China Southern trying to develop Guangzhou as a hub for flights to Europe
If you do a search for business class flights from Sydney to London or Paris, then inevitably, the cheapest will be a bunch of Chinese Airlines. For instance for flights Sydney to Paris (one stop) at the end of January 2012, airfares on Zuji are:
Good prices, lie flat, although not necessarily totally flat beds, make this sound attractive, but a search of Airline Quality suggests that language, food, entertainment, and possibly service are not that great. Australian Business Traveller reports that :
Speaking in Sydney, China Southern Executive Vice President He Zongkai said he aims “to make Guangzhou an ideal transfer hub between Australia and Europe”, based not only on the launch of flights to London Heathrow but also increased flight frequencies for Guangzhou-Paris and Guangzhou-Amsterdam which kick in mid-year.
Although Economy passengers report some pretty dire service, food, and no back of seat entertainment – most business travellers are more impressed:
Brand new A330’s, on 2 of the legs a fully flat bed and on the other 2 legs a bed with a slight incline, slightly less comfortable but managed to get a good sleep. Service was very good although the language barrier was difficult at times. Food was good quality and plentiful. The entertainment system was technically excellent though the selection of English speaking films were limited. On arrival at Guangzhou I had a personal escort through the numerous customs and security barriers to the business lounge (basic but comfortable). Was not expecting this level of service or quality considering the price.
Oh, and be warned – both Chinese websites have some interesting literal translations into English, sometimes with compromised functionality.