I flew Hainan Airlines on 2 of the stages of my journey from London to Xian ie an international flight from Brussels airport to Beijing, and a domestic flight from Beijing to Xian.
They had come up in skyscanners list of flights and prices that were looking the most favourable of my choices. A VT member also vouched for them and then when looking at their baggage allowance noticed a special category for INternational Students flying into China being able to to qualify for 40 kg of baggage instead of 30kg.
I made a few phone calls and it turned out there was a special offer on at the time and 50 kg was available instead of 40kg. The ticket needs to reissued as a student ticket - so after purchasing via lastminute.com the letter of invitation from the college was scanned and emailed to Hainan airlines and contact made with lastminute to cancel the ticket in order for the ticket to be reissued. This was all day despite several other people spoken to at Hainan Airlines and Brussels Airlines sayig it was not able to be done. Including one person saying it only applies to students under 32 years old - this is not the case - it is for any international student that qualifies.
A ticket was reissued and emailed to me with each sector showing as having 50kg allowance so this is minimised any problems.
The flights all went to time and were fairly comfortable. The meals were good and the entertainment systems were fine.
Hainan airlines domestic flights leave from Terminal 1 at Beijing airport.
Hummm...what to say about Air China. I've flown worse but I've definatly flown better. The plane was a little beat up...there were plastic shopping bags stuffed above the windows...I think to plug the cold air from the air conditioner. Didn't instill confidence but probably looked worse than it was.
They were on schedule , service was good and food OK.
The price was competive.
I lived in the America where leisure travel means driving. As the Chevy’s advertisement says: In the Chevrolet, see the USA. I have driven to most of the states in the US except Maine and Alaska. The efficient?safe and toll free highway system is a perfect choice for travelers.
In China, the transportation choices are rather complicated. I have traveled to all the provinces using various transportation means. I have traveled by train, by car, by bus, by airplane. Here are my summary of the pros and cons for each of the means.
Although Chinese highway system is amazingly new and well developed, it is also very expensive. All the national highways are toll roads. The average toll is 50cents/km. Therefore, the 400 km distance from Beijing to Shaanxi will cost 200 RMB on toll. The national highway system is joined by the local expressways. While the national highway system is very enjoyable to drive on, the local roads are not. Signs are not well developed and the traffic jam in big cities is very common.
If you do not want to drive but still prefer to be on the road, then the bus is an efficient ways to get between cities and most of the touristy places. If the distance is long, a sleeper-over-night bus is a good choice. The bus is equipped with lying down plank and serves as a bed. The problem is of cause that the bus needs to stop every other hour in the rest area. The frequent bus stops and the snores from the neighbors made the night very tiring. Even such bus is staffed with two drivers. Overnight driving is still a major safety concern.
Airplane is an excellent choice for long distance traveling. Most of the Chinese cities are connected by airplanes. Because of the competition, air fare within China is reasonable and getting cheaper everyday. For example, there are times that the airfare from Beijing to Shanghai (1500km) can be as cheap as 300RMB. But the airports are usually far away from the city. Getting to the airport is time consuming and expensive.
Traveling by train is one of the best ways to travel in China. The Chinese railway system is the most traveled in the world. It covers all the provinces including Tibet. It is very efficient and rather cheap. There are over night trains which connect most of the Chinese cities. The trains offer hard seat, soft seat, hard sleeper and soft sleeper. Traveling in hard sleeper is rather comfortable and soft sleeper is even better. The train schedule is designed to allow travelers to get from one city to another over night. In other words, one can sleep on the train and get to the other city the next morning (saving a night of hotel cost). Traveling by train also allows interaction with the people and offers scenic views of the landscapes. China is developing the high speed trains which travel on average over 200km/hour.
There are other ways to travel such as by bicycle or by motocycle. However?none of them is suitable for long distance traveling.
I recommend the following strategy for traveling in China.
If the distance is shorter than 400km and the destination scenic spots are outside the city (ie.Datong in Shanxi), driving is recommended.
