China Eastern – 777 to Australia – but don’t try to book First Class through Qantas
Australian Business Traveller is a reliable source for airline news that impacts Australia. This morning AusBT is reporting that:
Qantas partner China Eastern will once again bring its flagship Boeing 777-300ER aircraft onto flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Shanghai this summer, complete with the airline’s latest-generation business class seats and a first class cabin as well, not normally seen on the airline’s Australian flights.
The advantage is that these 777’s sport the desirable JPA Design / Zodiac Cirrus design business seats, that can also be experienced on Vietnam Airlines, and Cathay Pacific, and even American Airlines. My partner finds them a little ‘tight’, which I think is slang for ‘compact’, but they’re not bad for reverse herringbone. The 777’s alnso have 6 x first class enclosed suites – including one pair in the centre (2D and 2H) that can form a ‘double bed’ for couples (although if it’s anything like Singapore Airlines A380 suites ‘double bed’ – it’s more like two single beds shoved together with a divider!)
The flights out of Sydney (M, Tu, Th & Sa) are:
- Sydney – Shanghai: MU736/QF303
- Shanghai – Sydney: MU735/QF302
And out of Melbourne (M, W, F & Su):
- Melbourne – Shanghai: MU740/QF305
- Shanghai – Melbourne: MU739/QF304
Other China Eastern flights from these ports are on A330’s.
But at the moment – First is not appearing on the site. Business is, but not First. Here are some screen grabs for potential Sydney flights:
But when you change the parameters to search for first class – you get this:
This may just be a glitch in the system – or a delay in loading availability to the Qantas site. However, it is strange that the Boeing 777-300 is listed – but just not First Class
I wouldn’t go looking for award availability either. No availability appears in December for any of the dates I looked up.
On the China Eastern site, it is bookable for cash . . .
. . . and points.
So at the moment, you’ll have to book First direct on the China Eastern site.
It also looks like there are none, or very few ‘Business Sale Fares’ available on the 777 flights – so if you book through Qantas – it looks like you will pay more for these newer reverse herringbone Business seats. Instead of ~AU$3,500 looks like being more like ~AU$5,500. That’s ~AU$1,000 a leg!
Would you pay that kind of difference?