We recently had the most terrible experience in our combined history of travel.  We have traveled to over 30 countries between the two of us and this is by far the worst experience we have ever had booking a flight.  We highly recommend never dealing with China Southern if you can avoid it!  Here is the saga we have gone through:

  • Found the best price on Kayak.com for our somewhat complicated multi-destination, open jaw trip to China
  • Clicked to book the trip and were told that We would have to re-input the travel dates and location as China Southern’s website did not allow information transfer with Kayak.  OK, not the most convenient, but not a big deal.
  • Re-input travel dates and times and came up with a different price by about =$400!  Not cool!
  • Searched around and called and asked if they could match the kayak quote.  They said no.
  • Finally, after lots of searching and calling, found the same price after trying five other websites including two different China Southern sites.  They have a Chinese website for only people in China, and and international website for only people outside China.
  • Put in all the information again, went through the whole booking process only to find in the end there was some kind of error with our card, but no indication what the problem was.  The screen very helpfully said “Credit Card Error” and that was all.
  • Called our bank to check on holds etc. and they said there were no issues.
  • Called China Southern to ask what to do and how to pay for our flight and they gave us the number for the Mandarin-only speaking internet company they use for charging.  This would be like if you called up Delta because there was an error charging your card and they gave you PayPal‘s service number.  Who does that!?
  • Talked to charging company to no avail.  Tried our other cards on both websites, also to no avail.  Finally Valerie found a site that she was able to book through for about $60 more and our original card worked without any issues.

This whole process took about 8 hours of phone calls via Skype and hours of trying to book and re-book.  It was a terrible experience and we both feel it should not be so hard to pay a company for a service they are trying to sell you that you want to buy!

We have not even seen a China Southern Plane or representative in person yet and we are already not excited at all about traveling with this company.  We are hoping we will be pleasantly surprised for our trip, but our expectations are lower than the sea floor at the moment.

UPDATE:  We returned from a very enjoyable trip to China about a week ago.  We had a blast and will be posting some pictures and video sometime in the future for your enjoyment.  As for our experience with China Southern, it was better than we expected, but still left some things to be desired.  (Air conditioned planes for one.)  Despite the travel anomalies, we had a great trip and recommend visiting China if you ever get the opportunity.