Tried & Tested

Business Traveler (USA) - - INSIDE EVERY ISSUE - — Jim McGin­ley

China Eastern San Fran­cisco-Shang­hai, War­wick Mel­rose Dal­las

China Eastern’s in­au­gu­ral flight of their daily ser­vice from San Fran­cisco to Shang­hai was on Fri­day, April 26. Check­ing in for this new non-stop flight was seam­less. There was no wait on the busi­ness class pri­or­ity line and I was ex­pe­dited through se­cu­rity with no de­lay at all. I was es­corted to the Air France lounge for a leisurely cup of cof­fee. Busi­ness and First class China Eastern trav­el­ers are af­forded the op­por­tu­nity to uti­lize the Air France lounge, which is just a few steps from the China Eastern gate. BOARD­ING When I ar­rived at the gate, I was boarded im­me­di­ately and es­corted right to my seat in the Busi­ness cabin. A choice of or­ange juice, cham­pagne or wa­ter was of­fered, fol­lowed im­me­di­ately by a choice of sev­eral dif­fer­ent news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines. I latched on to two of my fa­vorites, the NewYork Times and The Econ­o­mist. There was a sense of ex­cite­ment on this maiden flight and the crew was clearly up­beat and cer­tainly anx­ious to please. DE­PAR­TURE Right on time. The for­ward fac­ing seat seemed a lit­tle wider than I was ac­cus­tomed to in Busi­ness class with am­ple leg room. The flat-bed seat went down 180 de­grees and was ex­tremely com­fort­able. Busi­ness Class was di­vided into two cab­ins, each ar­ranged 2-2-2 across. The front cabin where I was had 18 seats three rows deep; the back cabin had 12 more seats. A nut mix was served ten min­utes into the flight, along with a se­lec­tion of drinks, in­clud­ing Mon­mathe Cham­pagne, 2006.

The en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem was ex­ten­sive, loaded with con­tent. I set­tled on a movie (Life of Pi) and thor­oughly en­joyed it on a 16 inch flat screen. I was able to choose from a num­ber of new re­leases, come­dies, classics and doc­u­men­taries. In ad­di­tion, there was a good se­lec­tion of au­dio, mu­sic, drama, kids shows and video games.

Be­fore we were an hour into the flight the cheer­ful at­ten­dants were back with an ex­quis­ite as­sort­ment of de­lec­ta­ble ap­pe­tiz­ers pre­pared by an ar­ray of fa­mous chefs, from within China and be­yond. For the ap­pe­tizer, I chose the pan-fried abalone and scal­lops with truf­fle jam. The scal­lops were large and tasty. The main course was a choice of ei­ther Chi­nese style or Western style cui­sine. Al­though I was sorely tempted by the pan­fried lob­ster with crushed truf­fle potato, I chose in­stead the pan-fried duck breast with honey duck sauce and steamed rice/veg­etable. A glass of Sol de An­des Chardon­nay Reserva 2007 was the per­fect ac­com­pa­ni­ment. The af­ter­dinner co­gnac gave me a chance to savor this de­li­cious meal. I was of­fered af­ter din­ner dessert which in­cluded a choice of white choco­late with apri­cot and mas­car­pone, cheese or ice cream. But I de­cided in­stead to re­cline my seat to the full flat po­si­tion and get an early start on my nap. AR­RIVAL Through­out this non-stop trip from the board­ing in San Fran­cisco to the on time ar­rival in Shang­hai, China Eastern’s staff was ex­tremely at­ten­tive and anx­ious to please. A most pleas­ant and un­event­ful flight suc­cess­fully came to an end with an on-time ar­rival. BT

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