After a wonderful flight from Los Angeles and a nice stop in the Sky Pearl Lounge, it was time to board my last flight of the day to get me to Manila. The flight was a short 2.75 hours and would get me to Manila just around 11am. The plane was an A320 and after flying the double decker jumbo A380, this jet seemed tiny! Boarding had already begun by the time I reached the gate (I got slightly lost due to my own stupidity) but everyone was neatly queued in one line and the Sky Priority line was empty. I bypassed the line for the Sky Priority line and the gate agent immediately stopped the line, asked to verify my ticket name to my passport and then, in broken English, she welcomed me aboard.
As I worked my way down the ramp to the plane there was a Chinese custom agent checking boarding passes and passport. She just quickly glanced at mine and then waved me on. Thankfully, there were no words exchanged between the two of us. I boarded the plane and easily found my seat in the rear row of the business class cabin, row 2. Yes this plane only has 2 rows in business class with 8 seats total, then 4 rows of 3 in Premium economy, and the rest in economy. The seat was China Southern Older business class product and something I had seen a number of times when flying domestic routes in China years prior. To be honest, the seat is no different than what we have on domestic first class planes such as Delta or Alaska, however the seat on China Southern is tremendously uncomfortable and has extremely limited recline. Thankfully there’s a generous 74” pitch, which in row two means plenty of leg room!
Once I was seated, the FA came through the cabin and offered preflight beverages of either orange juice, apple juice, or water. The younger lady spoke broken English to me, but then attempted to speak Chinese to the Asian gentlemen next to me. Little did she know he was Korean and did not speak any Chinese. She quickly apologized and took his drink order in English. After our waters were served, she then came by with a menu that included two items. Both were breakfast items and neither sounded too exciting. She took orders and then right before takeoff provided us hot towels for our hands and faces.
As we ascended over Guangzhou and made our way to Manila, I was doing everything I could to make my seat more comfortable. The cushion that was supposed to be for lumbar support was jabbing into my back like a hundred knifes and I had to do something to fix it. I tried using the pillow as a cushion and that made it worse. I then tried putting the pillow both above it and on top of it without success of comfort. Finally, I realized the lumbar support cushion was strapped to the seat, so I unbuttoned it and took it off. AT LAST! COMFORT! Well not really, the seat was as hard a piece of plywood, but at least I could deal with this for the remaining 2 hours!
The Seat & Drinks. I personally enjoyed the touch of the coaster 😉
Storage compartment in the side of the seat. Perflight for your phone and wallet/passport
Breakfast/Lunch was served, but only after another hot towel service, and I was asked what I wanted to drink. I asked for my usual, whisky, and to my surprise, China Southern does not offer hard alcohol on short-haul flights; instead, they only had soda, water, beer, or wine. I went with the wine, but was still surprised that they were lacking other spirits. The FA cheerfully brought me two bottles of red and asked me which one I would like. I didn’t recognize either one, so I jumped for the Shiraz from Australia and called it a day. She then poured me a sample, I then followed the steps I learned from wine tasting with American Airline just a day before and tasted the wine. The wine was to my liking so I allowed her to top off my glass.
After lunch was cleaned up, the rest of the flight was pretty uneventful. After my wine glass was cleared, I asked for a soda, unfortunately the coke was served without Ice. Now I know Chinese people aren’t a fan of Ice, but I would think she would have at least asked me if I wanted Ice. Oh well, warm soda is what I was going to be drinking…YUCK!
Shortly then after, we were making our final approach on Manila and cabin service was discontinued. I was excited to be at my destination and couldn’t wait to get off the plane. My back was sore from the uncomfortable seat and I was sick of flying (it had been about 22 hours since I had left LAX). Customs was a breeze. There was no one in line when I got there, SCORE! However, as I waited for my luggage, I waited and waited, and waited some more. Finally, my suitcase showed up, but my box of gifts never arrived. This was a whole other fiasco and I’ll
save it for another post!
Now a quick recap:
Business Class Hard Product
Seat: UNCOMFORTABLE! This is probably the worst first class seat I’ve ever had or business class seat for that matter. On these short-haul flights, China Southern refers to it as first class, but it’s barely that at all! If you like sitting on a bench made from plywood, this seat is for you, otherwise avoid! Not to mention the extremely limited recline is far from appeasing!
IFE: There are both overhead TVs in all cabin and they played a western movie (Snow White and the Huntsmen). Those sitting in Business class were provided a smaller digiplayer-like device with movies and games preloaded on it. However, I was busy working on my computer and I denied the device, so I honestly cannot review it.
Business Class Soft Product
Food & Beverage: I would say on the short haul flight this was lacking, especially after my long haul flight. There are limited options available to both eat and drink, but then again the limited food option is common on shorter flights, so this is to be expected
Amenities: Small pillow and Blanket, both very similar to what you would see on a short haul domestic first class flight in the USA.
Service: The FA tried hard, but had language barriers and was forgetful. Every time she’d start to talk to the guy next to me, she’d speak Mandarin to him despite the fact he was Korean and told her that at the start of the flight. Otherwise, she was very much aware of her 8 passengers in the business class cabin and kept their drinks full most of the time. I would say on a scale 0-10 service was a 7.
Read more from this series:
- China Southern A380 Business Class Los Angeles to Guangzhou
- Sky Pearl VIP Lounge Guangzhou
- China Southern Business Class Guangzhou to Manila
- MIASCOR Lounge Manila
- Asiana Business Class Manila to Seoul
- Asiana Business Class Lounge
- Asiana Boarding Gate Lounge
- Thai Airways Business Class Seoul to Bangkok
- Thai Airways Domestic Bangkok Business Class Lounge
- Thai Airways Business Class Bangkok to Phuket
- Thai Airways Domestic Phuket Business Class Lounge
- Thai Airways Business Class Phuket to Bangkok
- Thai Airways International Business Class Lounge
- Thai Airways Business Class Bangkok to Singapore
- Singapore Air SilverKris Lounge Terminal 2
- Singapore Air Business Class Singapore to Manila
- Delta Airline Check-in & Upgrade MNL-NRT
- Delta Airline SkyClub Manila
- Delta Airline 747 Business Class MNL-NRT
- Delta Airline 777 Business Class NRT-LAX