I am flying to China from Melbourne to Sanya either by Cathay Pacific or China Southern. China Southern will give me a shorter layover, but it might not have the same service. Is there anything about China Southern that with be a lot different than Cathay Pacific i.e. personal TVs, food. Is there a difference in on-time departures between them?
I've flown both these airlines several times. Plain and simple, I will openly say that Cathay Pacific service has been consistently better. Also, having had friends go for the Cathay Pacific stewardess interviews, I can say they are pretty strict on who they hire for their attendants. Generally, I would rate China Southern as acceptable. However, Cathay I would rate as excellent. That rating is solely due to service and food. The rest depends on the plane and how long the flight is (neither China Southern nor Cathay routinely provide video screens for puddle jumps, for instance).
depends whether you're on their Airbus or Boeing, but you can see their Economy Class pitch and seat width.
Again depends on Airbus or Boeing, but personally I'd be excited about their economy class seats having power points on the 777 - means I could plug in my laptop and either watch my own stuff, write, or play a game while watching movies on their video screens ;)