The Definitive Guide to Hainan Airlines’ Direct Routes From The U.S. [Plane Types & Seat Options]

Hainan Airlines Plane

Full Disclosure: We may be financially compensated when you click on links to credit card products from our advertising partners, such as American Express, Chase, Citi & Capital One. Opinions and product recommendations on this site are ours alone, and have not been influenced, reviewed or approved by the issuer. See our Advertiser Disclosure for more details. Thanks!

Hainan Airlines is operating some unique routes to/from China. Although their hub is in Beijing, Hainan operates a slew of point-to-point routes, which is helpful because they reduce the transit and positioning times necessary for travelers when flying hub-and-spoke routes.

In addition, Hainan Airlines is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world. They have a great reputation for warm service, though they have traditionally lacked a strong hard product.

Here, we’ll explore all the different U.S. Hainan Airlines routes, and we’ll see how the various aircraft flown on these routes can provide different inflight experiences.

Seat Options by Aircraft Type

Hainan Airlines currently operates 13 nonstop routes between the United States and China. Check out the table below for the summary:

Hainan RouteFlight No.AircraftCabin ClassesFrequency
Los Angeles (LAX) – Chongqing (CKG)HU 468Old 787-900Business, Economy2x weekly
Los Angeles (LAX) – Chengdu (CTU)HU 470New 787-900Business, Economy2x weekly
Los Angeles (LAX) – Changsha (CSX)HU 7924New 787-900Business, Economy2x weekly
Los Angeles (LAX) – Xi’An (XIY)HU 494787-800Business, EconomyWeekly
Las Vegas (LAS) – Beijing (PEK)HU 7970787-800Business, Economy2x weekly
San Jose (SJC) – Beijing (PEK)HU 7990787-800Business, Economy3x weekly
Boston (BOS) – Beijing (PEK)HU 482787-800 {A350-900 from May 12, 2019}Business, Economy5x weekly
Boston (BOS) – Shanghai (PVG)HU 7962Old 787-900Business, Economy4x weekly
Seattle (SEA) – Beijing (PEK)HU 496Old 787-900Business, Economy4x weekly
Seattle (SEA) – Shanghai (PVG)HU 7956New 787-900Business, Economy3x weekly
New York City (JFK) – Chengdu (CTU)HU 7916New 787-900Business, Economy2x weekly
New York City (JFK) – Chongqing (CKG)HU 416Old 787-900Business, Economy2x weekly
Chicago (ORD) – Beijing (PEK)HU 498New 787-900Business, Economy3x weekly

Best Points to Earn to Fly Hainan Airlines

Since Hainan Airlines isn’t in any alliance, it’s not easy to book with points and miles.

Your best bet is going to be redeeming Alaska Airlines miles; Alaska Airlines is a transfer partner with Marriott Bonvoy. In addition, you can earn Alaska miles through the Bank of America co-branded credit card.

Hainan Airlines First Class Options

Unfortunately, Hainan Airlines does not offer a first class option on its U.S.-bound aircraft.

Hainan Airlines Business Class Options

(Hainan Airlines recently revealed plans to offer more spacious B/E Aerospace Super Diamond reverse herringbone seats on even newer 787-9 Dreamliners than the following seats/routes shown. Because we don’t know the routes on which these seats will be offered, it is out-of-scope of this guide)

Hainan Airlines 787-9 New Business Class Seats
Image courtesy of businesstraveler.com.

When flying on Hainan Airlines, you’ll experience warm and jovial service. The soft product includes a Nespresso machine for your enjoyment, Bulgari amenity kits, pajamas, and limo service when booked in specific fare classes (not award bookings, but discounted business class fares count!).

As you can see, the soft product is definitely not lacking. Hainan Airlines’ pitfall has traditionally been their hard product, though they have made huge strides in retrofitting their fleet with more modern business class products.

If you can book on Hainan’s best business class products, which we’ll detail below, then you’ll have a 5-star airline experience that will blow your mind. They operate 3 main flavors of the 787 Dreamliner from Boeing, and our business class ranking is as follows:

  1. New 787-9
  2. Old 787-9
  3. 787-8

1. Hainan Airlines New 787-9 Business Class

Hainan Airlines has been retrofitting its fleet with a new business class seat. These reverse herringbone seats on their newer 787-9 Dreamliner are arranged in a spacious 1-2-1 configuration. With all seats offering direct aisle access and fully lie-flat beds, this business class is very competitive with other airlines’ seats.

