Travel

READ FULL STORY CHINA EASTERN ECONOMY: DOES IT DELIVER?

An Airbus A330 with off-colored nose – Photo: Ken Donohue
For the past few years, our family has spent spring break in Maui, but with the increasing number of Asian carriers landing at North American airports, especially those from mainland China, airfares to Asia have been too good to pass up. That’s why we decided to fly from Vancouver (YVR) to Bangkok (BKK), and spend two weeks in Thailand, instead.

Vancouver has long been Canada’s gateway to Asia. In fact, from many U.S. cities, it’s often quicker to route through Vancouver when traveling to eastern Asia. Fifteen Asian carriers currently serve Vancouver; seven of those are from mainland China, including Hainan Airlines which joined the list in May, with a twice-weekly service connecting the western Canadian city with Shenzhen and Tianjin.

We booked with China Eastern, as they had a great deal of $730 CDN ($570USD) all-in to Bangkok. The airline first started service to Vancouver in 2004, and now has 14 flights a week to YVR. I had never flown the Shanghai-based carrier before, and looking at the online reviews, their service is decidedly mixed.

Some of the reviews went like this: “what a nightmare experience”, “never recommend this airline”, “service is awful and messy”, “worst airline”. To be fair, there were an equal number of positive comments, but I even noticed that social media comments on the airline made the overly anxious reach for the refund policy when they read negative comments.

A day before our trip, I caught my wife looking up reviews of the airline. “What kind of airline is this,” she asked? “Just go with no expectations, then you might be surprised,” I told her. “Well, I do have an expectation now, and it doesn’t seem good,” she replied.

Credit: AirlineReporter

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