Video Report China Southern - Hanoi to Shanghai - E190 & A330-300 Background
It was that time of the trip when it was time to get back. We needed to head from Hanoi back to Shanghai to catch our flight back to London.
I Used the China Southern global website to book the tickets. They have improved leaps and bounds. The booking process Is now seamless and the entire booking journey is like any other eCommerce website. The site was quick to respond and easy to navigate. I had to get 2 tickets (for my in-laws) from Hanoi to Shijiazhuang via Guangzhou and two for us onward to Shanghai (We split in Guangzhou. The idea behind this was we would help them to board the flight until China)
My in-laws flight costed us £168 per ticket, and our ticket to Shanghai costed us £282 per ticket. Slightly pricey but was the best option given our circumstances and timing, as we wanted to leave with the in-laws and reach them safely into China.
We were also allowed to select seats for free and there was no extra surcharge for any type of card payments (Including American Express).
We would be flying an Embraer E190 jet from Hanoi to Guangzhou and then on a wide bodied B777-300ER from CAN to Shanghai (SHA).
A month before the flight, upon checking I had noticed that our flight from Guangzhou to Shanghai had been changed from a Boeing 777-300ER to an Airbus 330-200. My first flight on a B77W with CZ would have to wait.
This series of trip reports will be split into 5 reports:
1. BA to Shanghai (WTP)
2. Vietnam Airlines from Shanghai to HCMC (in Business)
3. Domestic Vietnam in VietJet
4. China Southern from Hanoi to Shanghai via Guangzhou.
5. And finally our return back to London from Shanghai on BA (Club World)
Thanks to GCMaps, route map of the entire trip and this part of the reportChina Southern - CZ3050
Route: HAN - CAN
Flight Reg: B-3210; Delivered to China Southern Airlines on Sep 2012
Aircraft Type: Embraer ERJ190
Flight time: 11:45 - 14:25 (11:56 - 14:10)
Actual flight time: 1Hr 14min
Distance: 503 Miles
24 Feb 2018
My Log book: 17th Flight on China Southern Airlines/ 4th flight on ERJ190 /154th Total overall flight
I tried to check in online the previous day but it looked spurious. It was asking me to login to WeChat for checking in online but I was not able to figure how to do it. On the other hand Hanoi wasn't listed in the cities from where online check in was possible but surprisingly Ho chi Minh was.
Try 2: I was able to login via WeChat, but then only able to check in from Guangzhou to Shanghai sector but not from Hanoi to Guangzhou.
Try 3: Tried logging in from the laptop. Again it asked me to scan a QR code via WeChat, which I did and took me into the online check in page. Once again it only allowed me to check in from CAN to SHA. When I tried to do it, it said there was another sector that cannot be checked in. It was a warning dialogue box, so I decided not to proceed further.
Try 4: I tried to see if seat selection was possible, it was a similar process of verifying using a WeChat QR code. It did not work.
Try 5: Tried using the China Southern App (Chinese with English language available). Once again a very convoluted process. Online check in via the app requires you to input a 11 digit mobile number. I just entered a random number 12345678901 and it accepted it!
Once in, it let me choose seats, and even let me choose a premium economy seating for the Hanoi to Guangzhou sector, not sure it would be adhered to during checking in tomorrow . Fingers crossed.
The entire online checking process was a farce and I doubt if it is ever used. A complete opposite experience to my booking process on CZ website. I think it's more to do with allowing online check in for Chinese flights.
Day of the flight drive to the airport was fairly quick, roughly 40 minutes. Check in had already commenced by the time we had reached the airport and there was a small queue in front of us. Nevertheless fairly quick and baggage dropped in 15 minutes.
Our seats chosen the previous night was adhered to and hence it meant that we would be in the "premium economy section " of the E190 jet.
Approaching Hanoi Airport on a smoggy morning
Entering HAN on a smoggy/foggy day
Hanoi Departures terminal
Check in desks for CZ at HAN
Heading through to Security
From there the departure gate was organised chaos. Maybe more chaos than organised. 1 line morphed to 2 and then back to 1 with people trying to cut through the gaps. It was similar to driving in Vietnam. "If there is a gap I can fit through, it's mine".
Post the initial check, immigration and security were comparatively quicker. All in, from the time the taxi dropped us to reaching airside it took just under an hour.
Airside at HAN
The quieter side of the airport
Airside is a great space to be at Noi Bai airport. Very airy and great unrestricted views of the tarmac. I was able to capture our aircraft land at Hanoi.
Did a bit of currency conversion, duty free shopping and walking around; it was time to head towards the boarding gate.
Boarding began exactly at 11 15 and the fully loaded flight was boarding complete at 11 30. Crew seemed energetic and enthusiastic.