The 787-9 Dreamliner is quieter, more fuel-efficient, and features a self-service bar, which is a welcome improvement to the old products. Additionally, you can chat with other passengers and utilize an upgraded inflight entertainment system.

As for the seats themselves, these newer models are 21″ in width, 42″ in pitch, and 78″ long in bed mode. The business class seat map looks like this:

Hainan Airlines New 787-9 Business Class Seat Map
Hainan Airlines new 787-9 business class seat map. Image courtesy of expertflyer.com.

In total, there are 38 business class seats in this configuration. The lavatories are actually located at the very front of the aircraft, so sitting in row 11 will not be ideal. The best seats are likely toward the back of the business class cabin closer to the galleys.

Hot Tip: Choosing row 19 seats can be ideal for minimizing the foot traffic you’ll encounter.

You can find Hainan Airlines’ new business class reverse herringbone seats on these routes:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Chengdu (CTU)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Changsha (CSX)
  • Seattle (SEA) – Shanghai (PVG)
  • New York City (JFK) – Chengdu (CTU)
  • Chicago (ORD) – Beijing (PEK)

2. Hainan Airlines Old 787-9 Business Class

Second place goes to the older 787-9 business class, which has seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. All of these seats are forward-facing and straight, as opposed to the angled reverse herringbone of the new 787-9.

Still quite spacious, these seats are 22″ wide and 74″ in pitch. Unfortunately, not all seats feature direct aisle access, and this is a less private seat design.

The map for your 30-seat cabin looks like this:

Hainan Airlines Old 787-9 Business Class Seat Map
Hainan Airlines old 787-9 business class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats will likely be in rows 16 or 17, since the business class lavatories are at the front of the plane. However, the galleys behind row 17 may be too close for comfort, making row 16 probably the best compromise when it comes to seat selection.

Even if you get stuck with these second-place business class seats, you will still enjoy the awesome soft product that Hainan Airlines offers. Find the old 787-9 seating configuration on these routes:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Chongqing (CKG)
  • Boston (BOS) – Shanghai (PVG)
  • Seattle (SEA) – Beijing (PEK)
  • New York City (JFK) – Chongqing (CKG)

3. Hainan Airlines 787-8 Business Class

Hainan Airlines operates an older version of the Dreamliner, which they first put into service in 2013. Since then, technological advances pertaining to cabin noise and climate control have been made, resulting in the 787-9.

But Hainan will continue to fly the older 787-8 until it’s replaced with a more modern aircraft. Here, there are 36 business class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. These seats are 22.5″ wide and 74″ in pitch, which means these seats are actually half an inch wider.

Even so, in our ranking, the incremental benefit of a half-inch is trumped by the perks of flying on a 787-9 as opposed to the 787-8. The difference in cabin climate control is simply too big to overlook, as it makes for a much more comfortable flight.

The 787-8 business class seat map looks like this:

Hainan Airlines 787-8 Business Class Seat Map
Hainan Airlines 787-8 business class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats will likely be at the very back of this business class cabin, since it’s as far as possible from the lavatories. As a result, you will want to stick with seats in either row 17 or 18.

You can find the 787-8 business class on these routes to/from the United States:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Xi’An (XIY)
  • Las Vegas (LAS) – Beijing (PEK)
  • San Jose (SJC) – Beijing (PEK)
  • Boston (BOS) – Beijing (PEK)

Hot Tip: Have lots of Hainan miles? Check out this guide to the best ways to redeem Hainan miles for maximum value.

Hainan Airlines Premium Economy Class Options

Until recently, Hainan Airlines did not offer a premium economy seat on any flights to/from the United States. But with the roll-out of the new 787-9 featuring reverse herringbone seats, there has also been the addition of premium economy.

Hainan Airlines New 787-9 Premium Economy Class

This is still a little-known premium economy product, but we do know there are 36 premium economy seats on the new 787-9, arranged across 4 rows in a 3-3-3 configuration.

Additionally, the seats are 17″ wide with a 36″ pitch. Here’s a rough seat map:

Hainan Airlines New 787-9 Premium Economy Seat Map
Hainan Airlines New 787-9 premium economy seat map (boxed in red). Image courtesy of hainanairlines.com.

Honestly, these seats seem less like premium economy and more like economy plus. The only thing seeming to differentiate them from economy is the seat pitch, at 4″ more.

