Reader mini review: China Southern B787 business class – great value & great service?

I have often written about China Southern’s low prices out of the UK as they are usually the cheapest airline from the UK to Australia. I have never actually flown on them so other than stating the basics of the product it has been difficult to give a proper opinion.  It is worth noting that although China Southern are currently part of Skyteam, they are due to leave by the end of 2019. It has been confirmed that Oneworld has spoken to China Southern about possibly joining their alliance, but at this point, it’s anybody’s guess whether they will join another alliance.

Longtime reader Carly C recently wrote in to share her experience on China Southern so I thought it would be worth sharing with you all. A big thanks to Carly….

I’ve been fortunate enough to have travelled a lot in the past 18 months or so, mainly to SE Asia and Australia. My first trip to Bali back in March of 2018, was magical but what made the holiday unforgettable was the journey with China Southern in their Business class cabin. Many people raised an eyebrow when I told them the carrier I was flying with, as they had never heard of them! OK granted, their hard product is not on par with the Middle Eastern airlines, but it was a great experience overall.  

What I wanted to highlight most about the flight is the quality of customer service and the attention to detail. Two words ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE! Unlike some airline who have too big business class cabins, which depersonalises the whole luxury class experience,  China Southern have two small contained business class cabins. These are to the front of the aircraft behind the mini First Class cabin.

As the business cabins were smaller in size and with nearly 1 cabin crew to 4 people, it felt like I was really in first class. Not ONCE did I have to call the cabin crew because they always seemed to know when I needed something… such as my bed made up, more water, a snack etc. and my glass was never empty be it wine or tea. I honestly felt like royalty!

It’s also worth noting how comfy and wide the lie-flat bed was.  The seat reclines 180 degrees into a comfortable fully flat bed. There is also an adjustable built-in seat reading lamp, a shelf for drinks, magazine rack and shoe storage. The inflight entertainment is on a 15-inch personal LCD TV. The crew even made my bed up, and there was no hesitation when I asked for an additional mattress topper. The onboard meal services were delicious and plentiful including the wonderful afternoon tea they served on the return leg to Heathrow. It was just a really fantastic experience.

Breakfast

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I was also greeted from the aircraft in Guangzhou and fast-tracked through immigration and security for my very tight connecting flight. The second leg of my flight was just as strong in terms of customer service. Although the second aircraft was not a lie-flat bed, the chairs were super lazy boy comfortable.

As it was just me and one other in business class, again the service was so personalised, and out of this world I was actually gutted when we landed in Denpasar as I loved every moment of the flight … to me, this is a sign of a fantastic flight.

2 Comments on "Reader mini review: China Southern B787 business class – great value & great service?"

  1. Thanks for the really interesting review. Have wondered about using them before.

  2. We flew London to Cairns in Feb, and Sydney to London in March 2019 with China Southern. We got lie flat beds in each leg of the journey. I’m 6ft2 and I would say that the beds were 2-8 inches shorter than I would like. I was travelling with my wife and 2 small children and the 6 abreast suited us well. Guangzhou to Cairns we had the 4 abreast layout and the front row of seats. The children are too young to be unaccompanied, so we could only use 3 seats. I found it impossible to pre book seats online. The website would show me the page then make me re-log in. At Heathrow the check in lady sorted out outbound flights. The service was too regimented. If I have a small child on my knee I do not want an 8 course menu lasting 2 hours. But if I wanted food, that is all they would serve me. They woke up my wife and a child for 1 meal, which we had asked them not too. They broke a suitcase and have not even responded to the email asking for a repair or replacement. On 2 of the 4 flights they took headphones off us and made us put screens away 55 minutes before landing. On 1 of these occasions they also woke up our sleeping child 55 mins before we were due to land to put his seat in an upright position. We then circled Heathrow for an extra 20 mins so it was actually an hour and 15 mins before landing. Having a tired 3 year old that wants to move about or watch a film or sleep but is not allowed to do any of these for an hour is not fun. They had no childrens meals onboard our outbound flights and failed to bring us our pushchairs for our 4 hour layover at Guangzhou. We complained about these 2 points whilst on holiday.

    The flight price was reasonable. We paid £6500 return for all 4 of us, booking 2 weeks I’m advance. The littlest was under 2 so he did not have a seat and was booked to travel on our knees, but on the way out they offered us a spare seat/bed next to ours on both flights, which was great. On the way back they had plenty of space in business class, and even left a seat free next to us on 1 leg but when we enquired if we could use the seat they said no, they were upgrading a passanger on board to sit there. This was 2 hours into the flight. They then proceeded to do this, but there were still 5 empty seats in business class, so it seems like they were just being horrible because we had previously complained. On the other Flight there was 8 available seats in business class the whole flight, but when I asked if we could use an extra one, they said no because business class was full.

    It was my first time in business class and it was my first time I have ever slept on an airplane (I did between 1 and 5 hours on all 4 flights). I am widely travelled, and getting sleep on a plane is a revelation.

    If like us you don’t fancy messing about with extra flights to Stockholm or Gothenburg then this is an option if the price is cheap. I would not go out of my way to use China Southern again. The staff were very friendly and polite but basically you are there for the ride and you have to put up with whatever procedures they decide they want to do on that airplane. They don’t respond to complaints and after a polite complaint we thought they deliberately mishandled a suitcase and then decided to try and make our return flights as uncomfortable as possible.

    To cut a long story short the hard product is fine if you are traveling with another person. The main benefit for traveling London to Australia is the decent price for lie flat beds and not having to mess about with an additional flight to Scandinavia.

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