Air China

Customer Reviews

3 star Skytrax Rating
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Seat Comfort 12345
Staff Service 12345
Value for Money 12345
Customer rating from 584 reviews
4/10
3 star Skytrax Rating
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6/10

"I had no major issues"

(Taiwan)

Trip Verified | Purchased a very cheap ticket (less than USD600) for Taipei to Madrid via Beijing, returning from Paris. While this was not the best airline I have flown, I got there and back on time and safely. All flights arrived early or on time. Boeing 787 was a comfortable aircraft but nothing special, while the older A330s were less so, but still acceptable. I had no major issues, although I may just have been lucky. It seems most of the bad reviews are due to delays or cancellations and lost bags (which I was lucky not to experience). The food was quite average but edible, although mostly Asian style so might not suit those who are not used to eating average quality Chinese food. It's true that the staff and attendants don't speak good English so you might also have issues there (I speak some Mandarin) and the in-flight entertainment is not great (bring a book or tablet). Also, facilities such as immigration, security, signage etc at both Beijing and Shanghai airports are poor, and while these are not the fault of the airline, they affect the customer experience. In summary, if you get a cheap ticket and remember how little you paid when you fly, you can probably consider Air China worthwhile. If you can afford to do so, you should probably fly another airline to avoid the risk of running into issues.
AircraftBoeing 787
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteTaipei to Madrid via Beijing
Date FlownMay 2018
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes
7/10

"very nice short flight"

(Germany)

Trip Verified | Flew short haul business from Tianjin to Seoul. I was disappointed that there is no permanently open Air China counter at the airport. for being a little bit too early i had to wait for the counter to open. For a short haul the business class is very comfortable with 2-2 configuration. I was the sole passenger in the business class so i had all the attention of the responsible flight attender. Food was okay. I had a very nice short flight.
AircraftBoeing 738
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Cabin FlownBusiness Class
RouteTianjin to Seoul
Date FlownMarch 2018
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes
10/10

"extremely satisfied with the flight"

(United Kingdom)

Trip Verified | I was extremely satisfied with the flight. The cabin crews are friendly, and frequent water runs over night without asking. Food is not the best but definitely edible, no menu provided. Clean airport, frequent cleaning of toilets and even happy to chat to passengers for the overnight flight in the galley. Aircraft new, seat is normal size for economy class. All flights on time, impressive considering the congestion in Beijing airport. Very satisfied and I will definitely come back.
AircraftBoeing 777-300 / A330-300
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteLondon Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur via Beijing
Date FlownMay 2018
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
yes
6/10

"like taking a time machine"

(Switzerland)

Trip Verified | Geneva to Tokyo-Narita via Beijing. Flying Air China is like taking a time machine back to the 1990s. There are some good parts, such as the fact that the seat pitch is huge. The food was generally surprisingly good and often reflected local food at the place of departure (nice Tilsiter cheese and dry meat which, ironically, you don't get on Swiss in economy). Beer and wine were offered twice, before meal times. On the other hand, the plane interior itself was probably due for an upgrade, notably the in-flight entertainment system. On both outward legs, there were individual screens with 12 channels showing 6 films on repeat (with different audio). Unfortunately only two were in English (and one channel was made up of documentaries that switched language; one Chinese moving had illegible English subtitles) and the same movies were shown from Geneva to Beijing (10 hours) as from Beijing to Tokyo (3 hours) so I was rather bored. My return leg from Shanghai to Frankfurt did have touchscreens with a good selection, though. The staff were pleasant - decent English skills and I felt like someone came around offering water every 10-15 minutes for the whole flight each time. On all four legs, the plane had a recorded announcement from the flight's "safety officer" listing behaviours that were illegal under Chinese law (climbing on seats, trying to open exits in-flight, preventing cabin attendants from going about duties), the staff then turn off the lights and ask for windows to be closed straight after the meal (even when it's only mid-afternoon at the point of departure) and at the end, the purser thanks the passengers for their cooperation. It all felt about pre-empted riot prevention. Two legs delayed by an hour - at least one was due to air traffic control restrictions which is not Air China's fault as such, but something you have to consider if you choose to transit through any airport in PRC. Also worth knowing is that they will put you up in a cheap hotel near-ish the airport if you have an overnight layover but you have to know to ask. All in all, it was fine given that it was 30% cheaper than the competition but I couldn't help feeling jealous of the passengers flying on CA's code-shares served by ANA's 787 and Lufthansa's A380. GVA-PEK-NRT; KIX-PVG-FRA
AircraftA330-200
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteGeneva to Tokyo-Narita via Beijing
Date FlownApril 2018
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Wifi & Connectivity 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
5/10

