China Eastern Airbus A350 to fly Sydney-Shanghai from March 31

By David Flynn, January 17 2019

China Eastern's busy Sydney-Shanghai route is set for a stunning upgrade as the airline swings its Airbus A350 into Aussie skies.

As of March 31, the SkyTeam member's daily flight MU561/MU562 service will shift from an older Airbus A330 to a factory-fresh A350.

Business travellers will be the big winners, as the A350 spots an impressive business class cabin where sliding privacy doors convert seats into suites – see our original story below for full details.

The seats themselves are exceptionally well-appointed, offering plenty of personal space plus direct aisle access for every passenger – and of course, a fully lie-flat bed for napping on either leg of the 10½ hour trip.

This is the same seating as on China Eastern's Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which will begin flying between Melbourne and Shanghai on February 1.

PREVIOUS | China Eastern is joining the growing number of airlines adding private business class suites to its flagship jets, and its newest suite-equipped Airbus A350 is bound for Sydney in 2019.

The Shanghai-hubbed airline took delivery of the first of 20 new A350s this week, with two more due by year's end and the rest stretching through to 2022 – and China Eastern tells Australian Business Traveller that its Sydney-Shanghai route will feature an Airbus A350 in 2019.

Each of the 40 business class seats are framed by high walls and a sliding privacy door.

The seats themselves are based on the Vantage XL platform from Thompson Aero, which is already flying in various forms as the Qantas Boeing 787 Business Suite and Delta Air Line's A350 Delta One suite, and could also find itself at the pointy end of Delta's forthcoming Airbus A330neo fleet.

For China Eastern's A350, there's an additional business suite twist: four seats at the very front row of the business class cabin adopt the enhanced Vantage First design, similar in some ways to the bespoke version of that seat created for Malaysia Airlines' A350 first class.

China Eastern described these four berths as 'super premium' suites with a mini-bar and 32 inch touchscreen displays, and it's expected they will sell with a suitable premium mark-up.

Additionally, the middle seats in this front row are being marketed as an ‘Air Living Room’ where up to four travellers can share the same space.

No doubt inspired by Qatar Airways' Qsuites 'quads',  China Eastern says these primo business class bunks "allow flight crew to reshape the space into a community area that up to four people can comfortably use for a business meeting or family gathering."

Converting the middle seats into an ad-hoc meeting room (also suitable for poker) is achieved by folding out the meal tables of each seat...

... and then lifting them up to bring them together into a single wide surface.

Finally, the top of each suite's ottoman is flipped to turn it into a padded seatbelt-equipped companion bench.

High-tech touches including broadband WiFi, a tap-to-buy NFC panel for inflight shopping with your smartphone or credit card, and Bluetooth headphones.

David
David

David Flynn

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

HKAus

HKAus

30 Oct 2014

Total posts 7

No doubt about it; outstanding hardware. Now the service, food and overall soft product needs to be upgraded to make it a more consistent overall package.

Mjkcan

Mjkcan

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jun 2017

Total posts 30

I’d be really annoyed to have to listen to a board meeting while flying.

MikeAir

MikeAir

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

14 Jul 2017

Total posts 13

Not if you had shares in them

GreenEVs Banned

GreenEVs Banned

08 Dec 2018

Total posts 1

What about four guys playing Mahjong inflight? :/

Traveller14

Traveller14

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 391

Yes, I couldn't think of anything worse. Not that I've anything against alcohol, but the bonhomie fuelled by free (practically unlimited) booze would go to extremes. Noisy and disruptive.

PaulST

PaulST

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2014

Total posts 50

Booked on an A330 from PVG to SYD in march so my fingers are crossed the aircraft is changed to an A350! I had a lucky aircraft upgrade a few months ago with MH.

Mattinsydney

Mattinsydney

12 Apr 2018

Total posts 4

Did you get it? I’m flying this route in two weeks.

Ozshanel

Ozshanel

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Dec 2014

Total posts 30

I don’t get the point of the doors. The “high walls” described in the article appear to be about waist height from the photos. Even with the doors closed, everyone could comfortably see inside your “suite”. They offer no privacy whatsoever so what is the point? Aren’t they just a marketing gimmick?

Speedbird

Speedbird

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 273

Agreed.. although I think it’s safety regs that require the height

sdipietr

sdipietr

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Sep 2014

Total posts 5

Yeh but stops the person next to you staring I s'pose

Pegasus

Pegasus

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Jun 2012

Total posts 45

I suppose the doors are meant to give you a little extra privacy when you're sleeping. Personally, I don't want other passengers/strangers seeing me drool, snore, or fart whilst sleeping. Although you could argue that those last two are more "hearing" issues. 😉

Eli

Eli

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 90

No, when you laying down it provides a nice sense of privacy at your eye level.

