Hainan 787-8/9 Business Class MegaReview

In this review:

  • wifi-signal shaped dishes
  • a broken champagne flute
  • the worst lounge I have experienced

Prologue

It is not a secret: life on the road is pointless in one way or another, regardless of how you put it. You can say it is not one’s true self when he or she is not in a comfort zone. Or maybe it is just the food and constant moving occupy too much time out of a day that we as humans cannot do all the things we wanna do in a day. Or, as I would like to think, I am constantly trying to run away from my biggest fear, myself, while gaining no grounds. This is the life in frequent flyer programs. We call it the Hamster Wheel for a reason, as if we are all just short-sighted rodents riding the cycle of life yearly in a futile attempt to go somewhere, just anywhere, while our capitalistic masters look on from outside the cage, with a sharp grin.

Nah, I am more confident that they meant the yearly grind to reach the top tier status next year. In order to keep up with the pace, I had to take a business class flight from Shanghai to Los Angeles with Hainan in order to get all the necessary qualifying mileage for Alaska MileagePlan. The price is very reasonable, and comes with a great plus: I need to get to the north of China for a business trip anyway, so why not make it the most convoluted way to get to Beijing possible? And this is the story of how I spent $1600 to save $80. (I am such a genius, all your hot girls can contact me when you gals cannot resist my charms anymore.)

Itinerary

Day 1: Shanghai —–> Chengdu (Hainan B787-9 Business Class)
Day 2-4: Chengdu
Day 5: Chengdu —–> Los Angeles (Hainan B787-8 Business Class)
Day 6: Los Angeles
Day 7: Los Angeles —–> Changsha —–> Beijing (both Hainan B787-9 Business Class)

Yes, I did stay in LA just for 22 hours, because that is how I roll. I will also fly nearly 35 hours in Hainan Airlines 787 so I will get a very good idea of how the product is like, both domestically and intercontinentally.

This trip is split into 2 parts:

This part: Hainan Airlines 787 Mega-review
Other part: Chengdu and Los Angeles

So, are you ready? Time to fly.

Aw shit, here we go again

China has this ridiculous policy that only one carrier can operate a certain pair of cities between China and United States, so Hainan, being the awkward 4th airline of the country, had to pick the leftovers of the Big Three, so don’t even bother with direct flights. My outbound routes through Chengdu, which I took a few days of free stopover at, and the inbound routes through Changsha.

I unfortunately got the chance to fly the old 787-8 as they swapped out the equipment last minute for my Chengdu to Los Angeles segment. So now, I have a mega review prepared for the 1 long haul 787-8 business class and 3 787-9 business class, 1 long haul and 2 short ones. Enjoy!

787-9 Business Class

THE HARD PRODUCT

Let’s start with the better one. Hainan took delivery of these newer birds just recently, and they feature a world-leading reverse herringbone seat arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration for 9 rows, totalling 36 seats in the business class. It fits nicely between the first set of doors and the second set of doors, so the footprint is quite large. They face away from the aisles, so the window seats are still not as shielded from foot traffic. I had this configuration for my flights from Shanghai to Chengdu, from Los Angeles to Changsha, and from Changsha to Beijing.

the cabin

The seat is relatively well-cushioned, and has a wide surface, so everything seemed to be in order. Every seat comes with a nice small pillow, a bit on the harder side but perfectly fine most of the time. Blanket is large and comfy, and sits on top of the ottoman when one boards. One little nit-pick is the thick hard supports for the safety belt, but other than that, the seat surface itself has few to no flaw.

Hainan 789 seats

As for the others, a large control panel sits on the side, with a USB port and headphone jacks. Light is fixed in place so that is a minus, especially given its lack of good power and awkward position. The table swings out from underneath the surface to the side, and cannot be pushed forward or backward. However, it can swing to the side if one needs to leave the seat while dining. Magazine rack is underneath the table and is extremely tight, so one cannot put anything in it. A nice bottle of Evian awaits me as well, which the crew would also be happy to replenish any time.

footwell

Footwell on the window seats are very large compared to many other reverse herringbone products, but the ones in the middle sections are the regular cramped versions probably due to the lack of fuselage curvature.

