China Southern's economy seats are spacious for legroom and seat width and the entertainment system is well stocked with movies/TV shows/music. Some entertainment systems will also com with a USB port to charge your device (if it's allowed to be used). All seats come with pillow and blanket to keep you warm throughout the flight.
Any mobile devices that can be used as a cell phone are not allowed to be on or used while on board the flight. This includes mobile phones in flight mode (China Southern explained to me that this is Chinese law), so don't expect to do anything with your mobile phone which means you're basically using their entertainment system. They will stop and tell you midflight to turn off your phone.
Food was horrible, no soap in the bathrooms, and boarding/deboarding in Guangzhou was a test of patience. Having been through Guangzhou twice, despite there being multiple gates for planes to pull into for arrival, they'll always deplane you to the tarmac where buses will be waiting. They'll then drive you to an arrival's terminal where you're forced through a long line that leads to a China Southern desk for them to stamp your boarding pass to wait for your next flight. This line was 30 minutes long for our plane alone and increased as more arrived. Boarding was the same where you get on a bus, stand for 10-15 minutes while they drive you to a plane that was for whatever reason was attached to another gate that no one had access to and you've climbing stairs to board again.
The airport itself is devoid of many food or coffee shops and what's available is expensive and of low quality/taste. Expect to see endless construction, many unclean bathrooms where the toilet seats don't even fit the toilet they've been attached to, and lack of soap in the bathrooms.
Comparing China Southern long-haul flights to American domestic flights, sure - the service is leaps and bounds higher than any American airline. All of the flight crew spoke enough English to be helpful and very kind. Passengers, even in Economy, were well-fed and well-hydrated. Blankets were made available to everyone and the in-flight entertainment offered some great options.
The hotel that was reserved for me on my Guangzhou overnight was LOVELY and the staff very helpful.
Partially a rant against the airline, other part against the airport itself but Guangzhou Airport is absolutely atrocious. An embarrassingly small coffee costs nearly $10 USD. Because of my trip schedule (I flew from San Francisco to Bangkok via WuHam AND Guangzhou, Bangkok to Haneda via Guangzhou, and Haneda to Los Angeles via Guangzhou), I spent many hours in this airport. Though there seemed to be PLENTY of open gates in the international terminal, every one of my flights required passengers to board a bus and ride for 10-15 minutes to the aircraft, get off the bus by the aircraft where we weren't even allowed to board yet - AND IT WAS RAINING. I know there is major construction happening at this airport (BADLY needed, I might add) but there MUST be better options for moving passengers around between terminal and aircraft.
Also, China Southern IS attempting to do some good by offering passengers with overnight layovers in Guangzhou a complimentary hotel, they do NOT make it easy to do. Upon arrival in Guangzhou before my overnight, a CS representative, waiting at one of the numerous twists and turns in the airport, held a small piece of paper listing the flights eligible for a hotel room. The only problem was that there were over 200 people trying to deplane, go through customs and immigration, find out where to go next, etc. and the woman was completely lost in the crowd. I actually somehow wandered past Customs and Immigration to a whole other side of the airport before running into the group heading for hotel reservations somewhere in between the arrival gate and the Guangzhou Metro. The agent in charge sent us up an escalator, said nothing more, and left a group of about 50 passengers to fend for themselves. We eventually found a small desk staffed by 5 CS representatives making hotel reservations. It seemed to take about 10-15 minutes per passenger to make reservations, so I finally arrived at my hotel in time to sleep for about four hours before returning to the airport.
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