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Air China – Shanghai, China (SHA) to Beijing, China (PEK) – Flight CA1516

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Air China – Shanghai, China (SHA) to Beijing, China (PEK) – Flight CA1516 – First Class Flight: We were in China to review a number of five-star and luxury hotels and restaurants in Hangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing and were just starting our final leg of this travel review trip to go from Shanghai to Beijing. (Click here to read our Shanghai hotel and restaurant reviews and click here to read our Beijing hotel and restaurant reviews.)

Our Air China flight from Shanghai was scheduled to leave at 6:55 PM and arrive in Beijing at 9:15 PM, making for a flight time of just under 2 ½ hours. We had booked our First Class flight weeks in advance on the internet and called our local Air China office to reserve our seats.

Check-In: We arrived at the Shanghai airport about an hour before our scheduled departure. It took us a few minutes to find the Air China First Class check-in counter, but once we were there, the agent was quick and efficient. Within just a few minutes we had our boarding passes and were on our way.

First Impressions: As this was the second time we were flying First Class on an Air China domestic flight that week, we were pretty sure what to expect on board. However, I was surprised to see the configuration of the First Class Air China cabin was 2x3x2. That meant that the middle seat in the center section of the First Class cabin was between two other passengers. I have never seen a first class cabin with three seats in a row. It made me glad we had booked our seats in advance and secured a window and isle seat.

The Cabin: The First Class cabin of the Boeing 777-200 had seven rows of the afore mentioned 2x3x2 configuration, and ever seat was full! The seats had easy to use controls for the reclining seats. The first class seats reclined 45 degrees and had a foot rest that comes out part way. They were not the most comfortable first class seats I’ve ever had, but for a two hour flight they were just fine.

The Flight (Service/Food/Drink): Waiting for us in our first class seats on this Air China flight was a pillow, a blanket and a pair of slippers. None of which were high quality, but I cannot remember the last time I had anything other than a pillow on a first class domestic flight in the States.

Shortly before take off the flight attendant came around and offered us water with fresh lemon. I was hoping for a glass of Champagne but found that they don’t serve any (even after take-off), but after take-off they did however offer local Chinese beer.

Once the plane had leveled off, the flight attendants started dinner service. Our dinner for this Air China flight was a choice of Duck, Beef (with vegetables and rice), Seafood (prawns and scallops with a side of rice) or a Vegetarian dish.

I ordered the seafood only to return it after one bite. It had an overpowering fishy taste that I just could not stomach. The flight attendant happily exchanged it for the beef. The beef was edible but far from good. My partner had started with the beef and vegetable plate and agreed with me; we have had much better first classairline food!

Air China offered two different Chinese wines with dinner, one was a white wine called The Great Wall, the other a red wine, I didn’t catch its name. Neither is anything I would buy at my local wine shop if ever given the chance. The wine reinforced the reason why China is not known for wine!

The Air China flight did not offer any entertainment so after dinner we just thumbed through some magazines and planned our next few days of reviewing hotels and restaurants.

Arrival: Our Air China flight arrived in Beijing on time and our bags, which should have been with the first batch of luggage to arrive on the conveyor belt in the arrival hall, did actually arrive quickly. It’s nice to see the that “first class priority” tags did what they were supposed to, made our bags a priority!

Overall Impression: For a two and half hour domestic flight, our Air China flight from Shanghai to Beijing was comfortable, on schedule, provided a decently presented and very mediocre meal along with attentive service which gives this flight an overall airline review rating of between bombastic and not.

Additional Information:
Flight Time from Shanghai to Beijing: 2 hours 20 minutes

Star Alliance Partners:: Adria Airlines, Blue1, SAS, TAP Portugal, Air Canada, bmi, Shanghai Airlines, Thai Airways, Air New Zealand, Croatia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines, ANA, Egypt Air, South African Airways, United, Asiana, LOT Polish Airlines, Spanair, US Airways, Austrian, Lufthansa, SWISS

Other Airline Partners: Cathay Pacific Airlines, China Airlines, Dragonair, ShanDong Airlines, Virgin Atlantic Airways

Airport Codes:
Shanghai – SHA
Beijing – PEK

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