controls
In flight entertainment

The options of in flight entertainment are plentiful, including about 100 films ranging from classic Hollywood to modern Chinese, along with a handful of Japanese, Korean, and European selections. TV shows come in entire seasons, which is always a plus given the mumble jumble a lot of airlines offer. The new generation of screens are extremely touch sensitive, and the side little controller can be operated separately, watching a completely different content if one wishes to enjoy both at the same time. The side controller is also supported by a smart touch screen, as pinching and zooming was no problem. However, the translation work done on the product is hilariously bad.

coliseum
no no no no nononononooo

The entire gaming selection is made by the same Chinese company, and they do a very sloppy job. Most of the English translations are absolutely abysmal, and some just straight out have wrong facts. Like this one above, if you took a short read of my Kilimanjaro journal, you would know that Kilimanjaro sits completely within the border of Tanzania, even though it looks like it is close to Kenya.

I think it is Danish, the pastry
long haul amenities

For the long haul flights, Hainan offer a full menu and amenity bag. The menu features most of the standard offering which differs from place to place, so I never had the same meal twice which is a nice plus. However, on domestic flights, the options are instead dictated by the flight attendants. The amenity kit is hard shelled and sponsored by Samsonite, and contains the standard items one would expect, such as hand lotion and moisturizer cream from Clarins, eye-shade, socks and but also some rather out-of-the normal items such as a foldable comb and glass-cleaner.

domestic flights headphones

Earphone for the domestic flights are the above crappy ones, which barely blocks out the ambient noise but does a good job in the sound quality department, and the intercontinental flights have relatively better quality but not top of the line. All of the headphones need to be collected before landing on the intercontinental flights to prevent theft as they are, surprisingly, Bose branded, but the flight attendants do give out a standard pair of earphones as a replacement. The water for international flights are Evian, but domestic flights get crappy local water. Flip flops are thick and relatively nice.

international amenities, taken on 788
bathroom

The bathrooms are very normal and barebone. Nothing special is offered, as even the plastic flower is standard in economy bathrooms, and the size of the lavatory is also very limited, just like an economy cabin one. The total business class cabin has 3 bathrooms, and nobody cleans them regularly so the floor usually gets wet with mysterious liquid by the end of the flights, so flip flop wearers beware.

Hainan 789 parked at PEK

Another thing of note is that Hainan LOVES to have no slots for air bridges. 5 times out of 8, we parked/departed from a remote stand, so do not expect to get any speedy arrival whenever you land at a major airport such as Los Angeles, Shanghai or Beijing.

IMAGINE A PHOTO OF LINCOLN NAVIGATOR HERE

Also for all the international business class passengers, each roundtrip grants two uses of free shuttle service at any of the places that one passes by. For example, for my flight from Shanghai to Chengdu to Los Angeles, you can even use the free transfer to take you to Shanghai airport as long as it is on the same ticket. It is a hidden service so one has to actively seek out Hainan Airlines in order to get this secret perk. So I used the opportunities for the costly transfers between LAX and downtown Los Angeles. In LA, Hainan uses Blacklane as an outsourced charter service, and my driver arrived right on time with great services despite the fact that the entire US immigration system was down, causing me to be severely late upon arrival. The vehicle assigned to me on both rides are the same Lincoln Navigator with plenty of room and awesomely large baggage capacity. I do apologize that I do not have good pictures of the ride since it was a black car in the middle of the night.

PVG-CTU

For my Shanghai to Chengdu flight, I arrived at the airport exactly 90 minutes before scheduled departure, and the priority check-in had a longer line than economy, so I used economy instead. The agent commented that I should have used priority lane but I just smiled, looking at the 2 people waiting impatiently in the business class line. Within minutes, I was clearing security in the priority lane, which is getting rarer and rarer nowadays for business class passengers.

invitation is handwritten
lounge entrance

I headed towards the No.73 lounge at Pudong Airport, and found it to be absolutely trash. Instead of a relaxed space for its most esteemed customers to refresh and work, Hainan elected for a small holding cell from a defunct Olive Garden demolished in late 1990s. The lounge is small, cramped, and old. It made staying inside practically worse than sitting out in the terminal, or on the tarmac.

the entire lounge area
woah look at all the food

This is just garbage: very few charging ports; lack of variety in seating; small bathrooms; abysmal food options; even more abysmal drink options. The floor is sticky in some parts, and the food look like they had been sitting on the hot plate for a month. The kitchen door is always open, revealing a lot of messy pots and pans inside, along with undesirable chattering amongst the staffs. At least it has a good window view, I guess? But it was so crowded that I barely could find a tall chair to sit in.

food options
SQ A380!

