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A Review of Xiamen Airlines: Fly for a Better World

Xiamen Airlines or Xiamen Air is a Chinese-based airline headquartered in Xiamen City that carries up to 40 million passengers a year. With a fleet of 210 aircraft and staff of over 23,500 people, Xiamen Airlines operates 400 domestic and international routes covering China, Southeast Asia and North East Asia, as well as expanding its presence in Europe, America and Oceania. Skytrax certifies Xiamen Airlines as a 3-Star Airline and it’s one of only 8 airlines to have achieved the 2024 APEX WORLD CLASS award.

But accolades aside, we put Xiamen Airlines to the test. Here’s how they did.

Booking & Boarding

Booking a flight with Xiamen Airlines is a straightforward process of selecting departure and arrival cities, choosing dates and purchasing an available flight. Depending on your location, you may be directed to a regional Xiamen Airlines homepage, the layout and user-interface of which can be quite different. Regional pages include Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, as well as international pages of Asia, Oceania, Europe, America and Global.

To select a specific regional homepage, click the drop-down menu next to the Sign Up and Login links on the top toolbar. If you don’t see this option, visit the Global English page at www.xiamenair.com/en-ww/ where the drop-down menu will be visible.

Xiamen Airlines Global English homepage
The Xiamen Airlines Global English homepage. Regional pages can be found by clicking the drop-down menu on the top toolbar.
Xiamen Airlines menu on its homepage (mobile layout)
On mobile, this can be found towards the bottom of the sidebar menu.

When flight time comes around, things can get a bit confusing, particularly if you’re not a Chinese speaker. You may want to book a meal or select seats, which in many cases is done via online check-in. The Xiamen Airlines website suggests a passenger can check-in online but the homepage points out that online check-in isn’t available, at least for the time being.

Xiamen Airlines member account area, suggesting a passenger can check-in online.
The ‘Manage My Booking’ section of the Xiamen Airlines website.
Xiamen Airlines homepage mentioning that online check-in isn't currently available.
Online check-in isn’t currently available.

If you’re still keen to select your seats and choose a special meal, another option is to explore the Xiamen Airlines app. So where do you download it? The Xiamen Airlines website provides various QR codes to download the app but if you’re a tourist visiting China, this could pose a problem.

Some QR codes take you to a page that supposedly doesn’t exist, but there’s still a download link for the app. Another QR code takes you to a Xiamen Airlines-specific page to download the app, but in both cases there are various security warnings that perhaps suggest some incompatibility with foreign mobile phones and operating systems.

While these incompatibilities and technical issues could likely be resolved with some settings changes on your mobile phone, at this point one can’t really blame a passenger for taking their chances with their seat and meals.

Our experience with in-person check-in was that no option was provided to select a seat or to choose a special meal, however this could differ depending on the flight you take. The process itself can be particularly slow, with the service attendant making several calls and asking many questions, perhaps due to bureaucratic requirements of the airline. Keeping this is mind, it’s wise to arrive at the airport extra early in case you’re held up at the check-in process.

If you’re traveling in or out of China you’ll also need to fill out a Health Declaration Form, which can be accessed via a QR code and should be completed before boarding. UPDATE: Travelers are no longer required to complete a Health Declaration Form when entering/exiting China.

An email from Xiamen Airlines outlining the requirement for passengers to fill out a Health Declaration Form.


Xiamen Airlines provides generous leg room for passengers traveling in Economy class; something that’s quite noticeable if you’re used to traveling in more cramped conditions. Upon taking your seat it just feels as if there’s more room. The seat pitch, which is the distance from a certain point on one seat to the same point on the seat in front or behind it, has an average of 30.75 inches in Xiamen Airlines’ Economy class cabins. If you’re flying on Xiamen Airlines’ Boeing 787-8 or 787-9, you’ll get a seat pitch of 32 or 33 inches in Economy class.

Leg room on a Xiamen Airlines plane
Seating on Xiamen Airlines feels spacious.
Xiamen Airlines economy class cabin
Economy class seats are paired in 3s. For example, 3 seats – aisle – 3 seats.


Xiamen Airlines places a very high priority on safety, something that’s very much instilled in the company culture of “respect for life, adherence to rules, and commitment to duty.” In 2022 Xiamen Airlines completed 395,000 hours of safe flights and 174,500 take-offs and landings, resulting in a cumulative total of 7.5 million hours of safe flights. Along with aviation safety, passenger safety also encompasses food security, potable water safety and information security. Occupational safety includes physical health and psychological wellbeing of employees, all of which contributes to a perfect safety score for Xiamen Airlines on Airline Ratings.

The emphasis on safety is clear from a passenger’s perspective. Cabin crew inform passengers that it’s prohibited to change seats under normal circumstances, presumably due to safety considerations such weight distribution, balanced loads and regulatory requirements. The crew also perform thorough safety checks to ensure seats are upright, tray tables are stowed, seat belts are fastened and mobile devices are either switched off or on flight mode. This is all the more noticeable if you’ve flown with other airlines where cabin crews do cursory checks and miss a large chunk of passengers who are ignoring safety instructions.

Xiamen Airlines safety instruction card
Xiamen Airlines safety instruction card.

