Home -> Trip Report -> Beijing-London (LHR) on Air China in First Class

Route: PEK-LHR

Airline: Air China (CA)

Cabin Class: First

Equipment: Boeing 777-300

Flight Number: CA 937

Seat Number: 1L

Air China First class cabin

Date: March 14, 2014

Departure time in Beijing (PEK): 12:55

Arrival time in London (LHR): 15:55

Travel Time: 11h

 

*This is an award travel, First Class flight #16

 

Text and Photography by Arthur Jeciel

 

Introduction

April 6, 2014 When I booked this flight thru US Airways, I had an option of flying in first class on Air China, ANA and Asiana. I thought nobody would really choose Air China since their product and service seems to be subpar but I told myself, I wouldn't be able to know how "bad" the experience is until I get to fly with them. So, in the end, I convinced myself I would fly on Air China back to Europe.

We arrived at the airport about 3 hours before the flight so we had plenty of time for check-in and the lounge visit.

Air China Premium check-in

Check-in counters

After the smooth check-in, we headed to the Air China First Class Lounge, a review of which you can find here.

Boarding started on time at Gate E29.

My first class boarding pass.

The Boeing 777-300 taking us to London that Friday afternoon.

Welcome to my first class seat, 1L!

Originally, I had 2D but since there was an available window seat according to the lounge agent, I then got 1L. Upon boarding, I was surprised to know that I was the only passenger in first class. Mike who was booked in business class waited till the last day before our trip commences to see if Air China would open up more award seats so he could call US Airways and be rebooked in first class incase. It seems that Air China only releases 1 first class award seat per day, from Beijing to London. All the while, we thought the cabin was full. I guess I know what to do next time.

Seat control.

Spacious legroom.

The slippers were too small for me even if it was size 42.

The pajamas on the other hand were too big for me. I would have appreciated it more if they had come to me and apologized for not having my size (the way the Thai flight attendant did on my flight BKK-NRT a month ago) rather than saying nothing at all.

Then it was time for the predeparture beverage, nuts and hot towel. The champagne on board was Champagne Cattier Brut.

The first class menu card and wine list.

The first class amenity kit consisted of L'Occitane lotion, lip balm, a comb, toothbrush and toothpaste, eyemask, earplugs and tissue.

I borrowed Mike's business class amenity kit for photoshooting and it was almost the same, with the exception of the pouchbag.

Personal Closet

Headphones and entertainment controls.

Side storage where the entertainment control is also located.

Seat controls

As soon as the seat belt sign was off, the meal service started beginning with a glass of apple juice and hot towel.

Amouse Bouche

Smoked Salmon

 

Hot Canape

Terriyaki Chicken Skewer

Appetizer

Baby Abalone, Marinated Vermicelli Salad

Bangbang chicken Stripes

Sauteed Black Fungus with Spring Onions

 

Bread Roll with butter

Soup

Braised Pork Shank Soup with Monkey Head Mushroom

Yuzhu and Honey Date

Main Course

Braised Abalone, Prawns and Chicken in Clay Pot

served with Steamed Pearl Rice and Seasonal Vegetables

 

The other choices were:

 

Famous Beijing Quan Ju de Roasted Duck

Cod Fish in Five Color Black Bean Sauce, Wuxi Pork Spare Ribs or Selection

Stir-fried seasonal Vegetables (vegetarian)

Dessert

Dark chocolate Truffle cake

 

Seasonal Fresh Fruit

After the meal, the flight attendant gave me the UK Border landing card and Fast Track card. The strange thing was that she didn't even ask me if I was staying in London or just connecting. It turned out that Mike, who was seating in business class also got the Arrival and fast track cards which means they never really bother to ask.

 

She also asked me if I wanted to have a souvenir and gave me an Air China playing card.

 

Unfortunately, the film selection was very limited so I ended up watching Just for Laughs and some TV sitcoms.

 

The movie snack menu included: Assorted cup Noodles, Fresh Seasonal Fruits, Yoghurts, Chocolate, Mango Pomelo Sago, Ferrero Rocher and Assorted Cookies.

I was able to sleep for a few hours and when I woke up, I was offered something to drink so I had a cup of green tea.

The bar located between the first and business class cabin.

Appetizer

Smoked Marlin, Prawn and Vegetable Salad served with Citrus Dressing

Main Course

Sauteed Dory Fish with Rice Wine Sauce served with Steamed Pearl Rice

 

The other choices were:

 

Thin Rice Noodles with Duck Juliennes and Preserved Vegetables in Chicken Soup

Spinach and Riccota Cheese Canelloni with Tomato Sauce.

Seasonal Fresh Fruit

The lavatory amenities included L'Occitane products.

I was also given a thank you card by the flight attendants. Thanks, Air China!

Conclusion

 

There it was, my first flight on Air China in first class. I loved the fact the flight attendant asked how she could best address me when she escorted me to my seat. Also, when I asked one of the female cabin attendants serving the cabin if I could have an Air China pen as a souvenir, she was very apologetic because she couldn't find one. A few minutes later, another young lady came to me and gave me the pen I was requesting. Cool.

 

On the other hand, I thought that the food was subpar compared to other airlines. Also, they didn't have a mattress so sleeping was not really that comfortable. The slippers and pajamas that were not my size was not a very good sign. The film selection was very limited as well.

 

And now that I have experienced flying in first class on Air China, I just wish them goodluck and hope they could improve their service and product in the future.

 

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