After getting my multi-year entry visa for Shanghai and booking my air fare for a really good price, it was time to buckle up and get ready for my trip. Throughout the booking process I had my eye on the following route LAX-ORD-PVG but it was marked over $900, I then selected LAX-PVG (direct) and it priced at $700, so it was a tough deal to beat and I went ahead and booked the flight. However, my return was going to be PVG-ORD-LAX (included within the second route I selected) and last minute airport changes and cancellations happened causing my return route to change to a direct flight from PVG-LAX. Main reason why I wanted that lay over in Chicago is because every bit of those extra Elite Qualifying Miles help. I ended up racking up 12,970 elite miles rather than collecting 17,604 which was my original plan. On Today’s blog post I will be doing a trip report on my journey to Shanghai, China. Before my flight – I went ahead to visit the LAX Flagship Admirals club – It was a pleasant and quick visit. I had a refreshment and a little bite to eat then shortly after I walked to my gate 48B which was my departure gate.
- Airline: American Airlines
- Aircraft: 777-200
- Cabin flown: Business Class.
- Flight Time: 13 Hours & 40mins.
- Flight number: AA 183
- Arrival Time: 7:25pm (1+ day)
Destination: Shanghai, China!
The boarding process was a complete nightmare. As per usual – First and Business class passengers board first and as the agent calls us to board, I had to go through a maze of people to finally board as 85% of the people who were standing by the priority boarding line weren’t flying either cabin.
Once, I finally got settled on my seat the flight attendant came by and offered me a pre departure drink. Either orange juice, water or champagne – I kept it simple and chose water.
If you are flying first or business class, you have the chance to pre-order your meal a few days in advanced before departure. I decided to just wait and order my meal during the flight because normally I change my mind last minute. This feature that American Airlines provides cannot be done 24 hours before departure, so make sure you select your meal if you know what you want a few days in advance. Once I finished my water, the flight attendant came around to drop off the menu for the flight.
Menu featuring their starters, entrees, dessert and in flight snacks
Once the boarding process ended – The captain came on the PA introducing himself telling us the flight plan and our estimated time of arrival. He also had a great sense of humor and shared “It’s a Beautiful day to fly, it will be a smooth flight” so please, sit back, relax and enjoy the flight. Our taxi into the runway for take off lasted about 5 minutes and shortly after we were airborne. Our climb out was smooth and once we reached cursing altitude the flight crew started offering Bose Headphones for those wanting to use head sets throughout the flight – they are not yours to keep and they must be returned to the crew and normally they start collecting it one hour before arrival.
The crew also started taking orders for meals and I selected the following
- Seared ahi tuna with seasonal green salad.
- Sweet and sour Sea bass.
- Vanilla ice cream with chocolate topping.
- And for my Pre-arrival meal I selected Pizza and Green Salad.
The food in my honest opinion was delicious, everything I ordered was perfect and all of my needs and wants were met by the crew. I was very pleased with my choices – my tip of advice before you order anything from the menu is to be sure of what you want and select it how you want it (salad dressings, etc), it will help the flight attendant meet your request right away rather than getting something you’re not satisfied with. Remember, they are there to make your flight enjoyable and safe.
Business class seat features
- Personalized Screen with movies, tv shows, music and air show.
- The seat offers a variety of features (Angled bed which is comfortable recline, foot rest, recliner,etc)
- Power outlets to charge your device.
- Plenty of storage compartment within your seat & tray table.
- You will also have an amenity kit, pillows and blanket.
- Bose Headphones, noise canceling provided by AA.
What you will find inside of the amenity kit
Shortly after dinner, I got settled into my seat and got myself ready for a few hours of sleep. I was able to sleep at least 6 hours throughout the first half of the flight. I woke up hungry and went up to the galley to order a snack meal which was the Turkey wrap. Often times passengers abuse the FA call button, so rather than having them come to my seat – I get up to stretch my legs, use the restroom and order my meal. Remember throughout this long flights it’s important to stretch, drink water and cranberry juice to keep you hydrated. Throughout the time I was awake while eating my turkey wrap, I decided to watch a few new movies and shortly after I dozed off for the remainder of the flight, the angled style bed for Business class wasn’t uncomfortable at all, I am a side sleeper and I was able to sleep on my side throughout the entire flight – just like if I was at home, the blanket is comfy and the pillow gets the job done, no complaints!!
Upon arrival into Shanghai – The crew will be handing out a landing form to fill out, the landing form will have arrival and departure paper work attached, so make sure you keep the departure paper safe because you will need that the day you’re leaving Shanghai and will have to present that into customs. The Captain came on the PA 30 minutes before touch down to let us know our time of arrival into the gate and to thank us for spending the day with him and the rest of the AA crew. The 13 hour flight was simply perfect, I don’t think we encounter a single bump throughout the journey 😉
Arrival experience & baggage claim
- Make sure to have your boarding pass, passport and arrival form in hand.
- Open up your passport to your Visa and hand it to the officer.
- They won’t ask you any questions, it was a breeze of a process.
- Baggage claim is after customs.
- The line for customs tends to be long and tedious, but luckily I rushed out of the plane and it was fine.
- They share other arrival flights into the same carousel in which you will be claiming your bag, so lots of people may be around.
- Taxi drivers asking you if you need a ride.
- Limo drivers willing to take you to your hotel for a certain price.
- If you’re wanting a sim card for your phone, there will be people to help you with that.
- Do not take the first pricing offer from them, lower the deal in any service you’re wanting. (Limo service, Taxi service, Shuttle).
- Be sure to have your hotel address in hand right away. So you can show the driver where you’re going.
- My recommendation, if you have a late arrival – select limo service so you’re comfortable. Taxi’s are uncomfortable and the rate is pricey.
Inflight Customer service and overall thoughts, the customer service from the crew during my flight was incredible. Friendly, attentive and caring. It was my first time visiting Shanghai and I had a little of anxiety kick in, the crew was giving me a few tips and recommending me a few places to visit during my stay. The crew was constantly walking around the cabin to make sure I had everything and checking up on the rest of the passengers. I plan on visiting Shanghai again in the near future and for those willing to visit, make sure you book your flight in advanced followed by working on your Visa, as you will need to show proof of travels before the process continues.
I hope this blog post is helpful for those visiting Shanghai in the near future or if you are flying American Airlines business class cabin. Each menu is different depending the route and location – But if you happen to get the same menu I did, now you know the options before hand.
Have you been to Shanghai recently? What was your flight like?