Nevertheless, it is an available product for use on Hainan Airlines’ new 787-9 routes:

  • Seattle (SEA) – Shanghai (PVG)
  • Chicago (ORD) – Beijing (PEK)
  • New York City (JFK) – Chengdu (CTU)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Chengdu (CTU)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Changsha (CSX)

Hainan Airlines Economy Class Options

Hainan Airlines 787-8 Economy
Hainan Airlines 787-8 economy. Image courtesy of hainanairlines.com.

On Hainan Airlines, economy class tickets are often available for very low prices. They may not be as cheap as Air China, but the product is a lot better. We rank the economy products as follows:

  1. New 787-9
  2. Old 787-9
  3. 787-8

1. Hainan Airlines New 787-9 Economy Class

The new 787-9 features an economy class cabin that is configured in a 3-3-3 arrangement; each seat is 17″ wide and 32″ in pitch. The main reason why the 787-9 wins out is because of the design of the aircraft; the cabin won’t be as dry and it’ll be more enjoyable for travelers.

The seat map looks as follows (the first 4 rows are premium economy):

Hainan Airlines New 787-9 Economy Class Seat Map
Hainan Airlines new 787-9 economy class seat map. Image courtesy of expertflyer.com.

The best seats will be in row 46 due to the positioning of the exit row, but you’ll want to avoid 46A and 46K due to the protrusion from the exit row door. Keep in mind that these seats are close to the lavatories, so you’ll want to weigh the pros and cons of this choice before making a decision.

You can find the Hainan Airlines New 787-9 economy class on the following routes to/from the United States:

  • Seattle (SEA) – Shanghai (PVG)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Chengdu (CTU)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Changsha (CSX)
  • New York City (JFK) – Chengdu (CTU)
  • Chicago (ORD) – Beijing (PEK)

Hainan Airlines Old 787-9 Economy Class

The old 787-9 has a nearly identical economy class layout; the only difference is that there are no premium economy seats — they are all “regular” economy seats instead. These seats are 17″ wide and 31″-32″ in pitch. The economy section contains 258 seats in a 3-3-3 configuration as follows:

Hainan Airlines Old 787-9 Economy Class Seat Map
Hainan Airlines old 787-9 economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats will be in row 46, just like in the new 787-9. Similarly, you want to avoid 46A and 46K due to the exit row door impeding your leg movement.

Another option for extra legroom is row 31, at the very front of the economy class cabin. But be aware of the proximity to the lavatories and galleys, which may cause an inconvenience at your seat.

You’ll find the old 787-9 flown by Hainan Airlines on these routes to/from the United States:

  • Boston (BOS) – Shanghai (PVG)
  • New York City (JFK) – Chongqing (CKG)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Chongqing (CKG)
  • Seattle (SEA) – Beijing (PEK)

3. Hainan Airlines 787-8 Economy Class

The very last product we’ll be discussing is the economy class on Hainan Airlines’ 787-8. This economy cabin is actually significantly smaller than on the 787-9, with only 177 economy seats in a 3-3-3 configuration as shown here:

Hainan Airlines 787-8 Economy Class Seat Map
Hainan Airlines 787-8 economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats will be in rows 31 and 40, due to the exit row providing additional legroom. Row 31 is more preferential than row 40 due to the absence of lavatories.

You can find this Hainan Airlines 787-8 economy cabin on the following routes:

  • San Jose (SJC) – Beijing (PEK)
  • Las Vegas (LAS) – Beijing (PEK)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Xi’An (XIY)
  • Boston (BOS) – Beijing (PEK)

Final Thoughts

All in all, there are plenty of routes flown by Hainan Airlines. Some of the 13 U.S. routes are point-to-point, while others are hub-and-spoke. Hainan Airlines doesn’t have the best business class products on all their planes, but with this guide you should know what to look for — and if you know which aircraft has the best product, you’re in for a real treat.

Hainan loves using the 787 Dreamliner, and being able to differentiate between the different models is absolutely instrumental in maximizing your flight experience. Now you know everything you need to plan out your Hainan Airlines trip!


Featured Image: Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

FAQ

What's the best way to book Hainan Airlines first class?

Unfortunately, Hainan Airlines does not operate a long-haul first class product on their U.S. routes to/from China.

What's the best way to book Hainan Airlines business class?

