China Eastern updates award booking classes this summer

It seems that SkyTeam is finally getting on board with the theory that having all members use common fare buckets for award bookings makes life easier for everyone. A couple weeks ago it was confirmed that Vietnam Airlines is updating their booking classes on April 1, 2013. Next up would appear to be China Eastern Airlines. Effective July 1, 2013 the carrier will be using the same booking classes – X for economy awards and O for business awards – as Vietnam Airlines and most other SkyTeam members.

I ran a couple quick checks on my award inventory search tools and was surprised to find that China Eastern wasn’t among the airlines included in the list. I have access to the inventory so there is no reason to be excluding them. Needless to say, I’ve righted that problem. They will now be an available option on the award search and award alert tools. Like most of the other award searches the UI isn’t particularly beautiful, but the data should be accurate.


Also of note is that I expect the Shanghai Airlines award classes to change at the same time. They are currently the same as those of China Eastern, which makes sense since Shanghai is owned by China Eastern. Based on that assumption I’ve updated my award search tools for both carriers, not just the one.


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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Just to clarify…for the ChinaEastern example, this would mean there are 4 business class AWARD seats avail and 9+ econ seats avail? Thanks.

  2. In the above screen shot, yes, the “J” means business award seats and the “Y” means coach award seats. For the award search tools I always use F/J/Y so as to avoid the confusion which comes from the different airlines using different codes themselves.

    If you are setting up an alert or searching directly on your own then use the real codes as those alerts can cover award or revenue inventory.

  3. Delta adds significant but not insane (British Air) fuel surcharges on China Eastern. different routings (hubs) have wildly different surcharges.

  4. I’d be suspicious that this is the same bogus award inventory that ExpertFlyer shows. It’s frequently the case that you’ll see D4 (current business award bucket is D) on ExpertFlyer but when you search the MU website, you’ll see less (or no) availability for business awards. Case in point: PVG-SFO on 12 June 13 is D4 on EF but there are only two seats actually available if you do a search on the MU site. (Click the check mark under “Redeem Bonus Points” to see which classes have award space, vary the number of passengers to see how much space.) The MU site won’t let you do any searches for dates beyond 28 June 13, so it’s hard to tell what’s actually the case once the booking classes change.

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