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.
Ethiopian Airlines check in staff made a pigs-ear of my check in process. First they claimed I'd missed the flight (my ticket said 2335 on 15 Dec, they changed flight to 0010 on 16 Dec, but claimed that as my ticket was for 15 Dec my booking was invalid). They proceeded to re-issue me with a new ticket a (for the 0010 fight on 16 Dec), but then also tried to change my connecting flights by one day - even though they should remain the same (in effect the flight was only put back by 35 minutes, so why change a booking for connecting flight by 24 hours?). Fortunately on arrival in Shanghai, air china check me onto the correct flight. However, to compound matters, my luggage has gone missing and, bizarrely, Ethiopian airlines issued all foreign passengers with landing cards for Japan - not China!
Food was better than most. The crew was nice. The flight departed promptly.
The touch screen didn't work, and the bar below the chair that one can step on couldn't hold itself up, and I constantly had to reposition it. The audio port of the seat next to me didn't work either. The plane definitely needs a renovation.
I wish it truly were Finnair instead of American: The seat, the legroom, the fact that you have to pay 20% more to have the same rotten seat 12 rows further up front, the food that's barely fit for human consumption, the presence of 20 year old cathode screens that can't be watched but do prevent the cabin being dark, etc.
The fact that I got home in one piece I really like.
Planes are old, small tv screens in aisles, older seats and headrests. I had requested Gluten Free meals and on the way to Amsterdam they did okay (besides the snacks). On the way back they didn't even offer me the second meal GF, I had to ask another flight attendant who went looking for it and found one.. so it was there, they just hadn't bothered to look for it. I also never understand why you wouldn't start boarding with the last rows? Is that just me? The aisles are always so crowded when the last rows walk in and there's always a line.
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