However, it is hard to deny this is not a place for human to stay. It was probably as bad as a lounge can go, so I promptly rushed out after finding out they only had soft drinks. I was the first to board the bus that would take us to the remote stand, and I hoped for an arrival to the plane. Nope, that did not happen.

business class bus to plane

The bus waited, and waited, and waited. We waited nearly 20 minutes in the bus, while 2 economy big buses had already come and gone. It was absolutely cramped in the little minibus, and there was nowhere to go. I wished that I boarded an economy bus instead. Finally upon entering the plane, I breathed a sigh of relief as the ground handling of Hainan in Shanghai is probably one of the worst I have ever encountered.

boarding the flight

Once on board, everything was much better. The flight attendants are all very attentive and proactive, offering all passengers with amenities and options, as well as assistance with luggage and seats. Many were shocked to see such a nice plane operating the 3.5 hour flight to the western city of Chengdu, but the flight attendants all offered a warm smile and words of congratulations. In some ways, Skytrax’s 5 star award for Hainan is deserved for the flight attendants’ hospitable servitude.

towels, PDB, and snack

I was offered a selection between various juices and signature cocktail for my pre-departure beverage, and also a towel and a cookie snack. The cocktail had a weird blue-ish green color so I decided against it, and saved it for a later flight. Taxi took 20 minutes, so the safety demonstration was not in a rush at all. We flew directly over downtown as we departed towards west, and I saw one of my apartment windows was open! Oh noes!

appetizer and side dishes
main course, kimchi chicken

The meal service started 40 minutes after departure, even though the flight attendants had already taken the orders of all 8 passengers in the cabin before departure. We had a choice between spicy kimchi chicken, kung pao chicken and a seafood dish that I forgot, since all menus were dictated to us. I was rather hungry, and asked if I could get two main dishes, and the flight attendants gladly obliged.

kung pao shrimp

The food quality is very good, a hair shy of top notch simply due to its presentation. Additionally, the amount of food is definitely on the generous side, so I have absolutely no complaints, but I bet some folks out there would be sulking about the unimpressive presentation. We landed on time, and quickly disembarked through the bridge. All flight attendants, including in the next few flights, are all quite talkative, so I learned quite a lot from them during my regular breaks in the galley, and they all seemed to quite love their jobs, which is always a plus in my books. On board service and experiences are definitely 5-star worthy, good job Hainan!

LAX-CSX

(The flight from Chengdu to Los Angeles is on a 788, and I will detail it after I am done with this aircraft type.)

I was dropped off by the friendly Blacklane driver that Hainan helped me book for free, so absolutely no complaints there. The check in lane was a bit crowded due to an earlier flight going to Xi’an and my flight heading for Changsha, but thankfully the business class lane was relatively short. I got everything within 2 minutes.

Hainan check-in lanes
lounge used by Hainan

Unfortunately, unlike last time I was coming through the airport on my Hong Kong Airlines business class ticket, this time LAX had no priority lane, so I waited 10 minutes to get through security, and I made my way to the Los Angeles International Lounge as directed by the check-in agent. I have already reviewed it last time on my Hong Kong Airlines experience, so I will not detail here. It is definitely one of the worse ones in the airport, and dare I say, I would prefer Admiral’s Club for being more spacious. Again, Hainan failed at the lounge option when it comes to business class experience, but really their hands are quite tied here.

