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SYD to YVR in J with MU - flight report

Dr Ralph

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And that really is the problem, most of the award flights that can be found on the Qantas website has an MU flight one way or the other, especially for those departing Melbourne.
Can hardly find any CX ones these days.
I know. It is a real problem.

Take the MU flights where you have to. But if you can wait it out and hope that something else comes along then do that is my advice.

I really missed CX after traveling with MU.

I know I'm definitely not looking forward to my my next MU flight to ORD in 2020, but I am looking forward to the flight with JAL on the return leg.
 
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As I noted earlier Mrs Dr Ralph and I were definitely treated differently as the only 2 westerns on the flight. I wasn't offered the cognac. I had to fight for it.

Same thing happened with pyjamas. Every person other than myself and Mrs Dr Ralph were offered pyjamas.
This is the bit that surprises me Ralphy - I have done a multitude of flts over last 20yrs on ALL 4 major Chinese Carriers - MU, CA, CZ and HU - both Intl and Dom - whilst the hard and soft product is clearly at a level well below top tier the one standout has been service levels afforded by Crew Members on ALL Chinese carriers - YES they lack the polish of other mainstream Asian Carriers but their desire and intent to serve and please is unquestionable.

My overwhelming experience is that the service level I have received is well above what I have seen afforded to Chines Nationals. I hope others will also chime in with their experiences. This is not an attempt to hijack your TR it is just that I find your statements staggering.
 
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This is the bit that surprises me Ralphy - I have done a multitude of flts over last 20yrs on ALL 4 major Chinese Carriers - MU, CA, CZ and HU - both Intl and Dom - whilst the hard and soft product is clearly at a level well below top tier the one standout has been service levels afforded by Crew Members on ALL Chinese carriers - YES they lack the polish of other mainstream Asian Carriers but their desire and intent to serve and please is unquestionable.

My overwhelming experience is that the service level I have received is well above what I have seen afforded to Chines Nationals. I hope others will also chime in with their experiences. This is not an attempt to hijack your TR it is just that I find your statements staggering.
i agree CE. It's almost incredible to read the experience by Dr R across multiple flights (one flight I could understand). And it's the complete opposite of the couple of trip reports from Dennis Bunnik who had two good flights, back-to-back. Here's his review of the A350:

While I know many of you don't like the 2-2-2 full-forward business class seats, they suit me. But I would disagree that the Chinese carriers' hard product is well below standard. You'll see from the video report above that it is now matching, if not surpassing, many top tier carriers (subject to the transition period, but that's common across most airlines)

Lounges in China have always been... err... 'interesting'. The new(ish) Air China lounge at Pudong, and Cathay's new lounge, also at Pudong, are a big step forward from the usual offering. If your first contact with China was a lounge I suppose hygiene may seem like an issue. I've never seen it materialise into anything nasty.

For the price - around $5000 return to either USA or Europe, it's value for money.
 

jase05

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This is the bit that surprises me Ralphy - I have done a multitude of flts over last 20yrs on ALL 4 major Chinese Carriers - MU, CA, CZ and HU - both Intl and Dom - whilst the hard and soft product is clearly at a level well below top tier the one standout has been service levels afforded by Crew Members on ALL Chinese carriers - YES they lack the polish of other mainstream Asian Carriers but their desire and intent to serve and please is unquestionable.

My overwhelming experience is that the service level I have received is well above what I have seen afforded to Chines Nationals. I hope others will also chime in with their experiences. This is not an attempt to hijack your TR it is just that I find your statements staggering.
From personal experience MU is the only one of the 4 where I’ve felt similar to Dr Ralph and Mrs Jase commented the same. HU on the other hand has been the complete opposite and easily our favourite Chinese carrier
 

jase05

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i agree CE. It's almost incredible to read the experience by Dr R across multiple flights (one flight I could understand). And it's the complete opposite of the couple of trip reports from Dennis Bunnik who had two good flights, back-to-back. Here's his review of the A350:

While I know many of you don't like the 2-2-2 full-forward business class seats, they suit me. But I would disagree that the Chinese carriers' hard product is well below standard. You'll see from the video report above that it is now matching, if not surpassing, many top tier carriers (subject to the transition period, but that's common across most airlines)

Lounges in China have always been... err... 'interesting'. The new(ish) Air China lounge at Pudong, and Cathay's new lounge, also at Pudong, are a big step forward from the usual offering. If your first contact with China was a lounge I suppose hygiene may seem like an issue. I've never seen it materialise into anything nasty.

