Air China 321 business class flight review PEK-HKG CA 101

Elite status: none

Aircraft type:


Seat: 2A


Padding of the seat seemed a little hard for my liking but minor for a short flight.  Lumbar was adjustable too. 


The seat went back almost 12 inches from the upright position. This along the the leg rest makes it good for short naps and relaxing. The large pitch also helps make it feel less cramped when the seat in front also reclines. 


More than adequate for my 6’2” frame. I had 10 inches of clearance between my knee and seat in front of me. 


January 16, 2019

Distance: 1,234 miles


Depart: 8:00AM

Arrive: 11:25AM

Scheduled: 3h 25m

Push back: 7:57AM (3 minutes early)

Touch down: 11:54AM (29 minutes late)

Arrived at gate 9m later

Actual duration: 4h 2m


Paid with: miles 

Prices at time of booking:

Miles: 0 miles included in LAX-PEK first class ticket 

Cash: $400 if bought separately 

Payment method reasoning: This flight was included in my first class mileage redemption. 


Boarding was quick and efficient. I was offered juice or water, a newspaper, and had my food orders taken. I was also given a hot towel. Crew was very professional. 

I boarded a bit later than others but had no issues stowing my bag above in business class. 


Friendly and smiling crew who were proactive in helping passengers stow bags and get us out on time. 

I saw the crew putting blankets on sleeping passengers in business class which is a nice touch. 

Meal service was fast and very proactive on refills and cleanup. The flight attendants never stopped moving and cleared away finished items fast. 

IFE and power:

No in seat IFE. 

Shared screens come down from the overhead controls for fixed entertainment. 

It wasn’t turned on until after approximately 30 minutes in the air. It was just some sort of show in Chinese that I didn’t watch. 

No headsets were offered. 

Power outlet between seats in business class. They were universal AC plugs which is nice to not need an adapter if used. 

It was nice to have air vents above the seats as the plane was kept warmer than I prefer. 


No WiFi on board. 


Breakfast menu was in the seat pocket. Choice between Chinese and western breakfast. I’m not a congee fan so I chose the western option. 

Hot towels were handed out before the meal. 

We were first given a packet of mixed nuts and raisins. 

The western breakfast was far better than I expected! The omelette was perfectly cooked which is very hard to do on an aircraft. They are almost always dry or too wet. 

The fruit was fresh and with the cereal and warm bread made a well rounded breakfast. 

I have read that food on Air China was subpar. I found this particular meal to be the best omelette I’ve ever had on a flight to date. Either I got lucky on my flights or they have improved the catering. 

Meal service was completed by 1.5 hours after takeoff. Quick and efficient with flight attendants doing serving, refills, and clearing quickly. 


Full drink menu on board very similar to my first class offerings on the previous flight. 

Coke products, coffee, tea, juices, and limited alcohol were on offer. 

I had a hot English breakfast tea with milk and a water. 

The tea was fresh made and very good! I had 2 cups to help me wake up. 

I was offered many refills. 

Best seats: 

All business class seats on this plane are similar to domestic US First Class though with more space. I’d prefer non bulkhead rows. 


Generous pitch and adjustable seat with foot rest was a nice touch. Slippers and onboard menu more than expected for a shorter regional flight. Crew was friendly and very attentive. 

Air vents were a nice surprise as they aren’t seen much on international airlines. 

The food was far better than it sounded on the menu. 


No in seat IFE. No WiFi on board. The one show on the shared screens was Chinese which makes sense for a flight originating in China. Lots of room to improve here. 

Language barrier was apparent but not a real issue. Just have to speak slowly in English to make sure you are understood. 

Cabin was kept warmer than I like. 

There was a turbulence on and off the entire way but the airline has no control over the weather. It was never bad though. 

Would I fly again?

Yes! Regional business class on Air China is a fine way to get around Asia. Beijing airport is good for a layover with good lounges and lots of dining options. Barring a direct flight it’s a great way to get to Hong Kong in comfort.