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2019-05-20 01:14:58

Shanghai is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. With such attention being drawn to China as the up-and-coming economic powerhouse, there’s a lot of potential for increased tourism and business to take place in Shanghai.

China Eastern, which is the second-largest Chinese airline carrier, is headquartered in Shanghai. Though Chinese airlines do not offer the flashiest awards in the world like Singapore Airlines or Emirates, they are a solid option to fly nonstop to China.

In this guide, we’ll dissect China Eastern’s U.S. route network and get the inside scoop on all things China Eastern.

Table of contents

Seat Options by Aircraft TypeBest Points to Earn to Fly China EasternChina Eastern First Class OptionsChina Eastern Business Class OptionsChina Eastern 777-300ER Business ClassChina Eastern A330-300 Business ClassChina Eastern Premium Economy Class OptionsChina Eastern Economy Class OptionsChina Eastern A330-300 Economy ClassChina Eastern 777-300ER Economy ClassFinal Thoughts

Table of Contents

Seat Options by Aircraft TypeBest Points to Earn to Fly China EasternChina Eastern First Class OptionsChina Eastern Business Class OptionsChina Eastern 777-300ER Business ClassChina Eastern A330-300 Business ClassChina Eastern Premium Economy Class OptionsChina Eastern Economy Class OptionsChina Eastern A330-300 Economy ClassChina Eastern 777-300ER Economy ClassFinal ThoughtsSeat Options by Aircraft Type

For the second-largest airline in China, China Eastern’s route network to the United States is relatively small. There are a total of 5 routes operated to/from the United States, primarily from huge hub airports.

Check out the chart below for the summary of China Eastern’s route network:

RouteFlight No.AircraftCabin ClassesFrequencySan Francisco (SFO) – Shanghai (PVG)MU 590777-300ERFirst, Business, EconomyDailyLos Angeles (LAX) – Shanghai (PVG)MU 578/586777-300ERFirst, Business, Economy2x dailyChicago (ORD) – Shanghai (PVG)MU 718777-300ERFirst, Business, Economy5x weeklyNew York City (JFK) – Shanghai (PVG)MU 298/588777-300ERFirst, Business, Economy2x dailyHonolulu (HNL) – Shanghai (PVG)MU 572A330-300Business, Economy6x weekly

Before getting into the inflight products, let’s discuss how you can fly China Eastern with points.

Best Points to Earn to Fly China Eastern

China Eastern is a SkyTeam airline, which means you can earn and redeem miles with other airlines for travel on China Eastern.

SkyTeam has made flying first class with points on partner airlines incredibly difficult; your only SkyTeam option to book first class is Korean Air SKYPASS (which partners with Marriott Bonvoy).

Delta SkyMiles has been periodically known to display first class availability on China Eastern, but those instances are relatively rare and may require top-tier elite status with Delta.

Delta SkyMiles is a transfer partner with American Express Membership Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy. Additionally, Delta SkyMiles has a bunch of co-branded credit cards that can help you earn a lot of miles quickly.

You can also leverage non-alliance partners such as Japan Airlines and Qantas. It’s possible to book first class with Japan Airlines, though their only transfer partner is Marriott Bonvoy. You can do the same with Qantas; their 2 transfer partners are Citi ThankYou Rewards and Capital One Rewards.

Other options include Air France/KLM Flying Blue and Alitalia MilleMiglia:

China Eastern First Class Options

China Eastern has a mixed reputation when it comes to their long-haul first class product. You can expect an absolutely cutting-edge hard product, but a soft product that is currently lagging behind the industry standard.

Here, let’s discuss China Eastern’s awesome first class hard product. Some airlines have 8-12 seats in first class, but China Eastern only has 6 first class seats, which is phenomenally private.

There are 2 rows of window seats and 1 row of middle seats, as shown in the following seat map.

China Eastern 777-300ER first class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

As you probably can tell, this is a unique seating plan, with the inflight bar occupying the space in front of the middle seats. The amazing thing is that seats 2D and 2H become a double bed — only a few airlines in the world have double beds in first class, and China Eastern happens to be one of them.

Each of these first class suites features sliding doors that enclose your suite completely. The seats themselves measure 26.5″ wide and 79″ in seat pitch and bed mode; you’ll have plenty of shoulder and legroom to stretch out and relax in your private first class suite. (Direct aisle access and fully lie-flat capabilities are a given!)

If you’re traveling with a significant other, definitely nab the double bed seats at 2D and 2H. If you’re traveling alone, the best seat is 2L, since it’s far from the lavatories on the left side.

You’ll find this first class product used by China Eastern on these flights to/from the United States:

San Francisco (SFO) – Shanghai (PVG)Los Angeles (LAX) – Shanghai (PVG)Chicago (ORD) – Shanghai (PVG)New York City (JFK) – Shanghai (PVG)China Eastern Business Class OptionsChina Eastern business class. Image courtesy of airlinequality.com.