For the price - around $5000 return to either USA or Europe, it's value for money.
Unfortunately Dr Ralph copped the older A330 and the hard product on that is nothing short of a disgrace
 
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Unfortunately Dr Ralph copped the older A330 and the hard product on that is nothing short of a disgrace
But that shouldn't affect the service :(

Again, I really don't understand the outrage over a full-forward, completely unconstrained, 80 inch bed? Are the new QF suites on the A330 really so much more private? (By comparison QF gets 22 seats into the same space MU puts 18.)
 

Dr Ralph

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This is the bit that surprises me Ralphy - I have done a multitude of flts over last 20yrs on ALL 4 major Chinese Carriers - MU, CA, CZ and HU - both Intl and Dom - whilst the hard and soft product is clearly at a level well below top tier the one standout has been service levels afforded by Crew Members on ALL Chinese carriers - YES they lack the polish of other mainstream Asian Carriers but their desire and intent to serve and please is unquestionable.

My overwhelming experience is that the service level I have received is well above what I have seen afforded to Chines Nationals. I hope others will also chime in with their experiences. This is not an attempt to hijack your TR it is just that I find your statements staggering.
Things were similar on all 4 flights. The pyjama example occurred with every flight. On the return leg I asked about it and was ignored.

' but their desire and intent to serve and please is unquestionable.'

I got the opposite on all 4 flights. Their desire to serve was highly questionable. I couldn't put it down to whether their English really was so limited that they were embarrassed by this or they just didn't care.
 
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Dr Ralph

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If your first contact with China was a lounge I suppose hygiene may seem like an issue. I've never seen it materialise into anything nasty.
Definitely not my first 'contact' with China or with Asia in general. I've been to China more than 10 times over the past 20 years, many other Asian destinations including Thailand (where I worked for 9 months) over 30 times since 1990.

For the price - around $5000 return to either USA or Europe, it's value for money.
I'd disagree. If I'd pay this amount I'd have been angry with what I'd received.

The entertainment system alone has to be called out for what it really is - limited. When you have a total of 4 TV shows on offer you really aren't being serious about 'entertainment'.
 
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The entertainment system alone has to be called out for what it really is - limited. When you have a total of 4 TV shows on offer you really aren't being serious about 'entertainment'.
But this shouldn't be a surprise - I have reported the abysmal IFE on basically ALL Chinese carriers for years - I thought it common knowledge to BYO IFE on ALL Chinese carriers? Their soft product always has been and continues to be way below the top tier Asian carriers that we are accustomed to - unless comm tix are heavily discounted then they are always overpriced.

Just a sample of times I have suggested to BYO IFE:
seeking china eastern business class review
Questions re Business Class
China Eastern in Business
 
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Dr Ralph

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Something that I wanted to add. On the return leg of the journey whilst checking in at YVR, I was delayed by more than 70 minutes. It took a long time to get an explanation but I was advised that there was a disconnected between the MU and QF systems when it came to award bookings. Whilst there wasn't a suggestion that I wouldn't be flying that day, the delay was extensive and the lack of communication profound. In the end the result was that I stood around at check in for 70 mins and had a lot less time in the quite good lounge than I had anticipated. Hardly the worse thing I know, but I mention it for those that have MU award bookings as something to be aware of and allow time for.

There was a similar issue when departing SYD at the start of the journey but that was resolved within 25 mins.

There are definitely problems with the communication between QF and MU systems for award bookings which I have seen every time I have booked and flown with MU. These range from the problem listed above to never receiving an e-ticket after booking to difficulties with reserving seats.
 
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Something that I wanted to add. On the return leg of the journey whilst checking in at YVR, I was delayed by more than 70 minutes. It took a long time to get an explanation but I was advised that there was a disconnected between the MU and QF systems when it came to award bookings. Whilst there wasn't a suggestion that I wouldn't be flying that day, the delay was extensive and the lack of communication profound. In the end the result was that I stood around at check in for 70 mins and had a lot less time in the quite good lounge than I had anticipated. Hardly the worse thing I know, but I mention it for those that have MU award bookings as something to be aware of and allow time for.

There was a similar issue when departing SYD at the start of the journey but that was resolved within 25 mins.

