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Air China

Air China

2.3 from 34 reviews

Do NOT book with Air China!!

We booked from Sydney to Frankfurt for $1000 round trip via an online travel website. Awesome! Cheap price.
A couple of months later, we decided to change our departure and return dates. Knowing that there would be penalties, we called the Air China call center and we were happy to hear that it would cost about $150 per person to make the change.
We called 5 days later to apply the change and to our surprise, the total price to is now $630 per person. After many questions with the support center representative who BARELY spoke English, we found that we were given the wrong information on the first call. We asked to speak with the supervisor: he/she doesn't speak English!! Really?? You are in the aviation industry and you don't speak English???
We decided to verify with the travel website: They were going to charge $780!!! That is INSANE.
We had 2 choices:
1. Cancel the ticket to get $500 refund and buy another ticket at $1000 (and lose $500 per person)
2. Just change the tickets at $630 per person with Air China.

Even though it is more expensive, we decided to avoid the hassle and go with the second option.

Air China asked us for our passport numbers because their system would not allow them to make any changes without it. REALLY?? How is it possible that we bought the tickets online WITHOUT the passport numbers. They would not accept any other form of identification (no driver license, no national ID, no credit card matching the name of the passenger).

This is our first experience with Air China and we haven't even boarded the plane.

This is our LAST experience with Air China because we refuse to board this or ANY of their planes.

Take it from us, DO NOT, I will say it again: DO NOT book with Air China!!

I hope this will help someone in the future in avoiding the issues we had to deal with even before boarding the plane.

Transfer hassle and mosquitoes bites

Air China is not good airline for transfer flight. You need to drop in and pick up luggage bags at each airport. And the cabin looked not clean that I found dirty dried food left under my seat and I even had a mosquitoes bites on my ears ! It was the first time I had a bites on the flight.

Do not buy the ticket!!

It's cheap price so I just booked the ticket but they cancelled the flight without telling me the reason. I tried to contact them by email and fb messenger but no reply. I haven't got a refund or anything. It's still 2months to depart and 3months to return but they cancelled the flight. Maybe I'm lucky I can book another flight just hope they refund my money. But never ever go travel with their flight.

What is the worst experience?
1. Cancelled my flight!! Should change all plans!

2. Very slow customer service. Already passed 1 week but no reply so far..

Only 2 reasons but enough not to use their flight.

Direct Brisbane to China

Flew Bne to Shanghai via Beijing
All flights on time except for one flight delayed in Beijing due to heavy rain. We were served breakfast in the aircraft on the ground prior to the airliner pushing back to save us from being bored. Good use of time. Air China gave us a free seat upgrade in the exit row for increased leg room.
Food was good 2 meals per flight from Australia to China and a further meal Beijing to Shanghai.
Entertainment was limited and Air China may show in future different programs Aus to China & China to Aus instead of repeating the same programs. Airline staff were great both on ground and in the air. For the fare which includes 23 kg luggage and 5 kg hand luggage, meals & entertainment, much better value than Jetstar or Scoot.
Happy to fly with them again.

Terrible Ground Staff in Melbourne and in China

Booked my sister's flight with family (2 Adults and 3 children) from Frankfurt to Melbourne. I rang them and got confirmed my Hotel on both ways because I have got 16 hours connection. So far everything was good until we landed in Beijing. They refused to give us the hotel because they have some issues with Government. They didn't gave us any room even on airport. We have to spend 16.5 hours on airport.
On the way back Ground staff at Melbourne Airport said you have to take your checked baggage to hotel in Shanghai (if you get one). When I asked the flight manager it will be hard to handle 10 pieces of luggage to hotel and then we have to bring those back. He said I don't know anything about Shanghai because I never been there. On asking about the hotel He said there is no guarantee that you will get a hotel.

In short after the payment they dont know anything on your every single question.

I'll recommend stay away from this airline.

making a booking

today i booked a ticket online and put the wrong date on it i was put through them on phone within 10 15 minutes
to correct the mistake no way change without charge aprox$50 i excepted put me on to machine to pay on visa this failed so just cut me off booked with another airline cost me twice because of there lack of support
for a honest mistake they have lost me

