China Southern Airlines A330-300Back to Forum
Anonymous13 Apr 2015
The cheapest o/w fare in Economy between Taipei and Frankfurt I could find was on China Southern via Guangzhou.
I arrived on time at CAN with a 5-hour stopover, so decided to take advantage of the free transit visa as I didn't fancy being stuck airside for so long. I was given a green sticker with my onward flight number and directed to the 'special' immigration desk where the friendly officer managed to make a balls up of my stamp which had to be cancelled by her supervisor before being given a fresh one.
I found Guangzhou Airport confusing….it really was not clear where my boarding gate was. After asking several airport staff, I found myself at the CZ check-in area where I was given the following notice:
'Notice to passengers on flight CZ331
The flight you are taking will stop over at Changsha, and you are supposed to pass the immigration check at Changsha, the last stop-over point before leaving China. Therefore you do not take a normal process at Guangzhou, and need to be guided by the staff to boarding gate. Please wait at designated area and our staff will take passengers on the flight by 19:40……..'.
Meanwhile I had a whiskey and Pepsi, much to the amusement of the bar staff.
As promised, a handful of pax were escorted through security to a transit area…far too early for my liking….where there were free soft drinks and chocolate snacks, and several very tired people in transit.
Eventually we took off on an A330 (not sure if this was a -200 or -300) for the 60-minute hop to Changsha. The flight was very empty and we were served a bottle of water and packet of nuts.
After balmy Guangzhou we arrived to 12 degrees and rain. We all disembarked for immigration facilities. This was a very slow process and I noticed that the entire crew including pilots had to hand over their passports. I was never so glad to see a smoking room just behind the desks.
Back on board the aircraft soon filled up with joining pax. I was in 40A…and there we sat for 2 hours while a thunderstorm passed. Thankfully the cabin crew did two drinks runs, first with tea and then with soft drinks or wine. By this stage my ankles and feet were severely swollen after several flights over the previous three days. I took a sleeping tablet as I really was desperate to get home.
In the event I slept fitfully. The beef was passable as was the dim sum for breakfast. This was a no-nonsense service and it was clear the crew had never attended Charm School, but to their credit they were very good at ordering passengers to put their seats in the upright position during meals.
A few other observations: you need to be an air traffic controller to navigate the IFE system as the remote control cannot be removed from the armrest and the touchscreen worked only at intervals.
Wear sunglasses if flying in premium economy.
Do not ask for coffee unless you like it super sweet.
Would I fly CZ again? Probably yes! but only using the transit visa facilities at Guangzhou.13 Apr 2015
For those interested: according to Seatplans, the aircraft used was in fact an A330-200 (Config. 1). I was in row 40 and there was only one row behind me in the front Economy cabin.19 Apr 2015