In Flight Reviews, Flung writers provide key information about flights they take in order to leave the flying public better informed in an age of frustration, obfuscation and increasingly unfriendly skies.
JFK –> LHR on Flight CZ300, Business Class
Flight: China Airlines CZ300
Date and Time of Flight: Saturday, October 7th at 11:15 am
Check In and Security: Check in was very friendly, if not the fastest ever. Still, we found the line and were checked in within 10 minutes. Quirky side note: Among the prohibited items listed for checked bags: “small vehicles,” by which I think they meant drones? There was no line for business class security, and we were through in no time at all.
Terminal: JFK’s Terminal 4 is almost too nice–where is that Hudson News with my In Touch and Chex Mix? (There is one, but you might have to walk a while to find it.) There’s plenty of high-end shopping to pass the time, if you so choose.
Business Class Lounge: The Wingtips Lounge serves China Southern business class passengers, along with those of Singapore Airlines and Priority Pass members, among others. It’s not huge, but provides large doses of comfort, natural light, and style, with dark wood floors and leather lounge chairs chairs accompanied by good tables for eating and working. Other rows of chairs had ottomans instead of tables. The row in front of the windowed wall overlooking the tarmac seemed the most popular, with high backs and sides providing privacy and the windows providing flight traffic to watch. There’s also an area with dining tables.
No bar with bartenders, but a full array of booze was available. This was morning though, so I was more interested in breakfast. There were noodles, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, hard boiled eggs, Yoplait yogurt, juices (not fresh squeezed), automatic espresso/ coffee machines, and a few pastries and assorted snacks.
The bathrooms were nothing special.
Boarding: There was no line for business class boarding and we breezed through. The business class cabin was full but relaxed and everyone had plenty of room in the overhead compartments. Departure was on time.
Seat: The lie-flat seats seemed brand new, and are the same ones that American Airlines uses for its transcontinental business class flights. The 1-2-1 setup meant that my companion and I got to be right next to each other in the center, with our respective side tables at the aisles. I had a slot for my laptop and magazines, while another slot above the side table held magazines provided by the airline. Space under footrest for stowed my small carry-on bag. The side table held a small tray for pencils and phones. The large dinner tray table came down from in front of the seat. A hook next to that was ready to hold coats. I had a USB port and regular outlet to myself. There was a shoulder harness on the seatbelt, a first for me in an airplane–in unhooked from the rest of the belt and I only used it during takeoff and landing.
The seat adjusted into many comfortable positions, including a flat bed that I slept a solid eight hours (of a 16-hour flight) on. The pillow and fluffy blanket were great.
The amenity kit included slippers, an eye mask, earplugs, toothpaste and toothbrush, cotton swab and Q-tips, lotion and lip gel by Bio-essence. The over-ear headphones had some noise-canceling and worked great.
Bathrooms: Three bathrooms served business and first class. One was gloriously spacious, with a full-length mirror, while the other two could have been in economy.
Food: Of the three entree options for each of two meals, there are no vegetarian options. However, there were enough options through the four courses to get me full, and I was able to replace the main course with a good cheese plate. Highlights included sensational dishes of mixed nuts and a tomato soup with garlic bread. For my meat-eating companion, highlights included a beef entree and seafood canapés. I accompanied one meal with a very decent Sauvignon Blanc.
All meals were serves on table clothes, with real ceramic dishes, silverware, and glasses.
I found it a little strange that no coffee or snack was offered near the end of the flight.
A tray of really good sweets sat out for the taking on a counter the whole time, along with a full self-serve bar.
Entertainment: The movie selection was great, with recent movies on offer including Wonder Woman, Beatrice at Dinner, and The Circle. Eyeballing it, I’d say I was watching these movies on a 13-inch screen.
Staff: The staff were not as carefully friendly as in some other business class cabins I’ve been in. They were nice, though, and spoke English well enough to get us through everything necessary. One quirk of service that could easily be improved upon: They brought the menu to us at the beginning of the flight, at which time we had to make our decisions for all meals. The menu was then promptly taken away, never to be seen again.
Arrival: We landed on time. Guangzhou’s airport isn’t necessarily one you’ll want to linger in.
Misc: The cabin got really hot. I was sleeping in a tank top with no blanket at one point.
I bought my flight using 95,000 Delta miles (Delta is a partner of China Southern), plus $120 in taxes and fees, two months before the flight.