Air China's first class cabin consists of 8 open suites in a 1-2-1 configuration. The suites are semi-private but do not have a door that closes. Between the two center suites is a large partition that can be raised or lowered for privacy or couples travelling together. It was this feature that helped us choose CA over other airlines, since couples in first can be quite separated. (I hear this is a similar layout to the Thai A380)
The seats are very wide and comfortable for sitting. When converted to a bed, the flight attendant added a thin mattress cover but I was still a bit uncomfortable and could not seem to fall asleep (I usually sleep quite well in other lie-flat seats). Another factor that made getting comfortable difficult was the power seat adjustment. The motion of the seat was somewhat basic, so although you could make minor adjustments to the top and bottom surfaces of the seat, it was mostly limited to one continuous adjustment between sitting upright and laying down. (I prefer to lift my legs but not recline too far, a position which was impossible to achieve with this seat)
There was lots of storage around the seat, which was nice since the front two center seats do not have overhead storage. We ended up putting our bags over the outside seats, since they were unoccupied. The outer shell of the suite does have a thin compartment suitable for hanging up a suit coat or jacket.
The amenity kit (although L'Occitane brand) was small and basic. It contained a comb, ear plugs, eye shades, toothbrush, colgate toothpaste, lotion, and lipbalm. The blanket provided was perfectly thick and soft, but the only pajamas available were too large to be comfortable. The bathroom had a nice fold-down bench that you could use when changing clothes, however the bathroom itself was a little small and not kept very clean.
During boarding we were served cold nuts, a cold towel, and water. This again was sub-standard as most airlines provide warmed nuts and hot towels, with champagne even in business class.
As our flight was departing at 1:00 AM, menus were quickly distributed and orders taken.
The wines and alcohol available were very limited and lower quality.
Several different teas available.
Simply prepared Ahi tuna. Served with another cold towel. I ordered a white wine.
Beef with black mushrooms. The taste was okay but plain, and this presentation reminded me of an economy class meal.
A quick peek out at the snowy landscape below
The Chinese appetizer: Chicken salad, cabbage salad, and jellyfish salad served with cold canape of prosciutto and smoked salmon. None of this was my cup of tea, but others may have enjoyed it.
Main course of chili chicken & shrimp. The taste was okay, but again a little more bland than I expected. Also, for some unknown reason my wine was replaced with orange juice, and though I requested more wine, it never appeared.
Assorted fruit plate.
Lemon raspberry cake
Small icecream snack, it says a lot when this was actually the best part of the meal.
The IFE was slow and glitchy (my companion's IFE was crashed for most of the flight). Even if it had been working, the English selection of movies was very limited. One interesting feature of the IFE was the many configurations of the navigation maps showing the flight from different perspectives.
Another interesting feature was the ability to play No-limit texas holdem with other passengers. However, there were no other players online when I checked, and with most of the first class suites empty, I wasn't sure if business or economy passengers had access to the same IFE games.
I have no photos of flight attendants, since they spent most of the flight in the galley chatting amongst themselves. While they weren't rude when called, I wouldn't call them friendly either and I got the impression they didn't understand most of the English I was speaking.
I landed in PEK, a bit disappointed with this flight, sore and tired from the lack of comfortable sleep, and to top it off, Air China lost half of our luggage. We spent a couple extra hours waiting for our luggage to be found before giving up and going to the hotel without it. Luckily, they found and delivered our bag the next day.
Houston - IAH
Beijing - PEK
Overall, I felt my experience with Air China was disappointing. Better than economy, of course, but this service would have been lackluster for business class, so it was certainly not a first-class experience I would pay for in the future.
Flight-Report is a free website hosting more than 500 000 pictures and 17 000 reviews, without ads, this website can't exist. We understand that ads can be annoying, this is why we only display a maximum of 2 non-invasive ads per page.
To continue using Flight-Report, we invite you to add Flight-Report to your blocker's "white list".