There are definitely problems with the communication between QF and MU systems for award bookings which I have seen every time I have booked and flown with MU. These range from the problem listed about to never receiving an e-ticket after booking to difficulties with reserving seats.
Will definitely be at Sydney airport way beforehand for any unexpected issues.
 

Lemon_Party

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Thanks for the TR - MU have been coming up a lot lately when I've been scouring the QF website (and upsetting my search for a oneworld classic award) and its good to see a detailed look at them.
I've only flown CI out of the major Chinese carriers and their FA's tried hard but the lounges in TPE were poor and the a350s were in a shoddy state considering their relatively new age.
 

jase05

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Thanks for the TR - MU have been coming up a lot lately when I've been scouring the QF website (and upsetting my search for a oneworld classic award) and its good to see a detailed look at them.
I've only flown CI out of the major Chinese carriers and their FA's tried hard but the lounges in TPE were poor and the a350s were in a shoddy state considering their relatively new age.
CI aren’t Chinese
 

Matt_01

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There are definitely problems with the communication between QF and MU systems for award bookings which I have seen every time I have booked and flown with MU. These range from the problem listed above to never receiving an e-ticket after booking to difficulties with reserving seats.
There certainly can be not just for rewards but also revenue tickets as well. I have first hand experience of this and posted the detail in a couple of different threads some time back. I was fortunate to have the SST working on our issues and it took them roughly 10 weeks to resolve but was all done prior to departure so we did not run into any issues at check in.
 

Welsh-Kiwi

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Thanks for the TR @Dr Ralph - I have 4 J flights with MU in October. Luckily, it looks like the A330 on the AKL-PVG route had been replaced with a B789. The other 2 flights are on B777s. Mrs and Miss W-K used QF points so fingers crossed we don't have any checkin issues.

Thanks for the tips re pajama's - I'll see if I have to ask for them.

Did you use the chauffeur pickup service? I'll need it in JFK.
 

Dr Ralph

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Did you use the chauffeur pickup service? I'll need it in JFK.
Wasn't aware of any chauffeur option.

But having a look now I don't think it would have been an option. I note:

1) It appears to only be for paid flights 'Tickets must be sold ', 'whom purchased tickets in Australia' and 'Reward tickets, redeemed tickets and tickets with booking classes A/O are excluded.'
2) Only for 35 kms in Sydney.

Happy to be corrected, as I indicated today is the first time I became aware of this option.


I also not that the above is inconsistent with this:

'China Eastern Airlines is now offering complimentary luxury airport limousine service to and from select U.S. airports for all China Eastern First and Business Class customers.'

 
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My flight to PVG is tomorrow and it seems that we have been scheduled with a 2 month old B787-9.
Fingers crossed for a good flight!
 
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Pretty good with the new plane, definitely much better than the old A330s and worth redeeming my hard earned QF points with.

SkyTeam Lounge in Sydney was a letdown really and ntg much to write about.

The hard product on the B787-9s is quality even though the seat can be a bit hard to sleep on when flat, I had to use the mattress as some sort of topper. Good for back sleepers, sleeping on the side can be a bit tight.

I had a "true" window seat while the Mrs was closer to the aisle. Interestingly, her seat I felt had more storage compartment as she had an additional area down the bottom to store her shoes while mine didn't. Odd numbered seats are closer to the aisle and even numbered seats closer to the window.

The food wasn't mind blowingly good but was a huge step up from economy and I did enjoy it and finished everything. I had Asian selections for both the dinner and brekkie service.

No complaints about the IFE from me. The touchscreen was huge and responsive, quite a wide selection of Hollywood movies to watch, around 92 if not wrong. Many Asian movies as well. The headphones were alright, did it's job.

One lavatory in the front which were shared by the pilots and 2 behind which were shared with the PE cabin. I always found them to be clean and smelt nice so the crew must be cleaning them.

Service was attentive without being intrusive and the cabin crew were polite and helpful. They asked me for my food choices at the start but didn't take the menu away so I could browse them throughout the flight. They would greet me by surname and would always check to see if I needed anything. Perhaps me speaking Mandarin was the difference I can't be sure but I can't fault them on anything on this flight.

Transiting in PVG was a real mess and no real order. They have a lot of lounges and this particular one I went to I felt was really nice and huge with natural sunlight. The shower room was clean and spacious with lots of room to put your stuff. Water pressure was strong and I had a good long bath. The noodle bar was a standout and because the lounge was so huge, it never felt packed the entire time I was there, around 4 hours. I think the lounge was called #137 if not wrong.
 
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