Based in Guangzhou, China Southern Airlines is one of China's "Big Three" passenger carriers, serving 60 million customers every year. Owned by a consortium of private investors, the company operates three hubs, at Beijing Capital, Beijing Daxing, and Guangdong airports.
Thanks to these hubs, Canadian travellers can book tickets into northern or southern China with the airline. China Southern includes both Vancouver and Toronto in its list of destinations, so there should be options for those in the Pacific West or the interior. Travellers can also fly from Seattle, New York JFK, Chicago, and various other American locations, and they can reach a host of Chinese cities. The airline offers connections across the entire country, while south East Asian destinations like Chiang Mai or Hanoi are also within easy reach.
China Southern operates a modern fleet that is well setup for long haul journeys. It features a heavy emphasis on Airbus A320 and Boeing 737-800 models, and has suffered very few accidents, earning a solid 7/7 score with AirLine Ratings as a result.
Customer service is another strong point for China Southern Airlines, especially for members of the Sky Pearl Club - the airline's frequent flyer programme. Silver and Gold members can earn miles, skip queues, as well as lounge access. Until recently, the company was also a member of the SkyTeam alliance of global carriers. However, it now operates code-sharing agreements independently, including a shared air miles system with American Airlines.
China Southern Airlines operates Business, Premium Economy, and Economy cabin classes, with the level of luxury provided decreasing as you descend the price scale. All travellers receive a high level of comfort and service, though, and every customer has access to 600 hours of films, music, and TV throughout their journeys. Members of the Sky Pearl Club can also enjoy free Wi-Fi on all flights, while paid Wi-Fi is available for other passengers.
Business Class travellers enjoy a seat pitch of between 152-198 cm (60-78 in), depending on which plane model is involved, and seats are able to convert into 195 cm (77 in) beds. Each Business Class seat is set in its own alcove, away from other passengers, and comes with a 38 cm (15 in) screen, storage shelves, power sockets, and free noise-cancelling headphones. Food ranges from Chinese delicacies to gourmet French cuisine, while complimentary Champagne is served during the flight.
Seat pitches in Premium and Standard Economy will vary between 76-93 cm (30-37 in), and should be slightly larger in Premium Economy seats. Premium seats also allow passengers to recline further, creating bed-style seats, and all seats have individual USB sockets. All Economy travellers enjoy a mix of Chinese and western dishes, and are provided with pillows, blankets, and headphones. They also have access to hundreds of movies on generously sized screens.
Members of the Sky Pearl Club and Business Class ticket holders can use lounges at China Southern's Chinese hubs, and they can also use SkyTeam lounges at Vancouver and Toronto. This provides access to buffet bars, free drinks, magazines, comfortable seating, and high-speed internet connectivity. Passengers also have the chance to prepare for flights in premium bathrooms.
Online check-in with China Southern Airlines starts at 14:00 on the day before travellers fly, and ends 1 hour before the scheduled departure.
Desk check in ends 45 minutes before departure for domestic services, and 1 hour before flying for international services.
Business Class travellers can check in 2 bags, and each one must weigh less than 32 kg (70 lbs).
Those in Business Class can also take 2 items of carry-on baggage, and each item must weigh under 5 kg (11 lbs).
Premium Economy travellers can check-in 2 bags, each one weighing less than 23 kg (50 lbs). Economy passengers can check-in a single bag of the same weight.
Travellers in Economy can take a single carry-on item, which must weigh less than 5 kg (11 lbs).
Checked baggage must have total dimensions of less than 158 cm (62 in).
Carry-on items must have total dimensions of less than 115 cm (45 in).
Excess baggage fees will apply for baggage, which exceeds the limits above, and these fees can be over 1000 CNY (approximately 200 CAD), so it is important to ensure that luggage is appropriately measured before checking in. Items like fishing gear and golf clubs can be included in checked baggage allowances, while bikes can also be transported with prior notification. Extra fees will apply.
Infants aged under 2 won't need an additional seat booking, but the airline asks that customers notify them if lap infants will be travelling. Safety seats can be hired for the journey, and baggage weighing up to 10 kg (22 lbs) can be taken on board - as long as passengers pay 10% of an adult fare.
Finally, members of the Sky Pearl Club can check in an extra item of baggage whenever they fly. Silver members enjoy 10 kg (22 lbs) on top of standard baggage allowances, while Gold members can take 20 kg (44 lbs) of extra baggage.