If the distance is over 400km, traveling by train is preferred
If the distance is over 1500km and the time is tight, then go by air plane.
Air China is fine in general especially for international routes, although it's not as good as Singapore Airline in my opinion. But overall, service and food are good. And Air China is a member of Star Alliance. It shares airport lounge with Air New Zealand at Sydney airport, quite nice (at least it's better than the one in Beijing airport). Usually Chinese people like to choose Air China when they fly international routes, so most of customers in flight will be Chinese.
We subscribe to this. They have just updated to include train times as well. You might find it useful although we did not use this site. We asked the hotel staff to book for us trains and planes which worked out well.
You can use the site to work out what train or plane you want to catch.
There are multiple choices to get to Beijing, but as I was on a tour, I arrived by plane flying with Japan Airlines but of couse, all major international airlines fly to China. The Airport is located about an hour from downtown Beijing.
the home page of our Airport(choose please the english):
I fly back to beijing every half years since I have been in germany. And there are so many chinese companies which sell really cheap tickets with good service and tickets for airplanes from all over the world, not only for CA (Air China). And I'd like to give u one of them, where I bought most of my tickets(also e-ticket,you can get it via email and buy it online):
XILI Company +49-30-31007921(2)
They can also speak english and german. Cause they are in germany.
The flight from Frankfurt to Beijing is about 9 hours.
Tip: try to book 1A when u check-in at airport. It is very important for a long journey(near the window and have more places before u)!
Both Singapore Airlines and Air China fly direct to Beijing from Singapore.
It's a 5 hours+ flight.
Cheaper flights can be sought from other Airlines, such as Malaysian Airlines (transit Kuala Lumpur), Thai Airways (transit Bangkok) and Cathay Pacific (transit Hong Kong).
No budget airlines has yet begun service for this route.
I flew to Beijing from Shanghai with Air China. The airline operated a Boeing 747 which was not the newest. The in-flight service was almost as if designed by Mao himself – hence not the most spectacular airline I have ever flown with. Maybe things will change as China opens more and more to tourism.
However Air China have the largest network of flights within the PR China.
I'm the kind who likes to try foreign carriers: the vacation starts that much earlier.
But from any of the nearby airports (MDT - EWR - IAD), United was invariably faster and cheaper to Beijing. So I booked with them, unenthusiastically.
Well, those flights were T-E-R-R-I-F-I-C! On time, and with excellent and attentive service.
Good luck United!
My trip started with a 4 hour train trip from Belgium towards Schiphol, Amsterdam, Holland.
From Schiphol, Amsterdam we had a direct flight with KLM to Beijing, China.
At first the travel agency had said we would fly with Lufthansa via Frankfurt, Germany. Anyway I was happy when I heard that they changed it into a direct flight.
Flight time was about 9 hours.
It was a good flight, and there was plenty of beer on board.
Coming in from the west (Europe, Middle East) on a flight to Beijing the flight path normally takes you over Siberia and Mongolia. Thus as you approach Beijing and you cross the last rugged hills northwest of the city you may see the Great Wall down below. Quite impressive, and gives you a hint of what's awaiting you below.
There are many local carriers in China, air network is generally speaking quite good and it is one of the most important way of transportation.
The quality of local airlines are not bad, safe/reliable/ good service /relatively new aircraft.
The air fare can be very cheap in some season when traffic is not busy, Beijing-Shanghai one way can get 50% discount for 1:30 flight time, which is about RMB500, just give you an idea.
I would suggest you arrange your internal flight locally, for sure you get better price than you buy it in your country!
Have a nice trip!
If you're flying over from the US, the flight is long, around 15 hours. So fly business class. The stewardeess-to-passenger ratio is much higher and there's less people compteting for the use of the restroom. We flew on China Eastern which provided personal DVD players (Business Class) for in-flight entertainment.
Many international airlines fly to Beijing. From Singapore, there are three direct flights from Changi Airport: Singapore Airlines, Air China and China Southern Airline. Tourism is big business in China and Beijing’s Capital Airport receives millions of visitors a year. Capital Airport services both international and domestic flights.