Airline & Safety Ratings
In Flight Product
- Meals and beverages are included
- Audio/Video On Demand on some flights; shared cabin screens on some flight; no in flight entertainment on some flights
- Seats convert to fully lie flat beds on some flights in business class; seats convert to angled beds on other flights
- Baggage allowance of no less than 2 x 23kg bags in economy class; baggage allowance of 2 x 32kg bags in business class; baggage allowance of 3 x 32kg bags in first class
- Commenced scheduled services in 1988
- Headquartered in Shanghai
- One of the three major Chinese airlines
- Holds controlling shares in over 24 subsidiaries
- Operates fleet of more than 300 long haul and short haul aircraft with average age of less than seven years
- Carries nearly 70 million travelers annually and ranks among the world's top 5 airlines in terms of passenger transportation volume
- Along with subsidiary Shanghai Air joined SkyTeam alliance in 2011
- First Chinese carrier to order aircraft from Airbus
- Relatively inexpensive fares for full service carrier
- Generous baggage allowance
- Shanghai Airlines
- China Eastern Yunnan Airlines
- China United Airlines
- Joy Air
- Jetstar Hong Kong
- Embraer ERJ 145
- CRJ 200ER
Click here for more information about our China Eastern reviews and safety ratings system.
Safety Rating Criteria
The 7 star safety assessment criteria for all airlines is as follows
Is the airline IOSA certified? If yes two stars are awarded; if not, no star is given.
What is IOSA Certification? The IATA* Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification audit is an internationally recognised and accepted evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline. IOSA uses internationally recognised audit principles and is designed to conduct audits in a standardised and consistent manner. Airlines are re evaluated every two years. Registering for IOSA certification and auditing is not mandatory therefore an airline that does not have IOSA certification may have either failed the IOSA audit or alternatively chosen not to participate. *IATA (International Air Transport Association)
Is the airline on the European Union (EU) Blacklist? If no a full star is awarded; if yes then no star is given.
What is the EU Blacklist? A list of airlines banned from flying into European airspace due to safety concerns arising from alleged poor aircraft maintenance and/or regulatory oversight. Airlines banned by the EU may have a flawless safety record however the potential risk towards passenger safety is deemed by the EU as too high and a ban is put in place
Has the airline maintained a fatality free record for the past 10 years? If yes the airline is awarded a full star; if not then no star is given.
A fatality is deemed as the death of crew and/or passengers whilst on board the aircraft due to an accident. If deaths occurred through acts of terrorism, highjackings OR pilot suicide they have not been included. If an airline suffered a fatal accident through no fault of its own such as a runway incursion on the active runway (an incident where an unauthorized aircraft, vehicle or person is on a runway) this has also not been included.
Is the airline FAA endorsed? If yes a full star is awarded; if not, no star is given.
What is FAA endorsement? In the United States, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has a list that bans countries (not airlines) from flying into American Airspace. The ban arises from a deemed inability to adhere to international aviation standards for aircraft operations and maintenance. According to the FAA Web site, "those that do not meet these international standards cannot initiate new service and are restricted to current levels of any existing service to the United States while corrective actions are underway". An airline or airlines from a prohibited country may have a flawless safety record however the potential risk to safety is deemed too high by the FAA to allow operations in American airspace.
Does the country of airline origin meet all 8 ICAO safety parameters? If yes TWO stars are awarded to the airline. However, if the one criteria that is below the average is so by less than 15 per cent it is considered a pass. If 5 to 7 of the criteria are met one star is awarded. If the country only meets up to four criteria no star is given.
What is ICAO and what are the 8 parameters? The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was created to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity, as well as for aviation environmental protection. The 8 ICAO audit parameters that pertain to safety are; Legislation, Organization, Licensing, Operations, Airworthiness, Accident Investigation, Air Navigation Service and Aerodromes. For more information on a particular country visit: http://www.icao.int/safety/Pages/USOAP-Results.aspx.
Has the airline's fleet been grounded by the country's governing aviation safety authority due to safety concerns? If yes an additional star will be taken off the total for five years from the time of grounding
Does the airline operate only Russian built aircraft? If yes an additional star will be taken off the total.
Full Service Carrier Rating Criteria
A full service airline typically offers passengers in flight entertainment,checked baggage, meals, beverages and comforts such as blankets and pillows in the ticket price. The seats generally have more recline than
a low cost carrier as well as more leg room. Full service airlines offer passengers the choice of economy or business class travel and on some flights premium economy and first class. The airlines in this category
will transfer baggage between flights and to alliance partners of which most full service carriers are a part (SkyTeam, oneworld, Star Alliance). Full service airlines often have a long history and are flag carriers
for their countries of origin.
The 7 star assessment criteria for full service airlines is as follows:
1 star if 30 inch and greater across the airlines fleet in economy class. No star if less than 30 inch across the fleet.
1/2 star if mixed seat pitch across fleet (some aircraft 30 inch and greater, others less than 30 inch).
In Flight Entertainment
1 star if Personal Audio/Video On Demand (AVOD) across the fleet in all classes of travel. No star if no Audio/Video On Demand, shared cabin screens only or nothing at all.
1/2 star if mixed across airlines fleet (some of the fleet have AVOD some do not).
NOTE: If an airline has Audio/Video On Demand on all flights except for short routes of 2 hours or less they are still eligible for a full star
1 star if comprehensive information. No star if no English or incomplete information.
1/2 star if inconsistent information.
1 star if flat beds in business class on long haul routes. No star if no beds.
1/2 star if angled beds or a mixture of angled and flat beds across the fleet.
NOTE: For airlines that do not operate long haul routes and therefore do not need beds but have business class in a 2-2 seating configuration in single aisle aircraft they are awarded 1 star; seating configuration in 3-3 with the middle seat left free awards the airline a 1/2 star; if there is not enough information to be sure a 1/2 star is awarded.
1 star if provision of full meal in economy. No star if a passenger has to pay for meals and alcoholic beverages.
1/2 star if passengers have to pay for meals or if passengers have to pay for alcohol on international routes or if the airline does not offer alcoholic beverages at all regardless of religious beliefs.
NOTE: Provision of alcohol on domestic and/or short haul routes has not been rated as airlines have complex rules based around flight time, route and time of day.
Blankets and pillows
1 star if provided by airline or if passengers have to pay for blankets on domestic and/or short haul routes but they are available. No star if not provided or unavailable.
1/2 star if blankets need to be paid for on medium and long haul routes.
Editors draw on their collective 150 years plus experience to evaluate airlines based on personal experience and/or extensive industry knowledge to award the final star.