To get from Shanghai to Guilin we flew with China Southern Airlines. It is one of the biggest airline carriers in the world in terms of passengers carried and fleet size. They fly all over the world but have a strong presence domestically in China. Again I booked through Ctrip to get a cheaper deal and it was an easy process.
We had quite a mare with the initial part of our trip as our flight was delayed by several hours. At the check-in desk we were told it was due to weather but upon an internet search our plane was just delayed and hadn’t arrived in Shanghai yet. We were supposed to fly out at around eight in the evening but it was rescheduled for three in the morning. Therefore they organised hotel rooms for all passengers and we were taken on a coach to a nearby hotel and given rooms (with free ramen noodle packets). The whole ordeal was a mess as no-one really explained in English and everyone was very confused. The hotel room they supplied was quite nice but I actually only got to use it for half an hour before they shuffled us back to the airport. I still don’t really know what the point of all that was but when in Rome go with the flow I guess. Back at the airport we were waiting at the gate for another hour or so and at two in the morning nothing was open and no-one was around. People were watching movies on their computers and we just ended up chatting to some other people to help the time go by.
Although that was a big mess and palaver, once we boarded the experience was amazing. We were ‘upgraded’ (although I think it’s because at check-in I asked if we could sit near the front) to business seats and the legroom was beyond huge. The decor was royal blue and so bright and beautiful. We were given pillows and blankets as it was a night flight (again only about three hours duration) and also given headphones for the drop down tvs overhead that played some Chinese shows. There was a food and drinks service and I got grape juice, bottled water and an orange juice. The snack was again a mystery but I think it was a rice burger with some kind of bean and brown rice patty in the middle. Everyone got a chocolate wafer biscuit which was a nice treat as well as a hand wipe. At one point an air steward came round with tablets if you wanted an entertainment system, it was a cute touch but at that point I was ready to sleep. The flight was fast and we did experience a lot of turbulence but the air stewards dealt with it calmly and were really great. I would definitely fly China Southern again and just pray the weird delay experience was a fluke.