gate. This will be the best shot of the plane since CTU is terrible for spotting, which is only compounded by the suffocating smog.


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The best view of our plane from the waiting area. Our A321 will be in the old livery despite being only 3 years old.


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Boarding pass.


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flight


China Eastern Airlines, MU 5414
Equipment: Airbus A321 [B-9947, delivered July 2013]
Departure: 15:40 (ATD: 16:06)
Arrival: 18:30 (ATA: 18:18)
Flight time: 2:12 


Boarding was called right on time and I couldn’t really tell what was happening, but there didn’t seem to be a clear priority line or it just boarded so fast that we missed our chance. We just boarded with Y.


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Entering the plane, the standard welcome aboard in Chinese and English by the FAs in the galley. We make our way back to the very last rows of Y. The seats are the new slim line seats and are very bright blue in color.


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View of the cabin from my seat as boarding was completing.


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Seat pitch is quite good in Y, definitely some of the best Y comfort we had on this trip.


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Ads on the antimacassar and back of the tray table.


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Audio controls in the armrest.


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Seatback contents.


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Safety card for this A321.


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Connections magazine.


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Vibrating chair ad on the back of the magazine, a great accent piece for any rooftop terrace^^


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Boarding wrapped up quickly and we were soon backing up from our gate well ahead of schedule. My long range photography from the aisle seat will be limited to the winglet.


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The safety video played on the overhead monitors as we taxied out to the runway.


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As we reached the runway, a KL B789 was heading back to AMS.


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We took off and quickly disappeared into the haze until we popped through the clouds and got blue skies again.


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The monitors came down and played a Chinese stand-up comedy.


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About 45 minutes into the flight, the in-flight service started. Instead of doing a drink service first like CZ, meal service was first. The male FA working our aisle was fine, but by the time he reached our row, he only had chicken/rice left so we didn't get a chance to see what the noodle option was.


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The snack box and hot dish.


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The snack box contents, which weren’t quite as good as the one that CZ offered.


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The main, which was not visually appealing, but had a good amount of heat in the sauce to make it a decent meal (not surprising coming from Sichuan).


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It was even better with the pickled mushrooms on top.


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MU spork^^


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The 100mL water inside.


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Salted dried peas.


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The bread had date inside.


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After the meal service, they did the first drink service. I went for the insipid sweet coffee.


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The dessert was some almond cookies.


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After the meal, they did a tea service.


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A stop in the bathroom, which was clean and for the first time I’ve seen contained an actual bar of soap casually placed on the side of the sink. Who would use a random bar of soap?


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View of the cabin leaving the lavatory.


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Before landing, there was another drink service so I had a cup of apple juice.


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We landed ahead of schedule and had a long taxi to the gate. Deplaning took awhile, but eventually into the HSBC plastered jet bridge.


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We had a long walk back to the exit.


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Down into the baggage claim, with no bags checked we were quickly out and on our way.


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I’ll leave off this series here during our brief stay in Shanghai before heading back to LA.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Verdict

China Eastern

7.0/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew7.0
Entertainment/wifi3.0
Meal/catering9.0

Chengdu - CTU

6.5/10
Efficiency8.0
Access6.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness6.0

Shanghai - PVG

7.5/10
Efficiency7.0
Access6.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

A good flight on MU, no complaints. The flight was on-time and the catering/cabin were both very good.

CTU:
- Security was fast, but the airport (at least in the domestic terminal) is very dark and lacks a lot of amenities.
- The MU ground staff were very helpful and quickly rebooked us on an earlier flight with no questions asked.

Flight:
- Newer cabin on the A321, the seat was fine for a 3h flight and the legroom was quite generous.
- The IFE is only overhead monitors that just played TV shows the entire, no moving map. No USB/AC charging or WiFi.
- Catering is always astonishing on Chinese domestic flights, they offer better meals than you see on some long-haul flights.
- The crew was just average. They did several drink runs, but very neutral in interaction.

PVG:
- Long taxi to the gate and long walk to the baggage claim. At least we got a gate versus paxbus.

Related

4 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 615416 by
    Pilpintu SILVER 852 Comments

    Chinese airports love signage on the floor.

    Two thumbs up for them! Essential for a “volado” (despistado) like me!

    A pro-Mao panda.

    You sure it’s not a member of the Chilean constitutional assembly? They characterize themselves as Pikachu and dinosaurs here.

    Boarding pass.

    Old livery, old pass... I’m loving these vintage touches. How cool that the information on the boarding pass is written in four languages. Is that common in China?

    The seats are the new slim line seats and are very bright blue in color.

    Lovely! I’m all for bright colors!

    Seat pitch is quite good in Y

    Remarkable!

    a Chinese stand-up comedy.

    Intriguing. What can you laugh at other than politicians?!

    The snack box and hot dish.

    For a short domestic flight??? :O

    The bread had date inside.

    The date looks... dated. XD

    the first drink service.

    And then a drink service... on the same flight?? :O

    After the meal, they did a tea service.

    I just fainted.

    Who would use a random bar of soap?

    A random passenger washing their hands, I guess??? XD

    Before landing, there was another drink service

    Stop that!! I’m gonna suffer a stroke!!

    One of the best Y services I have read about so far! I wonder if it survived the pandemic.
    Thank you very much for sharing!

    • Comment 615491 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1755 Comments

      Hola Nelson, thanks for stopping by!

      How cool that the information on the boarding pass is written in four languages. Is that common in China?

      It is not common for airline issued boarding passes, but for the airport card stock it is not unexpected to have all major northern Asian languages (Chinese, Korean, Japanese) to cover >95% of passengers.

      One of the best Y services I have read about so far! I wonder if it survived the pandemic.

      China domestic catering is a rare species indeed, it is by far the best in the world. Well, once they loosen up their restrictions entry restrictions, I will soon go and find out the current state of affairs^^

  • Comment 615723 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5952 Comments

    That's a really solid meal for a 2.5h flight! I wonder if that's changed in the Covid-era. I would assume so as China's been very very very strict with sanitary protocol. Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 615777 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1755 Comments

      Hi Kevin, they likely have reduced service, but I think being fairly encapsulated it is likely not as substantial as what has been seen across other markets. Hopefully, with the continued reduction in entry restrictions I can find out soon.

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