China Southern Airlines: Melbourne to London June 2016

For the third time in as many years I flew China Southern Airlines from Melbourne to London and, unlike last year, there were some differences.

China Southern's A330 cabin

China Southern’s A330 cabin

Most importantly, there were major improvements in both the service and availability of food.

While many of the flight attendants still struggle with English, they were all very friendly and tried to be helpful. They enthusiastically welcomed passengers on board and expertly gave out slippers, which are a feature of all China Southern flights. They seemed happy to refill the glasses of those who decided to have more than one glass of wine with their meal, however their knowledge about the available wines was still lacking.

The cabin of the B787 which flies between Guangzhou and London

The cabin of the B787 which flies between Guangzhou and London.

Whereas in previous years menu items I have requested have not been available, this year everything I ordered was served.   There also seemed to be a greater choice of main meals. I couldn’t, for example, remember seeing roast chicken on previous menus.

The one disappointment was my seat allocation between Guangzhou and London. Aisle seat 13G on the B787 aircraft is directly behind the bathrooms, and the sound of the toilet flushing during the night wasn’t exactly restful!  While I was told no other seat was available on the return flight from London to Guangzhou, it turned out that 14F was empty – and this proved a much quieter seat.

The bed on the B747

The lie flat bed on the B787.

As has been the case in the previous two years, I occupied an aisle seat in row 4 on the A330 flight between Melbourne and Guangzhou, which was again fine.

Of the airline lounges used by China Southern, the Qantas Business Lounge in Melbourne and SkyTeam Executive Lounge at Heathrow’s Terminal 4 were the most comfortable – although there seemed to be less food on offer at the SkyTeam lounge this year.  Heat and lack of air conditioning continues to be a major issue at the airline’s lounge in Guangzhou.

As a result of these flights my opinion of China Southern remains the same as in the previous two years.  The airline is unlikely to win any awards for its food, wine or service. However my lie flat bed/ seat was comfortable enough to allow a few hours’ sleep on each leg. China Southern also remains very reasonably priced, compared with the cost of other business class airfares between Australia and England.

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2 Responses to China Southern Airlines: Melbourne to London June 2016

  1. Moniek Damen September 25, 2016 at 4:28 am #

    Hi JB,

    As I am contemplating flying China Southern to Melbourne in december, I have really enjoyed reading your reviews!
    I do have a question though, I hope you can help me out: the flight I am thinking about booking will be in Business Class with an Airbus 330. Does China Southern have only old 330’s or are they relatively new? I’m asking because the quality of the seats really diminsihes with the ageing of the plane.
    Also I have been reading reviews of people who,travelled Economy, and who experienced Chinese passengers spitting (!) on the floors of the aircraft. Have you had that experience in Business as well?
    I have travelled Business Class with Emirates and Qantas, and they were really good. I know that you get what you pay for, but reading your reviews I get the impression that China Southern could really be a cheaper but still comfortable option.
    I hope you can answer my questions, thanks anyways for your clear reviews!
    Kind regards,
    Moniek (The Netherlands)

    • Jenny Burns September 26, 2016 at 8:04 am #

      Hi Moniek, thanks for your comments. I don’t know how old the aircraft are but if you go to the China Southern website- in Australia it is http://www.csair.com/au/en/ and scroll down the page you will find the section `news’. I found a media release there from 2015 which talked about new aircraft being ordered. A more in depth search may find other releases which provide further information. As an alternative you could try emailing the carrier and asking them. I am not sure if they will respond. They have always responded to my emails but those emails have been about seat requests.
      I have never found anything amiss with the planes on any of my flights and have never seen any spitting by business class passengers. In terms of the seats I have found them fine to sleep on although I always request another blanket which I put on top of the seat to provide a little extra padding. The flight attendants have always been happy to provide that extra blanket. You are correct in your assumption – China Southern isn’t an Emirates or Qantas. But I have always found the seats comfortable and have been able to sleep for at least part of each flight.
      Hope this helps. Regards Jenny

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