Review: Air China B737-8, Beijing – Shanghai PuDong

At the very least, Air China is a very consistent airline. It provides a no frills service between cities with a minimum of fuss.


This post is one chapter in our Around the World in Star Alliance First Class via China, Thailand and Spain. This trip was booked using Air Canada Aeroplan miles. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Read more from this trip:

Review: Air China, Boeing 737-800, Beijing Capital – Shanghai Pu Dong

At boarding card time, we wandered down to gate C33. Whether it was efficiency or otherwise, the flights was again almost completely boarded by the time listed on the boarding pass. 

Departing the Air China Lounge
Air China Boeing 737
Gate C33 Beijing
Air China 
PEK-PVG (Beijing Capital International Airport – Shanghai Pudong Airport)
CA 1883 – Economy Class (Y)
08:00 AM – 10:46 AM
May 12, 2012
Booked: Boeing 777-200/300
Flown: Boeing 737-800

The air was thick with Beijing smog as we got underway. Only a little ways from the Beijing Capital International Airport terminal and already it was thick with pollution.

Departing Beijing Capital Airport

We were airborne again for a quick hop back to PuDong. The seat was the same so I offer a recycled photograph.

Air China Seat

As we left early in the morning, a western breakfast or Asian breakfast was offered. The Western Entrée consisted of scrambled egg, chicken sausage, a stalk of broccoli and two small hashbrown potatoes – in the soft microwave variety. I was quite pleased to see this as I was in the mood for some food from home. I have a difficult time with the Asian breakfast. I did sneak a peak through the seats to see the asian breakfast and found out that it was plain looking congee and a brown egg. I’m a fan of trying new foods but even that would have been hard to stomach in the morning. 

Air China Domestic Meal Service

The beverage service on the flight was very plain. Orange juice, tea, and water were pretty much the only things observed offered. The in flight service and that amongst our hotels were similar to other communist countries – the bare necessities. Occasionally, you get one hotel or hospitality worker who is from somewhere else, but usually, the service was mostly transactional, without any flair or spirit. This would be something that I would remember if I was ever taking a First or Business Class reward booking on Air China, as I likely wouldn’t expect the service levels of countries such as Thailand or Japan, whom have been serving people for several years and have developed quite a skill at doing so. 

On the aircrafts’ descent into back into Shanghai, I looked out the rainy window. As we were on our final approach, I saw a most unusual sight. I looked on the ground and saw a train moving faster than the plane was traveling. I had to look twice to make sure my eyes were seeing this correctly. There is something about your mind and brain that tells you what is normal, and it was NOT normal to look out the window and see objects moving faster, on the ground even, than you were traveling, in an aircraft!! After a split second, it registered in my memory circuits that it was the Shanghai Maglev, also on approach to the airport station. Conincidentally, it was where we were headed next.

We arrived in Beijing without much issue and headed to the baggage claim for our bags.

Arriving to Shanghai Pu Dong

In Summary:

Well, I’m not going to sugar coat it. Our Air China flights were not all that exciting. It offered simple “A” to “B” transportation. Being at the airport was likely better than the train since we were connecting onwards to another international flight later that day. The train would have been a much more interesting way to get in between Beijing and Shanghai but a whole lot more complicated it seems. Either way, I wouldn’t expect too much from the Air China flights in the future as it offered a pretty sterile experience.


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