Having had the opportunity to fly in several international flights with Air China on different types of aircraft we feel we can give a good overview of their services. First off, knowing that this is a major world airline (currently ranked 10th in fleet size) from a large country can help one understand how big their network is and how many passengers they work to satisfy on a regular basis. We can say that the airline offers a very good service overall.
The first impression one gets from Air China is that of promptness and efficiency. Things are well planned and carefully executed from the boarding of the plane, to the push back time, to the take off and the in flight service. Things run so smoothly that it may seem a bit robotic, but wouldn’t you rather have water and tea circulating every half hour on a long flight than having to go to the back and ask for more? That’s just one benefit, it is of course nice to depart and arrive on time too. Meal and drink service is done competently as well.
The overall demeanor of the attendants is amicable, yet not as friendly as it could be. For instance they do their work carefully and well, but don’t look for them to go out of their way to assist you or to smile or interact more than is necessary. This is understandable in a large and long flight, but it’s always great to see a smile. One of the features they take very seriously is the use of the intercom. Even the slightest bump of turbulence or runway delay will have them letting you know exactly what’s happening. This is a plus in respect to knowing what’s going on and a minus when it occurs for every minute detail of the flight.
In terms of the plane itself, those we’ve had the opportunity to experience are sturdy planes with average quality seats and normal overhead space. The overall look in truth is average, not too old, yet not that new either. The planes have had decent in flight entertainment programs from a selectable database of interactive films, shows and programs. Headsets are cheap so we suggest bring your own if it matters to you. The food quality is an ordinary sampling of Chinese or Western dishes and bathrooms are in use quite often, but frequently cleaned during the flight by the staff.
Air China is certainly not at the top of the competitive Asian Air Market in terms of services and trend setting, but for all practical purposes it is a good airline. The flights cover many destinations within China and bring many tourists from around the world to some of China’s biggest cities. Fares are good and on occasion can even be great for such a long haul flight. This makes the value factor very high when considering the prices of such a trip. Air China is a reliable, safe and above all efficient airline in its delivery of service and transport.