"service was virtually non existent"

(Italy)

Trip Verified | Shanghai to Milan. I just came back from a 2 week trip across China and I found myself flying with Air China multiple times over that span of time. I was skeptical about this airline in the first place, but I had no choice since the flights were already included in the travel packet. What can I say, it lived up to my lowest expectations, and the worst were international routes, especially the one from Milan to Beijing. We flew on an A330 but the aircraft looked as old as the hills and was impossibly noisy, so much so that I had serious trouble following the movies I was watching. Corridors are narrow and the space between seats is very limited and their entertainment offer is mostly made of Chinese movies. On top of that, my monitor was completely dead and there was no way to bring it back to life. I pointed it out to the flight attendants many times and they kept coming and going first trying to fix it themselves and then saying they'd try to reset the whole system, but to no avail. Luckily there was a spare seat in the row in front of me so I moved there, only to find out that the guy who had been previously sitting there had moved away himself because that monitor wasn't working properly either. As it turned out, it was insanely slow and some buttons on the remote weren't working (yeah there were remotes if you're wondering, the ones you pull out of the seat and then back in), but hey that was as good as it went! The service was virtually non existent - the crew only stopped by twice for meals and that was it. If you wanted water you had to look for them yourself and ask for it and they would come and pour you a glass of water. As for the food, I didn't touch anything because it was terrible. Overall it made for a very uncomfortable flight. A guy sitting next to me told me he had flown with Air China in the past for work, but he didn't recall it to be that bad and that the aircraft looked the same as the one he had flew in 10 years ago. This said, it should hardly be surprising that I was dreading the idea of having to take internal flights as I was expecting those aircrafts to be even older. I was pleasantly surprised instead since their internal routes turned out to be much better. The aircrafts were just regular airbuses and they were quiet enough. Oh one more thing, the pilots' English is barely understandable, I'm no native speaker but I'm fluent in English so I don't have any trouble with listening, but these pilots are the worst! Flight attendants are slightly better, but don't venture beyond basic stuff or else you'll lose them. In summary, the only plus is that it's is way cheaper than any other airline and offers highly competitive fares, however if you have a choice pick another airline at least for your long-haul flight! With hindsight, I would probably had paid a little bit more and bought the flight with Etihad or Lufthansa, even with a layover.
AircraftA330-200
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteShanghai to Milan
Date FlownApril 2018
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Wifi & Connectivity 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
2/10

"a series of disasters"

(Australia)

Trip Verified | Sydney to Beijing via Brisbane. Have just returned from a holiday to China flying both ways with Air China. It was a series of disasters. We arrived at Sydney International Airport to be told that our first leg to Brisbane was with Virgin and left from the Domestic Terminal. Admittedly this may have been the fault of our tour company (Cruise 1st). We were then told that we were sitting 4 rows apart on opposite sides of the plane. We later learnt that 140 people who had booked through Cruise 1st were all in the same boat. We were told at Check in that we would have to arrange ourselves once the plane had taken off. We did do this but it was a bit of a disaster. We were one of the lucky couples who got to sit next to each other. One meal out of 5 we could eat - many others could not eat their meals either. They were disgusting. Ate a bread roll (cold, old and in cellophane) and a small entree salad. We had an 8 hour layover in Chengdu on our way back from Shanghai (Cruise 1st only let us know this when it was too late to cancel). Due to our cruise ship being delayed by fog some were late to the airport in Shanghai. There were 40 people in the queue to check in when they closed the desk and would not listen to any complaints. These people had then to all catch alternative flights from Shanghai to Chengdu costing between $400 and $550 pp. The plane then proceeded to stay at the gate for about 30 mins after the final person was on board. This was actually a domestic flight in China. Needless to say will never fly with Air China again.
AircraftA330
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteSydney to Beijing via Brisbane
Date FlownApril 2018
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
1/10

"flippant customer service"

(United States)

