Air China CA 986 Premium Economy Review

The newish 747–8 that I flew on over to China was quite nice. I somehow got upgraded to Premium Economy (I called to purchase the $150 upgrade at the lady on the other end said I already had a PE seat-score!). Maybe it was booking snafu? Who knows and who cares?

Premium economy consists of about 10 rows in between business class and standard economy. The seats are the same width as economy except you get much more leg room which is nice. Makes the 12 hour flight slightly more tolerable.

They also give you two tray-tables which combine together Voltron-style to form mecha-traytable giving you enough space for a tablet and your meal tray and drink.

Mecha-traytable extended in full-attack position. Yes that’s Nelly Furtado courtesy of Youtube Red.

You also get some slippers to use. They’re not super comfy or anything but hey, they’re suggesting you to take your shoes off and drop down the foot rest so I tried them out. Not too shabby.

The plane itself was quite new which is a departure from the ancient flying bucket of bolts I’m used to on most US-based airlines. Most planes in the US are so old they should qualify for social security! Badumdump.

The bathrooms on the Air China flight seemed to have just a little more space but it could just be in my head.

Upon arrival in Beijing, there was a marked temperature difference. This trip, we really didn’t plan out things too well.

Holy Toledo that’s cold!

We went from just starting Fall in the US to blisteringly-cold temperatures in Hohhot, China (more on that later), to tropical Thailand where the temperatures rarely got under 80F (yes even at 4am!!), to Taiwan where it started at about 55F then hit 75F today and will be up around 80F until it plummets to the mid 50s again this weekend before we leave.

I thought, “who’s gonna need long pants” as we were leaving Hohhot so I left my fleece lined jeans there. Luckily I picked up a pair of “Thailand pants” that I’ve been wearing around Taipei on the cold days. Why are they called “Thailand pants”? Well, that’s my name for them but they kinda look like MC Hammer pants.

So you wanna look like an 80's hip-hop star? Well do I have the pants for you!

Of course I get stares - more so than usual when I travel. I generally stick out like a sore thumb because I usually don’t look like I fit in anywhere I go. In Thailand they know I’m not a local even though I speak pretty good Thai (I guess being about double the size of any normal Thai person gives it away). Plus I tend to dress in loud colors. I got some new cheap shirts in Thailand this time and they’re all loud colors like bright yellow, hot pink, lime green, etc. You get the point. Now imagine me in my old orange outer windbreaker and MC Hammer pants. You can say that I stood out. A lot. I think some people thought I was a monk as my jacket is similar color to monk’s robes. And who, but a monk, would wear crazy MC Hammer pants walking around Taipei?

Me wearing MC Hammer pants trying not to look out of place.

Anyway, I digress. Morals of this story are:

  1. Premium Economy is a worthy upgrade at $150 in my opinion. It’s especially nice when it’s free!
  2. Pack a long pair of pants. Better yet, pack a pair of convertible shorts that can zip on extra portions to turn into long pants.
  3. Try not travel to 3 completely different climate regions in one trip - it makes packing difficult.
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