I normally fly to Tokyo on Qantas, but this trip we decided to fly Air China and have a stopover in Shanghai. We flew 4 separate Air China flights on this trip.
So how does Air China rate?
Air China’s Sydney office assured us that our baggage would be checked through to Tokyo, so we could have a baggage free stopover in Shanghai. But when we arrived at Sydney airport, we were told this wasn’t possible. We eventually found a baggage locker at Shanghai Airport but it was still annoying. It’s not hard to give people the correct information.
The planes were a little shabby. The seats were small and my light didn’t work on one leg, which was a pain. But on the plus side it was just two seats together so we didn’t have to share. The other foot and I bunkered down and enjoyed our time together, as we always do on planes.
The handsets needed a clean (a pet peeve), and a higher IQ than Dom and I combined to work out how to use them. On the flight from Sydney to Shanghai there were only a couple of movies in English. 2012... a movie about death, destruction and Armageddon. Another appropriate choice was… Amelia... about Amelia Earhart, whose plane went down over the South Pacific.
We had a wider range to choose from on the return flight, however watching Black Swan through bad turbulence wasn’t a good idea.
Kids fared better with a series of films such as Megamind and Fantastic Mr. Fox. Not great games though. Small, dated and once again the handsets did Dom’s head in.
We pre-ordered the vegetarian option. On all four legs, most meals were edible. A couple were even good. One was… well we’re still taking bets as to what it was. Neither of us could work it out. Not sure why it was called a “special meal”…
“This is meant to be a special meal.”
“Unless it juggles or sings, I don’t see it.”
The beer was great, however on one flight (fortunately a short one) when we both asked for a beer, the flight attendant brought us one can and two cups.
“That’s our only beer,” she barked.
We were too scared to argue with her. See below.
The flight attendants are polite and efficient, but I wouldn’t mess with them. Don’t you dare raise the armrest before the light goes off. While they don’t have the charm of the Singapore Airlines staff, or the manners of the flight attendants on JAL, I would totally trust them to kick the crap out of anyone endangering the flight. And quite frankly, I’d prefer that to a nice smile.
Overall, the flights were good; staff efficient, smooth landings, and we would definitely fly them again.
3 out of 5 feet!