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China Southern vs Korean Air - need help deciding


mr21

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I am planning my first trip to LOS for Feb 2014 and wanted to get some opinions from the PA community. Here are my top two flight options (economy class) so far:

 

1. CHINA SOUTHERN $1080 USD

 

LAX --> BKK  

 

Los Angeles (LAX) -->Guangzhou (CAN) 15 hrs 20 min on Airbus A380 (**SeatGuru has economy seats at 35 - 37 pitch**)

 

3 hr 40 min layover in CAN

 

CAN --> BKK 2 hr 50 min on Airbus A320 (**Arriving 11:45 PM**)

 

TOTAL: 21 hr 50 min

 

BKK --> LAX 

 

BKK --> CAN 2 hr 50 min on 737

 

2 hr 10 min layover in CAN

 

CAN --> LAX 12 hr 30 min on Aribus A380

 

TOTAL: 17 hr 30 min

 

2. KOREAN AIR $1173 USD

 

LAX --> BKK 

 

LAX --> Incheon (ICN) 13 hr 20 min on a Boeing 777

 

1 hr 45 min layover in ICN

 

ICN --> BKK 6 hr 50 min on Boeing 777 (**Arriving 11:45 AM**)

 

TOTAL 21 hr 20 min

 

BKK --> LAX

 

BKK --> ICN 5 hr 5 min on Boeing 777

 

9 hr 25 min layover in ICN

 

ICN --> LAX 10 hr 50 min on Airbus A380

 

TOTAL 25 hr 20 min

 

Positives for China Southern are it's about $100 cheaper and the layover on the return is 8 hours shorter. Have read mixed reviews about the service and changing planes at CAN. I enjoy a few drinks while flying and have read this is a problem on China Southern. One negative is arriving at BKK close to midnight.

 

Positives for Korean Air would be the in-flight service and the daytime arrival to BKK

 

A few years ago flying back from Cambodia on Asiana, I had a long layover at ICN and did the city tour of Seoul but wouldn't be interested in doing that again. However, if you have a long layover this is one of the better airports to spend time.

 

Thank you ahead of time for any feedback. Any personal experiences flying China Southern and/or changing planes in CAN would be especially helpful. 

 

 

 

 

 

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11:45 PM arrival sucks, add on time to clear airport and taxi you wont arrive in Patts until 02:00 ish.

 

But 9 hour layover going home sucks too!

 

So either go for 1st option and spend first night in Bangkok or second option if you can tolerate the 9hour stopover.

 

Personall I think I'd go for the first option. The late arrival isnt as bad as the stop-over, IMHO.

Next trip Aug 31-Sep13, theme: try more freelancers, get dirty! Note to self: TAKE MORE PHOTOS!!!

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11:45 PM arrival isn't great, but I get stuck with that one sometimes and it's not as bad as people make it out to be. For one, the lines at immigration and the traffic are much better than arriving in the middle of the day. If you're spending a few days in BKK, it makes sense to stay there. But I don't see the value in spending one night in BKK, if you're just going to head to Pattaya the next day. I always head straight to Patts and I'm usually ready to hit the bars by 2:00 AM and back in the room with a sweetie an hour or two later.

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I have flown China Southern from LAX and while it is not the greatest it was not too bad.  When I chose flights I always weight out the following:

 

  • Cost (from LAX should be close to $980-1050, but up to $1,100 is acceptable)
  • Departure Times (I don't want to fight traffic to airport)
  • Arrival Times (I [prefer to land so I can check in around 1-5 pm, and again when return home, not fight traffic)
  • Length of Flight (from LAX anything over 22 hours is too long)
  • Length of Layover (1 hour is ideal, however up to 2 hours is acceptable)

That being said, without knowing all your information, I would still choose your first option.

 

I recommend www.hipmunk.com as they have a option called "agony" factor that uses my bullet points as a filter to rank the flights upon those factors.  Hipmunk is like google as it gives you the best cost and will link you right to the source, so you are not paying hipmunk but the source of the flight. 

 

There are a lot of sites to find flights (skyscanner, Agoda, kayak) however hipmunk is unique in the agony factory, however google.com/flights has added a similar feature.

 

Remember when you find a flight you like you can always shop for that flight all of the above to look for the best price.  

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I've never flown coach on those airlines, but I can say the business class on China Southern's A380 out of LAX beats Korean hands down. The lounge in CAN is nicer too.

 

9hr layover really sucks - not long enough to really do anything of value yet not short enough to be tolerable.

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Avoid the 9 hour lay-over.

Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.

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China southern is not that bad. Chinese immigration for transfer stamp can be bit slow but I have always been through fast (but have elite+ status with skyteam). Was flying premium economy which was nothing more then bit extra legs pace but leg to bkk was 3 people for 18 seats so could sleep well

 

Sent from my GT-N7105 using Tapatalk 4 Beta

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I have to fly CS on business ... I fly every week of the year..... I would notmfly CS ifnthey were 1/4 the price if I had a choice. If something goes wrong ... You are screwed. If you have to go via Guangzhou, something will go wrong.

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Thanks for the feedback so far everyone. I still have to decide if I want to spend a few nights in BKK since I will only be in LOS for about 12 days total on the ground. Possibly could stay there a couple of nights before flying home depending on how much fun I am having in Patts - it nice to have options. :Think1: 

 

cbmgolfer -  you stated perfectly my worry about CSA, I have read too many bad things about the transfer in Guangzhou. However, this may not be too much of an issue with over a 3 hr layover going to LOS.