LAX late at night

When boarding was about the begin, the gate agents put out an announcement, and the staff hurried me to get to the gate so I could board. Yeah right, I saw right through their mind: since this was the last flight of the day it would be awesome if everyone left a bit early so they could get home earlier. I got to the gate and it took them another 10 minutes to commence boarding, which is extraordinarily annoying: do not announce boarding when you are not ready to board the damn aircraft! I could have gotten at least another Kosher sandwich in my tummy!

mango juice with nuts

Once on board, I was served a nice glass of mango juice, along with room temperature nuts. The service was as good as previous segments, and I got a free seat next to me in the middle section, so I had a bed and a regular lounging seat.

menu
menu

The menu is shown as the above, and do not be fooled. Even though the menu advertises any-time dining, actually it is not. Most of the time when I mention anything from the main meal, the flight attendants expressed a sense of dread and explained that all those dishes are mostly just for the first 2 hours of flight only. You cannot even order main meal options for the breakfast. Here is a lesson, kids, do not advertise dine anytime when you cannot deliver. Wine list reads as the following (wine lists are the same on all flights):

wine list
wine list
coffee list
other drinks

Champagne on board is Leventre Dedieu Grand Cru Brut, which, interestingly, does not have any price tag online. However, it tasted pretty good so I will say it must be upwards of 40 dollars. The food was quickly served after take off, since the cabin was barely half-full.

herb crusted lamb polenta
Chinese main course

I loved how they had options for multi-grain rice and plain rice as my Chinese main course staple. It is getting more and more popular to diversify the intake of carbs in China nowadays, given how unhealthy plain rice is to the modern hyper-stationary lifestyle. All the food tasted excellent in this leg, especially the lamb polenta, which was awesome. The main course was very balanced and flavorful as well, and I believe it will give all the foreigners a great first chance to taste the great Chinese cuisine.

cart
cheese and fruit courses

Finally, for the end of the meal, I was presented with a full myriad of options to customize. The flight attendant, along with the onboard “chef”, who I think is a more experienced flight attendant wearing a chef hat, rolled down a cart filled to the brink with cheese, cookies, fruits, cakes, ice-cream and other options. Everything was plated right in front of me, so I could tell them what I wanted and what I wanted to leave out, such as the reason why Jesus has never come back to save humanity: blue cheese.

galley setup
ice coffee

I slept without any issues since the pajamas offered by the airline is relatively comfy. Since I am very uh, unkempt, so I will not give you a horrible selfie in the tiny bathroom wearing it. The color is fixed for each particular flight, and this one has beige as the color for the amenity kit and pajama, while the previous flight shown below in the 788 section was black. They also offered turndown service, which was basically a thin layer of sheets on top of your seat converted into bed. I slept about 6 hours and began working. Sadly Hainan still has no functional wifi, but thankfully I was able to stay up with the help of an excellent iced coffee.

snack

For mid-flight snack, I opted for the mushroom noodle, which was serviceable. The noodle was a bit overcooked, but that is the way airplane presents challenges to the airlines. And finally 2 hours before landing, nearly 12.5 hours after departure, the lights were turned up for breakfast.

breakfast
fruit plate

While the udon noodle is a bit better than the mid-flight snack noodle, it is not something memorable. The Chinese pickled dishes have always been too salty for me to eat a lot, but the drinks were constantly refilled. The highlight, unexpectedly, was the fruit plate, which was large and cold, just the way I liked it.

approaching Changsha

We landed at Changsha Huanghua Airport 30 minutes before schedule, and it was a rainy morning in the middle of China. The flight itself is definitely up there with the better airlines, with the service, hard product, and food options. A few of the downsides are the lack of efficient cleaning of the lavatories, the proficiency of English amongst staff since they had a hard time understanding a lot of the wine names when I pronounced them in English as I otherwise communicate in Mandarin, and the lack of wifi and good bedding product.

Changsha airport

CSX transit

My layover in Changsha was a bit over 3 hours, and I was looking forward to seeing this new airport in full glory. However, things did not go as well as I expected…

departure hall

For unknown reasons, the agents in Los Angeles could not issue my boarding pass all the way to my final destination, Beijing, so I had to exit security and obtain my boarding pass. The premium check-in was all the way to the side of the terminal, instead of being with the other economy Hainan counters. I got my lounge invitation and proceeded through premium fast security. However, the lounge one floor below the normal gates for the bus gates that Hainan love to use are…let’s say…subpar.

entrance to the lounge

The lounge was brand new, but that only reflected how lazy the designers and investors were when constructing the place probably 2 weeks ago. It had nothing good to eat, I mean, NOTHING. What you get is a cereal stand, a nice presentation of 3 kinds of instant noodles, and one banana, one single banana.

woah! 3 kinds of 50-cent ramen options!
“snacks”

