Plane spotters around Australian airports don’t need to wait too long to get a sighting of a China Southern aircraft. The airline has a massive 700 planes and flies to Australian Capital cities from its Guangzhou and Shenzhen ports over 55 times a week.When the airline started flying to Australia they had a fleet of less than 100 aircraft but last September took delivery of its 700th aircraft making it the fourth largest airline on fleet size in the world and the best achievement by a Chinese carrier ever behind the US juggernauts, American Airlines, Delta and United. Included in the 700 aircraft fleet CZ (the airline code) currently has 315 Boeing 737 and 258 Airbus 320’s.
CZ326 is currently an Airbus 330-300 on the Sydney to Guangzhou route with an 11.05 am departure. It was a smooth check in and boarding was easy. The plane was not full and we pushed back five minutes early for the 9 hour 50 min flight. I am allocated seat 31H in the premium economy cabin it’s the first row behind the business class cabin and has a 2-4-2 configuration. The seat pitch is a comfortable 37”. Over the forthcoming Festive Season, CZ326 will be operated by the new A380 aircraft.
China Southern A330-300
CZ is one of the 20 Sky Team members and this flight is a code share with Qantas. I am on a tight turn around in Guangzhou with just one hour before a flight to Delhi. I was told to mention this to the flight staff and they would arrange any assistance if required. Christa the cabin crew supervisor was very helpful with gate and boarding directions.
In -flight service commenced as soon as we levelled off with the usual non and alcoholic beverages. Next on offer was a robust beef, vegetable and rice dish or fish and mashed potato. Airline meals have always been controversial but are improving rapidly and the further up the front the better the meals. Preparation of food is a serious business for CZ from strict quality control, health and hygiene to the finished product served to the customer. All kitchen staff undergo rigorous disinfecting procedures prior to entering the kitchen. Meals are prepared and snap frozen to capture the nutrients and flavour. All up meals take a minimum of six hours preparation.
VERDICT: CZ aim their business at the consumer who wants to travel in comfort and at a competitive price. They have a great basic product which delivers no frills economical airline travel to many parts of the globe. www.csair.com.au
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Written by John Savage