You know what they say – if you see a great deal, take it! – or something like that. We found the most affordable flight we’ve ever seen to the Philippines via Air China. Our airline of choice when heading back home, to the motherland, is primarily Philippine Airlines but since Air China was offering approximately $400USD round trip, we had to book it! Afterall, it was entirely worth it to see family we haven’t seen in a few years. Coming from Hawaii, anything under $500USD per ticket is an unbelievable price for an international flight, especially a round trip! With this roundtrip ticket, there was a 10-hour layover in Beijing, China heading there and back home. Booking on the Air China website was simple. We booked a red eye flight since it’s a pretty enduring 10+ hour flight. They allowed two 50lbs check-in luggage and a carry on per person. With a budget airline, this is a great deal as you usually have to pay extra for luggage fees.
Comfortability. For each passenger, they gave a blanket, pillow, and headphones. Having these made our long flight much more enjoyable and comfy. The seats were pretty roomy as well!
Entertainment. Each seat had its own tv with a remote (tv was not touch screen). Although there was a tv screen, no movies were available. The channels were pre-set and there is no option to change the program playing. Most of the shows were in Chinese, also. Thankfully, we downloaded movies on our iPads, which kept us sane!
Let’s talk about the food!
The best aspect about Air China is never feeling as if we were hungry. Meals and snacks were continuously served throughout our flight.
With any new airlines, we try to find things that we’ve never seen before. This drink holder was pretty nifty and helped a lot instead of having to pull the table out just to put your drink down. More airlines need to get on this idea.
As much as I would like to shine some light on Air China, the customer service along with other minor services fell flat as soon as we boarded. A few things we were not prepared for:
Entertainment – There were no good, modern movies or English stations to choose. Although Air China is, obviously, Chinese operated and most of the workers are of Chinese origin, I believe it’s standard customer service in any industry to cater to the most-used language in the world: English. I think proper/better catering to ALL passengers should be within their services, which fall short.
Luggage – Once we arrived in the Philippines, one of our luggage was held in China customs. Air China customer service in the Philippines informed me that they would deliver it to the local address I provided within 24 hours. 24 hours passed, I contacted Air China customer service and they couldn’t track my luggage. After 5 days (YES 5 DAYS!) of going back and forth in communication, they finally delivered my suitcase – I received my luggage just as our trip was rounding its end. Thankfully, it was mainly toiletries and other accessories in that bag which I was able to purchase while in the Philippines.
Flights + Communication – There was no problem with our flight from Hawaii to China but once we got to China, it was another story. After our 10-hour layover in China, we were ready to board our connecting flight from China to the Philippines. An hour passed departure and there were no announcements as to why the flight was delayed. Two hours later and the staff behind the desk did not announce anything. Passengers were getting anxious and some even began yelling at the staff due to their negligence of the situation. After a long four hours later, we finally boarded. Not only did this happen once, this happened twice – both while in China. Conclusion: Communication was horrible with Air China. No notification to customers via verbal or electronic messages. The staff also seemed out of the loop both times which made things a bit more hectic.
Food – Lastly, the food. Though they served us a lot of food throughout the flights, the only thing that tasted decent were the fruits, bread + butter and drinks. Basically, no main dishes. Most of it, although looked tasty, was very bland.
Cheap flights do not mean you’ll get the best service. You get what you pay for and that is a lesson learned with this Air China. With all that said, we still had a wonderful trip and we did not let delayed luggage or flight bring us down. Until next time, Philippines and China, we will be coming back via another airline.
Would you fly with this airline again? NO!
For more information on Air China, visit here.