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CZ-exit: China Southern Airlines’ Decision On Joining OneWorld Alliance

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Intro: CZ-exit Confirmed(90%)

China Southern Fleet Livery

Ten years ago was a great day! In 2007,China Southern Airlines(CZ) was the very first mainland Chinese carrier to join Skyteam alliance. Marking on its title of being the only mainland carrier to operate A380s together with its extensive network in Asia, its ‘’marriage’’ into the Skyteam family surely was honey-sweet at first, but competitors befalls overnight just like storms gather without warning in nature after China Eastern Airlines’(MU) decision of also joining the Skyteam alliance in June 2011 together with its acquired subsidiary Shanghai Airlines(FM) which both are based in Shanghai – the most geographically advantageous aviation market in the greater China region. In an attempt to further strengthen its position as the biggest airline in Asia, its own subsidiary – Xiamen Air(MF) also joined Skyteam Alliance November the same year, making Skyteam the alliance that covers the most destinations with unprecedented frequencies through its hubs in Shanghai(SHA and PVG), Guangzhou(CAN) and Xiamen(XMN). We all agree that China has great potential but the network overlap rate is competitively high for any airline to benefit from it not to mention the deficiency between member airlines.

Besides competition with regional markets in Asia against China Eastern, Shanghai and China Airlines(CI); its desire on feeding connecting passengers to other Skyteam members’ base airports was also not satisfied; as China Eastern smooth up relationships with Air France-KLM (AF) and Delta Air Lines-Virgin Atlantic (DL) by completing a series of share transactions. Targeting China Eastern as the main connecting airline between the China-Europe and China-North America market, this resulted China Southern being further out of the loop in the Skyteam family.

A recent article published by the South China Morning Post has triggered a wider uproar within the industry, the story was widely reported by various news outlets and an employee survey on leaving the alliance circulated on the internet has ensured the rumour with higher credibility. The industry predicts that such decision was led by American Airlines’(AA) $200 million investment in China Southern in 2015.

The China Eastern on Top?

In recent years, China Southern has been feeling the potential harm can be done by continue to compete with China Eastern with similar expansion strategy. In light of the newly opened Disney Resort in Shanghai, China Eastern is bound to be more popular within the Skyteam family; in addition, the plan for all non-star alliance airlines to move to the new Beijing Daxing airport from the current Beijing International Airport would also have resulted into China Eastern and China Southern facing direct competition for flights there. China Southern wouldn’t really be getting lots of advantages if they maintain the status quo.

China Eastern,Delta and Air France-KLM buys stake on each other

In the meanwhile, China Eastern is heating up with partnerships and cooperations, judging by its initial stance for being the last out of the ‘big 3’ in China, with its relatively small and less developed fleet and route network, it’s fair to say prospects are surprisingly good for China Eastern.

The Holy Trinity in Beijing?

The new airport in Daxing, Beijing is projected to become the world’s biggest airport in terms of annual pax number. With Air China(CA) and Hainan Airlines(HU) stay based on current Beijing International Airport(PEK) and China Eastern and China Southern along with several low cost carriers to become hub operators at the new Beijing Daxing Airport(n/a). If China Southern decides to join Oneworld, the commercial aviation market in Beijing will be interestingly not only a holy trinity of the big 3 in China, but also the holy trinity of the major airline alliances. The possibilities for frequent travellers would be amazingly fascinating.

Beijing Daxing Airport Terminal Layout

Pret-á-Poor-Cathay

The biggest victim for China Southern’s decision to leave Skyteam and join Oneworld would be the flagship carrier of Hong Kong – Cathay Pacific (CX) together with Cathay Dragon(KA) would be face stiff competition within the same alliance with its crazy approximation to Guangzhou Baiyun Airport – 121KM.

Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon

Based on the story on China Southern leave Skyteam to join Oneworld, another story developed that Cathay Pacific will leave Oneworld and join Star Alliance, the ramifications of such behaviour would be of great complexity, although it make sense as Air China was the second biggest stakeholder of Cathay Pacific, however, Qatar Airways’ recent purchase of 9.6% stake in Cathay Pacific would make such decision unreasonable, not to mention another China Southern – China Eastern situation could occur within the new Star Alliance between Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines, as they are both Skytrax 5 star airline based in a city state who are fighting for connecting passengers from other countries.

Qatar Airways A380

The possibility for Cathay to change to Star Alliance seems unlikely, but will a dual-hub Oneworld market is southern China truly benefit either of them, especially seeing from the already troubled failure in bringing in revenue in Cathay’s side. So no pun intended, if Pret-á-Porter means ready to wear, for Cathay, you can prepare to be ‘poor’.

FFP: Narrow Path to The Pointy End

Many people are fascinating about the new possibilities for different alliances’ miles redemption if such changes were put into place, however, I would like to point out the unavoidable industry trend for airlines to devaluating miles redemption rate despite which airline alliance they are part of.

China Southern First Class Product

So if you are thinking of sipping champagne in first class with China Southern miles, it will be a narrow path for everyone, my friend.


Thank you for reading this analysis, please leave a comment to share your thoughts.

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China Southern A380

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Airline Reviews

Flight Review: LOT Polish Airlines B737-800 Business Class Warsaw to Frankfurt

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LOT Polish Airlines B737-800 Livery

Nowadays, Intra-European business class is a product that existing for the sole purpose of just existing, it helps legacy carriers to stand apart from other low-cost ones. While having practically the same cramped seats as economy, airlines are able to adopt it to maximise potential on their premium-offering network.

