Just read this article...
In brief it says ..."At present, Australians flying via Guangzhou have to pay $98 for a one-entry tourist visa if they want to stop over."...
Is this true ? I thought if it was less than 24hours, it was free.
That's not true, although PRC do have transit visas if you want to apply one, one could transit for 24 hours visa free. The analyst mentioned in the article needs to update himself if he thinks the visa will protect QF because many Australians have already been using CZ to transit to Europe.
This article is all kinds of wrong on both Chinese regulation and on terminology. There are very important legal differences between a Chinese
1) "transit visa" and
2) "transit without visa (TWOV).
The first is applied for just like a regular visa, before arriving in China. And can be used at airports, seaports, land borders...and is usually granted for a number of days at a time (i.e. 7 days, 10 days, etc). The second is, under current regulation, applicable to any international-to-international connection made in China in 24 hours or less, at any Chinese airport serving international flights. This includes CAN. In all cases, passengers on TWOV are allowed to leave the airport. Shanghai (PVG, SHA) for a number of years, has allowed passengers from some countries to extend their TWOV to 48 hours. PEK and other airports (CTU, HGH, KMG, etc.) currently allow the usual 24 hours and hew to the regulation allowing temporary leaving of the airport.
The problem with CAN is that starting last year, officials at this airport "went rogue" and decided to not let anybody on TWOV leave the airport, instead returning them airside to wait. Or, requiring as a condition of leaving the airport, having a visa even if for less than 24 hours. This is in contravention of the Beijing-dictated regulation but so far, nobody from central government authority has put a stop to it. It is also a HUGE NEGATIVE for anybody wanting to transit CAN and having more than about 4-5 hours of layover, as CAN is not well suited to serving the needs of captive passengers. It's quite the purgatory.
For the moment, I recommend that international flight passengers avoid routings that involve connections in CAN longer than 6 hours unless: you don't mind being bored out of your mind, or don't mind applying and paying for a Chinese visa, or get an outrageous deal on the flight, or (with an overnight) have the carrier agree to put you up in a hotel. China Southern currently routes many long layover connections through CAN, which IMO makes these sorts of flight combinations distinctly unappetizing, and would be enough to cause me to take another airline on another route.
Jun 3, 12, 9:30 pm
If any of you knows how to reach the author or the publication, I would encourage you to do so. While I'm not a fan of China Southern, the general public deserves to know that they are viable option on kangaroo routes.