Plane spotting at HAN
You don't see these too often, Lao Airlines ATR 72-600
Hai Au Aviation Cessna 208-B
There's our aircraft - A stylish Embraer ERJ-190LR
FIDS (Notice the rare Sky Angkor Airlines
Heading toward our gate -> The busier side of the airport
... And tons of souvenir shops
Boarding began as soon as I arrived at the gates
Finally a Jet bridge/Aerobridge
The aircraft was spotlessly clean and the leg space for the premium economy seating was substantial.
Dispatched right on time and we were airborne in 10 minutes.
First view of the cabin
Our row - Premium Economy (W) seating
Neighbours at HAN
Extremely generous leg space
Reading material on board
20 minutes post departure, food service commenced. Consisted of fish with noodles or rice and chicken. The food tasted very good and it was a great lunch service. The salad especially tasted very good (glass noodles with prawns)
Rest of the flight was uneventful in a great way and we landed 10 minutes ahead of schedule. So far a very good service from China southern.
A more than satisfying meal on board
En-route to Guangzhou - Over the Baiyun (White Clouds)
Follow me car at Guangzhou
Final shot while leaving the aircraft
Another bus rideTransfer at Guangzhou.
We were initially bussed from the aircraft to the international arrivals section. Looked like our aircraft was parked in the domestic terminal as we bussed for quite a while.
Once at the arrival terminal we had to queue for immigration. We had to inform airport staff that we only had an hour to transit as there was a long queue for foreigners immigration. We were duly fast tracked into a VIP section. Post immigration we passed through baggage collection and customs. Since it was a through-check in we just walked through.
From here it was another long walk to our gates B01. We finally reached our gates almost an hour since touch down. Looks like that is the minimum time required for transiting at Guangzhou.
Transiting at Guangzhou -> International to Domestic Transit
1.Pass through Immigration (around 35 min/20 min if you get into the VIP queue)
2. After Immigration -> Baggage collection if your bags are not through checked in
3. Transfer to Domestic
5. Golf cart ride to Domestic Terminal B Gates
6. At Terminal B Gates
7. Still a long walk to our gates
8. B01 in sight
9. Finally at our gates, just in time. 1 Hr 10 Min from Landing.China Southern - CZ3503
Route: CAN - SHA
Flight Reg:B-8870; Delivered to China Southern on March 2017
Aircraft Type: Airbus 330-300
Flight time: 16:00 - 18:20 (16:57 - 18:27 )
Actual flight time: 1Hr 30min
Distance: 730 Miles
24 Feb 2018
My Log book: 18 Flight on China Southern Airlines/ 4th flight on Airbus 330-300 / 155th Total overall flight
Boarding commenced within 5 minutes of us arriving at the gates and we had another long bus ride to the waiting aircraft.
This time it looked like the aircraft was parked in the international terminal as we were parked besides an Egypt air.
Another long bus ride
VIP Coach for business class passengers
Boarding complete only by 1600 which would mean a delayed flight.
Advantage of being bussed -> Limitless photo opportunity of photographing aircrafts
Our Airbus A330-300, just back from Cairns
Premium economy cabin (W)
Our economy cabin - Smart looking cabin
Once again a very generous leg space
Neighbours at CAN -> Egypt Air B77W (Never knew that there was traffic between CAI and CAN)
Reading material onboard
A further delay of 25 minutes was announced due to congestion at the airport. Drinks round commenced while we were waiting. Very good initiative by the crew.
Departing Guangzhou for the 18th time, but never visited the city
IFE was working on this flight and started watching Bad Moms 2.
Aircraft like previously looked fresh and spotlessly clean. Once again a very energetic and enthusiastic crew who seemed to be able to speak fluent English.
We were flying at a low'ish altitude for a while before flying above the clouds
Entertainment was excellent on this flight
Straight from the 80's
Apart from the initial delay the rest of this flight was uneventful in a fantastic way and we landed circa 25 minutes behind schedule.
Our bags were the first to arrive and we were out of the airport in 20 minutes.
Once again a very good food offering on this short flight
Arrived at SHA
Baggage collection at SHA Verdict
A very good service by China southern today and we had a seamless and efficient way to be transported from Hanoi to Shanghai. It fit our purpose very well and would like to thank China southern and their crew for this trip.
The crew on both flights spoke fluent English and have improved by leaps and bounds since I first used CZ in 2014. In our Hanoi to Guangzhou Flight, the crew even went over and above their duties to see to it that the couple in front of us, who were vegetarian, who were rescheduled this flight in the very last moment, to provide them with a decent meal. Well done crew.
Over all it was excellent and looking forward to future China Southern flights.
Thanks for reading my report. This concludes this section of the report. The last and final one is our flight back to London from Shanghai (Pudong) on BA in Club World.
Coming soon… until then, happy and safe flying. I shall leave you with some of our memories from Halong Bay, Hanoi and Ninh Binh.
Exiting the airport
Taxi Stands Sight around Hanoi
Halong bay from Cat Ba Island
Food street at the Old Quarter in Hanoi
The totally mesmerising Van Long Nature reserve
Tam Coc (Ninh Binh)
Trying our hand at kayaking in Halong Bay