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Quick Review: Air China, UK to Japan Flight

Quick Review: Air China, UK to Japan Flight

In my 2019 Japan trip I flew with Air China because, frankly, it was the cheapest option. It was the first time I’d flown with an airline with review scores disturbingly lower than Ryanair’s, so I wasn’t expecting a lot from them.

Air China
Air China – Photo by Daniel Eledut

My very low expectations were met and in some aspects exceeded.

The planes were fine: plasticky economy seats expected of a budget airline with TVs attached. The movie choices were adequate, the plane was clean and I didn’t feel like I was in more or less danger whilst in the air; which is all I ask for really.

Air China
Same level of danger – photo by Banter snaps

What pushed the score up was the food: I really liked the more asian centric food options, the rice was well done and hot and the flavours were to my taste.

Air China
Chicken dish

The experience was not bad at all, except for the TV sound system on one of my flights not working.

No…the worst experience was in Beijing Airport during the transfer process, which is pretty unavoidable for any Air China flight.

Beautiful place. Terrible service.

Air China
Beijing Airport interior
Air China
Beautiful ceiling

We were funnelled like cattle into tighter and tighter spaces as we progressed through transit; culminating in a crush of people in the line through security.

Air China
Moved like cattle – photo by Robert Bye

Now I expected surliness in less pleasant airports.

I was not expecting to be touched randomly by staff and to be lightly injured.

It started when I had to stare into the identification camera screen. Apparently I wasn’t close enough and the security woman was giving me the side eye, but I was tired, didn’t hear her and just stood in the spot where the helpful little footprint stickers were. Those prints lied, because she then grabbed me really aggressively closer to her.

Air China
Grabbed – photo by Simon Migaj

Perhaps I should have been concentrating more, but then again perhaps Beijing airport shouldn’t shove 100 people into a space for 50 and create a chaotic environment where I couldn’t hear anything.

Okay let’s just look at the cold hard facts for fear of someone calling me unfair to the staff. The woman placed four fingers and a thumb around my right arm, just underneath the elbow, and made a pulling motion at a speed of… say, an automatic door, until I stood a few inches closer to the screen, and made a sound that sounded like “che”. Maybe she was going to say, “cherish yourself, life is too short.”?

Air China
Life is short? Photo by Ravi Roshan

But then again maybe not.

After that fun little experience I waited for the X-ray machine whilst standing next to the moving trays, thinking that the worst was over like a naive fool.

An airport staff then managed to shove the X-Ray trays down the lane so fast that a rogue tray flew up the sides and hit me in the ribs, and I spent a good minute holding my side and laughing from shock; I would get angry if I was 100% sure that I wouldn’t be arrested for it.

Air China
It hurt – Photo by Nick Fewings

Now don’t get me wrong I was very annoyed, but frankly the airport staff looked like miserable people happy to spread their misery around like a monkey with its poop, so instead I skulked off with my luggage and hoped never to return.

Air China
Angry Asian – photo by Ryan Franco

I think it’s obvious who’s the winner in this scenario (it wasn’t me).

So in other words: Air China is fine and Beijing airport is the worst.


Air China

Website: https://www.airchina.co.uk/

Address: Beijing Airport

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