Cabin Crew

The cabin crew of Xiamen Airlines is professional, well-trained and proficient in English, which may be of relief to international passengers looking to travel with the airline. Cabin crew undergoes an exclusive selection process, in which flight attendants typically require a university degree and passing a challenging government-administered English test. Given that China is producing a record number of graduates each year, Xiamen Airlines has a massive pool of talent from which to select its cabin crew. On a side note, if you happen to travel with Xiamen Airlines on your birthday you’re promised their best wishes and a delicate gift.

Xiamen Airlines economy class cabin. A flight attendant is speaking to a passenger.
Xiamen Airlines cabin crew are proficient in English.
Xiamen Airlines economy class cabin. Cabin crew are helping store luggage in overhead compartments.
There’s a surge in flight attendant applications in China due to the resurgence in travel and the high number of graduates.

In-flight Entertainment

Xiamen Airlines’ in-flight entertainment differs depending on the aircraft you fly with. It includes movies, music and ‘variety shows’ such as travel series and comedy. Our experience indicates that on a short-haul flight, passengers have access to an audio system located on your seat’s armrest but drop-down screens aren’t utilised to watch movies or shows. There were 12 channels to choose from in the audio system, 10 of which were playing music and 2 of which were silent. The 2 silent channels would presumably play the audio of a movie if drop-down screens were deployed.

A slight disappointment of the in-flight system or the seating in general is that there isn’t a USB charging point for electronic devices. It can be inconvenient to be running low on battery on your mobile after a flight, so it’s worth making sure it’s fully charged before you set off on your journey.

Buttons of Xiamen Airlines in-flight entertainment audio system located on the side of a seat's armrest.
There are 12 channels to choose from on Xiamen Airline’s audio entertainment system.

For medium and long-haul flights, drop-down screens are presented for passengers to watch movies or TV shows. The soundtracks can be listened to via the audio system on a seat’s armrest.

Xiamen Airlines economy class cabin at night. Drop-down screens are playing a movie.
Drop-down screens are deployed to stream in-flight entertainment.


Xiamen Airlines’ in-flight dining experience consists of various special meals and a diverse option of drinks. Special meals include a Vegetarian Oriental Meal, Seafood Meal and Diabetic Meal among others, and drinks include a wide selection of teas, coffees, milk drinks, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages.

As outlined earlier, without being able to check-in online and struggling to download the Xiamen Airlines app, you may decide to take your chances with the meal on board. Depending on your dietary requirements, this may or may not be a good idea. During our flights, there wasn’t a selection of meals to choose from and the meals provided were all meat-based.

One meal consisted of a meat-filled croissant, milk drink and biscuit snacks.

Xiamen Airlines meal box with the words "Revive Your Taste".
Revive Your Taste.
A Xiamen Airlines meal consisting of a meat-filled croissant, milk drink and biscuit snacks.
A Xiamen Airlines meal consisting of a meat-filled croissant, milk drink and biscuit snacks.

Another meal consisted of a meat-based rice dish, a cupcake, milk drink, dried turnip and biscuit snacks.

A Xiamen Airlines inflight meal box with a rice dish.
Revive Your Taste box with a hot meal.
A Xiamen Airlines meal consisting of a meat-based rice dish, a cupcake, milk drink, dried turnip and biscuit snacks.
A Xiamen Airlines meal consisting of a meat-based rice dish, a cupcake, milk drink, dried turnip and biscuit snacks.

It’s worth pointing out that when telling flight attendants that a meal wasn’t going to be consumed because of its meat-based ingredients, they were willing to offer additional vegetarian snacks, which was a nice touch. It’s also convenient that the cabin crew can speak English so any dietary concerns or questions about the meals can be clarified.

Between meals, Xiamen Airlines offers a selection of drinks and snacks such as assorted nuts and dried fruit.

Xiamen Airlines in-flight snacks: coffee, rock sugar red bayberry and assorted nuts.
Xiamen Airlines snacks.
Xiamen Airlines snacks: Rock sugar red bayberry and assorted nuts.
Rock sugar red bayberry and assorted nuts.

If you do happen to download and open the Xiamen Airlines app without any issues, and you’re able to understand Chinese, there are options to book in-flight meals in advance. However if downloading the app poses some problems, there are various methods you can use to contact Xiamen Airlines to indicate your preference for a special meal.

Xiamen Airlines provides contact details of its branches and offices, and has a Service and Ticketing Hotline for overseas passengers. This can be found on the top left of the Xiamen Airlines English – Global homepage.

The Xiamen Airlines English - Global homepage with an arrow pointing to the Service and Ticketing Hotline number.
A Service and Ticketing Hotline is available for overseas passengers.

A contact email, [email protected], is also provided and there is a Xiamen Airlines Facebook Page, where you can message them directly.

Xiamen Airlines Facebook page with message tab open.
The Xiamen Airlines Facebook page.


Xiamen Airlines’ mission is to ‘Take More People to Explore the World’; a mission that’s very much aligned with the rising popularity of travel in China. Although the booking process could be a bit more user-friendly for foreign passengers, the overall flight experience is very positive. Xiamen Airlines is committed to continuous transformation and innovation, always looking for opportunities to improve its service offering as it reaches new customers and expands the coverage of its network. While Xiamen Airlines primarily operates in Asia, it’ll likely develop more of a global brand presence in the near future as it expands its flight routes to more destinations around the world.

If you’re headed to China soon, check out our article China Travel Tips: Things To Know Before Visiting.

Looking out of a Xiamen Airlines plane with a view of the plane wing and Beijing Daxing International Airport
A window view from a Xiamen Airlines aircraft looking out onto Beijing Daxing International Airport.

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