Will never fly again with AirChina

Booked AirChina from Syd to Milan via Shanghai.
1. SYD - PVG - MXP was delayed more than 6 hours, so I lost the conection to Milan. A trip that was meant to last 27 hours, lasted more than 55 hours. I understand there can be technical problems that can delay flights; the issue was no ground staff was waiting or offering help when arrived to Pudong. They only open the AirChina counter H in Pudong at 7am, so if you arrive any earlier, good luck with the wait until then. Ground personel were not very helpful nor had a good command of English. After spending 4 extra hours at the airport I managed to find the bus taking me to an hotel.
2. MXP - PVG - SYD . You have to note that you have to check your luggage out when arriving to Shanghai . The thing is that even you book with the same airline the full ticket, you cannot check the next leg , until you are close to the flight. The MXP - PVG flight arrives circa at 5 am - the PVG - SYD flight departs at 7.30pm. So even if you want to go to any of the lounges to have a rest - take a shower; you cannot do so, because is too early. So you are stucked on the airport with your luggage. If you want to store it, pay it by yourself, as Air China does not give any facilities for connecting passengers.
3. If you are tall, try to get either Exit, 31 rows, 32D or 32 H. All the others have a "panel" in front for resting the feet, which if it is not down, will hurt your legs for the 10+ hours of the trip.
4. On board service is ok, in terms of flight attendants , despite their lack of English skills.
5. Food is Terrible
6. There is a good selection of movies on the enterntainment system, but the remote control is attached to the arm rest, so if you have issues with the touch screen , good luck selecting with the remote control.

Wonderful service

We booked an economy Flight at the last minute exercise due to a typhoon hitting the southern part of China and had to cancel our flights via Guangzhou.

We booked with Air China a direct flight to Melbourne from Pudong airport. We arrived early at Pudong (which is always wise) and l went to the ticketing counter to ask if l could upgrade to Business class, they indicated yes they could and we got upgraded for a reasonable cost. The staff was extremely polite and very helpful.

We boarded our flight about 10 minutes late, but if you fly anywhere in Asia delays are always expected given the air traffic volume.

Onboard service was very very good, although being an older aircraft seating (lay flat bed) was very comfortable, although entertainment systems a tad old fashioned worked fine. As it was a late night flight really we went to sleep pretty much after a cup of tea and toilet freshen up.

We told the cabin crew we will go to sleep and not to wake us till morning and they complied with a lovely smile and nod.
We put in our noise suppression BOSE head sets a must when flying to cut most of the aircraft noise out and slept 6.5 hours before we woke and had breakfast.

Staff at the airport and cabin crew were of a great standard and very professional, we know that when booking with any airline that has a stop over in China to allow a long long time between next flight or even an over nighter as we do when flying back via Vietnam... just takes the hassle of missing a flight or cancellation of flights.

Air traffic in China is very heavy at times and delays are the norm so if flying maybe try and get a direct flight.

We have flown several times with Air China and found them to be very good.

CA177 23 August 2017

Good Airline, best price

This airline was easy to book online. I have flown to London twice with them now. The trip was pretty much on time. The service was very pleasant and helpful. Stopping over at Beijing helps to cut the trip and this airport is rarely crowded. Lots of chinese language spoken but I did not mind. Next time I will practice my chinese writing as I travel.

TERRIBLE! Will avoid in the future

Where do I start with this airline? Given their less than stellar reputation, I wasn't expecting any more than an average experience, but it ended up being far worse;

1. Purchased our tickets 6 months in advance (consisting of 4 flights) and pre-selected our seats which was stated on our confirmed itinerary. However, upon check-in at the airport we were given completely different seats in the middle row! What is the point in given customers the option to select seats if we don't get them?

2. Despite being the national airline of China and requiring passengers to stopover in Beijing, 3 of the 4 flights we boarded to and from the airport did not use jet bridges/jetways and we were required to take a 10 minute bus ride to the terminal! For passengers in transit, this can be a real waste of time and an anxious and frustrating dash to your next flight, particularly for international transfers.

3. In-flight service was fine as the flight attendants were pleasant and friendly, however the in-flight entertainment leaves a lot to be desired. Very limited number of movies and TV shows relative to other airlines. I recommend you bring your own entertainment as back up.

4. Our baggage did not arrive in our home city but we were not informed by any of the airline staff members that this was the case. We waited until the baggage carousel stopped moving before we were forced to speak to the baggage service team. It is always expected that a passengers baggage make the connecting flight to their final destination and if this does not occur, they MUST be informed and provided with an apology and explanation! Completely unacceptable service that had greatly inconvenienced us for several days. The same issue happened to a relative who was on the same flight on a different day but she too was not informed.

5. Customer service. I contacted Air China to voice my frustration at my poor experience overall - particularly regarding the delayed baggage, but have not yet received a response.

We will definitely ensure we never fly Air China again, and will be more than happy to pay the difference on a better, well-regarded airline.

Never Again!