Similar to first class, China Eastern has some of the best business class hard products in their long-haul fleet. We’ll discuss our favorite first — the 777-300ER — before moving on to the A330-300.

We rank the aircraft this way because of the 777-300ER’s nice mini-cabin, in addition to the fact that the A330-300 is only flown to Hawaii (so won’t be useful to very many travelers). Let’s get down to business!

China Eastern 777-300ER Business Class

China Eastern’s long-haul fleet consists primarily of 777-300ERs, which is great because they have the airline’s best business class product.

The seats utilize a B/E Aerospace Super Diamond seat, which is an industry-leading reverse herringbone business class seat featuring lie-flat capabilities and direct aisle access from all seats.

These business class seats are incredibly spacious, measuring 23.6″ wide with a 75″ pitch and bed length. Reverse herringbone seats are ordinarily 21″ wide, so this represents a gain of ~12% in seat width.

This aircraft has 52 business class seats arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration across 13 rows as shown here:

China Eastern 777-300ER business class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

Without a doubt, the best business class seats are in row 6. This business class section is divided into 2 mini-cabins, with the smaller front one featuring only 2 rows of seats.

If you reserve a seat in row 6, you’ll feel like you’re in a private jet because of the supreme privacy this mini-cabin affords. There won’t be anyone walking around you, so it’ll truly be a quiet and peaceful business class experience.

The second-best seats would be the row of seats located in the middle of the large business class cabin. After row 6, we think the second-best location is row 15.

This 11-row cabin has 2 sets of lavatories flanking both ends of the section. By selecting the row of seats in the middle, you’ll minimize the chances of travelers walking past you, since the trajectory of the lavatories will always be away from your seat.

You’ll be able to find this exact 777-300ER business class layout on these routes:

New York City (JFK) – Shanghai (PVG)Chicago (ORD) – Shanghai (PVG)San Francisco (SFO) – Shanghai (PVG)Los Angeles (LAX) – Shanghai (PVG)China Eastern A330-300 Business Class

Our second and final business class option is on the A330-300, which has 40 lie-flat seats in a reverse herringbone configuration. In fact, these seats are the exact same as the 777-300ER.

This business class cabin is smaller since the A330-300 is a smaller plane, and all of these seats are in the same cabin. The seat map looks like this:

China Eastern A330 business class seat map. Image courtesy of expertflyer.com.

With lavatories on both ends of the business class section, the best seats will be in the middle; try rows 10 or 11. Find this aircraft on this route:

Honolulu (HNL) – Shanghai (PVG)China Eastern Premium Economy Class Options

Unfortunately, China Eastern does not offer a premium economy seat on flights to/from the United States.

China Eastern Economy Class OptionsChina Eastern A330 economy. Image courtesy of airlinereporter.com.

China Eastern consistently offers some of the cheapest economy class fares on transpacific travel, so it is absolutely worthwhile to consider them for economy flights.

Our top choice here is the A330, which has the most spacious seats and the most favorable seating configuration.

China Eastern A330-300 Economy Class

The A330 features economy seats in a 2-4-2 configuration. The seats are 18″ in width and 32″-33″ in pitch, arranged as follows:

China Eastern A330 economy class seat map. Image courtesy of expertflyer.com.

The best seats to reserve are the side seats in row 31, which are located at the exit row and galleys. Since there are no lavatories, the only noise you’ll hear is from the galley.

You can find this seating arrangement on the following route:

Honolulu (HNL) – Shanghai (PVG)China Eastern 777-300ER Economy Class

China Eastern’s 777-300ER has a very dense 3-4-3 seating arrangement, with seats measuring 17″ wide and 32″-33″ in pitch. This makes the 777-300ER economy seats an inch narrower than those on the A330.

There are a total of 258 seats, each with 6″ of recline. The seat map looks as follows:

China Eastern 777-300ER economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats are going to be 32B/C or 32J/K due to legroom from the exit row. Passengers should avoid 32A and 32L due to the exit row protrusion, which will severely limit your legroom.

If those seats are already taken, seats in row 61 are solid as well. Specifically, 61B/C and 61J/K are going to the next best seats if you can overlook the proximity of the lavatories.

You’ll find this seat map on China Eastern’s 777-300ER, which is flown on these routes to/from the United States:

Los Angeles (LAX) – Shanghai (PVG)New York City (JFK) – Shanghai (PVG)San Francisco (SFO) – Shanghai (PVG)Chicago (ORD) – Shanghai (PVG)Final Thoughts

All in all, the impressive first and business class seats on China Eastern catch many points and miles enthusiasts off-guard — though they don’t have the glamorous reputation of airlines like Singapore Airlines or Cathay Pacific.

But overlooking China Eastern as a premium cabin option redeemable with points and miles would be a mistake, since it is one of the few airlines that offer a double bed in first class. Furthermore, the business class seats are very competitive.

Even in economy, if you can take advantage of China Eastern’s affordable prices to Asia, you can have a decent experience (if you select the right seats!). Now, you have the inside scoop on China Eastern’s U.S. routes.

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