Beijing-Shanghai Shuttle: “Is it a 2×2 seating plane?”

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The size and crush of people in China is hard to fathom until you have experienced it. Yesterday I traveled with a colleague from Louisville, Kentucky on the Beijing-Shanghai Air Express (京沪空中快线), a coordination of several airlines providing roughly hourly services between Beiijing (PEK) and Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA). Louisville is commuter jet central so it is understandable that when my colleague heard of the 1 hour 40 minute flight he expected the same.

As we crossed from the jet bridge to the plane I said “‘Is it a 2×2 seating plane?’ will be the line of the trip.”

On we stepped to an Air China 777-20 with 2-5-2 seating. Full on a mid-Saturday afternoon.

Air China Beijing Shanghai Shuttle 1

Air China Beijing Shanghai Shuttle 2

He kept raving after, “First class had amenity kits!” “We were served a meal in economy.”

Oh, and Chinese airlines still hassle passengers for having their phones in airplane mode, though enforcement is only by the most stern flight attendants.

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Rapid Travel ChaiTomJames PangWanderingentrepreneur Recent comment authors

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Sorry, but how is this any different than the 777’s operated between our first and second biggest cities, LAX and NYC?

Rapid Travel Chai

@Tom – unexpected to see on such short flights, especially for my colleague who is used to commuter jets for these hops, even the Delta shuttles between NYC and Chicago are tiny planes with less frequency. I am no expert on JFK-LAX, I only know Delta and those are 757s and 767s, and not much of a plane geek, I was attempting to relate the surprise from my colleague at the population in China as it dawned on him in episodes like that.

James Pang

I travel on PEK/SHA express route almost every week. First class does not have amenity kits. I usually fly with Air China. You can always get discounted first class tickets (A Class) by booking on Air China website, or Ctrip.

@Wanderingentrepreneur you absolutely sure you saw a flight attendant smoking in the lavatory? I don’t think that could have on a Chinese flight operator. He/she will get fired immediately.

Rapid Travel Chai

@James Pang – thanks, I did not have a view up front so wasn’t sure what my colleague saw. It’s been several years since I have been on that route, too long, I missed it.


Funny that they actually enforced the cell phone rule because I was on a China Eastern flight between PEK and SHA, and there was a woman speaking on her cell phone the entire taxi and takeoff. Not until the flight attendants walked the cabin after passing 10,000 feet did they say anything, but it looked like the woman lost signal before they even got to her. This was the same flight that had a flight attendant smoking in the lavatory.