My husband and I booked a flight from Frankfurt, Germany to New Zealand, with a stopover in Shanghai. We were notified that our flight itinerary had been changed. Our departure time had changed and our stopover was now in Beijing. Luckily my husband saw that with the new flight, we would have arrived in Beijing after our connecting flight to Auckland. Our departure time was again changed. On board, the upholstery of several seats was ripped, and the overall appearance was shabby. The plug in which my husband's earphone jack inserted was broken, so he wasn't able to have sound when watching movies. Bear in mind, this was a 12 hour flight. The airplane was full, so we couldn't change seats. The meals actually were ok. Sleeping was sporadic at best due to the cramped seating. However, the real nightmare began when we arrived at the airport in Beijing. Our layover was for 13 hours. We had barely slept in the last 12 hours. There is a short-term hotel and a traveller's lounge at the airport. When we went to inquire about getting a room, we were to there were no vacancies and the staff couldn't tell us when one would be available. They suggested we "rest" in the lounge. It was filthy, crowded and looked like a mission. We were able to shower, and afterwards spent the time wandering the airport and checking out Cafés. I couldn't get on our connecting flight fast enough! What a horrible experience.


Our business partners & a few employees spent a week in Beijing this month searching for air-conditioning suppliers.
Our experience, Air China is awful and we were in business class, so I feel sorry for those in economy.
The food and service was awful and disgusting, as was the country itself.
If I cut and paste "grumpyoldman" review below, it would cover everything I feel like saying that happened to us, except having rotten chicken thrown at us, although dirty floor bucket water is close enough.
If I look at "Jeremy Lawrance" review and comment, it shows he's probably jealous that someone has the balls to review the facts correctly.
My recommendation is, fly another airline and choose another country.

The GWOC Was Built For A Reason..............

My wife and I have just returned from a 2 week tour of China - a trip we will never repeat.

We flew Air China business class which is more like "coach class" in the 1920's.
Service and professionalism was medieval with comments like "why you so old people want to go to China, China more for young fun people" and when my wife asked for bottled water, the reply was "you old western people funny, we Chinese have tap water" and that was on the flight there.

This godforsaken country they call China was the pits, the scum of the earth and in the heart of Beijing, my wife was doused with rotten chicken offal thrown by a restaurant worker, straight out of a bucket on to the street covering my wife - no apology, in fact quite the opposite, he smiled and laughed and to add insult to injury, a police officer came over to see the commotion and man handled my wife instructing her to pick up all the crap the restaurant worker threw out on the street.
As for hygiene, its non existent - every second man, women or child spits mucus balls continuously everywhere in public - its a friggen epidemic just waiting to happen.

The flight back from this hell hole of a country was no better, no western style food, no biscuits, abysmal coffee and here's the clanger - we had one of the original flight attendants from the journey over and she remembered us and this time said "you going home now, lucky you no have heart attack in China, you very old" (we are early 70's).

To sum up the entire start to finish China trip...............
The worst airline imaginable, the people are childish at every age, insincere, disingenuous and disgusting !.

As so many tourists over there said - The GWOC Was Built For A Reason - to keep the Chinese in and us out and it should stay that way.

Melbourne to Europe - Worst experience of my life

- No in flight entertainment on multiple legs of this journey
- Some announcements at gates or on plane in Chinese only, no English
- Average food
- Was repeatedly told off for listening to music on my iphone (on flight mode)
- Was repeatedly told to switch off my Kindle eBook reader (on flight mode) as it's "an electronic device"
- Zero customer service and zero care factor: was laughed at and sent on a wild goose chase when I asked to speak to a manager to put in a complaint
- Had to go through customs and collect luggage, wait at check in for workers to decide it was okay to open check in (up to 3 hours), go back through customs: AT EVERY STOP-OVER

Will never fly them again. Would advise others to do the same. Cheap but not even worth of 'budget airline' status, cannot even believe they are still an airline.

Worst Experience with any airline

Having previously flown with Air China over multiple legs in Business class as well as travelling economy class, the disappointment I've experienced with the brand is unparalleled. The Airline had previously mismanaged my baggage (as a result of their pre-planned cancellation of my flight which we were later told were "immediately boarding" [This didn't occur til over an hour after we had sprinted to the terminal]). The Ground staff failed to offer a sufficient remedy in order to purchase undergarments as well as failing to offer additional remedy after 24 hours of not having delivered our luggages. When calling the airline, we were told that the ground staff stated that they were "too busy" to place our suitcases on return flights (which again contradicted their statement that our luggage would be placed on the first flight from Shanghai to Xian the next day regardless of which airline it was).

Needless to say, my experience with Air China has been a severely disappointing one.

Excellent experience from start to finish

Best experience in 25 years of flying! Great food, staff and service at a bargain price. Could not fault a thing. Highly recommend.

Syd - Pek - Syd in Business class. Perfect overnight flight. Smoothest ever, even both landings. English spoken by Staff who are very kind and much better trained than their Western counterparts.

