Mainland China Carriers...Advice

7 replies

loopflyer

Member since 13 Nov 2015

Total posts 12

I've avoided flying mainland Chinese carriers to date.  However I might be stuck with flying one of the big 3: Air China, China Eastern, China Southern either in F or J from North America to Communist China.  Recommendations anyone with re: to food, seat, service, which one is the best.  I'm used to (and very happy) flying CX/ JAL/ANA/OZ for my long hauls to Asia.  Thanks in advance.

074061

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

Member since 25 Apr 2013

Total posts 262

If you manage a Hainan Airlines/Xiamen Air flight, they'll be exponentially better than the "big three". If not, Air China and China Southern also have fully flat seats (so does China Eastern, but their reputation is really bad - I've actually had four decent shorthauls on them but I've heard bad things about the longhauls). And mind you, sir, I may live in Hong Kong but that country above us isn't "Communist China", it's known as the "People's Republic of China" or, sometimes, just "China".


All of these airlines fly from LAX, and hard product wise, China Eastern has reverse herringbone seats in J and enclosed suites in F - but also seems to have crap service. China Southern has staggered seats in J and enclosed suites in F, but the rest only feature forward facing seats in J (Air China features F but the suites aren't enclosed).

Last editedby 074061 at Nov 01, 2016, 10:07 AM.

kimshep

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 11 Oct 2014

Total posts 336

During the past 12 months, I had the experience of flying SYD-CAN-JFK and return, in J Class on China Southern. The SYD-CAN-SYD sectors were flown on an Airbus A330-300 and the CAN-JFK-CAN sectors on a Boeing B777-300ER (nonstop & just under 16 hours each way).

The in-cabin experience was, from my point-of-view, excellent. Flight Attendants were truly attentive, friendly .. and helpful. Excellent English language skills and not dismissive of my limited Mandarin skills. I found the fact that the J Class bathroom was cleaned after every use impressive. As  for Food & Beverage, food selection was extensive and offered both a Western and traditional Chinese menu for each set of options. Admittedly, wine selection was somewhat limited but of the selections offered, good quality Australian, New Zealand and French wines. Spirits were also available, as expected.Entertainment options were extensive with several American blockbuster films and surprisingly some European and 1 or 2 Russian films (subtitled in English). There was also a raft of Chinese entertainment consisting of films, lifestyle shows and travel items relevant to China.

As a member of Delta's SkyTeam, China Southern offered all SkyTeam priorities re. checkin and boarding. Priority luggage came off first, as expected. The only 'downside' (if you can call it that) was the age of the China Southern J international Lounge in Guangzhou (Canton) which is showing it's age somewhat. At that time, CZ was also using a separate lounge at JFK in lieu of the excellent Delta Terminal 4 facility. I understand that this is now rectified, due to closer co-operation between DL and CZ. I have also observed that CZ's pricing for similar trips to the USA via CAN are highly advantageous. Due to window seats on the B777-300ER and staggered lie-flat seating,  had no-one seated next to me. As a single traveller - ideal. Although .. typical of *any* carrier's B777-300 J Class, the seat can feel a little 'coffin-like' in lay-flat mode but is more than spacious. Excellent doonas, also.

Being a dedicated oneworld / SkyTeam / Star Alliance flyer with extensive travel experience, I had to admit to being very pleasantly surprised and delighted by my experience on CZ. For a 26 hour flight (each way) CZ impressed me.

It is a shame that so many people tend to 'downgrade' Chinese carriers. Perhaps 'opinion' or 'perception' tends to overtake actual 'experience' for some? Given the comparatively recent ascension on international routes (remember back to when it was Air China or nothing a few years ago?), these carriers are paying attention to passengers, service levels etc .. and are learning fast. I would happily recommend CZ.

And the 'smart money' coming out of New Zealand, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne seems to confirm my view.

Last editedby Chris Chamberlin at Nov 01, 2016, 01:14 PM.

TheRealBabushka

Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,059

I've avoided flying mainland Chinese carriers to date.  However I might be stuck with flying one of the big 3: Air China, China Eastern, China Southern either in F or J from North America to Communist China.  Recommendations anyone with re: to food, seat, service, which one is the best.  I'm used to (and very happy) flying CX/ JAL/ANA/OZ for my long hauls to Asia.  Thanks in advance.

Why do you not have a choice but those 3?

TheRealBabushka

Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,059

And mind you, sir, I may live in Hong Kong but that country above us isn't "Communist China", it's known as the "People's Republic of China" or, sometimes, just "China".

That's fair. At least they're not known, unlike another in East Asia, by the absurd title Democratic People's Republic of China! Now that would be absurd! 

1Worldfreqflyer

Member since 29 Jun 2016

Total posts 15

I have travelled China Southern and it's a shocker always late, plenty of cancellations. Once you arrive in China they hardly speak English and can't be bothered to help  China Eastern was a lot better and much friendlier service both inflight and on the ground and very helpful. The advantage now is that on a QF codeshare number you get points and access to their lounges!

blingwad

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 04 Jun 2015

Total posts 73

I've flown China Southern and Xiamen Airlines longhaul and found both to be fine. Flown plenty of China Eastern short haul in China and they have been fine too. Thing that bugs me the most about these airlines is there insistence that your phone is off, not even allowed in flight mode :( 

flywong

Member since 02 Apr 2015

Total posts 4

There is no way that Hainan is a '5 star airline' . I was really impressed with Air China on a 330 flight from PVG to SIN - really impressed and would do them again. I was also impressed with the hardware on the 773 for China Eastern although service and lounges were terrible.

Last editedby Chris Chamberlin at Nov 07, 2016, 04:53 PM.

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