August 11, 2017

Review: Air China B777 First Class, Beijing to London

Air China Boeing 777 first class cabin

Originally posted: April 6, 2014

Flight: CA 937
Departure time in Beijing (PEK): 12:55
Arrival time in London (LHR): 15:55
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300
Seat: 1L
Duration: 11h
Date of flight: March 14, 2014
*This is an award travel, First Class flight #16


Introduction

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" or "good" 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.

Beijing Airport Terminal 3

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

Check-in

Air China Premium check-in

Check-in counters

My Air China first class boarding pass

Air China First Class Lounge

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

Aircraft, Boeing 777-300

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

Boarding, Gate E29

Boarding started on time at Gate E29.

Cabin

Air China Boeing 777 first class cabin

Air China's first class cabin on the Boeing 777 has a total of 8 seats in two rows in a 1-2-1 configuration.

Seat, 1L

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 in case. It seems that Air China only releases one first class award seat per day, from Beijing to London but could release more if you contact their reservations number. All the while, we thought the cabin was full. I guess I know what to do next time.

Spacious legroom

Seat controls

Seat controls

Side storage where the entertainment control is also located.

Personal closet

Personal screen

Headphones and entertainment controls.

Amenity Kit

Moments after settling in, I was offered the first class slippers and pyjamas. Strangely, the slippers were too small for me even if it was size 42.

The pajamas on the other hand were too big.

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

I borrowed Mike's business class amenity kit for photo shooting and it was almost the same, with the exception of the pouch bag.

Pre-departure Service

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

Dining

The first class menu card and wine list.

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 some souvenirs and gave me an Air China playing card. Thank you so much 😍

After the meal, I decided I'd watch some movies. Unfortunately, the film selection was very limited so I ended up watching Just for Laughs and some TV sitcoms.

Movie Snack Menu

The movie snack menu included:

Assorted cup Noodles
Fresh Seasonal Fruits
Yoghurts
Chocolate
Mango Pomelo Sago
Ferrero Rocher
Assorted Cookies

Bar

There is a bar located between the first and business class cabin.

Toilet & Lavatory

The lavatory amenities included L'Occitane products which I'm a fan of 👍

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.

Second Serving

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

After the meal, one of the flight attendants came to me and gave me a thank you card. Thank you guys 😍

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. Thank you so much 👍

On the other hand, I thought that the food offering 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 a bit disappointing too. The film selection was limited as well.

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