Your only option is going to be using Alaska Airlines miles. One-way flights in business class cost 50,000 miles and include a free stopover!

You can earn Alaska Airlines miles directly from co-branded credit cards or transfer points from Marriott Bonvoy at a 3:1 ratio to earn Alaska Airlines miles. For every 60,000 Marriott points transferred, you will get a 5,000-mile bonus.

What are the best ways to book Hainan Airlines premium economy class?

Hainan Airlines doesn’t offer a premium economy section on any of their flights to/from the United States.

What's the best way to book Hainan Airlines economy class?

Hainan Airlines charges 30,000 Alaska Airlines miles one-way for economy flights between Asia and the United States. This also includes 1 free stopover, which you can use to get a free flight if you want to maximize the value!

Alaska Airlines is a transfer partner with Marriott Bonvoy, in addition to having their own co-branded credit cards with Bank of America to let you earn Alaska Airlines miles directly.

Stephen Au

About Stephen Au

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephen has been privileged to enjoy many premium cabin products and 5-star hotels. A petroleum engineer by trade, Stephen caught the travel bug in college when he traveled to Asia several times. After 2 years of continual promotions, Stephen quit his safe and secure career path in favor of entrepreneurship.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

12 comments

  1. Just curious, has there been any info on when Hainan Airlines will start using the brand new Dream Feather 787-9 planes (1-2-1 reverse business class seats in the light grey color seats with 26 business class and 21 premium economy seats) in their transpacific/international flights to/from North America?

    We’re flying Hainan Airlines for the first time in October from LAX-XIY and was hoping they may transition and start using some of those Dream Feather brand new planes for their U.S. flights…

    Thanks for all the info too in your article!

    • Stephen Au · June 27, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Cory,

      There’s very little chance that you’ll be flying on the new Dream Feather seats on Hainan Airlines is traveling in October. Thanks for reading!

  2. demflyers · August 6, 2019 · Reply

    Super thankful for this post!

  3. Hi,

    I’m flying Business (round trip) between Chicago and Beijing in January. However, on all the seat maps I searched for and for most dates it seems like they are still the 2-2-2 configurations. This is in seat selection they still are 2-2-2. Any tips as to how to land a 1-2-1 Dreamliner on this route?

    • Stephen Au · September 10, 2019 · Reply

      Alice,

      Hainan Airlines offers 2-2-2 seat configurations on select routes; you need to fly on a route that has a 1-2-1 configuration. But, airlines don’t really let you change the route you’re flying, so you’re probably out of luck.

      • Hey! Thanks for the swift response.

        However in this post it says that ORD-PEK is one of the ones with the new configuration?

        You can find Hainan Airlines’ new business class reverse herringbone seats on these routes:

        Los Angeles (LAX) – Chengdu (CTU)
        Los Angeles (LAX) – Changsha (CSX)
        Seattle (SEA) – Shanghai (PVG)
        New York City (JFK) – Chengdu (CTU)
        Chicago (ORD) – Beijing (PEK)

        Thanks!

        • Stephen Au · September 11, 2019 · Reply

          Hi Alice,

          Unfortunately, these configurations change from time to time due to operational constraints among other reasons. The best way to nearly guarantee a particular configuration is to confirm that configuration before booking. After booking, you’re almost certainly going to be out of luck.

        • There are currently 2 Boeing 787-9 with Dream feather cabin. They are most likely deployed to New York and Toronto routes. I hope you could get it by chance. It’s a very good one !

  4. FYI – In late August 2019 I flew business from CKG-LAX and it was a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone.

  5. I’m flying ORD to CTU on May 19, 2020 and am unable to tell what type of 787 it will be (pretty sure it is a 787). Ticket is booked by Chase UR via AA along with other flights. Hainan says AA has not given them approval to let me access my flight information even with the Hainan PNR. Sigh.

    I’ve seen reference to both 788 and 789 (not sure if old or new). Do you have any insight as to which type of aircraft flies ORD to CTU and what the seating might be? Thanks!

    • Stephen Au · October 8, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Marsha,

      Currently, it shows that it’s a 787-800. Please note that this can change at anytime. The business configuration is 2-2-2 and the economy configuration is 3-3-3.

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

Email needed if you'd like comment updates. It will NOT be published.

Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive financial compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). However, the credit card information that we publish has been written by experts who know these products inside out, and what we recommend is what we would (or already) use ourselves. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. For more information on our advertisers, see here.