 

LASportsNut - I was turned onto Hipmunk from another one of your posts. It is now my favorite travel website for comparing flights, thank you. Great advice in your reply 

 

I am leaning towards CSA at this point due to the factor of the long layover coming back to LAX

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Enroute to BKK, I did not experience the layover in Guangzhou as I obtained Chinese Visa to be able to stay for 5 days in China.  However I did not have any problems on the way back to LAX. 

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Enroute to BKK, I did not experience the layover in Guangzhou as I obtained Chinese Visa to be able to stay for 5 days in China.  However I did not have any problems on the way back to LAX. 

Did you fly the A380 with CSA? Can you give me a quick summary on the seats, service, etc? Is alcohol free in coach? I don't get pissed but enjoy a few drinks before popping a xanax to get some sleep

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Have you checked EVA AIR??

 

I just checked their site for FEB 2014 and found tickets as low as $1006.00 to a high of $1135.00. I checked the EVA AIR website for these prices.

 

EVA has a good flight schedule out of LAX  short layover times and a nice arrival time, late morning

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I agree with Kash Buc -- check EVA.  I am flying them back from BKK in mid-February and thought the departure time from BKK (around 5:45 p.m.) and a short layover in Taipei looked great.

 

As to the 2 itineraries you had, I have no experience with China Southern, but flew Korean years ago and was happy with them.  

 

Were it not for the concerns about issues transferring in China, I would typically opt for one very long flight and then a short one over two fairly long legs.  Plus, that layover sounds brutal!

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Thanks kash buc - Eva's website seems to be showing a few more options than the  general travel websites. The pricing, layovers, and arrival times look good.

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Did you fly the A380 with CSA? Can you give me a quick summary on the seats, service, etc? Is alcohol free in coach? I don't get pissed but enjoy a few drinks before popping a xanax to get some sleep

 

I agree with Kash Buc, as that is what I will be flying next trip.  

 

However to answer your questions:  Yes I flew the A380 on one of the legs.  Enroute I sat at back of the plan as I enjoy being at the back away from the crowds as sometimes the back has more empty seats.  I gambled correct on this as I had a window seat with any empty middle seat.

 

Return trip I got stuck in the middle on an aisle next to the shitter line.  Sucked balls that is for sure, as after along flight I felt like I smelt like a fucking diaper.  

 

Service was a B to B+ on first leg.  On a interesting note, one of the flight attendants took a liking to me so I would give it a solid A on the return flight.  We exchanged emails after she asked me if I was American and proceeded to tell me she loved American's.  Thing is she never followed through.  Too bad as I would have loved to fuck a Chinese flight attendant once every few weeks or so.

 

Regarding drinks. I only ask for red wine on flights. I usually drink two glasses and take a Tyelenol PM and pass out for 6-8 hours. No hassle or charge on the wine.  Unsure on the distilled drinks.

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Doesn't Korean Air give you a choice between the temple tour and a hotel room for that layover?

Asiana definitely offers the hotel option for that layover in ICN but I didn't see anything on Korean Air website.

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I've never flown coach on those airlines, but I can say the business class on China Southern's A380 out of LAX beats Korean hands down. The lounge in CAN is nicer too.

 

9hr layover really sucks - not long enough to really do anything of value yet not short enough to be tolerable.

:Think1:  yea it does sound good they do not  opp A380s  :GoldenSmile1:

cheers chris

Wriggley Tin 1

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I've had 3 layovers at ICN of about the same length, and it's a royal pain. You can rent a room at the airport transit hotel (in 6 hour blocks). The rooms are clean but very small, but it's perfect for a layover refresher. I take a shower in the spotless bathroom, and then go to sleep for about 5 hours. And even though Korean Air is a wonderful airline, I would opt for the shorter flight on any airline.

 

http://www.airgardenhotel.com/english/accommodation/a_standarddb.php

 

And I've arrived at BKK more than a dozen times at 23:00 or so, and it's great. I breeze through customs and immigration, and I have a driver waiting to take me to Patts, and I'm checked in and unpacked in my hotel room by 01:30. Another quick shower, and I'm having a cocktail with a local honey by 02:00.

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If you have 4000 KAL skypass miles you can purchase entry to one of the Prestige lounges at Inch'.

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The only carrier flying direct to Bkk is Thai Airways. Maybe a bit more expensive but you avoid all the possible things that can go wrong when you have to change planes. Otherwise it may turn out great or awful, you'll never know.

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Flew both airlines and if your on a budget that will have to do.  EVA is the way I go.  They have  premium economy seats, about 400.00-to 800.00 more but extremely comfortable.   Take into account you may spend 100.00 to 200.00 on a long layover and a waisted day feeling like shit.  There is a promotion on flyer talk where you can buy a pass (valid 1 year) to use at 100's of airports to use there business lounges of participating airlines.  Great on economy's long lay-overs!

 

Have a great trip!

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The only carrier flying direct to Bkk is Thai Airways. Maybe a bit more expensive but you avoid all the possible things that can go wrong when you have to change planes. Otherwise it may turn out great or awful, you'll never know.

Last I saw and heard here on PA, Thai Airways got rid of the non-stops from USA to BKK.  That is why I have had to use these other options.  

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