Holy mother of Arceus is this horrible. They must not have got any hot food lisence or something, because that was everything on offer, carbs with preservatives, and if you are lucky, you can find some food coloring in it too. The seating is not too good either, with wobbly tables at uncomfortable heights or bad sofas designed for middle age dads with erectile dysfunction to sit on while playing angry birds. The work stations are virtually useless thanks to the great firewall, and the lack of seating options made my stay very uncomfortable, even though I was the only person in the lounge most of the time! Not even a sandwich, a bao, or boiled eggs… What the actual fuck. This is one of the worst lounges I have been in by its design, not because it was run down or mismanaged. This is Changsha’s Hainan lounge at maximum potential, what a joke.

lounge
the lounge

I could not wait to get out of the tiny cell for my solitary confinement, and hopped onto a bus to board my flight, on the exact same 789 that I came in with. This time there was not even a private bus for the business class passengers, so I had to cram it in and got real close to the plebs that I pretend so long that I am not a part of. Once on board, I was offered warm service, even warmer towel, and a lack of option for my breakfast. It was a yes-no question instead of a “which” question. You either want a breakfast, or not.

breakfast?

In fact, the only option was pretty good. The top right, supposedly the main, seemed to be a few dishes poured onto each other, with completely different items piled on top of one another, but it is very good nonetheless. The matcha cake was also divine, which was probably the best thing that happened during this entire journey.

Beijing skyline

We arrived at Beijing right on time, and I waved goodbye to the flight attendant who seemed to not be a native speaker of Mandarin. All-in-all, Hainan’s 789 has a world-leading seat, great service, good food, but is just not polished enough to elevate itself to the giants such as Qatar or Japan Airlines, but sure as hell beats the big three in China, US, and Europe, for example. I would not hesitate to recommend people to book, especially as they offer the cheapest rates on many routes.

787-8 Business Class

CTU-LAX

I unfortunately got a last minute aircraft swap that I never got notification of, and because I was having so much fun in Chengdu, by the time I arrived at the airport exactly 1 hour before departure as I calculated from Qingcheng Mountain, every single window seat was snagged up. That meant the worst possible outcome: I would have to sit in the old 2-2-2 configurated seat for the 14 hours to Los Angeles. Thankfully, the total number of seats remained the same as for 787-9, as there are 6 rows on the -8 variants, so no upgrading/downgrading would happen. Oh boy, if you thought that was already pretty disappointing, then I have something to tell ya: the worst was yet to begin.

entrance to lounge at CTU

After passing through normal security and normal passport checkpoints due to the lack of priority lanes, I was directed to the only lounge available in the international section of the airport other than the Star Alliance-exclusive Air China Lounge. The moment they took my lounge invitation, I realized: I was fucked.

seating options
“food” options

The area dedicated to the lounge is large, but that was about it. The lack of food is even more staggering than the Changsha version shown earlier. Dinner had finished at 8:30pm, so there was nothing, like, actually, nothing. No hot food, no cold food, and not even half-a-dollar cup noodles. I did not eat too much back in Chengdu, so I had absolutely no idea why they would bother to have the lounge open when 3 flights of passengers would get literally packaged cookies for all the food intake. Absolutely staggering.

woah, a whole lot of nothing
grape juice selection lulz

Heaps of trash scattered everywhere, and most of the drink selections had been depleted. The coffee machine had no water, and the hot water machine had no hot water but room temperature liquids. But hey, at least they got your grape juice cravings covered, with 2 stacks of it! The deepest section of the lounge seemed to have a lot of nice wooden chairs in a good formation, IF THEY WERE NOT REEKING OF CIGARETTE SMOKE. Yes, I was absolutely dumbfounded as to how especially when you realize most Chinese airports confiscate all matches and lighters.

cigar…lounge?
shower suite

The lounge even features one single shower suite, which might also be a good place to take a puff of smoke. I had no intention to stay in this hellhole, and opted to go to the gate area as boarding was imminent. I gladly accepted my priority status and moved on board ahead of the economy peasantspassengers.

