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"China Eastern Airline" is it really bad??

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I'm thinking of going to Shanghai (from Vancouver, BC) next April/May. The travel agency (Silk Holidays) uses China Eastern Airline for that particular route/package (they also use Cathy Pacific, Japan Airline, Air Canada for other packages to other cities like Hong Kong, Bali, Bangkok etc. etc.)

I am all set to book until, out of curioisty I did a google search on airline reviews, and came across at least 3-4 review sites. All have reviews on China Eastern and, to my "surprise", there were some really scathing, negative reviews. I can filter out the somewhat "unreasonable" ones, like "flight attendant do not speak English very well", or "the airport terminal that the plane landed did not have clear instructions" etc. etc.

But the majority of feedback are very negative: about planes being old (traveller was told that the fleet was new but found ashtrays in the armrest), really bad food (instant noodle!!! one reader said that they serve you one scanty meal in a 10-hour flight), bad communication, inconsistency in requiring passengers to confirm their flights 72 hours prior to departure in some cities and not others, are now giving me a great deal of discomfort and anxiety about flying with them. One traveller who did not confirm her flight until a day before departure, was told that her seat was no longer available. When she contacted the airline manager she was asked personal and inappropriate questions. Mind you the price is really good.

I also did some search on this Fodor site about China Eastern, but most feedbacks are a few years ago (back in 2002).

Has anyone flown with them recently and if so, please let me know your feedback on the airline. Thanks so much.

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