Route: Beijing Nanyuan Airport to Guangzhou Baiyun Airport
Departure date and time of flight: 16:20pm on the 19th November 2010
Flight Number: KN2275
Flight duration: 3 hours 10 minutes (excludes the 3 hour delay to the flight!)
Class: Economy Class
Aircraft type: Boeing 737-800
Punctuality of the flight:
The flight was delayed by over 3 hours without any reason given- it finally departed at 7.20pm. Nanyuan Airport lies around 7km to the south of Beijing’s central area. The airport is an active military aviation field, and even houses the President’s aircraft- including 2 Russian built Tupolov Tu-154 aircraft. It’s only recently that Nanyuan Airport started operating civilian flights using Boeing 737-800 aircraft for China United Airlines. Nanyuan Airport also has a kind of real hardcore communist feel to it- by this I mean the airport portrays an image of how airports’ in the communist era may have been like.
The Arrivals and Departure lounges came across as being almost ancient with period furniture, the waiting lounge makes you feel as if you have come back to the 1930s age of flying- Fans gently rotating on the ceiling instead of modern air conditioning, staff hardly speak any English, and toilets are anything but clean (lack of washing up liquid or tissue paper). This example is perfectly displayed with its open large windows with wooden frames, a non-interactive atmosphere (there is hardly any modern technology to display flight times- almost all flight times are displayed using magnetic strips onto a board, the majority of the staff walk around wearing military uniforms (including some of the Pilots of China United Airlines) and there is hardly any choice for decent quality food as well (fancy buying a Green Tea bottle for 8RMB? (Approx 1.4 USD).
I actually found out in the end that it wasn't just flights at Nanyuan Airport that were experiencing major delays’ but also flights at the main airport (Beijing Capital) were also experiencing problems due to heavy fog, and air traffic problems in the region.
Any baggage issues:
No issues. The bags arrived on time and in one piece.
Comments on the check-in staff and any issues:
The check-in staff were polite, and professional. However, they could not speak proper English - it was barely minimal conversational English. All I got was a mumble and a random smile because the check-in-staff were embarrassed at their lack of communications skills in English.
Comments regarding the pre-flight delay:
Passengers were treated to a very OILY dinner (served at around 6.15pm). It was so oily that the food shone like a gem in the Gobi desert even if I did not use the flash from the camera lens. I, along with the other unfortunate passengers that had lined up to take this miserable flight, had been left with only two choices- either to wait for to eat on the plane (and at this moment I was not aware if food would be served on China United Airlines or not), or to tuck into the oily food and prey that I wont have to frequent the toilets the following morning.
I decided on the latter- I was yearning for something to eat (really). When you look at the food, it really makes you wonder- do I actually want to eat this?! There was a piece of round Tofu, some pork meat, vegetables and some cucumber with cubed tofu. The meal was served with boiled white rice. The only good thing about this meal was the rice. Everything else seemed like an experiment to cook by whoever had been put in charge of the kitchen. I started growing more suspicions’ about the effectiveness of staff at Nanyuan Airport- something surreal lied behind those rotten walls of this communist airport. A good chef always tastes the food prior to serving it to the guests- I wonder how much of this food did the chef actually taste. It seemed rather unfit for human consumption. You can imagine the headlines’ across the world had this gone horribly worse than it already did: “passengers fall sick while waiting for delayed flight” and so on.
Comments regarding the pre-meal service:
Choice of drinks (standard- tea, coffee, orange juice, apple juice, lemonade or Coca Cola). There was no alcohol served on this flight. The coffee was already mixed with milk and sugar; so there was no choice for passengers that did not prefer to have milk or sugar with their coffee.
Comments regarding the first meal:
To my surprise there was a full service dinner served on this flight- and it was much better than most of the other flights I have taken with any other airline in China (even Air China).
The main dish was nothing short of being scrumptious. It consisted of delicious cod fish balls blended in neatly with boiled white rice and vegetables. It was not oily at all- and not too soft to the mouth either. The fish balls were delicious. There was also a blend of cubed carrots and green shoots in the meal.
With the main dish came a box full of “goodies”, including a packet of peanuts (tasted nice and freshly roasted), a packet of Chinese pickle, a soft bread roll (just lovely), a biscuit sprinkled with sesame and a pot of freshly cut cubes of pineapple and orange blended in with a sweet syrup.
Comments regarding the drinks service:
A second round of drinks was offered after the meal. Again no alcohol was served.
Comments regarding the in-flight snacks (if any):
Comments regarding the second meal (if any):
Comments on the in-flight system (if any):
In this 737-800 the only IFE was the overhead PVTs that came down prior to take off (to show the safety demonstration). During the flight there was no IFE system in place. The
Comments of professionalism of the cabin crew:
All the cabin crew could speak good English- up to an understandable level.
Improvements that could be made:
There were no major issues when it came to the subject of excellent airline crew, the in-flight meal and the comfort of the flight. However, there are some serious concerns in terms of the facilities that were offered by this airline at the airport.
Comments on the interior of the aircraft (including seat comfort):
The aircraft is a brand new plane, and the interior of the aircraft was clean. There was no bad smell as well. In fact China United Airlines’ have gone to great lengths to make themselves have a good image with the customer- well they have to because they are a government owned airline (much more so closer to the government than the other state owned airlines (such as Air China))
Overall rating 1-10 (worst-best): 8
About Airline PR
This is a special section on Airline Branding, and Airline Public Relations written by me on all the flights I have been fortunate enough to have been on. These are not records taken from somewhere else, but are actual flights I have been on. Most of the flight trips are officially sponsored by the airline companies in order to promote their certain routes, and aircraft. Airline promotion and PR related work in the aviation industry is one of my expertise.
Watch exclusive videos below taken in the cockpit of a Boeing 777-300ER in-flight over Chinese Airspace.
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B777-300ER Cockpit Video 1
B777-300ER Cockpit Video 2
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