seat

The seat is the big fat lie flat bench from early 2010s like what I had during my LATAM adventure to Easter Island. It offers a ton of room but that was all I liked about it. For me, privacy is especially important since I tend to cry whenever I see couples smooching over the center seats. These seats are as exposed as they can, as I, sitting in the back row, could see through the entire cabin and spy on the galley in the front. The lack of good storage space was also a problem, so I had to play musical chairs with all the amenities I was given. The screen was also so far away that it completely defeats the point of having it as a touch screen, since nobody could reach it no matter how far you lean forward while strapped in the seat.

nuts and signature cocktail
the old control system

I got a signature Hainan cocktail as the pre-departure beverage, and let’s say it is not exactly sunshine and unicorn as it seems. The nuts are warm this time though, so the inconsistency seemed to be the only constant. Thanks to the open air cabin, I even witnessed a flight attendant dropping and breaking a champagne flute. She apologized profusely, and had to get a pair of gloves to pick up all the broken shards, which seemed like a hazardous, inefficient, but only way to do so. I still was wary of that patch of the carpet the entire flight since the glass seemed to be pretty shattered.

shattered flute on the floor
all the goodies

The amenity bag was pre-stored in the little cubicle between two adjacent screens, and I was glad that the menu was passed out to passengers rather early. I munched on the food and read the following:

Interestingly, the menu for Sichuan departure has a completely different emphasis, which is local Sichuanese food. You can see all the chef’s recommendation are traditional food from the region, with appropriate levels of spices and flavor. As usual for the life of a last-row passenger, my options were limited, so I had to wing it.

canape

The flight departed slightly after schedule, and we began cruising towards northeast. Dinner was served right after reaching cruising altitude, and again the “Dine Anytime” title was just pretty words that wasted paper. Canape above is pretty flavorful, and the undercooked pumpkin was actually great.

soup

What surprised me was that this was the only flight that I got a break basket. It was awesome to have a variety of warm toasted bread to choose from my private collection. Soup was okay, unremarkable as it looks. I ordered two main dishes, as one does. Stop judging okay? I had depression for dinner before I walked into the lounge with jack shit on offer!

Chinese main course
western main course

The Chinese main course is actually very good, with flavorful dishes of fish, veggies and chicken. Beautiful to look at, and balanced nutritionally, this is what real Chinese food is like, not the Panda Express or your local General Tsao’s Atrocity. The western beef option was okay, with the steak slightly over medium-well, but the texture was still very palatable, and easy to chew. The nightmare of rubber beef did not happen. Sauce was a bit lacking though, but I cannot fault an eastern airline departing in the middle of the night from a rather less well-known city too much.

galley display
bed made

After the meal, I had my bed made, and went into deep slumber. One good thing about the big flat bench is that it is relatively free in movement, so while I got a lot of room to wiggle my feet, so did my neighbour. I have never touched another human being’s feet hair this much before, and that was with a random stranger who was in his 40s with his parents, who could not even use forks. His feet made me feel some warmth of human interactions though. I slept soundly for 6 hours, and woke up for some snacks. Interestingly, I found out that the system on these older birds were not as updated as the newer ones, since they were missing the latest batch of movies and shows, which was rather disappointing.

chicken skewers

The Hainan skewers definitely did not disappoint, but I still held myself in check before ordering another 4 plates as my belly was bumping the tray table. All services were prompt, polite, appropriate, and meticulous, if you discount that champagne flute incident. I love how the flight attendants are very chatty, and asked me about my day, my work, and my reason for travel. It pulled us closer and made me wish that more airlines would encourage their outgoing staff members to do that.

now that is a proper Chinese breakfast

The Chinese option for breakfast far trumps the western option, just look at this large wifi signal! That is a fully charged breakfast I tell you what! 10/10 for this presentation and content, as well as quality!

oh it is Po!

We landed safely after 13.5 hours of cruising, and we took nearly 20 minutes to taxi to our remote gate. The large distance between the aircraft and the terminal in Chengdu airport made me only realize that this is one of the 4 special Kung Fu Panda 787’s Hainan has after I deplaned in LA. We were bused to the gate after nearly 20 minutes of wait, and after the 15 minute ride, I waited another 10 minutes to obtain my paper slip from the self-serve kiosk, which strangely had a large X on it. I had stopped getting these crosses after 2 years of my Colombia trip, but why now?

