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.
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.
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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