expired Melbourne - Barcelona Return $786 (Air China) May/June 2018 @ IWTF

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    • +3 votes

      Those 2 cities have visa free for 144hours stopover

      •  

        Wow,144 hours? That's great, or is it 14?

        • +1 vote

          used to be 72hours and has been changed to 144hours for a while mainly for big cities, some cities still have 72hours stopover visa free rule.

          https://www.travelchinaguide.com/embassy/visa/free-transit-1...

          "Passengers should hold an onward ticket with a confirmed seat and date as well as a valid visa to a third country or region. Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan count as third regions in this case."

          You don't even have to fly with the same airline for both legs and it can be on separate booking as long as you show your next flight out is not back to where you flew in.
          i.e fly in with Scoot (SIN-Tianjin) and fly out with AirAsia (PEK-KUL)

          Customs only check the immediate flight that you came from and the next destination that you fly out even though it is just a transit stop. i.e MEL-KUL-PEK via Airasia, only KUL-PEK is counted for the transit visa rule.

          You can read more on Flyertalk link here
          https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/china/708095-china-24-72-144...

        •  

          @samehada:
          Cool, that's very interesting, thanks for the reply.

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    Air China

    Good luck.

  •  

    Chinese visa process can be a bit tough, might not be worth it for a day or two in Beijing and Shanghai.

    • +1 vote

      It's visa free for 144hours stopover for those 2 cities

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        As someone who's done a visa free (transit visa) stopover in Guangzhou, that was a tough process. Confusing directions in the airport, different information from different staff, and finally a 1.25 hour wait in a corner of the airport for the transit visa to be processed.

        In hindsight, I think I would have preferred to organise a proper visa in advance instead!

        •  

          well, take into account
          - the cost of the visa which is $100+
          - time and cost to travel to the embassy/consultate
          - waiting time for your turn to lodge application
          - then wait for 4 business days and come back to collect your visa/passport which again cost time and money to travel and waiting time in the queue.

          I am sure this whole process will cost you much more than even 1 hour wait at the airport and maximum visa you can apply for is 2 years. How many times you will have to travel to China in 2 years to break even with this process?

          I think Visa Free transit is still a much better option. As long as you have prepared to show them your flight in and flight out that satisfy the requirement there should be no problem.

          Cons: With Transit visa free you are not allowed to travel to a different region that. i.e entering from PEK and fly out from Shanghai.

        •  

          @samehada: Cost is a fair point (I was travelling for business, so wasn't a factor for me). I believe my colleague was able to post his application and passport, so no travel/time required?

          The transit visa may well be a smoother experience in other airports. There were no "problems", but it was certainly painful.

          Others waiting with me had ~6 hour layovers with airport hotel reservations, and had been waiting for their visa for more than 3 hours. By the time they got through they were annoyed that they wouldn't even have enough time to make use of their rooms before having to return to the airport.

          Just something for others to be aware of.

  •  

    Air China also have some limited deals for Premium economy at the moment. Roughly $1800 tp Europe. A bit torn on this but I’m also concerned about Air China as a carrier.

  •  

    Great fare I’ve booked 860$ from Sydney to Barcelona
    Free stopovers shanghai on the way there or Beijing on the way back
    With flight back from Munich ;) 144h free transit visa

    Possibly transit hotel :)

    L class
    Cons
    A330 all the way
    Air china website requires NASA clearance
    Good that
    Check my flights app works

  • -2 votes

    Contrast this to $1.2k on Qatar airways over Easter (sale fare from last week) to Europe.

    Worlds best carrier for 2017. A380 for 15 hours, then 777-300. 2 to 3 hr transit time in Doha which is probably the best airport in the middle east. If things go wrong you know Qatar has a reputation to uphold. Yes it is 30% more, but perhaps you get what you pay for?

    •  

      Dude if you want to pay half a grand more go for it. There's options aplenty if so. But Ozbargain is about securing the best deal. We get it that sometimes that means the cheapest option comes with compromises. It's implied.

  • +2 votes

    I know they’re different airlines, but I flew China Southern economy (another ‘stay away from’ airline according to comments here) to Bangkok via Guangzhou and it was great. 2 hour stopover either way. Finding my way in the airport was easy.

    I saved $700 by flying with them and they were every bit as good as my international flights with qantas economy.

  •  

    I think if nothing goes wrong its all fine and good, and I'd agree many airlines are similar to each other in that respect. Its when things go wrong that airlines really differentiate themselves from each other. E.g I was sick (but recovering) during a flight back from Bangkok (had a 3 hour transit, went for the cheaper option instead of direct), and I cursed every minute that I was in transit. Imagine if I'd had a 10 hour transit…..

    • +1 vote

      Ok I guess. But why travel anywhere if you’re worried about getting sick. I get what you’re saying. I saved $700 which is the price of another return flight/holiday so rolling the dice was a no brainer.

  •  

    You can actually get long ex-Sydney flights for $804 from resellers on IWTF (e.g. with Tripsta) e.g. leave 7 June, return 30 June

    Just thought I'd point out that the average daytime temperature in Barcelona during May (if preferred to June) would still be closer to 20-2x degrees (since the "average" of 16 degrees might scare people off :)). Of course the nights will compensate for it.

    And before I forget, don't forget that these Air China deals from Sydney normally mean you can fly to more expensive places cheaper by creating a multi-leg e.g. Fly to London and return from Barcelona for only a bit more than Barcelona prices.

  •  

    May/June are great times to travel to Spain. July and particularly August, are absolute peak periods.

    For those who haven't travelled with a china flagged carrier before, you can't use your phone on the plane, even in flight mode. You're not allowed to use recharging powerbanks, and (officially) no photos are allowed in the cabin, except out the window.

    •  

      While his is officially true, I Flew last week. More than half of people had their headphones plugged into phones listening to music. It’s a rule but not really unforced.

      •  

        Interesting, what airline?

        Hainan were very strict last year. And internal carriers I've used over the preceding years have been even stricter, but of course, do it discreetly and there is no issue.

        Interestingly the photography ban extends to rail also. I have been pinged multiple times on both highspeed and overnight rail for recording video with a gopro. There I no real problem per se, I just plead ignorance and agree to delete the relevant files.

        •  

          China southern. Completely blown away with the service. Was very good.

        •  

          Nice…. I cant really say the same for Hainan, Mediocre for a 5 star airline, but much of that was due to the ancient a330s they flew in and out of Sydney.

          No back of seat screens on the way over, and on the way back there were, but they didn't work, so as compensation we were all handed a 100rmb note!

  •  

    Another relevant point is China airports are notorious for delays. If you've got a long transit, this might not matter, but horror stories abound of missing connecting flights.