Spring Airlines is China’s first and only privately owned low-cost budget airline that operates from its base at Shanghai Hongqiao airport with a fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft. As of February 2012, the Spring Airlines fleet consists of 28 Airbus A320-200 aircraft with an average age of 4.5 years, each of which provides space for 174 passengers in an all-economy class cabin layout. Spring Airlines calls its economy calls ‘Common Class’. Cheap as chips, this low-fare Shanghai Hongqiao based carrier has come on leaps and bounds. You can customise your seat selection and the good thing is that they fly to most of the major airports that people have heard about. Spring AL and its service would put most European and American carriers (low-cost and flag carriers) to shame. The airline serves 34 destinations around Greater China and Asia.
Route: Shanghai Hongqiao airport to Shenzhen Airport
Departure date and time of flight: 17:15pm in December 2011
Flight Number: 9C8949
Aircraft registration: B-6573
Flight duration: 2 hour and 15 minutes
Class: COMMON CLASS
Aircraft type: Airbus A320
Punctuality of the flight:
The flight departed and arrived on time without any problems. Overall, the punctuality rate of Spring Airlines is far better than most domestic Chinese carriers are.
Any baggage issues:
No issues- the bags arrived on time and in one piece.
Comments on the check-in staff and any issues:
Normally for most domestic full-fare paying airlines, passengers can check in 45-minutes before take-off but for those travelling on Spring Airlines irrespective if they are flying within or outside of China, they have to check-in at least 90-minutes before departure.
Passengers travelling on Spring Airlines are only allowed to take a maximum of 15 KG (this includes on board luggage and luggage in the hold). Anything over this amount has to be paid for. Though sometimes as an exception (and depending on the mood/personality of the check-in staff) this rule is waived as a goodwill gesture.
Comments regarding the main-meal service:
Passengers have to purchase their food and drinks on Spring Airlines. Overall, it has to be said that the quality of the food and drinks is far better than that provided for free on other airlines within China. Here are some examples of the type of food available:
Tsingtao beer can (330ml) is 10RMB
Chicken curry with rice (heated) is 30RMB
Salted boiled chicken egg is 2RMB
A packet of dried duck’s kidney nibbles are priced at 10RMB (did not try this!).
There are plenty of options for everyone and it has to be said that the price of the food is worth it as well.
Approximately an hour and a half into the delay, and as a goodwill gesture, the cabin crew offered complimentary mineral water (by ‘Dew Ice’, a brand of the Coca-Cola company) and a packet containing two orange flavoured muffin cakes.
I opted to try the chicken and rice. After taking the order it takes around 10 to 15 minutes for the meal to be heated in the microwave before being served. The diced chicken tasted nice, but the portion of the rice and diced chicken was not as much as one would expect to pay for 30RMB (but then again its for an in-flight experience so why not give it a go!).
Comments regarding the drinks service:
Drinks were served, but were chargeable (included beer cans as well).
Comments on the in-flight system (if any):
No IFE screens in the cabins. However, the cabin crew have an innovative way to keep everyone entertained. Towards the final 50 minutes of the flight, passengers are taken through some routine head exercises. So that means the cabin crew stand and show how to move your head sideways and shake your hands to have a good circulation.
Comments of professionalism of the cabin crew:
The cabin crew were very professional, kind and courteous. Yes, there is some advertising of the in-flight food and duty-free after take-off, but it is only for around 5-10 minutes (nothing as bad as what have written on various airline quality websites). Throughout the process of the plane being delayed, the staff kept very calm and kept reassuring the passengers. The difference between most state owned airlines and privately owned airline companies such as Spring Airlines is that on Spring Airlines, for example, the passengers are kept well informed of any problems and issues. Whereas on most state owned flights there is no information given to the passengers, and everyone is just kept waiting in frustration.
Comments on the interior of the aircraft (including seat comfort):
Spring Airlines have a 3-3 configuration on their Airbus A320 aircraft in a one class setting (known as ‘Common Class’ on Spring Airlines). The Spring Airlines brand is becoming well recognized throughout China for its efficiency, comfort, and offering a high quality of customer service. The seats are all very clean and covered in the company’s bright green colour with yellow lettering of ‘Spring Airlines’. The aircraft cabin has a fresh feeling to it with a nice fragrance smell as well. The toilets are also kept well clean.
Overall rating 1-10 (worst-best): 9
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.
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