Route: Wuxi Sunan Shuofang International Airport (苏南硕放国际机场)to Guangzhou Baiyun Airport
Departure date and time of flight: 17:00pm on the 28th September 2011
Flight Number: ZH9551
Flight duration: 2 hours 10 minutes
Class: Economy Class
Aircraft type: Boeing 737-800NG
With a length of 39.5 m (129.5 ft) and a wingspan of 35.7 m (117 ft), the Boeing B737-800 is capable of a cruising speed of 514 mph/828 km/h. Its maximum range is 5,665 km (3,540 mi), while the maximum speed is 544 mph/876 km/h. The service ceiling of this aircraft is 41,000 ft (12,500 m).
Punctuality of the flight:
The flight departed on time and landed on time.
Any baggage issues:
No issues- the bags arrived on time and in one piece.
Comments on the check-in staff and any issues:
No check in issues. Everything went perfectly smoothly at Wuxi airport. Shenzhen Airlines have 6 specified check-in desks allocated for their airline. There are also specific desks for China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, and Air China.
I was surprised to see that during the afternoon I was there, within around an hour about 15 AWACS surveillance aircraft belonging to the Chinese Air Force landed at the airport (they were mostly Russian made IL-76/Antonov aircraft). Later I found out that the Chinese Air Force use Wuxi airport as a training field, as well as a base for surveillance aircraft that do sorties over the South China Sea, Taiwan, Korean, and around the Hong Kong peninsula.
Wuxi is a beautiful and small airport located only 14 miles from Suzhou, and is equipped with excellent western style facilities for passengers. It is after all an international airport that serves the two main cities of Suzhou and Wuxi. Passengers can fly to far away destinations such as Japan, Korea, and all over China.
I got the shuttle minibus from Suzhou Conference Centre. It costs 15RMB per person and takes around 40 minutes. Although early bookings are not required, it is recommended that you arrive early to the Suzhou Conference Centre as there are limited seats available on the minibus. The airport’s only runway 21/03 is 3,200 meters by 50 meters (10,499 × 164 ft), and can handle aircraft up to the size of a Boeing 767/757. But most of the aircraft are of the size of a Boeing 737-900, and Airbus A321. The airport was built in 1955 for military use, and commercial flights only started in 2004 hence why so many military aircraft can be seen here).
Comments regarding the pre-meal service:
Just drinks (non-alcoholic), and including tea and coffee.
Comments regarding the first meal:
For this two hour flight, Shenzhen Airlines provided a hot meal. The meal service started around 20 minutes after take-off from Wuxi airport. There were two options for the hot meal dish:
· Pork with rice
· Chicken with rice
I went for the pork with rice. It wasn’t of a bad taste for an airline meal, The chicken meat was soft to the tongue and the rice were well steamed just to the right texture. All in all it was a nice Chinese meal to have at 38,000 feet.
Accompanying the chicken and rice were the following snacks:
1. Half cut walnuts covered in sugar and chocolate.
2. Preserved pickle to be served with the rice with chicken.
Its only recently that Chinese airline companies have started to give out the pickle with airline meals in order to make the food more delicious. But on the whole one thing people never notice is that airline meals are prepared almost twice as fast as a ‘fast-food’ chain restaurant. So the overall quality of ANY airline meal is not that good. All the food is freeze dried inside the fuselage belly, and heated in a microwave just prior to being served.
Comments regarding the drinks service:
A second round of drinks were offered after the meal. No alcohol, but plenty of milk, coffee and tea.
Comments regarding the in-flight snacks (if any):
Comments regarding the second meal (if any):
Comments on the in-flight system (if any):
Screens came down from the ceiling after take-off.
Comments of professionalism of the cabin crew:
The cabin crew seemed proud to work for Shenzhen Airlines and were very welcoming. Just a normal flight, without any incidents.
Improvements that could be made:
The food was not bad for a 2 hour flight. Ever since the Shenzhen Universaide that happened in Shenzhen in August 2011, standards in in-flight catering have improved drastically in Chinese airline companies.
Comments on the interior of the aircraft (including seat comfort):
The 737-800 plane had a seat configuration of 3-3 with Economy Class seats, and a 2-2 configuration with Business Class seats. The plane was clean and the toilets were clean too.
Economy Class seats have a pitch of 31 inches, and a width of 18 inches (159 seats)
Business Class seats have a pitch of 40 inches, and a width of 21 inches (8 seats).
Overall rating 1-10 (worst-best): 10
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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