China Eastern Airlines - Broken systems + customer service make basic tasks nearly impossible
At the time of this writing China Eastern's website + customer service are hopelessly broken.
Broken, as in impossible to use to perform even the most basic tasks, in almost every system that I tried, to the point that it was a miracle that I even got far enough along in the first place to actually book a reservation.
The problems that I encountered while dealing with China Eastern, in order of their appearance
1. The system has numerous typographical errors, confusing grammar and broken interface. Searching for flights flatly didn't work on my wife's computer (China + US sites). Searching for flights also didn't work well on my computer (multiple times updating locations or dates didn't work properly). Picking a seat also didn't work for me, creating a popup error in Chinese (while using the US - English site), and preventing you from continuing, and making you start over again. I learned to avoid picking a seat to go straight the booking. Finding information is also a chore, and I found multiple conflicting pieces of information about how their refund/cancellation policy (more on that later).
2. You cannot actually book tickets from the Chinese system, as the system requires you to login, and you can't create an account (doing so causes a proxy error). Considering that I'm based in the US, this is almost understandable.
3. The Chinese system prices do not list taxes and fees, though the US system does (the same flights are listed, and they do cost approximately the same, after fees + taxes)
4. I COULD NO LONGER BOOK A TICKET. China Eastern refused to run either of my credit cards, neither on the US system website, nor from China customer service, despite numerous (10+) tries. Not that rejected their transaction, it's just was a flat refusal to run. This was especially confusing, as this was the same card I had used to book a ticket, on the same website, for the same airline + flight.
5. China Eastern's refund online system is very obtuse, to the point of being totally unworkable, without extremely specific instructions. After waiting the weekend in order to be able to call US customer service, we were instructed to use the online portal. Luckily we had already tried and failed, and were able to get the customer service representative to walk us through the instructions. We had made an account earlier and it looked to have been properly activated. However, the ticket we had booked was not available. It's only by going through the identically named + styled "My Trips" button on the homepage that you're able to search for your booking. This issue had the customer representative confused as well, and asked us to switch to Internet Explorer. Luckily, once we found the booking, we were able to request a refund. A refund that will take up to 3 months to process =/. At least we received a receipt via email.
All in all, China Eastern might be a decent airline, but it absolutely needs to resolve the huge number of very significant issues. It's worth mentioning that my experience probably would have been even worse if my wife wasn't a Chinese native and able to speak Chinese with the clearly Chinese customer representatives.
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