China Eastern Boeing 787 brings business class suites to Melbourne

By David Flynn, January 8 2019
China Eastern Boeing 787 brings business class suites to Melbourne

China Eastern is upgrading one of its two daily Melbourne-Shanghai flights to a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with business travellers set to enjoy private suites with sliding doors on the 10 hour trek.

The Boeing 787-9 slides into the MU737/MU738 service beginning February 1, 2019 – although the aircraft itself will belong to China Eastern subsidiary Shanghai Airlines.

The Dreamliners are fitted with the same impressive business class seats as the airline's new Airbus A350s: a highly-customised version of Thompson Aero's Vantage XL+ developed by London-based aviation specialist studio Factorydesign.

Each of the 26 business class seats is framed by high walls and a sliding privacy door.

The Vantage XL+ is the same seat adopted by China Eastern partner Delta Air Lines for its latest Delta One suite, which will appear on the Sydney-Los Angeles route from April 2019.

The first row of the Dreamliner's cabin raises the bar with four first class seats built around Thompson's Vantage First concept.

Each of these super-spacious suites boasts its own mini-bar and an upsized 32 inch touchscreen display.

The paired middle seats can double as a social space or ad hoc meeting room for four passengers by opening up an extra-wide table and flipping over each suite's ottoman to reveal a padded, seatbelt-equipped companion bench.

But if you're flying solo, the window seats certainly won't see you slumming it.

It's all a solid boost from the Airbus A330 which China Eastern currently flies between Melbourne and Shanghai. The SkyTeam member's other daily flight on that route – MU739/MU740 – will continue as a Boeing 777-300ER.

Also read: How to book China Eastern flights using your Qantas Points


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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2014

Total posts 49

I've literally just changed an award flight from the PVG to SYD via MEL to catch this. It certainly looks better than the seat on the A332. Just to clarify, it'll be a MU flight number but Shanghi Airlines branding?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2551

That's what China Eastern has told us...


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Oct 2018

Total posts 5

I believe MU737/MU738 has a code share QF342/QF341


03 May 2013

Total posts 667

Well what do you know Mr Alan Joyce....a real mini first class...that would make the 787/332 business class what then.......? It's a shame the QF product is once again now lagging behind the competition.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1378

Ah.. but Qantas doesn't have doors in first class ;-)

30 Nov 2018

Total posts 7

So how it's called First Class is beyond me. QF product in F is like J on SQ or QATAR

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 193

yes this certainly puts anything that QF brands as business class!!

22 Mar 2013

Total posts 28

I booked with Air China to Tokyo for the coming Easter period, and this morning I was advised the return leg of PVG - MEL is cancelled (so does the Sydney flight, no more CA direct service between Shanghai and Australia from April).

I was prepared to be routed to the PEK service then was told by the customer service that they are happy to move us to the MU flight.
Then I read this article after the full day, and this service will be like heaps better than the old CA 332.
So looking forward to my lucky cancellation and then rebooking trip :)

20 Jan 2017

Total posts 46

Gees not a bad looking product at all!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Jun 2018

Total posts 4

Now, if only MU were a OneWorld airline we could use for RTW tickets ..........


11 Oct 2017

Total posts 8

Just arrived back after two overnighters with China Eastern. London to Shanghai then Shanghai to Melbourne. Cannot recommend this airline at all. My second flight was on a B787-9. The beauty and helpfulness of the cabin crew cannot make up for an almost complete lack of English communication. They did not know how to use either the entertainment system or the bed controls. With such a huge population and relatively good English language schools I cannot understand why a Chinese airline would attempt international flights without English speaking staff. The entertainment options are appallingly bad. Limited movies were mainly rubbish. Music options likewise. The large screen could not be dimmed whilst listening to music. The hand set did not sync with the main screen. After giving up on the entertainment system a crew member spent around five minutes attempting to connect my 'phone through the wireless system then gave it back with everything in Chinese. The seat/bed controls are horrible and do not allow a useful range of positions. The menu has no provision for vegetarians. The side console (seat 6D) was taken up with sloping surfaces, reducing already limited options for storing anything. Bed was so narrow it was extremely difficult to roll over. With only a handful of travellers in Business I expected the service to be much quicker, plus it would have helped if what I ordered was what was delivered.

The lounge in Shanghai was dreadful in most aspects. One (and only one) positive in my China Eastern travel marathon was the shower room at the Shanghai lounge. It was great.


06 Oct 2018

Total posts 12

As of 4 November 2019, MU739/740 have been reverted to Airbus 330-243s and MU737/738 flights are still being operated by B789s. For 2020 however, the system shows Airbus 330-243s for both MU737/738 & MU739/740. Personally I prefer the 2-2-2 layout for J as it's just easier to sleep & more comfortable while sleeping with all that extra space, and you get to meet people. On the other hand, the leg room on Vantage XL products are making sleeping feel rather constrained, be it QF or MU, they are all the same. Alternatively, the F on MU's 77W is a must try - mind the bland in-flight meals though. Oh, one more thing, there's an interesting product one can purchase online - digital Chinese/English & English/Chinese translator, inexpensive, effective and interesting. My mum uses it when flying Qantas and the responses from CCs were overwhelmingly positive.

09 Oct 2018

Total posts 11

I'm wondering if those Business Plus seats in row 1 are worth paying extra for. SeatGuru generally has warnings about Row 1 seats in most aircraft as there can be noise from the galley, activity adjacent to the toilets, and baby carriers stowed near them in most seat plans. Am I not thinking straight?!

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