Hainan Airlines - Review - YYZ to PEK, CAN, HKG
Hainan Airlines is a new player in the Toronto to Beijing route, with its first flight sometime near the end of November of 2010. I found this airline via Chinese newpapers and magazines and decided to give it a shot.
I booked a flight that left YYZ near the end of December and I returned several days ago. They do not have daily flights to Beijing and I believe they fly Monday, Wednesday and Friday. My flight was from YYZ to PEK then PEK to HKG and total cost was about $ 1,000.00. Price was the main selling point as other airlines were going for 1300+.
My review will break down into simple parts:
The airplanes were mainly older used Airbus A Class that used to be under the fleet of Cathay Pacific. Seats were narrow and often too small; not very good for a long haul flight for bigger sized people 9 (I'm 6'0). In flight entertainment was accessible via remote with semi-new content such as English and Asian movies, dramas, TV shows, Music and some basic video games.
This category provided major problems and needs to be corrected. Hainan airlines had promised me a one nights hotel stay in Beijing for the next morning flight to Hong Kong because of the arrival time of the flight. It was mentioned by my travel agent that the night stay was 100% promised and it was going to be covered. This was not true and after about 45 minutes of arguing with the counter + customer service HQ, the best they could do was to offer me complimentary taxi service. I had to find a nearby hotel and stay for the night. I immediately called my travel agent and she told me to keep all the receipts and boarding pass since they were going to help my get compensation for the hassle. The reason was not mentioned to me but I will be seeking compensation.
Aside from that incident, the flight crew was very professional at times and quickly solved any problems that arose.
Meals: The meals were basic and included regulars such as noodles, chicken and rice, beef and rice and eggs and sausage for the morning meal. I was surprised to find onboard booze as a selection for drinks. I think it was their way to satisfy the number of Mainland Chinese passengers.
I found that the flight times were pretty accurate for the conditions that were present. I think the latest was 15 minutes of delay at the ground.
Overall, I would not likely fly with this airliner again in the future. The hotel incident is the main reason, along with the discomfort on the seats. If you are not on a tight budget, you can consider the other airliners that serve the Toronto to China routes.
However, they are a new airliner to take on the YYZ to PEK route and I expect them to improve as time and experience matures.