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Getting Away On Miles: China Southern Business Class Guangzhou to Manila

2012-12-15-08.18.29

After a wonderful flight from Los Angeles and a nice stop in the Sky Pearl Lounge, it was time to board my last flight of the day to get me to Manila. The flight was a short 2.75 hours and would get me to Manila just around 11am. The plane was an A320 and after flying the double decker jumbo A380, this jet seemed tiny! Boarding had already begun by the time I reached the gate (I got slightly lost due to my own stupidity) but everyone was neatly queued in one line and the Sky Priority line was empty. I bypassed the line for the Sky Priority line and the gate agent immediately stopped the line, asked to verify my ticket name to my passport and then, in broken English, she welcomed me aboard.

As I worked my way down the ramp to the plane there was a Chinese custom agent checking boarding passes and passport. She just quickly glanced at mine and then waved me on. Thankfully, there were no words exchanged between the two of us. I boarded the plane and easily found my seat in the rear row of the business class cabin, row 2. Yes this plane only has 2 rows in business class with 8 seats total, then 4 rows of 3 in Premium economy, and the rest in economy. The seat was China Southern Older business class product and something I had seen a number of times when flying domestic routes in China years prior. To be honest, the seat is no different than what we have on domestic first class planes such as Delta or Alaska, however the seat on China Southern is tremendously uncomfortable and has extremely limited recline. Thankfully there’s a generous 74” pitch, which in row two means plenty of leg room!

 

Once I was seated, the FA came through the cabin and offered preflight beverages of either orange
juice, apple juice, or water. The younger lady spoke broken English to me, but then attempted to speak
Chinese to the Asian gentlemen next to me. Little did she know he was Korean and did not speak any
Chinese. She quickly apologized and took his drink order in English. After our waters were served, she
then came by with a menu that included two items. Both were breakfast items and neither sounded too
exciting. She took orders and then right before takeoff provided us hot towels for our hands and faces.

As we ascended over Guangzhou and made our way to Manila, I was doing everything I could to make
my seat more comfortable. The cushion that was supposed to be for lumbar support was jabbing into
my back like a hundred knifes and I had to do something to fix it. I tried using the pillow as a cushion
and that made it worse. I then tried putting the pillow both above it and on top of it without success of
comfort. Finally, I realized the lumbar support cushion was strapped to the seat, so I unbuttoned it and
took it off. AT LAST! COMFORT! Well not really, the seat was as hard a piece of plywood, but at least I
could deal with this for the remaining 2 hours!
 

2012-12-15-08.26.152012-12-15-08.20.002012-12-15-09.53.31

The Seat & Drinks. I personally enjoyed the touch of the coaster ;)

2012-12-15-08.22.26

Storage compartment in the side of the seat. Perflight for your phone and wallet/passport




Breakfast/Lunch was served, but only after another hot towel service, and I was asked what I wanted
to drink. I asked for my usual, whisky, and to my surprise, China Southern does not offer hard alcohol
on short-haul flights; instead, they only had soda, water, beer, or wine. I went with the wine, but was
still surprised that they were lacking other spirits. The FA cheerfully brought me two bottles of red and
asked me which one I would like. I didn’t recognize either one, so I jumped for the Shiraz from Australia
and called it a day. She then poured me a sample, I then followed the steps I learned from wine tasting
with American Airline just a day before and tasted the wine. The wine was to my liking so I allowed her
to top off my glass.
2012-12-15-09.56.56

After lunch was cleaned up, the rest of the flight was pretty uneventful. After my wine glass was cleared,
I asked for a soda, unfortunately the coke was served without Ice. Now I know Chinese people aren’t
a fan of Ice, but I would think she would have at least asked me if I wanted Ice. Oh well, warm soda is
what I was going to be drinking…YUCK!

Shortly then after, we were making our final approach on Manila and cabin service was discontinued.
I was excited to be at my destination and couldn’t wait to get off the plane. My back was sore from
the uncomfortable seat and I was sick of flying (it had been about 22 hours since I had left LAX). The
disembarkment of the plane was uneventful and customs was a breeze. There was no one in line when
I got there, SCORE! However, as I waited for my luggage, I waited and waited, and waited some more.
Finally, my suitcase showed up, but my box of gifts never arrived. This was a whole other fiasco and I’ll
save it for another post!

Now a quick recap:

Hard Product:

Seat: UNCOMFORTABLE! This is probably the worst first class seat I’ve ever had or business class seat
for that matter. On these short-haul flights, China Southern refers to it as first class, but it’s barely that
at all! If you like sitting on a bench made from plywood, this seat is for you, otherwise avoid! Not to
mention the extremely limited recline is far from appeasing!

IFE: There are both overhead TVs in all cabin and they played a western movie (Snow White and the
Huntsmen). Those sitting in Business class were provided a smaller digiplayer-like device with movies
and games preloaded on it. However, I was busy working on my computer and I denied the device, so I
honestly cannot review it

Soft Product:

Food & Beverage: I would say on the short haul flight this was lacking, especially after my long haul
flight. There are limited options available to both eat and drink, but then again the limited food option is
common on shorter flights, so this is to be expected

Amenities: Small pillow and Blanket, both very similar to what you would see on a short haul domestic
first class flight in the USA.

Service: The FA tried hard, but had language barriers and was forgetful. Every time she’d start to talk to
the guy next to me, she’d speak Mandarin to him despite the fact he was Korean and told her that at the
start of the flight. Otherwise, she was very much aware of her 8 passengers in the business class cabin
and kept their drinks full most of the time. I would say on a scale 0-10 service was a 7 
 

 

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Comments

Great reviews! I'm also flying CX this week and really love the A380 Business Class. I flew the 737 BKK-CAN round trip and the first Class seats were the same, felt like sitting on a plywood bench. Glad to see I am not alone in that opinion LoL.

CZ is a hidden wonder and a great way to use SkyPesos!

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