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Review: Air China Boeing 737-800 business class Hong Kong to Beijing

Recently we travelled from Hong Kong to Beijing in Air China’s regional business class. We reached our destination relaxed but hungry. Here’s a review of our 3 hour business class flight to Beijing.

Air China Check-in Hong Kong

Our flight in Air China’s regional business class was part of a long-haul journey back home to Frankfurt. In order to catch our connecting flight in Beijing, we had booked an early flight out of Hong Kong.

Arriving at Hong Kong international Airport around 7 a.m. we walked straight over to the Air China check-in desk in aisle J.

Baggage drop-off at the priority counter was quick and easy – no waiting time at all. After tagging our luggage, the friendly lady at the check-in desk handed us a lounge invitation and off we were.

Air China business class Lounge Hong Kong

Unlike you might expect Air China doesn’t run its own lounge at Hong Kong International Airport. Instead, business class passengers are officially invited to a contract lounge called CNAC VIP Lounge close to gate 25 in terminal 1.

Although contract lounges are usually not as good as those operated by an airline, we decided to have a look.

I’m still wondering why Air China invited us to this specific lounge instead of just pointing out the other Star Alliance lounges. According to the airport’s homepage there are three more lounges operated by Star Alliance carriers: Singapore’s SilverKris Lounge close to gate 15, Thai’s Royal Orchid Lounge at gate 40, as well as United Club at gate 60.

From former flights I remember that the SilverKris lounge doesn’t come with windows. Thus I was all the more surprised to have a view on the apron from the CNAC VIP Lounge.

Apart from the view, the lounge wasn’t really good though. There were no toilets and the food can be described as “basic” at best. Better have breakfast at the hotel if that’s the only lounge you have access to! I guess in that regard the SilverKris lounge would’ve been a better choice.

Boarding flight CA 118 to Beijing

Just as during our other flights with Air China boarding began very early on. A necessary measure – as the plane was parked at a very remote position on the apron and it took quite a while to get there.

Air China regional business class cabin and seat

Air China operates flight from Hong Kong to Beijing with a Boeing 737-800. In the front part of the plane, there are 8 business class seats in a 2-2 configuration.

Being used to European carriers with their all-economy short-haul configurations, it was a nice change to actually get a real business class seat on a short-haul flight.

The seat was very comfortable and came with a good pitch. My wife is 1.80 m tall and I’m 1.85 – and we both fit in comfortably!

Welcome on board

Prior to take-off, the flight attendants served non-alcoholic welcome drinks and distributed newspapers to business class passengers:

Headphones and slippers were available too:

Take-off at Hong Kong international Airport

Due to the remote parking position, taxi was very long.

When the plane finally took off, the morning fog was about to clear out, offering a nice view on Hong Kong:



Breakfast over the clouds

Sometime after take-off the flight attendants served breakfast. As on other Air China flights, we were asked if we preferred Asian or Western food. This time we both went for the Western alternative, which looked quite nice:

Unfortunately it looked better than it tasted. Especially the omelette and bacon tasted really weird. By then I really regretted not having had a proper breakfast at the airport…

Service during the flight

The flight attendants were friendly and spoke fluent English. I also appreciated the fact that they didn’t insist on closing the window blinds on this flight. So I spent most of the flight watching the landscape passing by beneath me.

Arriving at Beijing Airport

After leaving Hong Kong with a slight delay, our plane touched down almost on time at Beijing International Airport.

A few hours later we continued our flight to Frankfurt.


Continue reading: Cheap business class flights from Europe to Asia – my experience with Air China

 


Conclusion

Thanks to Air China’s comfortable short-haul business class seat, we had a good time on board Flight CA 118. Unfortunately the same can’t be said about the food, as it tasted really weird and was way below standard of what I’m used to when travelling business class. To sum it up: Air China’s short-haul business class offers a comfortable seat – but you shouldn’t rely on the food, so don’t board your flight with an empty stomach!

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