China Eastern runs a fleet of short-haul planes just like their other state-owned Chinese airline brethren. The domestic business is where the money is made in China – demand for aviation is so high that passengers are ready to pay rather high ticket prices for a mediocre product.
From my observations I felt the China Eastern plane could have been a China Southern plane tomorrow – all that was required was a paint job – or maybe not even that. The staff seemed somewhat friendly but distant. You can bring a checked bag or carry-on for free. Boarding comes with the same pushing and shoving as you would expect and so does de-planing.
There is no inflight WiFi but some entertainment on the small LCD screens. Again there is a hot meal served and a small snack box with water on top of that.
I feel Chinese aviation is much like American aviation before the deregulation. Airlines have it easy to provide a mediocre product and earn outsized returns as planes are full and ticket prices high (that is different for international routes that are often money losers). The only domestic alternative is Hainan Airlines which is run by HNA.