Pleasantly surprised

Taking its business class for the first time and was pleasantly surprised. Services are attentive (than Qantas).

Arrived in Shanghai in advance of the schedule time.

1-hour delay from Shanghai to Melbourne but caught up mid-air.

However, there a few issues:
1. Day flight from MEL to PVG had plenty of drinks at the bar, night flight only had soft drinks/water
2. Food is good but needs refinements
3. Duty-free magazine provided is different from the actual duty-free on-board.

A highlight was the free transfer in Shanghai (need to book). Excellent!

Okay but with unnecessary delay which cost us $$

We caught CA165 from Beijing to Melbourne on 23 Jan 2016. Just before take-off the flight was delayed because a customer wanted to get off which meant their luggage too. It delayed the flight and we missed our connecting flight in Melbourne. Stupidly, we didn't have travel insurance. I know delays happen but did they really need to delay a full flight for just one person? Also they have a poor Complaint Line if something does go pear-shape.

Otherwise they were satisfactory. The service was quite good and they did many rounds of drinks (which few flights do) and they were the cheapest option during the busy Christmas period.

Business Class downgraded

The newly configured Business Class in the Airbus Industries planes gives a more roomy feeling and better ventilation due to the single cabin. However in their rush to provide seats they have removed one toilet. The one toilet left gives a passenger/toilet ratio of 30/1. All other airlines on long haul flights have a ratio of 15/1. Be prepared to line at the Business Class toilet.

1 comment
The review by Grumpy Old Man is just that ''a Grumpy Old Man". It is rubbish from start to finish. I doubt that he was in Business Class And even if he was on Air China.

Disgusting airline

So I know it's a budget airline, but really? Should it have been this bad? The aircraft is outdated, the entertainment did not work, seats uncomfortable, food can only be described as vile, the customer service is non existent. You're safer just sitting there, biting your lip and saying nothing to anyone for the duration of the flight. A terrible experience. I've flown budget before and never had a problem, Air China is the bargain basement of all airlines.

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Questions & Answers

I have a question about Air China ticketing: I made reservation for my daughter for a trip from U.S. to Manila but when I made the reservation her full middle name was in the ticketing and I found out later that her new passport only has middle initial as opposed to a full middle name. Will Air China allow her to fly for the minor mistake in the name? Please let me know. Thanks you.
1 answer
They are usually not too strict with middle names, especially if the initial matched the full name. But it might be the safest to give them a call.

Hi, we are flying Sydney to Rome via Pek.Has anyone done that trip? any recommendation? I am flying with a 10 and 14 years old and I would like some tips on this flight. thanks in advance
3 answers
All I can say is, fly a respectable airline and don't even think about Air China. Rome is a long haul flight and you need some comfort and assurance the plane will make the journey.There is a stopover of about 11 hours at Beijing. There is a short term stay hotel within the airport. If you are travelling business class there are sleeping facilities in the lounge. I am doing the same trip in May and will stay in Beijing for a few days in both directions. You can get a free 72 hour Visa in Beijing provided that you are travelling direct into the city with no stopovers in China. There are many 72 hour tours advertised on Tripadvisor or Viator that could be fun.Thanks Jeremy, on the website it says you can get free I. Transit hotel or lounge. I will call and find out, but do you know anything about that?(I have economy tickets) Old grumpy man, China Air is safe. My kids hate airline food anyway so I will bring my own, also in flight entertainment will be provided by my own Ipads.

I have a 13 hour stopover in Beijing returning to Sydney from Mumbai. What can one do during those 13hours? Any suggestions? Is the terminal large enough to roam/shop/entertain yourself?
2 answers
The Terminal is quite large, but also you should think about going to do a bit of the Great Wall at Mutianyu as it is not too far from the airport. I met quite a few people on the wall who had long stopovers and were quickly experiencing the thrill of being on the Great Wall. If you are not planning to come back to Beijing, then I highly recommend you get yourself a driver and walk on the Wall. Check the opening times first to make sure it suits your stopover. Use the chairlift up/down to save time and energy. It's well worth the money.The Airport shopping/things to do is not great. If you are eligible for a 72 hour visa (you must fly directly into Beijing and out of Beijing without going through another city) you should check Viator or Trip Advisor for their stop over tours. Mutianyu is good for the great wall. You might also find it interesting to go to The Forbidden City and Tiananmen which are in the middle of Beijing showing you more of the city. If you are more adventurous, and at a much lower cost, you could take the airport express into Beijing (Dongzhimen Station) and then the subway to Tiananmen. The Forbidden City is over the road. All ticket machines and map have English translations.

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