immigration hall, or immigration hell

It turned out that all the system was down in the entire US border defence computers, as one might encounter all the time. 😛 Everyone got the X’s, and everyone had to go through manual inspection, which only took about 15 minutes each. Quickly the crowd overwhelmed the lines, and spilled into the the previous hallways. About 50 old folks, handicapped and children were stuck in the special lane on their wheelchairs, leaving a few piles of unknown oozing liquids on the carpet, and the CBP agents manning the “machine cleared” section were having their best days of work since nobody was able to get machines to work. (note all the red light above, indicating that they had been compromised.) It “only” took me 2 hours to go through the motions, and the system was still not online after 2 hours! I barely got hold of my private chauffeur organized by Hainan through Blacklane, because the entire immigration hall blocked all wifi and cellphone signal, so I barely made it to my place of rest in Westwood before reception closed. Woah, US of A, what a pile of unthinkable garbage, can’t believe this would be a lot of people’s first impression.

Afterthoughts

Hainan is a good airline, but not great. They are aiming for great but since they are the only one even trying to do so in the entire mainland of China, the lack of experiences fell through short. However, they completely lessened that fact with such attractive business class fares, which saves you a bit of money so you can go wild in the airport while ignoring the abysmal lounge offers they have. One may argue that these are all non-hub airports that Hainan operates, but almost all of Hainan’s intercontinental flights depart and land at a non-hub airport thanks to China’s one-carrier-one-route policy, so these shitty contract lounges are more of a norm than an exception. I got over 70000 Alaska miles from this journey thanks to the generous rewarding these companies do, so I almost flew for free. As a result, I would not hesitate to fly them again, regardless of which kind of aircraft it switches me into, even though that can be very disappointing.

Pro:

  • GREAT VALUE
  • 789 has great seats
  • interactive flight attendants
  • real Chinese food done well
  • free transfers~
  • great dessert options and other sweets

Con:

  • shittiest ground experience I have had ever
  • 788 has very mediocre seats
  • no wifi
  • false advertising with the dine on demand concept
  • not very polished in almost every regard

FIN

-=ForeverYoung|Chengdu 2019=-

To Chengdu journal—>

<— To Business Class Catalog

Hainan Airlines B787-8 Business Class Grading

  • Ground Service: 40
  • Hard Product: 140
  • Soft Product: 150
  • Food: 170
  • Value: 200
  • BONUS: 40 for free premium transfer woohoo!
  • Total: 740 【OKAY】

Hainan Airlines B787-9 Business Class Grading

  • Ground Service: 50
  • Hard Product: 180
  • Soft Product: 150
  • Food: 165
  • Value: 200
  • BONUS: 40 for free premium transfer woohoo!
  • Total: 785 【GOOD】

5 thoughts on “Hainan 787-8/9 Business Class MegaReview

  1. I have to say, you are one of my favorite travel bloggers. Very entertaining and I laugh out loud every time I read one of your blogs. Thank you for taking he time to write these.

    Like

    1. Awww thanks so much Mike! That really means a lot, and thank you for reading, don’t hesitate to share some of your favorites with friends and family! I, on the other hand, will do my best to keep you entertained!

      Like

  2. How many days did it take for your RDM to post to Alaska? I flew them 2 weeks ago after reading your review here and on FT but haven’t seen anything show up in my account. Also I added my AS FF # at booking but on my ticket it showed my FF# as HU######## instead of AS######## but the # was my correct AS FF#. I asked about that at checkin and they said it was correct but just concerned it got lost in translation. I also remember you mentioning on some other blog that you had booked an A fare for a date right after Alaska changed the earn rates. Did they resolve this favorably for you?

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    1. Hey Ryan thanks for reading, greatly appreciated!
      RDM took 20 days to post for me, all in one go since AS process HU flights in batches.
      I doubt you will get automatically credited because it would be hard for the system to detect if the number is AS, and HU agents generally are extremely incompetent, and not a single time did they manage to input the correct AS number for me without me prompting them the code, and 50% of the time they flat out refuse to put in AS number without me insisting that they are partnered. You probably have to explain the situation to them as you email the AS crediting team, after 21 days of your flight of course. Next time I recommend you to tell them AS codes and be very persistent.
      for the A fare, they actually credited it correctly for me at the end which was very nice of them, and the agents emailing me were completely sympathetic and understanding, good for AS.

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