✅ Trip Verified
| London to Yangon via Beijing. I made the mistake of reading the reviews about Air China after I'd booked my flights, and I was therefore a little apprehensive about travelling with them. I'm pleased to say that my experience was quite different and I needn't have worried! The flights from London to Beijing were operated by a newer 777 aircraft and the seats were surprisingly comfortable and the aircraft interiors were clean. The Beijing to Yangon flight was operated by a 737 aircraft and the interior seemed a little tired. I'd recommend checking the aircraft type before booking as spending over 5 hours on a 737 aircraft was a little uncomfortable. In terms of onboard service I was impressed by the quantity and quality of food and drinks provided. On all legs a drinks service was followed immediately by a meal and then another drinks service. The food was quite tasty, and on one occasion I even got a cold beer (a rarity on Chinese airlines!). While onboard staff can be abrupt, there does seem to be a genuine attempt being made to be helpful and to provide good customer service. From my experience, this appears merely to be a cultural difference, rather than being rude as such. As others have mentioned, the entertainment system isn't the best, with a very limited number of both Western and Asian films. On both the outward and return legs I had 7 hour layovers in Beijing. I'd recommend that passengers bear in mind the long queues and security checks when transferring to other international flights at Beijing which took over 1 hour on this occasion. I've noticed other reviewers laying blame on Air China for this (I had exactly the same experience when transferring at Beijing with China Southern Airlines on a previous occasion). While you might be able to make it through security if you have a short connection, your luggage may not be so lucky, and it would also be extremely stressful. Based on my experiences, I'd say Air China is superior to China Southern in terms of seat comfort, onboard service and catering; but inferior in terms of inflight entertainment and cleanliness. It's therefore a little unclear why China Southern receives such glowing reviews, and Air China receives awful reviews. It's also worth mentioning that mobile phone use is banned on all (I think) flights in China (including in flight mode). I don't think it's justified to give a bad review to a particular airline based on this, given that it's a legal requirement. I'd definitely be willing to fly Air China again. The flights were great value for money. However, I may be reluctant to do so in case I have one of the bad experiences that many others seem to have encountered.