29th March 2004
Departure: 14:45 Arrival 16:28
As anyone who has ever flown out of CAN knows, the Domestic terminal resembles a market with stalls selling everything from the infamous durian fruit, to an assortment of candies, clothes, toys etc!
I arrived at 12:50 at the counter, however the LED screen indicated that the counter would open at 13:20 and close at 14:20. 13:20 came and went, and still there was no one at the counter. Eventually the counter opened at 13:40. Surprising that there was hardly anyone in line at this time checking in for the flight.
Check-in was a painless process - bags tagged and boarding pass in hand within 1 minute.
The waiting room at CAN was absolutely packed. There seemed to be a flight departing every 3 minutes! This airport was busy! I got to gate 14 at 14:05, and from that time to the time that boarding began for my flight - they boarded three other flights using the same gate. From my gate there was a Air China departure to Beijing, China Southern to Hangzhou and China Southern to Beijing.
When boarding opened for my flight, there was a mad scramble for the counter.....don't these people know that the plane isn't going anywhere without them!
After scanning the boarding pass, you are put into a "holding pen" where you wait for the bus to take you to the aircraft.
I must say that i was pleasantly surprised by the service onboard China Southern. Even though it was a short domestic flight - the service surpassed my CX flight from HKG-MNL a month earlier (similar distance/duration). Upon boarding we were greeted warmly by 2 cabin crew. This a/c was configured with 4 business class seats all of which were already occupied. On my seat was a pillow and a pair of those old style pneumatic headphones.
While taxing for t/o, i could see that the domestic terminal was heaving, however the international terminal just had a measly VN airbus and a MAS A330 that had just arrived from KL. Take of was smooth, although there was very heavy cloud cover today....couldn't see the ground again until touch down at PVG.
On-board service was pretty good. Very clear and friendly announcements in english and mandarin by both the flight crew and cabin crew. Two drink rounds and lunch was offered. Lunch was a choice between pork or beef. I chose the pork. My seatmate chose the beef. They both looked similar - sort of like a cake/pate made of pork, served with rice and vegetables. I was a bit apprehensive, but after my first bite, I couldnt get enough! It was great!
Inflight entertainment consisted of a South Korean soft porn comedy (no! i am not kidding!) shown on the frequent overhead screens and 4-5 channels of music - one of which was in english.
Arrival in PVG was smooth and we parked at a remote stand. It was raining quite heavily here and was also completely shrouded in fog. Couldnt even see the control tower.
Bags were on the belt within 10 mins. of disembarkation, and I was in Puxi by taxi 1h20mins after landing.
Overall verdict - 7/10 - would have been higher if not for the delay. American domestic airlines should maybe take a leaf or two out of this airline!