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The metal foot rest is the warning sign. China Eastern’s A340-600, used for its New York (JFK) – Shanghai Pudong (PVG) nonstop, is not the place to spend your ‘aspirational’ reward if your thing is lavish, comfortable business class.
China Eastern is a fine airline, have flown them dozens of times within China and Asia, though this was my first long-haul flight with them. I make a rule to never complain about business class, when I have a business trip it is a honor and privilege to have the trip and to be in business class. And for awards I have never redeemed for business or first.
For the benefit of readers trying to find some use for their Delta SkyMiles in business class, though, steer clear of this plane unless the nonstop flight is of paramount importance. I don’t recall having such an uncomfortable business class seat, with poor, uneven recline and that metal foot rest. Various pillows and blankets from the mostly empty cabin did not help. I felt 20 years older after that flight.
The service is fine, not the doting style the ‘aspirational’ types prefer, sort of like Korean Air in that it can be a bit stiff. Food fine, unremarkable. Lot of copies of GQ for some reason.
Why did I go with China Eastern? I needed the afternoon flight, all other options, including the United nonstop from Newark, depart before noon, and I had an immovable conflict. Also my stubborn determination to stick with SkyTeam, readers may recall my selection of a connecting flight on Kenyan over a nonstop on Emirates. If United would only match to 1k I might look at finally making the switch to Star.