LOT Polish Airlines Business Class Check-In Area LOT Polish Airlines Business Class Check-In Area

In addition to the already sub-par hard product, on short-haul flights like this, it’s even harder for you to be treated with a soft product that’s of redeemable qualities. Though, LOT Polish Airlines here has managed to offer something quiet decent compared to its European counterparts.IMG_9386 2


  • LO 379
  • Warsaw(WAW) – Frankfurt(FRA)
  • Boeing 737-800
  • Business Class Seat 1F
  • Award Booking

Warsaw Chopin Airport’s terminals are still quiet new and modern since its opening, and as the hub operator, LOT Polish Airlines offers an exclusive premium check-in area for Star Alliance elites and business passengers.

LOT Polish Airlines Business Class Check-In Area Inside Business Class Check-In Area Inside

The agent handled me was well-informed and explained everything I needed to know about my journey. Although there were two younger staff who were guarding the entry ignored me completely and were busy chit-chatting to each other, but that’s alright, they are just enjoying themselves by not working on the customer front.


The fast track security is also conveniently located right behind the premium check-in area, after scanning your ticket, you are able to go through security point quiet easily, although it can be some queueing here as well.


You may access LOT Polish Airlines lounge at the second floor of the departing level, which can be entered with your Star Alliance elite memberships in addition to holding a premium ticket.

LOT Polish Airlines Business Lounge Polonez Sign Business Lounge Polonez Sign

The boarding gate is right under the lounge, so there were not that much walking for me for this entire journey. However, I did not see a priority boarding line, after presenting my ticket, I was allowed to skip the queue and board immediately.

LOT Polish Airlines Boarding Gate View Boarding Gate View

To my surprise, I was only priority-boarding to a shuttle bus, not the aircraft.

LOT Polish Airlines B738 On Stand LOT Polish Airlines B738 On Stand

So after waiting for half of the plane to get on the shuttle bus, I was finally on board the aircraft, though not the first few passengers, ironically.


The business class cabin is just normal economy seats with red head covers. While LOT Polish Airlines also creatively offers premium economy seating with just a blue head cover instead.

Other than this, they don’t get meal service either, not sure if there’s actually a market for such division. This is more of comfort seating on other airlines that comes with a higher seat selection fee; but I am letting you on a secret here, a well-known social code actually, Star Alliance gold members often get to sit in premium economy for free during airport check-ins.

The cabin design is simple and bright, though not worthy of getting any compliments. Hehe


Inflight Meal

LOT Polish Airlines Short-haul Business Class Wet Tissue

Wet Tissue

Once boarded, I was offered a packaged wet tissue instead of a hot towel, but that’s alright.

Before taking off, the flight attendant kindly offered me newspaper to pick and a departure drink.

LOT Polish Airlines B738 Business Class Sparkling Water

Sparkling Water

Shortly after air-born, the lady first asked me if I wanted some snacks, and I was given some peanuts and dry carrot slices, the exact same packages you get from their lounge.

LOT Polish Airlines Short-haul Business Class Snacks Before Meal Service

Snacks Before Meal Service

I am not sure but I do think you can also choose something from their menu onboard, which economy passengers have to pay for.

I was the first one to be offered meal service, unfortunately I found out that my seat’s foldable table is unstable and the tray plate would slide away as the plane moves.

LOT Polish Airlines B738 Business Class Tilted Seat Table

Tilted Seat Table

Luckily no one was sitting next to me, so I was able to enjoy my meal from that seat.

LOT Polish Airlines Short-haul Business Class Food Service

Short-haul Business Class Food Service

The meal service was cold plate offerings with heated bread choices, everything tasted alright to my surprise, the fruit was fresh and the salmon was slimy and refreshing.

LOT Polish Airlines Short-Haul Business Class Menu & Beverages

Business Class Menu & Beverages

After the main course, you get coffee and Lindt chocolate as dessert, though not too much quality to speak of about the offering itself, but the flight attend was extremely kind and attentive.


Other Amenities

The toilet is not exclusive to business cabin only, but since most passengers choose to use the one in the back of the plane anyway, the toilet was clean and well maintained throughout the flight.

LOT Polish Airlines B738 Toilet Sink

Toilet Sink

Other than the tilted table on my seat, the flight has been very enjoyable.

LOT Polish Airlines B738 Business Class First Row Seat Table (Unstable)

First Row Seat Table (Unstable)


Up In The Air

LOT Polish Airlines Business Class Taxiing View

LOT Polish Airlines Business Class Taxiing View

LOT Polish Airlines B738 Business Class Window View Mid-Air

Window View Mid-Air

LOT Polish Airlines Window View

Window View

Shortly after zoning out into the clouds outside my windows, it was time to land.

LOT Polish Airlines B738 Business Class Candy Before Landing

Candy Before Landing

The female attendant quickly come around with a small basket of candy, and I gladly grabbed one with a sense of enjoyment.


Conclusion

This LOT Polish Airlines flight has been short and sweet, there are not many things airlines can experimenting with these days, so the soft product of service is vital for a good flight experience; but I think the crew on this flight have done a wonderful job.

LOT Polish Airlines B738 Approaching Frankfurt City

Approaching Frankfurt City

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