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China Eastern Airlines ... the bad and the good? | Philippines Trip 2023

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

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Hey, you! 😅

You know how one is told to never say never? Well yeah, that's probably good advice. LOL

I've always been the type to say never. I will never go back to a restaurant if the quality of service is crap. I will never eat something again if I don't like it the first time. I will never talk to a person again if they were extremely rude the first time around.

And the moment I got out of the plane from our Frankfurt-Shanghai flight, you can be sure I muttered aloud, "Oh my gosh, I'm never gonna fly again with China Eastern Airlines".


Anyways, let's take a few steps back ...

In yesterday's post, we left things off at the airport security control. All went well, which meant boarding the plane was imminent.

At this point, we were quite good with the waiting game and truthfully it didn't feel like we were waiting for a long time.

We eventually boarded the plane and had great seats. We were seated at row 35 on the left side with a window, which S savored every moment of. As a child, I loved being at the window seat and I still do, but the mom in me tells me that it's my daughter's time to enjoy it now. A passage of rite. The aisle seat isn't so bad actually - it's perfect for a quick exit to the toilet.

I don't think I need to tell you that we flew economy or coach. The day I fly business or first class will be ... just wowwwww. 🥰🥰

Needless to say, I wasn't expecting much. Especially because China Eastern Airlines tickets were the cheapest online for last minute purchases. The difference between China Eastern Airlines and the next cheap tickets were like almost 800 Euros per person. That is huuuuggggeeee!

So again, I wasn't expecting much. Just that our basic needs would be covered.

So imagine our surprise when we realized within an hour in the flight that there was no air-conditioning! We thought it was a temporary thing at first, perhaps for take-off and decided to sleep it off, but when we woke up from our nap, our backs were damp from sweat as well as our buttocks, foreheads, and legs!

Turns out the air-conditioning didn't work the whole flight (that's 10+ hours!).

You might ask - why didn't we say anything to the flight attendants?

Ha! We would have, but surprisingly they barely spoke any English! We realized that when they distributed the earphones, blanket, food, and etc ... Our communication consisted purely of Chinese words, sign language, or one English word here and there.

Funny thing happen though - during one of the meals served, the flight attendant told us our food choices to choose from, except she said it to me in Chinese, and I didn't understand a word. She saw my confusion, then proceeded to take back my meal, which I quickly grabbed again because hey, I was hungryyy! I guess it was either that or nothing at all. How rude, right??

The flight felt like the longesttttttt flight ever. Not even our excitement and adrenaline could remedy that. I watched the movie, Julie and Julia, which is one of my fave movies, but the flight still felt very very long! I thought they had games for inflight entertainment, but nothing, nada, it didn't work!

I was more than happy to finally touchdown in Shanghai for our 14 hours layover. Funnily enough, the air-conditioning at the airport was running super cold. We found the perfect spot to rest.

Later that evening, we boarded our flight to Cebu, Philippines. This was a smaller plane, but felt newer. Air-conditioning was working perfectly fine this time! After four hours of flying, we were finally home. Twelve years later, I was back. ❤️❤️


Two weeks later, we were back at the airport for our flight back home. As much as I wished I didn't have to go home yet, a part of me did. We were feeling unwell at that time and I guess I was longing for the comfort of my home in France. We don't have a place in Cebu (yet *fingers crossed*) and I can't help but think - would have I felt differently if we did?

Anyways, as we were waiting to board our flight - I mentally prepped myself for another long flight with no air-conditioning and not being able to communicate with the flight attendants. But first was our Cebu-Shanghai flight.

Surprisingly, we were served a meal on our 4-hour Cebu-Shanghai flight (we didn't have anything on our Shanghai-Cebu flight) even though we were flying in the middle of the night. It wasn't really a meal though, more like a brown bag with food (bread, peanuts, mini chips, protein bar ...) but hey better than nothing right? I wasn't hungry at the time - I just wanted to sleep - but I brought it with me for later.

Our layover in Shanghai was 18 hours long this time, but honestly I didn't see the hours pass. We had so much fun chatting away (debriefing every aspect of our trip), strolling in the airport, window-shopping, eating, and sleeping on the benches. If I can find it, l have to share with you a photo my husband took of me sleeping - it's so funny! I didn't think I could sleep deeply on a bench, but apparently I did, snoring and all. LOL.

But the most surprising part of it all is that our flight from Shanghai-Frankfurt turned out exactly the opposite from our Frankfurt-Shanghai flight! It was actually enjoyable.

I was wearing shorts (because I thought I would be feeling hot!) and turns out, I was cold the whole flight. Thank God they distributed blankets because the air-conditioning was definitely working this time! We were able to sleep most of the flight, which was perfect.

I did watch a movie, Wonder. It's such a wonderful and inspiring movie. A bit sad though and I did cry. Unfortunately, there were no games available (again!) but we came prepared this time around. Prior to our flight, I downloaded some games on my phone to pass the time if needed.

We were seated farther away in the back of the plane. We also had middle seats - you know, the ones in the center with no windows. I don't know why I've always had a fear of sitting at the back of the plane, but we barely felt any turbulence and landing went super smooth!

We were served two meals and oh my gosh, the flight attendants were so nice .... and spoke English to us! Even the announcements were in clear English so we didn't feel lost. One of the flight attendants asked if I was okay because things were pretty tight in my seat. I don't think she could have helped me, but it was nice of her to ask .... and with a smile! I wonder if she have bumped me off to business class if I had told her I wasn't feeling okay. Hahaha.

Sadly, the food left a lot to be desired for. I had a Shrimp Pasta dish which was the worst thing I ever had this year and probably the last 5 years of my life. The sauce was bland and icky, the shrimps were rubbery, and the pasta was overcooked and mushy. Yuck! Unfortunately for us, the Chicken Rice option was out when it was our turn so there you go ... 🤷‍♀️


Soooooo ... the big question is - would I fly with China Eastern Airlines again?

Admittedly, I think I would. If I can be assured that my next flight is exactly how our Shanghai-Frankfurt flight was (with better food if possible), then why not? I can close my eyes on the fact that the flight attendants spoke a broken English. But the air-conditioning? On a 10+ hour flight, that's non-negotiable.

Other than that, financially, it's really interesting. Flying is ridiculously expensive nowadays so that's nice. And I really loved the Shanghai Pudong International Airport. Now that I'm familiar with it, I would love to go back there and maybe eventually someday even go out of the airport and explore Shanghai. That would be really cool!

Which company airlines do you like flying with? When was the last time you took a place?

xoxo Elodie

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