Flying China Southern A330 First Class

Don’t worry folks, the adventure continues!

After a rather unique flight late last week in China Southern A380 first class from Los Angeles to Guangzhou, I was quite looking forward to my flight from Guangzhou to Tokyo Narita on China Southern.

To be honest I was kind of curious whether the flight from Los Angeles to Guangzhou was a fluke or the norm. Well…

China Southern Lounge Guangzhou

While I’ll of course have a more detailed review of the lounge, this had to be the most unpleasant lounge visit I’ve ever had. It’s not even the lounge itself that sucked, but rather the airport. It was freezing – F-R-E-E-Z-I-N-G! Clearly they didn’t have heat, and I’m fairly certain it wasn’t much warmer than the 45 degree outside temperature inside the terminal.

It was so freaking cold that I decided to wear gloves, much to the amusement of the other guests in the lounge. They were all shaking and blowing warm air in their hands so mostly had the same reaction, but apparently I took it one step further with my gloves.

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The strangest part of the lounge experience had to be that there was a lady in a uniform continuously walking around the lounge taking notes. She’d stand by my table, glance over, take some notes on a little post-it style pad, continue to the next table, etc. It was odd enough to begin with, but she made the same round just about every 15 minutes, so I got multiple visits.

Perhaps she was the social media police and was making sure there was no Facebook/Twitter/Grindr usage? Freaking weird…

China Southern A330 first class seat

So my flight from Guangzhou to Tokyo Narita was operated by an A330. This plane is pretty unique in that it has a single row of first class with four seats.

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Not only was I the only passenger in first class, but as far as I could tell there was no one in business class either.

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The seat itself was comfortable, and tough to beat for a 3.5 hour flight. And for that matter it’s tough to beat having just about half of the A330 to yourself. Unlike on the flight from Los Angeles, half of the cabin didn’t decide to upgrade themselves this time.

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China Southern A330 first class food

Anyway, the lunch menu had the choice between “Beijing roast chicken,” “tri-color rice,” and “grilled beef tenderloin.” I guess they decided not to cater the grilled beef tenderloin, so I selected the tri-color rice. After all, how bad could it really be?

The answer, much to my surprise, is really, really f*&$ing bad. The rice smelled what I imagine the stuff they discard at the Kibbles & Bits factory smells like… and it didn’t taste much better.

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As far as the presentation goes, I’m not sure if they were hoping to cut costs by only having to wash half of the plate, or…

China Southern A330 first class service

Given that I had roughly six flight attendants looking after me, the service was actually quite attentive. That being said, it was definitely a bit awkward since I was the only passenger. There’s no discreet way to check on a passenger when they’re the only one in the cabin.

But here’s the bizarre part. About 90 minutes into the flight, after watching a sitcom and eating lunch, I decided that I wanted to sleep. We had roughly two hours till landing at Narita, and they even provided me with a nice turndown service.

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After resting for a bit – I swear I hadn’t even fallen asleep – I decided to head to the bathroom for a quick tinkle. Literally the second I closed the lavatory door the flight attendant made an announcement saying we were on our final descent into Narita and would be landing shortly. That’s odd, I thought, since we weren’t even descending, let alone on our final descent!

I get back to my seat – there’s no way I was gone for more than a minute – and my seat is in the upright position, window shades open (ALL of the window shades in the first and business class cabin), and duvet is gone.

Man, I figured I must have slept really well and not remembered it. I mean, surely it wasn’t the alcohol…

I turned on the inflight entertainment, and we’re still 800 miles out of Narita – roughly 1hr40min out. So I was in fact only laying down for about 20 minutes.

I show the flight attendant the screen and she says to me “we land in 30 minutes.” I said “but… the screen says we have 800 more miles to fly.” “We land in 30 minutes.”

Rather than cause a stink I was curious to see how it played out. Does the captain have some sort of turbo charged engines he was planning on using for the last 30 minutes of the flight?

