November 12, 2019

What it is like flying Air China… From New York to Beijing

Long-time readers are well versed about the topics covered on this site–topics include beauty, fashion, lifestyle-related topics and let’s not ignored our cocktails recipes. However, I wanted to share this story because, during my research on Air China about their basic economy, I wish I had more detailed information on my specific route (more on that below) and other general tidbits.

As for my journey to China, it all started when my mother decided that she had to visit The Great Wall of China this year and soon. What’s more, she invited me along. Naturally, not one to turn down an opportunity to travel and visit China (this is my second time visiting the country), I set my sights on looking for affordable and reliable travel accommodations. 

I settled on Air China. The basic economy fare for my desired dates and destination was too good to pass up but more importantly, the booking allowed for a direct flight to Beijing. In my experience, the best way to avoid travel nightmares is to stick to direct flights whenever possible. That said, despite the affordable fare, I was apprehensive about flying the airline because I read a slew of decidedly mixed reviews. 

However, as a member of Star Alliance and because of my positive experience with their partner airlines, I felt fairly confident that despite the mixed reviews my experience would be unproblematic and comfortable. In turns out, my hunch was right. Admittedly, when compared to member airlines like Air Japan or Copa Air, the service wasn’t as robust. The service while really acceptable was lighter than I would expect.

As for my journey, I booked a flight from JFK to Beijing (CA982) and a return from Shanghai (CA 1552) with a transit stop in Beijing (CA 989) to JFK. The check-in was a breeze. The agent was helpful in addressing my questions and quickly completed the process. The plane was surprisingly comfortable featuring a three-four-three seat configuration. There was enough leg room so that I didn’t feel cramped (I am 5’8) which as for my height was a plus. During my research, I saw a lot of reviews mentioning that the entertainment selection was limited to Chinese programs. However, in this route, the selection is current and included many new films that helped pass the time during the 13h+ flight. The on flight wifi also allowed passengers another option to surf the internet, so Instagram was still available and who yes even the ability to engage diamond reels casino. The flight attendants were also efficient at their jobs. They constantly walked the plane to make sure everyone was comfortable and following the rules. 

My special vegetarian special request meal.

During the flight, we receive two meal services. Since I had a special meal request, I received mine before everyone else. The food was okay. Unlike, the food in Air Japan which was excellent for plane food. As for beverage services, we got a light drink about an hour after take-off were passengers could request basic beverages or a beer. At mealtime, there was the added option of red or white wine. While the meal service and beverage selection was acceptable I was disappointed in was the lack of snacks. It was none existent. After meals were served the flight attendants stopped with the beverage service too. I found that odd.  Food is important to me so much so that I only managed to take pictures of my food during the flight. No snacks was confusing to me but I survived. 

I joke again but I did have a pleasant experience and would consider the airline again. I will just have my snacks with me.

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