Air China Boeing 737-800 // Bangkok to Beijing in Business Class
It sounded like a dreadful flight from the perspective as a Europe-based flyer who is used to LH Group’s business class seats (which basically equal economy seats) and lacking inflight entertainment: Bangkok to Beijing was supposed to last somewhere between 5 - 6 hours on a Boeing 737-800 series aircraft.
The reality turned out to be like: 4-5 hours flight on a wonderful Boeing 737-800 series aircraft hosted by a professional and lovely Air China crew.
1. Ground Experience in Bangkok: Nothing to write home about
Boarding commenced approx. 40 minutes before departure time. The aircraft was parked outside the terminal perimeters, i.e. bus boarding was the way to go. I like the idea of bus-boarding, but hate the way many airports handle it: Premium (first- and business) class passengers can get into the bus first, followed by economy.
Now this is where the difference can be made (and Doha Airport and Qatar Airways do a great job at that): Use separate busses for premium and economy flyers. Otherwise the idea of boarding premium passengers first doesn’t make sense after all.
Bangkok did not do that here. And neither did it happen on the way from Beijing to Bangkok. Nonetheless, it was part of the game. Ground experience was nothing to write home about / “OK”.
2. Cabin and Crew: Professional and Lovely
I was greeted by both flight attendants overseeing business class and led to my seat.
Air China’s 737-800 series aircraft features a 2-2 configuration (two seats on each side). The seats were big and comfortable. An inflight entertainment device was inside one of the arm-bars of the seat. Power outlets were available in the middle console between the window- and alley seat.
3. Service: Excellent during both good and bad times
Pre-departure drinks were served once I took place. Orange juice, water, and some other juices were available. While serving the drinks, the crew took meal orders.
Approx. 50-70 minutes after take off, meal service commenced: I went for the chicken with rice in some spicy sauce. I quite loved it.
Two hours into the flight, the crew came by everyone in business class and apologised for the fact that all but business class lavatories stopped working. The entire plane’s passengers (approx. 189 maximum) could only use the business class lavatory.
And using the lavatory they did: For the entire remainder of the flight (3 hours), there was permanent a long queue of people for the business class lavatory. Despite the fact of this basically being an unsatisfactory situation, neither the passengers, nor the crew were stressed out.
4. Conclusion: Thumbs up! (5 / 5)
I quite enjoyed it. The catering and the high degree of professionalism by the crew made for a great flight.