Sydney-bound China Eastern A350 gets private business class suites

Sydney-bound China Eastern A350 gets private business class suites

China Eastern is joining the growing number of airlines adding private business class suites to its flagship jets, and its newest suite-equipped Airbus A350 is bound for Sydney in 2019.

The Shanghai-hubbed airline took delivery of the first of 20 new A350s this week, with two more due by year's end and the rest stretching through to 2022 – and China Eastern tells Australian Business Traveller that its Sydney-Shanghai route will feature an Airbus A350 in 2019.

Each of the 40 business class seats are framed by high walls and a sliding privacy door.

The seats themselves are based on the Vantage XL platform from Thompson Aero, which is already flying in various forms as the Qantas Boeing 787 Business Suite and Delta Air Line's A350 Delta One suite, and could also find itself at the pointy end of Delta's forthcoming Airbus A330neo fleet.

For China Eastern's A350, there's an additional business suite twist: four seats at the very front row of the business class cabin adopt the enhanced Vantage First design, similar in some ways to the bespoke version of that seat created for Malaysia Airlines' A350 first class.

China Eastern described these four berths as 'super premium' suites with a mini-bar and 32 inch touchscreen displays, and it's expected they will sell with a suitable premium mark-up.

Additionally, the middle seats in this front row are being marketed as an ‘Air Living Room’ where up to four travellers can share the same space.

No doubt inspired by Qatar Airways' Qsuites 'quads',  China Eastern says these primo business class bunks "allow flight crew to reshape the space into a community area that up to four people can comfortably use for a business meeting or family gathering."

Converting the middle seats into an ad-hoc meeting room (also suitable for poker) is achieved by folding out the meal tables of each seat...

... and then lifting them up to bring them together into a single wide surface.

Finally, the top of each suite's ottoman is flipped to turn it into a padded seatbelt-equipped companion bench.

High-tech touches including broadband WiFi, a tap-to-buy NFC panel for inflight shopping with your smartphone or credit card, and Bluetooth headphones.

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • HKAus


    7 Dec, 2018 10:37 am

    No doubt about it; outstanding hardware. Now the service, food and overall soft product needs to be upgraded to make it a more consistent overall package.
    No member give thanks

  • Mike K


    7 Dec, 2018 10:50 am

    I’d be really annoyed to have to listen to a board meeting while flying.
    Member who gave thanks


  • Michael Reade


    7 Dec, 2018 06:34 pm

    Not if you had shares in them
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  • GreenEVs


    8 Dec, 2018 12:20 am

    What about four guys playing Mahjong inflight? :/
    No member give thanks

  • Traveller14


    9 Dec, 2018 11:26 am

    Yes, I couldn't think of anything worse. Not that I've anything against alcohol, but the bonhomie fuelled by free (practically unlimited) booze would go to extremes. Noisy and disruptive.
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  • PaulST


    7 Dec, 2018 10:58 am

    Booked on an A330 from PVG to SYD in march so my fingers are crossed the aircraft is changed to an A350! I had a lucky aircraft upgrade a few months ago with MH.
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  • Ozshanel


    7 Dec, 2018 11:10 am

    I don’t get the point of the doors. The “high walls” described in the article appear to be about waist height from the photos. Even with the doors closed, everyone could comfortably see inside your “suite”. They offer no privacy whatsoever so what is the point? Aren’t they just a marketing gimmick?
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    chillybags, iM

  • Jason Bird


    7 Dec, 2018 11:20 am

    Agreed.. although I think it’s safety regs that require the height
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  • AsiaBizTraveller


    8 Dec, 2018 04:54 pm

    That's correct, crew must have line of sight to all passengers for take-off and landing, and as a general rule this makes sense. I think everyone likes the ideas of doors but some people will leave them open once the novelty wears off.
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  • Traveller14


    9 Dec, 2018 11:28 am

    I don't like the idea of doors in such a small space. I want to be able to see the window (preferably open). Philippine Airlines 1-2-1 suites (not mentioned in the article) are also Thompson Vantage XL and are good enough, yet they thankfully don't have doors.
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  • Steven


    7 Dec, 2018 04:00 pm

    Yeh but stops the person next to you staring I s'pose
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  • Peggy Hayes


    7 Dec, 2018 06:40 pm

    I suppose the doors are meant to give you a little extra privacy when you're sleeping. Personally, I don't want other passengers/strangers seeing me drool, snore, or fart whilst sleeping. Although you could argue that those last two are more "hearing" issues. 😉
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  • Eli


    10 Dec, 2018 09:50 am

    No, when you laying down it provides a nice sense of privacy at your eye level.
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  • Joe


    7 Dec, 2018 01:57 pm

    Now that's "mini first class" Mr Joyce.....not your 787 J set up which is standard J class these days.
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  • John Ruming


    7 Dec, 2018 07:17 pm

    Some relative short flights on the ad map for the "LongRangeLeader." Crew training I guess.
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  • zoomzoom


    7 Dec, 2018 10:08 pm

    Frightened at the thought of four business execs using the conference work space for a meeting on an overnight long haul flight. The stuff of nightmares!

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  • Davedownunder


    8 Dec, 2018 02:20 pm

    I can imagine BA feeling a little foolish reading your article and looking at their new first class seat they proudly showed you recently.

    China Eastern providing a four across business class suite ie has a door not an open business class seat branded as a first class "suite"
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  • moa999


    9 Dec, 2018 09:46 am

    Thank goodness for the pop of red, otherwise that cabin is all bland.

    Personally I'm not that fussed about doors, you get enough privacy both when sitting and sleeping by the wings and cocoon, and I think they detract from the overall cabin look.

    But obviously others like the extra privacy.

    Be interesting to see how much extra MU thinks it can get for the super premium seats.
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  • Traveller14


    9 Dec, 2018 11:30 am

    While it codeshares with QF, is there some resistance among Australians who are not of mainland Chinese origin to flying MU, CZ or AC? (I'm omitting CI as that's Taiwanese).
    No member give thanks


12 Dec, 2018 08:33 am


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