When checking in on the previous MU flight I occasionally found the upcoming flight list in a week, showing I would be taking CA1315, the B748 flight. Since I didn't book the flight by myself, this was really a huge surprise for an AvGeek. This would be the second(or the first) Boeing 747 flight, after a 747-400 flight from Guangzhou to Beijing on 8 years ago.
Due to the economics and capacity issues, Boeing 747 are gradually replaced by twin jets, like B777, B787, A330 and A350. Even the latest model, B747-8I, isn't the favor of various airlines. Thankfully there are still some who preserve this newest Queen for passengers, that is Lufthansa, and recently, Air China(soon Korean Air will be among them).
Two years after the launch customer of this type, Lufthansa, Air China received its first B747-8I, B-2485, in September 30, 2014, on the eve of the National Day. Currently Air China flies daily(CA1315 and CA1316) from Beijing to Guangzhou for the purpose of crew training, and on January 2015 it will be deployed on Beijing-Frankfurt as its first Intercontinental route. Being based on Guangzhou, I'm so delighted and honored to witness and ride on this beauty to my home!
So let's start the journey on Queen.
At 8am I got in the booked van. As you can see, the North 4th ring road was already packed with cars. Luckily this didn't last long as we were soon on the way out of the city.
Within an hour I arrived at the PEK T3, the hub for Air China and its affiliates and partners. There were dedicated check-in counters for the flights to major domestic cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Hangzhou and Chongqing, so the queue wasn't that long as I expected.
The boarding pass.
Our flight would depart from gate D10, which is in concourse D that needs an APM ride. This is also my first departure in T3D.
As you can see, this flight would the first flight departing from T3D today. The security was unbelievably smooth: I didn't queue even for a second! That's amazing!
And here she is, right on there. Wow. She attracted so many passengers to take photos on her.
There's still an hour to boarding so I took a visit on T3D. Here's the latest special livery of Air China, right next to our gate! How lucky I am!
B-2006 B777-300ER Air China ?(Love)China
There were some sofas and shops on the center of the concourse, yet there wasn't many customers who have willing to spend and most staffs were boring and sleepy.
(I'm really sorry for the blurring..)
LH720 from FRA had just landed! D-ABYA, the first B748 delivered to Lufthansa! BTW my flight is also codeshared with LH.
Have a look at T3E, the international concourse. Basically ruled by CA.
It's really busy on PEK's ramp. In this picture we got three CA's widebodies: an A333, a B77W, and a B744.
You can see the T2 on the background.
The B744 was preparing for its next flight, probably to SHA.
Etihad 888 was on its way to Nagoya with a stopover of an hour in PEK. Another CA B744 had just landed on rwy 36L.
These two would be the busiest shops in the whole concourse.
A 772 and a 773 passed the queen.
The FID on the gate.
The boarding started like 5 or 10 minutes prior the announcement. Might be some issues on its settings as 747 needs more time on boarding.
Look at that massive wing! Love it!
It's too bad that I didn't take any photos on the premium cabins. Sadly CA didn't use the latest seats on F/J but keeps the design on their 77W instead.
As you can see on this seat map, the Premium Economy(yellow green seats) have a dedicated cabin. However the seat itself is the same product as the normal economy seats, so as the seat width and the recline angle. The pitch has been stretched to 40 inches, which is more generous than most of its rivals. The pitch on economy seats is 32~33 inch, just hit the bottom line of Asian companies.
Here's the actual image of PE seats. It didn't give an impression of premium at all IMO.
And these are economy seats. Even for a short haul flight, pillows and blankets are already placed on seats. Nice touch! The color schemes are harmonious with the ambiance too.
The headrests are also adjustable, yet it can't be lowered from its initial position, so I couldn't adjust it to fit my neck.
Legroom shot. It would be acceptable even for long haul flights.
View from my seat. The center galley is quite close to my seat. Leg rest is also available yet I found it quite useless for my height and your position would be awkward when putting your feet on it.
Safety instructions and inflight magazines.
The IFE system is similar to the ones on CX and CZ 77W. It has smooth interface and adequate contents to enjoy. You can also charge your device or read contents on your device with the USB port provided. The only flaw on this system is that there isn'"/>
Our neighbor had been switched to a Boeing 737.
Air China had updated their safety video for B747-8. The animation certainly made the video more attractive to passengers.
Turning to runway 36L.
Takeoff thrust confirmed.
And rotate! You can see the international section of PEK T2.
T1 and T2 domestic.
We immediately turned left after airborne. The visibility was typical in Beijing and northern China.
The flight information interface.
It became clearer when entered the mountains in Hebei.
30 minutes after airborne, something odd happened. The entertainment system seemed crashed and a reboot was made. Then my touch screen couldn'"/>
Since the calling button was integrated into the IFE, I had to ask my mate to call the flight attendant to fix the issue. She said that she would reboot my system, yet I didn'"/>
PEK-CAN is always a busy route.
Have a look at the toilet. It'"/>
Back to the warm south, you can see the greens again.
The suburb of Guangzhou.
TG A333 and VN A321 were preparing for their flight home.
When disembarking I asked the flight attendants if I could visit the cockpit. Just as expected, this didn'"/> "/>
Beijing - PEK
Guangzhou - CAN
Air China offers competitive hard products on market: private suite in F, flat seat in J, and good seat pitch in W/Y. The crew wasn't proactive on serving and they didn't fix my IFE. The catering was not too bad, edible. The IFE crashed so no comment.
PEK T3D is nice, modern, clean and has all the basic services.
CAN is getting aging.
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