Nope, about 10 minutes later the purser comes up to me and apologizes profusely because they “were confused over the time, we are actually landing in 1hr30min.”

I mean, seriously?!

Comments

  1. Blandon says

    Between this post and the other China Southern, it sounds to me like they have a huge problem with stuff disappearing, whether food, booze, or empty premium seats. I’m thinking their approach is just to dumb everything down so much that it doesn’t matter if it’s stolen. The good food coming from LA could have been a fluke being that there wasn’t time to hijack it on the way to the plane.

    Or, like Sochi, $1000 spent on supplies, has half of it going in someone’s pocket.

  2. wonkachocolat says

    This post made my day. I regularly fly Skyteam and have been offered CS flights as I regularly fly to Guangzhou/Hong Kong. Seems Skyteam have a knack for choosing the worst airlines out there. Then again the LHR T4 Skyteam lounge is one of my favourites and so is the Taipei lounge. Enjoy your travels.

  3. Sanjeev M says

    Can’t a flight attendant tell if the plane’s on descent??? Unbelievable lack of intuitive training and rote following of computer output.

  4. anon says

    Suckers, not all of us obsess over the soft product. I’ll be booking CZ next year with my UR points and enjoying the hard product and not playing 15 days out with LH.

  5. Leo says

    Lucky, maybe she saw you using your grindr, and was trying to force you to close it…LOL

    I wouldn’t dare using mine in China! haha

  6. Euro says

    Looks like the Air France first class seat with a different entertainment system…

    So another botched attempt at a good soft product. Why am I not surprised???

  7. Jonathan says

    Wtf is up with the creepy glove?

    That airline has always been horrible, never heard nice things beside young cute fa

  8. Nycflyer75 says

    This had me cracking up- “making sure there was no Facebook/Twitter/GRINDR usage? Freaking weird…” haha love that you added the last part ;) but now I’m curious if grindr even works in china?

  9. Ed says

    Seat aside I think my recent economy class trip MEL-CAN-LHR-CAN-MEL was better than your first class one. I’d didn’t even need to wear gloves in the lounge.

  10. DJ says

    so bad it’s comical. typical of china, beneath the billion watts of shining glitzy surface at 08 Olympics & 10 World Expo lies the filthy unruly mentality that’s still in 19th century.

  11. concorde02 says

    So the flight attendant chose the beef before you get to choose!

    However, same thing happen in the US too. I had a friend who was an old NW F/A and he told me one time they took all the shrimp out of all J appetizer and told the pax that shrimps weren’t catered that day

  12. Miles says

    There’s one hour time difference between China and Japan, and the attendants probably forgot that… LOL

  13. Ivan Y says

    Pretty hilarious that they ran out of one of the meal options even though you were the only person in F

    @ Lucky – after having so much fun with CZ, are you going to fly Kuwait next?

  14. coalharbour says

    Now that you’ve reviewed Air China and China Southern, I think you should review China Eastern next!

  15. Mikey says

    @fly30khigh using grindr in China is risky enough. But Lucky had better be careful – if for some reason authorities in Dubai or a similar extremely conservative/anti-gay country searched his phone and found grindr installed it could go downhill fast. And god forbid they find the photos he’s received in Whatsapp.

  16. SG says

    Having transited through PEK last year I can confirm grindr DOES work in China. But Facebook? No, needed to download a VPN for that which was easily done :)

  17. dmodemd says

    I wouldn’t question a declaration of descent, sometimes it is unscheduled. I was on the UA flight where the captain suffered a heart attack and we were told we were descending an hour and a half out of SEA but were not told destination. Everyone thought we were going to SEA. We didn’t know where we were until we got to the gate (many people thought we were in SEA), then an announcement was made (we were in BOI).

