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Delta signed a historic expansion of its partnership with China Eastern Airlines, one of its home nation’s leading carriers, this week. So what kind of airline is China Eastern?

First, some background:

The agreement includes a $450 million investment by Delta to acquire a 3.55 percent stake in China Eastern.

Flight Attendants smiling at CameraImportantly, the move will fulfill Delta’s ambitions to better serve customers traveling to and from China, the world’s second-largest economy. China Eastern operates a hub in the country’s business capital of Shanghai, also a Delta destination, so China-bound Delta customers will be able to take advantage of China Eastern’s network to travel deeper into Asia and elsewhere. And for China Eastern passengers, the reverse will be true.

Here’s an FAQ on the Chinese airline and what Delta passengers will experience on the carrier once the partnership’s approvals are in place.

How strong is China Eastern Airlines’s position in the country? 

  •   China Eastern is one of the three largest airlines in China. The route network covers China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, Europe, the U.S. and Oceania. Its motto is "World-Class Hospitality with Eastern Charm."
  •  With Shanghai as its main hub and Xi’an and Kunming as regional hubs, it has established a network of 217 destinations in 26 countries.
  •   The airline operates over 35 flights per week from Shanghai to four destinations in the U.S., including two daily flights to Los Angles and one daily flight to New York. San Francisco and Hawaii, plus three flights per week from Nanjing to Los Angeles. 
  •  China Eastern has received a number of awards, such as “the Most Respected Enterprise” and “the Most Reliable Airline” from various domestic and international authorities.

How many people fly China Eastern every year?

  •  China Eastern serves 80 million travelers annually and ranks among the world’s top five airlines in passenger transportation volume.

What kind of aircraft does CEA fly?

  •   China Eastern flies a fleet of more than 550 modern aircraft  with an average age of less than seven years, which include A300-600, A319-100, A320-200, A321-200, A330-200, A330-300, A340-300, A340-600, B737-700, B737-800, B777-300, EMB-145, etc.

What is China Eastern’s reputation for customer service?

  •   China Eastern is regularly improving customer service. In February 2015, China Eastern upgraded its passenger cabins to offer better service and customer feedback has been positive thus far.
  •   CEA attracts customers mainly through competitive ticket prices and its reputation as one of the major airlines in mainland China. It is highly cost-effective in comparison to other carriers considering its more than adequate service.

      What kinds of amenities does China Eastern offer?

  •    Long-haul first-class passengers are provided pajamas and slippers made by famous Chinese brand Jinzhiyuye, as well as Ferragamo toiletry bags and Audio-Technica noise cancelling headphones.
  •    China Eastern Airlines has become the first Chinese carrier to provide Wi-Fi services on domestic and international flights.
  •    Passengers bound for New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, Beijing and Guangzhou can access Wi-Fi service through a telecommunications satellite. China Eastern plans to make its entire fleet Wi-Fi enabled by 2017 or 2018.

      Do CEA flight attendants speak other languages?

  •    Chinese and English are the primary working languages. On international flights, there is also at least one flight attendant who can speak the foreign language corresponding to the flight route. China Eastern has recruited foreign flight attendants from Japan, Korea, France, the U.S. and India since 1995, so different international flights will be equipped with both foreign and Chinese-language attendants to offer better service.

      Does CEA have a frequent flier program?

  •   Yes. China Eastern offers a frequent flyer program - Eastern Miles - to create more value for members. As an Eastern Miles member, passengers can earn Eastern Miles points by flying on CEA or partner airlines or by using partner services including staying at partner hotels, making purchases on partner credit cards, dining at partner restaurants, renting cars from partner businesses, making reservation via partner hotel networks, using partner telecom, health & leisure services etc. Meanwhile, passengers can use their accumulated points to redeem towards tickets, upgrades, excess luggage fees, gifts and other rewards.
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