Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Europe Trip 2013: Getting there

I left New Zealand for my trip to the UK and Europe a few days ago. I only now have time to catch up on everything and get a couple of blog posts up [the non-aviation posts will be on my "World Travels" blog].

Being at the other end of the world from the UK and Europe, it's always a looong trip although this one went better than it could have.

It started on 1 June in Wellington catching an Air NZ flight to Auckland. From there a few hours later I checked in for my China Southern Airlines sectors to London Heathrow [ICAO code: EGLL]. I had never flown with China southern Airlines before, so I was keen to see how it went.

The check in went very well, especially when after asking for an isle seat, I was given an exit row to Guangzhou [ICAO code: ZGGG]! Very surprising since I thought these would be reserved for Chinese speaking people... A good start.

The both flights were on Airbus A330-200 equipment [sorry, no aircraft rego for those that are interested in these things], and with my unlimited legroom, was as comfortable as can be in economy. This first sector did not include IFE [In Flight Entertainment - those seat-back screens], but somehow I wasn't bored despite little sleep. The food was nice, the service friendly. Transit in Guangzhou involved a stamp in the passport, but no security screening as such...?!.

The Guangzhou to Heathrow sector was a newer A330-200 and although I didn't have an exit row, the seats appeared to have a huge amount of leg room so I was never cramped. They also included IFE to entertain me.

There's no real way to actually enjoy flights this long, but again, the food was nice, the service again friendly. About the only thing that seemed a bit odd was that the crew left the seatbelt signs on the entire flight: people were able to walk around, and they just made announcements when turbulence was expected or encountered. It seemed to work very well though.

After what seemed to be a very long time, I arrived at Heathrow, was through immigration in 10 minutes, collected my bag with no delay [that's a first, I usually have to wait a long time for my bag...] and collected by family before heading to my home for the next week.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the China Southern flights... will be very happy to be with them when I head home in almost three weeks.

Lastly, here are a few photos... top to bottom are:

My aircraft to Guangzhou - Airbus A330-200 from China Southern waiting at Auckland.
Another "random" Airbus A330 from China Southern at Guangzhou
The closest I've been to an Airbus A380... this one from China Southern
Boeing 767-381/ER, JA610A, ANA
The outlook from the terminal at Guangzhou. Closest are a couple of China Southern aircraft, in the mid distance a China Airlines aircraft at the terminal and a China Southern A380 being towed. In the far distance looks to be a freight terminal, with what appears to be various aircraft types including MD11 or similar.

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