Air China: a perfectly adequate ($590AUD) one-way flight to London

Air China: a perfectly adequate ($590AUD) one-way flight to London

Some beautiful souls dropping us off at Melbourne Airport, in the middle of Friday night peak hour, I should add!

And the moment finally arrived to leave Melbourne, to leave family, to leave beloved friends and collectively speaking, our well-established and old life behind.

The entire last week was a mix of sadness and excitement. Mostly we spent it sadly packing our bags, drinking (and simultaneously crying) with friends. Also some researching on what the hell we were gonna do once we arrived in Europe.

So, enough of the mushy stuff and onto the epic flight we’re about to take.

Setting the scene a bit. We booked the cheapest, one-way flight we could find which ends up as an Air China flight via Beijing, leaving Melbourne at 8.40pm on Friday May 5th. Total flight cost per person is…wait for it…..$590 AUD. The catch: an 8 hour, 20 minute stopover in Beijing.

Checking in at Melbourne is smooth and not the queue-riddled, screaming match I imagined in my head. Straight up to the desk and the lady informed us our bags were checked all the way through to London. Therefore, we wouldn’t need to claim and recheck baggage in Beijing.

Tip #1: Don’t use Air China’s website for anything, I mean anything. I booked flights via a website called Skiddoo therefore my first interaction with the Air China site was trying to find information about baggage. Their site claimed that international flights from Australia need to recheck bags in Beijing, which proved to be wrong. Also, online check-in – just forget about it and do it at the airport. Its not worth the frustration of clicking through 1990s-esque webpages only to eventually be told “air.china99 says no”.

Back to the actual flight and the real catch of the ticket price. No use of mobile phones / electronic devices at all FOR THE ENTIRE FLIGHT. Not just during taxi, take-off and landing like most airlines, but THE ENTIRE FLIGHT. There was a Mexican stand-off moment between Maria and the stewardess who told Maria to remove her Apple headphones and turn off her iPhone. It was fun to witness Maria’s ‘are you f***ing serious with your ridiculous rule right now?’ look and the stewardess’s return glaze of ‘yes, young white lady who I inevitably will have to explain this ridiculous rule to on every flight, yes I am serious right now’.

So there was the phone thing and the 8 hour layover in Beijing, which we used to sleep in the airport terminal. Beyond those two things and the expectedly basic service from cabin staff (interactions were simply ‘beef or chicken?’ or ‘drink something?’) , there isn’t much more to critique and therefore I’d say the experience ends up being a perfectly adequate flight to London, with the caveat of it costing $590 AUD and not a cent more.

Air China: a perfectly adequate ($590AUD) one-way flight to London

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