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I recently had the chance to fly Xiamen Air’s business class between Seattle (SEA) and Shenzhen (SZX), and I really enjoyed my flight. However, since it was my first experience on board a Mainland Chinese carrier, I wasn’t fully aware of some of the quirky policies that many of the Mainland Chinese carriers have. One of the most unusual (and unexpected) was a ban on cell phone use of any kind while in flight.

I learned of this policy the hard way — meal service had finished and I was ready to attempt to sleep. I pulled out my phone, which had been switched to airplane mode, popped in my earbuds and reclined my seat. However, a few minutes later, a flight attendant poked me and explained that I couldn’t have my phone turned on at all. I tried to explain the purpose of airplane mode, but it was to no avail. She then proceeded to kindly explain that the amenity kit includes a handy velvet pouch that was designed with phone storage in mind. After obliging and stowing my phone in the pouch, I was left without my own music for the rest of the flight.

The velvet phone storage pouch was included in the amenity kit on Xiamen Air.

Interestingly enough, you’re allowed to have your iPad/tablet or a laptop turned on while in-flight. So, if you find yourself booked on a Mainland Chinese carrier any time soon, make sure you download whatever music, Netflix, movies, books or any other entertainment you desire on your tablet or laptop before you go so you’re not left listening to boring, pre-programmed radio stations after you’ve made your way through the movie selection.

Know before you go.

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