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China Southern Airlines

July 03, 2016 — BarryK
A little while ago, I booked a flight with China Southern Airlines. This is a summary of my experience.

I searched for a flight at, and found China Southern to be the cheapest. Instead of booking through an agent, I went direct to their website.

What I found is that most of the pages at are extremely slow to load or don't load at all. However, the URL does work, albeit slowly. My guess is the latter pages are served from somewhere outside China, specifically for the Australian market.

After booking online, there was a statement that confirmation (and my e-ticket) had been emailed to me. Except it wasn't, nothing arrived, not in the spam folder either. After about half an hour, I hit resend, still no email. Fortunately, there was also a link to download the e-ticket as a PDF, and that worked. I never did get those emails.

Prior to booking, I joined their Sky Pearl Club, so as to get flyer points and be able to login to make any changes to my booking.
After joining, they sent SMSs, one of which had my login pin number. Three SMSs I think, all in Chinese. Anyway, I found my pin number in one of them.

After booking my ticket, I wanted to choose my type of meal, as I am a vegetarian. However, I found that only Business Class passenger are able to select type of meal online. Everyone else has to telephone them.

One reason that I booked with them, is I carefully read their conditions, and found that I would be able to cancel my ticket (with a "processing fee" of unspecified amount).

My circumstances have changed, and need to cancel my ticket. That's when the fun started. I logged in, clicked the button to change/cancel my booking, entered the relevant information, clicked Submit, and got a server error. So far, I have tried about a dozen times, different times of the day or night, either get a server error or it just hangs after clicking Submit.

Once again, a phone number is provided, to make booking changes. Looks like a number in China.

I have read a lot of online feedback about their phone support. Mixed, many say it is woeful, some had good experiences. It might depend on the English-speaking ability of the person at the other end.

Current situation is, I still have a ticket with them. I guess that I will have to try that phone number. With a great deal of trepidation.

I know, I know, the saying "you get what you pay for". But, this airline has quite a high rating. Odd though, one customer feedback site that I looked at, nearly all of it was 4 or 5 stars, yet there was another site with ratings down around 1 or 2 stars -- on that latter site, one guy said that he wished that he could give negative-star rating.

Um, these have very positive reviews:

This one has a lot of one-star reviews:

Interesting facts page about CSA:


I did succeed in canceling my ticket with China Southern Airlines.

Not via the website, I gave up on that.

They sent me an email about re-scheduled flights, and gave me the option of either accepting the changes or canceling.

I chose the latter, and they have given a full refund.

It took a few emails back and forth, but we got there.
So, a happy ending.

Tags: ethos