Date: 3rd November 2003
Carrier: China Southern
Flight: CZ 3841
Schedule aircraft: B737-500
Actual aircraft: B737-300
Seat number: 6D
Departure time: 0840
Arrival time at Xiamen : 1010
Duration: 1 hr 30 minutes
There were a lot of flights to choose to go back home (Singapore) like Xiamen Airlines ( Wuhan-Xiamen-Fuzhou-Singapore ) , China Southern (Wuhan-Guangzhou-Singapore ) and China Eastern (Wuhan-Shanghai-Singapore) , I was tempted to fly Xiamen airlines but I felt the trip was a bit too long even through flying the 737-700 was very tempting . When I found out that CZ has started a new flight CZ659 (only on Monday and Friday) Shenyang –Xiamen –Singapore with an A321 , I decided to book on this flight . The airfare is 200 RMB more expensive then Wuhan-Guangzhou-Singapore sector but the advantage of this flight is that I can arrive in Singapore early.
Anyway, I woke up around 5.30 as my hotel was far away from the airport. My girlfriend fetched me to the bus stop where I can catch a free China Southern bus service to the airport. (As long you have a CZ boarding pass, the ride is free.) I boarded the bus and waved goodbye to my girlfriend. The bus reached the airport around 7.10 am. I checked in and was hoping for a last minute equipment change because I hate flying on 737 classics. I was disappointed to see the one and only 737-300 in CZ colors at Gate 3. There were 6 more CZ’s 737s but they were –800. I flew one of them before, B-5020.
Boarding started quite soon, this was my first time on China Southern ‘s 737-300. I find the seats very cramp especially for a 6 feet 3 inch guy like me and I felt very nervous because of my past 737-300 experiences. Anyway, the flight was 90 % full and take off was a bit of a struggle for the 737-300. Surprisingly even through the clouds were low, the take off was pretty smooth and leveled off quite early. The service on board CZ never fails to impress me. Comparing the service with China Eastern and Air China, China Southern definitely heads the best Chinese airline service award . I felt very comfortable with the way the cabin crews treated us. I noticed that the uniform on board this flight was different from my 2 previous flights CZ3579 and CZ3580 (B738 flights ) , Anyone knows ? Anyway, the flight went passed quite fast and this has to be my smoothest 737-300 rid . Hardly any bumps and luckily for me no drops ( I dread this ) as the plane touches down quite hard onto Xiamen’s runway. Our plane parked beside CZ A320 and CA B737-300 , I can’t remember which gate .I have checked out the profile of this aircraft and the aircraft is an ex-China Southwest plane but the interior is CZ’s .
Date: 3rd November 2003
Carrier: China Southern
Flight: CZ 659
Seat: 20E swapped to 19C
Schedule aircraft: A321-100
Actual aircraft: A321-100
Departure time: 1200 (flight delay due to late arrival ) 1240
Arrival time at Singapore: supposed to be 1600 but arrived around 1640
Duration: 4 hrs
I had to check in again for this next sector, Wuhan check-in counter lady explained that they can’t transfer for me so therefore I have to collect my luggage at Xiamen airport and checked in again. Anyway frankly speaking, I don’t really like Xiamen’s airport probably because of the layout. I had a hard time before finding the international counter. As the airport was quite empty, I took about 20 minutes to check in and go through immigration before reaching my gate. The aircraft was not there yet and I spotted some planes, 2 CZ’s A320, 1 CA 733, 3 Xiamen’s 737 , 2 Xiamen’s 757 and 1 Shanghai 737-700 . My plane landed around 11.20 just 10 minutes before boarding time and I knew my flight was going to be delayed. The plane was still in China Northern livery but I was still glad it’s an A321. I chose this flight purposely to fly the A321.
Anyway, boarding started quite fast. I immediately make my way towards the aircraft and I find the cabin quite spacious comparing with the 737? I find this layout more comfortable perhaps of the wider cabin. The flight was 60% full and a lot of empty seats especially at the back. I was actually supposed to seat at 20E but because I wanted to put my laptop beside me, I switched to the seat just in front of the emergency door. The cabin crews started the pre-departure preparations and I decided to look around. The interior is China Northern’s and so are some of the magazines and the safety card ( I took some , oops ) . The crews were wearing the same CZ’s uniform as the CZ3579 and CZ3580 flights. I tested one of them, asking them, why is the safety card not China Southern’s? Am I in a wrong plane? She told me just to ignore them, I was hoping for a better answer then that.
The plane was pushed back as soon as possible and took off immediately, I found the take off quite powerful as the load factor was only 60%. I noticed that there was the CZ manager was monitoring the crews throughout the flight. There were 6 cabin crews on board this flight, quite many I must say but the service definitely impressed me. The entertainment system was quite alright and they showed a few shows for about 1 and a half hours then they had the map displayed for the rest of the flight. Just like the previous flight, the flight was very smooth .I was surprised when lunch was served within half an hour after departure .At that time, I was playing with my laptop. The crew was very helpful and asked me whether would I like to eat now or after finishing my game, I told her that was alright, I put the food tray on to the seat’s tray beside me. The food was quite alright, I ate them up quite quickly probably because I was hungry and I didn’t eat much in the morning. For the rest of the flight, passengers were going around talking to their friends and I was finding empty seats where I can take some shots . If you guys are interested to see ex-China Northern’s A321 interior, you can email me : firstname.lastname@example.org .
The plane touched down at Changi Airport runway 02L at 1630 and reached to our assigned gate at D42. My first ride on the A321 was a great one and overall I enjoyed my rides today. If you ask me which do I prefer, B737-800 or Airbus 321? I have to say the A321 because of the wider cabin space.
Feel free to ask me any questions, thanks for reading my trip report.