Trip Verified | New York to Phuket via Beijing. Do Not fly Air China. I had read the bad reviews but chose to ignore them, boy was I wrong! First we missed our connection in Beijing due to Air China not landing or deboarding on time. We circled the airport for over 45 min then they didn't let us out of the flight for another 30+min. Because of this we missed our first day of vacation and we weren't able to stay at our first hotel. After being given the run around via multiple emails and phone calls, they refused to compensate our room. Then on the way back they delayed our layover over 4 hours, with no explanation! I've never experienced such flippant customer service. If I could rate them a zero I would!
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Cabin FlownBusiness Class
RouteNew York to Phuket via Beijing
Date FlownApril 2018
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Wifi & Connectivity 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
2/10

"so much wrong with this airline"

(United States)

Trip Verified | Beijing to Wuhan. There is so much wrong with this airline, it is difficult to figure out where to start. From their website which you have to be a member of to book a flight, to their check-in staff, to the flight crew in the air and beyond, this airline is a disaster. I am not sure how they function domestically let alone internationally or how on earth they have become a part of the Star Alliance Group. The majority of their flights are domestic, as it is a state run airline, so answerable to no one and regulated by some rather questionable practices. So, I suppose I answered my own question. Check in is by someone who speaks very little English. They offer very little service especially if you are a priority member but not part of their program. They mislead you and tell you that you are on this type of airline. An agent in Beijing when I asked to upgrade on an A320 told me that there was only First Class available at some insane amount. I know the configuration of the short-haul flight and there is no First Class on this flight. On another occasion I was seated in an exit row, and on the return flight they stated they could not seat a non-Chinese national in an exit row. This was a flight taken both within the country. On a flight from Wuhan to Beijing, the flight started to taxi, was just off the ground and at around 2000ft when, the flight attendant came on and started the” “Ladies and Gentlemen, please prepare for take off” speech while we had already left the ground and were not just taking off but where already in air. Well.. at least she remembered to make the announcement. Air China Planes: The planes are old and the interior is falling apart. Seat-back with the cloth from the 80’s coming of, cracked tray tables on the “updated planes”, screens that do not come down (no there are not screens on the backs of the seats), the speakers too loud or too quiet when they make announcements beyond that, the inflight entertainment is what most airlines had 20 years ago. They cram and cancel flights to force people on other flights, to fill them. The flight crew, in general, cater to their own people. They storm by offering headsets but assume if you are a foreigner that they can simply ignore you. If you ask for something they all of a sudden cannot understand you. Much like their airports which are also abysmal, Pudong, Shanghai, Beijing’s Capital Airport (where they change the rules of what you can carry in your luggage and what needs to be checked almost monthly, the ridiculous screening and security lines that have 1 person at the security point to check passports. Air China, while offering some higher end flight, more comparable to a true international airline on their routes do so to save face. Most of their customers either received a good deal and know nothing of this airline or had not other choice or are from the country and do not know any. Sadly this is state run, the majority of the people flying this airline speak Chinese and travel within China, and they are pretty much brainwashed into thinking it is the
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteBeijing to Wuhan
Date FlownApril 2018
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
1/10

"Do not ever fly this airline"

(United Kingdom)

Trip Verified | London to Bangkok via Beijing. Do not ever fly this airline. Not only were my flights delayed, but my luggage was lost for several days, with Air China taking absolutely no responsibility, except for the first day on which they told me that the place was unbalanced so they took my suitcase off. Unhelpful aircraft staff, even had an argument in the aisle in front of us, shouting!
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Cabin FlownEconomy Class
RouteLondon to Bangkok via Beijing
Date FlownApril 2018
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Value For Money 12345
no
1/10

"The worst flight I ever had"

(Germany)

Trip Verified | Bangkok to Frankfurt via Chengdu. The worst flight I ever had. Air China is not even able to check through the luggage although the flight was booked from BKK to FRA. I had to immigrate into China - had to get a transit visa. I asked the Air China staff for assistance: Their answer: we have more important things to do. The ground service of Air China is not even existing - if at all they are able to speak a foreign language, like English, which is mostly not the case. The service onboard is better with the exception of the food that is inedible. My advice: never fly Air China! The flight price may be cheap - what you get for it is not worthwhile.
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Cabin FlownBusiness Class
RouteBangkok to Frankfurt via Chengdu
Date FlownApril 2018
Seat Comfort 12345
Cabin Staff Service 12345
Food & Beverages 12345
Inflight Entertainment 12345
Ground Service 12345
Wifi & Connectivity 12345
Value For Money 12345
no