Air China First Class Review

It’s been extremely busy two months. I wanted to write the Air China First Class review right after the trip but the work got better of me.
Finally, I got some time to put together some trip reports.

My family and I did a little trip to South East Asia over the winter break. I used my US Air miles 120,000 (per person) to book three First Class seats on Air China Boeing 777-300ER.
Our itinerary looked something like this: SJC – PHX – IAH – PEK – HKG – PEK – IAH – PHX – SJC.
At the time, Air China was using their old 747 out of SFO and I did not want to experience that. Yes, it was tiring to fly extra 10 hours but I really wanted to experience the Forbidden Class.

All the US Air miles were collected when US Air had the lucrative Share the Miles promo. I used that to accumulate 120,000 miles in each of our accounts.

So after flying in from San Jose, CA, we were at Houston for the Air China flight. We used the “Executive Club” lounge at IAH which is used by a number of other airlines as wee. At midnight, the lounge was empty with little or no traffic. The agent at the front was extremely helpful and helped us out with our luggage issues.

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We boarded after midnight and were greeted by a helpful hostess who guided us to our seats.
The hard product is nice. The seats are comfortable and convert into fully flat beds.

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Dividers do go up for the center seats but seats are not fully enclosed ones like Singapore Suites or others.

Air China clearly needs to work on the soft product. Our hostess was nice, attentive and courteous but we definitely had communication issues. The IFE device was ok with few English movies but nothing in comparison to Cathay or Singapore or Middle Eastern Airlines.

The food was tasty yet it could have been better. We tried the seafood noodle soup and found it tasty. We didn’t sample much as it was already past 1 AM and with a toddler, we all wanted to get some shut eye. We called the flight attendant to get our beds ready. My wife’s bed was ready in no time, but mine wasn’t. I finally gave in. Grabbed the mattress pad from the over head bin and made the bed myself and went to sleep.

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Our return flight was a little more interesting. We were the only 3 people in the First Class. Our attendant asked us which side of the air craft we want to be in. We picked the right size and to our surprise, the left side was open for crew use. In fact, right before take off, two crew members occupied the seats and they were there on and off for the entire duration of the flight: eating, watching tv, sleeping just like us. I thought the First Class seats are usually off limit for crew use but I may be wrong. Please correct me if I am.

In short, if it’s up to me, I will not experience the Forbidden Class again. I will take Cathay Business Class over Air China’s First Class.

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