China Southern Airlines Business Class
After my non-stop flight from LAX to Guangzhou, China, many ask, “What is it like to fly Business Class on China Southern?” The first thing I say is, “China Southern airlines’ business class is a real game changer for people who can’t sleep in Economy.” Then I tell them how I sprawled out in a 24-inch (61 cm) Business Class seat that — with the flip of a switch — reclined into a flat bed. Of course, I had to try it out — before the flight attendant came by with beverages. We waited on the ground for the wide-body jumbo jet to fill with the lines of Economy passengers. Hey, I’d been one of those poor Economy saps just the week before.
Business Class on the largest passenger airliner on the planet: Goodbye Claustrophobia!
Now you might be surprised, what with all the traveling I do, that this was my first flight on the acclaimed Airbus 380 (A380). It’s the largest passenger airliner on the planet, right? The A380 has been in commercial service since October 2007, but this was my maiden voyage on the massive craft. I’ve read that the A380-800’s cabin has 40% more usable floor space than the next largest airliner, the Boeing 747-8. No wonder the cabin feels open and spacious; it would be difficult to get claustrophobic here.
With China Southern’s 1-2-1 configuration you can get a window seat AND an aisle seat, all in one!
In addition to my two-foot (.61 m) wide seat — or should I call is a chaise lounge? — I had a large storage compartment next to the window (I scored a window seat) and another 24-inches (61 cm) of table-top-like space for work files, magazines, scarves or other travel essentials.
China Southern, a state-owned airline, flies daily direct flights from LAX, SFO and JFK to Guangzhou (CAN) in southern China. I was delighted to take my first A380 flight on a long-haul Business Class ride from LAX to CAN.
China Southern Business Class Boarding
Earlier while walking from the boarding gate to the A380, I was directed to an elevator and gangway that took me to the upper deck. With Business Class, I’d been welcomed with Priority Boarding, so I was one of the first passengers onto the jetliner.
“Oh boy, the upper deck!” I almost giggled, trying to act like a VIP as I got out of the elevator on the top deck. I always wondered what the ride of the plane felt like from the upstairs section. And I couldn’t wait to get the upper level views of LAX at night.
What does it feel like to fly on a China Southern A380?
We left the ground at 10:20 pm LA time. From my perspective in Business Class, the giant craft felt like a hotel taking off. From the upper level, the sensation of lift-off seemed different than the feel of take-off in narrow-body airplanes.
The cabin of the A380 is one of the quietest in the world, so maybe that’s why it felt more like the hushed, calm bridge of Starship Enterprise than Luke Skywalker’s rattle-y and bouncy X-Wing Starfighter.
My favorite part of the flight
Speeding down the runway just before the plane becomes airborne is always my favorite part of the flight, and I pay careful attention to my body’s sensations during each take-off. You see, I’m an acceleration junkie; the sensation of taking off in an airplane is now the closest I get to the feeling of accelerating a race car. Yes, I loved racing automobiles and miss the adrenaline rush of 0-60 mph in three seconds.
The large plane seemed to lumber down the runway, hardly picking up speed. When the giant bird finally let go of the ground, we began our ascent. Throughout the duration of the 15-hour flight, I experienced a very smooth ride. Only at one point in the night was I awakened by the feeling of motion. And that sensation can best be described a smooth up and down flow that you would feel if you were laying on the back of a large whale or dolphin. Just a comforting, gentle, gliding, streamlined motion. I went right back to sleep.
Why you should upgrade to Business Class?
I would have slept more than the seven hours except I wanted to experience the exotic cuisine, free alcohol and larger individual video monitors for on-demand television, movies and audio stations.
The flight attendants were young and attractive. Because of their youth, some did not have the experience and confidence that I am accustomed. Some had a better command of the English language than others.
After I put my shoes in the special and out-of-the-way shoe compartment, I slipped on my China Southern blue slippers, and went to the roomy Business Class bathroom. There I enjoyed the Salvatore Ferragamo Italian body products provided by the airline. I later used the smart toiletry bag as a clutch purse at one of the fancy evenings in Thailand.
And a third reason to upgrade to Business Class …
Judging by the prices of the minibags on the Salvatore Ferragamo website ($650.00 – $1250.00) the toiletry bag would be worth the price of the Business Class upgrade alone!
Lay flat or curl up just as in my own bed at home
Back in my personal pod, I folded my in-flight quilt and in-flight mattress bag — something like a sleeping bag liner made out of high-thread-count cotton sheeting.
I hit the switch to unfold my 24-inch-wide seat into a flat bed (I was already relaxing in ‘cradle mode’ after the sumptuous dinner.) I grabbed my choice of pillow (two sizes), then put on the ear plugs, eye mask and calming facial mist found in my Business Class amenity bag and finally curled up to sleep. I found that I could lay flat on my back or curl up on my side just like I do in my own bed at home.
Business Class menu offers your choice of Chinese or Western
I was awakened from a deep sleep by the flight attendants who had asked during dinner time if I wanted to be roused for breakfast. Of course! I liked that the Business Class menu offers your choice of Chinese or Western.
The bed was so comfortable and I slept so well that I think I am spoiled to ever return to Economy seating. However, I do now have the experience to write the next article, “How to Make Economy feel like Business Class.” I’ll try my best.
China Southern Airlines http://global.csair.com/US/GB/Home
Read more of my China-Thailand adventures at:
Arizona travel writer UNSTOPPABLE Stacey was hosted by Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Chinese Southern Airlines for this trip, which is typical in the travel industry. The travel blogger wants you to know that her opinions are always her own.