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Beijing for 13hrs, being allowed out of airport...

Greenwood Village...
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Beijing for 13hrs, being allowed out of airport...

Hey there everyone!

I'm becoming increasingly concerned, reading some of the posts here, that my and my two kids will not be allowed out of the airport in Beijing for our 13 hour layover next month. There seems to be no particular rhyme or reason for who is allowed to go and see Beijing and who is only allowed to go see the vending machines in the airport.

Is there any advice as to how to increase the likelihood that the customs official will take pity on us and our extended layover and allow us out to go see the city or take a tour? Anything from the color of clothes we wear, the expressions we should have on our faces, anything we should (or should not say), etc? The thought of having to sit in an airport with a ten and a fourteen year old for 13 hours straight is down right depressing.

Thanks in advance!

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13 replies to this topic
Sherbrooke, Canada
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1. Re: Beijing for 13hrs, being allowed out of airport...

As you are over 8 hours, you should be fine. 8 hours appears to be the cutoff point.

Amsterdam
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2. Re: Beijing for 13hrs, being allowed out of airport...

What I have seen so far, the turn over point is around 8 hours. I guess also depends a bit on the timing. The only thing you can do is go to the TWOV counter, and see what happens. 13 hrs look OK, if you qualify. But unfortunately these things can change from day to day in China.

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Greenwood Village...
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3. Re: Beijing for 13hrs, being allowed out of airport...

Yep, I agree. And I've read recent posts about folks with layovers as long as mine who have been denied for no discernible reason, which worries me a bit. I'd like to do everything I can to avoid being stuck in an airport all day long. Not sure if I there is anything I can proactively do to minimize the chances of that happening, but if there is...

Beijing, China
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4. Re: Beijing for 13hrs, being allowed out of airport...

What time frame is your layover? What passport(s) are you traveling on?

Greenwood Village...
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5. Re: Beijing for 13hrs, being allowed out of airport...

#4, we arrive at 7:50a,, and our flight leaves at about 8pm that night. Our passports are USA.

Beijing, China
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6. Re: Beijing for 13hrs, being allowed out of airport...

I think your chances are pretty good that with this type of layover and on USA passports, you'll be allowed out of the airport. I don't think there is anything much that you can do to improve your chances. You could try short-checking your luggage to Beijing PEK only, so that you have to get stamped in at the TWOV desk in order to access Baggage Claim (after which there is nobody to stop you going out the Customs exit into arrival hall, putting your stuff in Left Luggage for the day, then leaving the airport by ground transport). Or, if asked why you want to leave the airport, tell the officer you want to go take the kids to the Zoo to see Pandas, have a good lunch and do some shopping. I'd avoid mentioning any out-of-central sights like the Great Wall, or any major time-snarfing sights like the Forbidden City. But if not asked, don't offer information.

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Capital Airport
Capital Airport
Beijing, China
The Great Wall at Badaling
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Beijing, China
Greenwood Village...
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7. Re: Beijing for 13hrs, being allowed out of airport...

Thanks kvchinaa, I hope you're right! What is 'left luggage'? The zoo to see the pandas is a good suggestion for this purpose, thanks!

Beijing, China
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8. Re: Beijing for 13hrs, being allowed out of airport...

Left Luggage is an airport service where you can temporarily place luggage that you don't want to take with you into town. Generally you don't see this in US transport facilities but everywhere else in the world, it's very common. There is a daily fee that is size-dependent. At PEK, there is signage directing you to Left Luggage and it is a staffed 24/7 service. You should lock your luggage and take your valuables with you, but all other stuff should be fine. Just return about 1.5-2 hours in advance of your flight departure so you can pick up (you'll get a claim check stub) before you check in for your next flight. It is an extra annoyance so weigh carefully whether you want to just go the normal route of having your bags routed through PEK automatically to your final destination, and if challenged at the TWOV desk, use the Zoo/lunch/shopping excuse instead.

BTW, I am NOT recommending that you actually go see the Zoo, it's not one of Beijing's better sights. But with kids in tow, it's always a plausible excuse. What you REALLY do with your layover time is up to you, but try to figure out your plan in advance, especially if the Great Wall is involved.

Edited: 13 June 2018, 07:36
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The Great Wall at Badaling
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Beijing, China
Greenwood Village...
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9. Re: Beijing for 13hrs, being allowed out of airport...

Thank you KV, I get what you are saying and that is a really good idea. I have a suggestion, do you think it is possible to check a bag all the way through to my final destination in the states and check a 'decoy bag' into PEK as a reason to be let out of the airport? I could potentially pick up a cheap bag in thailand, put newspaper or dirty t-shirts in it and check it to pek with no particular need to pick it up off the belt but it could be reason enough to let us through? Possibility you think? Thanks

Greenwood Village...
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10. Re: Beijing for 13hrs, being allowed out of airport...

Also, I am reading more threads about people not being allowed out of the airport, even with 12 hour layovers, getting me a bit worried...

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