  18. w.w says

    maybe chinese airlines have too little experience in serving foreign passengers in non-economy classes. I am chinese and I like cz economy class food..they serve it on short domestic flights free if the flight is during lunch or dinner time. not tasty but acceptable and much better than nothing in america. and sitting in economy i feel their services are good and caring….maybe because i feel better to speak chinese than english. or maybe because i have no business/first class experience in international airlines.

  19. Joe says

    Perhaps it’s a language barrier? The beef noodle soup in China Southern is great.

    Why would China mind Grindr? I’ve found the place be quite embracing of gays, the locals definitely like jack’d better ;)

  20. jake says

    Another awesome post! You’ve tried almost all of the best first class products, so I think it’s high time that you try to find the worst coach flights.

  21. Terry says

    The seat configuration looks great! I am looking forward to having one or two trips on China Southern Airlines. After all, you need to give some patience to let the airline improves the service. I would grab a seat when the availability is still good.

  22. Shi Guo says

    @Terry, are you from a country full of the genetic modified and artificial additive? Birth place of junk food restaurant like KFC or Burger King?

  23. Michael H says

    @w.w
    Totally agree with your idea. I flew on CZ recently and found that they had improved a lot. The seat pitch in Premium Economy Class was amazing, and the food was much better than before.
    P.S. I am a Chinese too.

  24. Terry says

    @Shi Guo, nope, lucky me, I am NOT from America nor Canada, even if I were to move there, there is always REAL organic foods I can eat.

    One thing for sure, unlike in China (and PRC’s airlines), where I’m from, I won’t have to be extra careful about my kids’ milk powder adulterated with melamine or gutter oil and fake eggs in my food.

  25. Shi Guo says

    @Terry,

    you don’t have to be careful about milk powder, but you need to be afraid of your children being shot in school. What is purpose of raising food safety topic here. We are discussing airlines. This is not CNN or yahoo

  26. Terry says

    @Shi Guo, something wrong with your eyes??? I don’t live in America. Period. So what “getting shot” nonsense are babbling about? I live in one of the safest countries in the world – Hong Kong. Heard of this country before?

    I mentioned food safety because food and drinks are served on long haul flights! Duh! You PRCs make me feel ashame to be Chinese.

  27. Seth says

    Well I’ve never turned on Grindr in an Admirals Club, but I guess I have to now, since it seems there’s a chance I might get lucky. ;)

  28. John T says

    @Terry “The seat configuration looks great! I am looking forward to having one or two trips on China Southern Airlines. After all, you need to give some patience to let the airline improves the service. I would grab a seat when the availability is still good.”

    Seriously? Do you work for China Southern?
    What good is the seat if you aren’t allowed to use it? It sounds like a fake seat to me. They don’t want to wash the entire plate to save money and they probably don’t want to spend money to wash the pillow and blankets so they present it but don’t let you use it. Bogus. Really bogus Terry-China-Southern-fan-boy.

  29. jhthuc says

    本来就是航空公司的错,但是你本末倒置赖到空姐头上。因为你随手写的这么篇文章相关的空乘都遭到了处罚,可以说是“城门失火殃及池鱼”,你文中提到的口语不好。那我想请问贵国的航空公司飞中国航线的空姐的中文就很好吗?5刀的起气泡酒你可以选择不喝,拿起碗吃肉放下碗骂娘!做爱的时候叫人家老婆,射完了叫人家碧池,你这是什么心态?至于空姐睡觉,人家也是人也是父母养的,既然没影响你至于这么较真吗?现在整个乘务组就因为你的一篇文章停飞的停飞降级的降级,等于是你折断了人家的翅膀,断了人家的生路,这回你该开心了吧!
    PS:我不知道你看不看得懂中文,但是这些话我一定要说。
    PS2:我不是什么航空公司的枪手,也不是专门针对谁。但是我的妻子以前也是空姐,她的辛苦我看得到。至少在我这里看来,把航空公司的制度问题全部推到空姐身上是十分幼稚甚至是愚蠢的。

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