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China Internal Flights and Trip advice?

ejb199jsd
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China Internal Flights and Trip advice?

Hi Everyone,

i have already been reading loads on these forums the last few weeks and there is so much good advice. so thankyou! i have a few quick questions though regarding internal flights.

My hubby hates leaving things last minute and ideally would like to get flights done and dusted but reading all about ctrip and travelzen, it looks like the opinion is leave it 2-3 weeks prior? Our trip isnt until October this year! i justs did a quick search and beijing to xian coming in about 1000CNY where as end of Feb, doen to 380CNY! just wondered if anyone can reassure me that flights wont or shouldnt be a prob nearer the time?!

many thanks!

Beijing, China
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1. Re: China Internal Flights and Trip advice?

No they won't be a problem but do be aware that the first week in October is National Day holiday. This inevitably means more travellers, more demand and most probably not so much in the way of discounts. The standard economy fare from Beijing to Xi'an is currently 1050rmb plus tax and that is the price you will see most quoted now for October. However, it is somewhat meaningless since neither schedules or fares are confirmed much more than a couple of months in advance. You do not need to leave your booking until the very last minute and may get a good discount with an 'early-bird' fare a couple of months in advance. As you already have some inkling of the prices, it's just a matter of monitoring the websites and booking when you see a good deal.

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Xi'an
Xi'an
Shaanxi, China
ejb199jsd
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2. Re: China Internal Flights and Trip advice?

Ok cool, thanks for that.

yep we arent travelling the week of 1st Oct. we fly out 15th and arrive in Beijing on the 16th.

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Calgary, Canada
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3. Re: China Internal Flights and Trip advice?

nothing to worry about. just make sure to check the fares a few weeks before and then get the discounted price.

we flew from beijing to shanghai last oct 7, end of the "golden week", we still managed to get 50% discount.

we used travelzen for our bookings and no problems at all.

Miami Beach, Florida
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for Shanghai Region
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4. Re: China Internal Flights and Trip advice?

First, thanks ejb199jsd for doing your homework.

Please read the Top Question in the China Forum, "How to cut costs..." This was written for most westerners who have been taught since birth to nail everything down and have your trip planned, purchased and ready to go as soon as possible. Many do this one year in advance for the dream vacation of their lifetimes.

When you travel internationally, there are certain customs you should adhere to or suffer the consequences. Chinese culture is quite a bit different, and that is why many are fascinated by the country. Before you book your hotels, I also suggest you read the Top Question, "What should I expect at Chinese hotels..."

You can easily pay double, fully double, the market rate when you book hotels and flights too far in advance. That has two possible consequences. First, you could have saved the money, or second, you could have afforded twice the quality of hotel. Think of the St. Regis or Intercontinental rather than a three or four-star place.

As others point out, you cannot even buy air tickets six months in advance. Schedules are tentative and the airline charges the full list price in any case. I would guesstimate that during non-holiday periods, only 5% of the tickets are sold at full price. And your flight times will be adjusted when the final schedules are issued, so everything is just "tentative."

As for hotel booking, on occasion western hotel chains will offer a deeply discounted advanced-payment room rate, sometimes ridiculously low. In those cases, go ahead two or three weeks in advance and pay if you have the ultimate faith in that chain. Otherwise, never pay in advance. As many find out, it is often difficult to impossible to get a refund from an advanced-payment reservation. So the best course is to always ask to see the room before you show your credit card at the front desk. If you are staying only one night, you might not care as much. But if you are staying in Beijing five nights, then you want to have a nice room, as promised.

Once you become familiar with the web tools, you might even think of this as an adventure. I usually do my final hotel bookings five days in advance, after having watched the rates for a month or two. In your case, there is no guarantee, per se, but if you follow hotel rates for any length of time, you will find many last-minute steeply discounted bargains.

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The St. Regis Chengdu
The St. Regis Chengdu
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Chengdu, China
New York City, New...
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5. Re: China Internal Flights and Trip advice?

sbs, I just asked a similar question on the hotels. You just answered my question. However, does your advise also go for the budget hotels (not internaltiona chains) and hostels?

by the way, you recently posted about asking a potential transportation if the quoted rate included gas, toll, parking, etc. Thanks to you I re-emailed the guy and he never mentioned that it was not included. He tacked an extra 100Yuan to the quoted cost.

Nova Scotia
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6. Re: China Internal Flights and Trip advice?

I understand how hard it is to wait to make bookings, and it makes it hard to plan when one arrangement depends upon another.

I have made my bookings for two internal flights in China in March. For one I took the opportunity of an "early bird" special which had been posted on ctrip on and off. At first every time I tried to make the booking it failed. I finally figured out that you cannot book before 89 days out. When that day came the special was still there and I got the flight. For the other flight I kept an eye on prices and pounced in mid January when the price took a big dip.

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Miami Beach, Florida
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7. Re: China Internal Flights and Trip advice?

As for Chinese chains and smaller hotels, they simply drop prices as time gets closer to the stay date. If you really are a bargain hunter, travelers still show up without a reservation and ask the front desk for their best rate. Then they bargain them down.

Some hotels refuse to bargain, but many smaller ones will give you a discount to fill their hotel. Don't expect the best room in the house, though.

There is a saying that all travel prices are negotiable in China. It is generally true and if you shop around and ask for your best price, then you will get a lower price sooner or later. Guides, taxi rental by the day, hotels, etc are all negotiable. It is a way of life in China, and I assure you the Chinese people live this way everyday bargaining their way through life.

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8. Re: China Internal Flights and Trip advice?

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