Review: China Southern Airlines 中国南方航空, Seoul Incheon to Guangzhou, Economy Class

Review: China Southern Airlines, Seoul Incheon to Guangzhou Economy Class
Review: China Southern Airlines, Seoul Incheon to Guangzhou Economy Class

After a wonderful week in Seoul it was time to head home on China Southern Airlines, an airline I had never flown before. After checking my bags in, I spent a few hours in the HUB Lounge and then made my to the departure gate for the first sector to Guangzhou, China, the airlines hub, where I would transit onto Sydney on their Airbus a380.

Check this out:
The Changing of the Guard, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, South Korea
Lounge Review: HUB LOUNGE, Incheon International Airport, Seoul South Korea

China Southern Airlines preparing for departure from Seoul's Incheon Airport
China Southern Airlines preparing for departure from Seoul’s Incheon Airport

China Southern Airlines is the largest airline in Asia in terms of fleet size having over 440 aircraft, 63 of which are the Airbus a321, the stretched variant of the narrowbody  a320 family. The aircraft I was travelling on was just over 3.5 years old at the time of my flight, being delivered to the airline in February 2010.

Business Class on China Southern's Airbus a321
Business Class on China Southern’s Airbus a321
The view from the rear of Economy Class on board the Airbus a321
The view from the rear of Economy Class on board the Airbus a321

Seating 179 passengers in 3 classes on their Airbus a321, the first 3 rowns seat 12 in First Class, the next 4 rows seat 24 passengers in Premium Economy with 143 in the main Economy cabin. My aisle seat, 39C, with a seat pitch of 31″ / 78.7cms, was around 4 rows behind the forward galley which seperates the Premium Economy and Economy Cabins.

Pneumatic headphones
Pneumatic headphones
Drop down screens showing the safety demonstration
Drop down screens showing the safety demonstration

Prior to take off, the flight attendants came through the cabin and handed out pneumatic headphones – yes those old fashioned hollow tubed plastic headphones that amplify audio from tiny in-seat speakers!  I hadn’t seen or used these since the mid 1990’s – so I plugged them in, put them on and listened and watched the safety demonstration played through drop down screens. The saftey demonstration was played in Mandarin and English with both laguage subtitled. A Korean version of the demonstration was spoked after the video played.

The pre-dinner drinks  on board China Southern Airlines
The pre-dinner drinks on board China Southern Airlines
Peanuts, pneumatic headphones and inflight magazine at seat 39C
Peanuts, pneumatic headphones and inflight magazine at seat 39C

Once we were airborne and the fasten seatbelt sign was extinguished, a feature film ‘Meet The Croods’ started and without AVOD on this aircraft, there seemed a certain camaraderie among the passengers watching, all laughing at the film at the same time. Soon after, the flight attendants came down the aircrafts single aisle with a drinks trolley laden with juices, soft drinks, water and tea & Coffee plus red and white wine. After one of the crew poured me a glass of white wine – a Chinese variety – they handed me a small packet of roasted peanuts – those really small yummy crunchy peanuts most often found in Chinese supermarkets (or on Chinese Airlines). Unfortunately the movie wasnt for me so I flicked through the inflight magazine while munching on those tasty nuts.

Dinner - 'Fish' with vegetables and rice
Dinner – ‘Fish’ with vegetables and rice

Not long after the drinks service the crew started preparing for the dinner service. As the trolley came down the aisle, each row was asked in either Mandarin or English whether they would like chicken or fish. Now I am normally a ‘chicken’ eater, but for this meal I opted for something different and went for the ‘fish’. The small peices of springy fish were coated in flour and covered in an Asian style sauce with red and green capsicum and it were actually a lot more tastier than it looked, as was the side of steamed rice. The side salad, crisp lettuce and purple cabbage with a cherry tomato came with a thousand Island dressing. The bread roll was the usualty sweet tasting roll most often found in Asian baking and the desert, a slice of sultana loaf wasn’t too bad for an inflight desert, although it seemed to lack something, like it needed some ice cream or custard 🙂

Taxiing past two Airbus a380's, one of which would be taking me to Sydney later that evening
Taxiing past two Airbus a380’s, one of which would be taking me to Sydney later that evening

The flight, with a scheduled flying time of 4hrs10mins arrived early, after just 3hrs35mins of flying time, at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. As we taxied towards the terminal past hundreds of China Southern Aircraft, I was excited to see a couple of giant Airbus a380’s parked not far away one of which I would be taking to Sydney later that evening 🙂

Disembarking down the forward stairs of the Airbus a321 next to an Airbus a319
Disembarking down the forward stairs of the Airbus a321 next to an Airbus a319
My aircraft with pasengers still disembarking as viewed from the terminal bus
My aircraft with pasengers still disembarking as viewed from the terminal bus

When the aircraft came to a standstill and the fasten seatbelt signs were off, I realised we were parked stand off from the terminal and were to make our way down aircraft stairs to a waiting bus which would convey us to the terminal. At the terminal there was about a 15 minute wait through lines for transit passengers and from there I was directed to the airport pier where my next flight was to depart from.

It was a pleasant and comfortable flight, the crew were attentive and polite, the meal sufficient although the entertainment options could have been better. Unfortunatley, I was now in for a few hours trainsit at Guangzhou Baiyun Airport – something that was not as pleasant nor comfortable.

Check this out:
Review: 中国南方航空 – China Southern Airlines, Guangzhou to Sydney, Airbus A380, Economy Class (Part 1)
Review: 中国南方航空 – China Southern Airlines, Guangzhou to Sydney, Airbus A380, Economy Class (Part 2)

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Transit is such a killer isn’t it? I must admit that I love the luxury of walking out the walkway directly into a terminal. I only appreciate it when I have to get a bus to the terminal.

  2. lara dunston says:

    But why didn’t you stay on and experience Guangzhou? And would you fly the airline again?

    1. Hi Lara, I would have loved to have stayed but I only had a limited time before returning to work! And yes I would fly them again although there are many more airlines I wish to try!

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