Joe

Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 359

Now that's "mini first class" Mr Joyce.....not your 787 J set up which is standard J class these days.

jcr737

jcr737

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

28 Feb 2017

Total posts 14

Some relative short flights on the ad map for the "LongRangeLeader." Crew training I guess.

zoomzoom

zoomzoom

21 Aug 2015

Total posts 90

Frightened at the thought of four business execs using the conference work space for a meeting on an overnight long haul flight. The stuff of nightmares!

Davedownunder

Davedownunder

19 Aug 2011

Total posts 49

I can imagine BA feeling a little foolish reading your article and looking at their new first class seat they proudly showed you recently.

China Eastern providing a four across business class suite ie has a door not an open business class seat branded as a first class "suite"

moa999

moa999

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1373

Thank goodness for the pop of red, otherwise that cabin is all bland.

Personally I'm not that fussed about doors, you get enough privacy both when sitting and sleeping by the wings and cocoon, and I think they detract from the overall cabin look.

But obviously others like the extra privacy.

Be interesting to see how much extra MU thinks it can get for the super premium seats.

ieuan1

ieuan1

CX

16 May 2015

Total posts 12

These cabins are getting to look more and more like office cubicles!

Traveller14

Traveller14

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 391

While it codeshares with QF, is there some resistance among Australians who are not of mainland Chinese origin to flying MU, CZ or AC? (I'm omitting CI as that's Taiwanese).

alex_upgrade77

alex_upgrade77

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Sep 2012

Total posts 244

And AC is Canadian. Air China is CA. ;=P

KK

KK

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Dec 2012

Total posts 103

MU561/562 from 25th March 2019

hawkfire

hawkfire

07 Jan 2019

Total posts 3

KK, any source for that information? I'm flying on MU561/562 in April so it'll be good to be on the newer metal.

PaulST

PaulST

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2014

Total posts 50

I'm literally booked on MU561 on the 23rd :( (and it's still coming up an A330)

gumshoe

gumshoe

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 216

Looking for 2 x J/F SYD/PVG using QFF points for Aug. 2019 only see A330 in 1st! no A350 at all, why?

hawkfire

hawkfire

07 Jan 2019

Total posts 3

Because the A350 is configured for Business and Eco only.

gumshoe

gumshoe

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 216

Qantas awards is showing F on A330-200 July 2019 very odd.

Hampstead

Hampstead

25 Jun 2018

Total posts 2

Any chance the A330 gets swung on to the proposed Perth-Shanghai route?

Bra

Bra

QF

11 May 2015

Total posts 23

Yer another "window" seat, where the seat is next to the asile - not the window! Privacy is enhanced by being away from the passing traffic in the isle. If like me you prefer to look out of the window its much easier if you are seated next to it.

As far as the sliding door height is concerned the doors are required to be open for take-off and landing. So the FAs can see if you are straped in etc, but more importantly so you can get out in a hurry if it turns bad. Could save your life,

Russjking

Russjking

12 Aug 2017

Total posts 75

I used to think sliding doors would be great but fling recently in SQ where to seats are slightly staggered I felt very private anyway.

stretch666

stretch666

23 Mar 2018

Total posts 1

David, is the A350 a certainty on these flights? just checked there site for flights in Nov. still showing the 330.

Mikana

Mikana

UA

09 Mar 2016

Total posts 23

Makeup on a pig.

gumshoe

gumshoe

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 216

Booked two in F SYD/PVG for August still showing A330?

gumshoe

gumshoe

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 216

Now showing A350.

Mathiar86

Mathiar86

Etihad - Etihad Guest

04 Apr 2019

Total posts 2

Booked to fly business from YVR in December 2019

Coming up as a330-200

Looks like on the MU website it’s a350 till October then Switches to 33H

Not sure what’s happening with the YVR-PVG leg either...

sydney001

sydney001

26 Feb 2014

Total posts 20

Mat...Chinese airlines have a habit of changing their aircraft around..pending where they are needed..they probably put it on the pvg to Syd route due to high demand and peak season.

Mathiar86

Mathiar86

Etihad - Etihad Guest

04 Apr 2019

Total posts 2

Yeah a bit weird, would’ve thought the Christmas period would’ve been a high time for them. Maybe the YVR leg will be the A350

Looks like I’m on the a330 that is the 1-2-1 confit at least

Scoot

Scoot

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 May 2019

Total posts 2

Booked business, in July, for a flight in Nov - SYD-PVG-SYD, because it was 350, now I look and it's 330?

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