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Old Aug 28, 13, 12:52 pm
  #5  
ENFO
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 401
Thank you

Just wanted to say thanks for your advice here. I did end up taking the earlier flight to have more transit time at PEK.

Although in the end I didn't need the extra hour, I agree that extra time would help in making one feel more relaxed, now that I have seen the setup at PEK.

At SIN, they were not able to give me my boarding pass for PEK-FRA, although my bags were tagged to final destination JFK. It's probably because I was on Singapore Airlines while my next flight was on Air China. Upon arrival at PEK, I went to the help desk of CA to get a boarding pass. Since it was late at night, the staff were definitely sparse. The sole person manning it had no idea what to do, and had to wait for her colleagues, who seemed to be coming back from a coffee break. In the end I got the boarding pass but it seemed to me to take a long time...

While waiting for the boarding pass, the queues definitely piled up at the regular immigration counters. I could see flight after flight arriving until all the lines were full. I could also see that the International Transit counter was closed. But as it turned out, my wait for the boarding pass enabled me to be walking past the International Transit Counter just as the gentleman manning it came off a "break". The Transit Counter was a single counter off to the left side of the main lines and has a sign "International Transit" over it. Because this counter was "closed" up to this time, all the transit passengers walked past it and onto the regular immigration queues. It definitely still looked closed, but I saw this man walking around near it and I asked him if I could go through his line, and he looked at my passport, then went behind the glass and stamped it and waved me on. I'm really not sure if he was coming back from a break or I just got lucky to find him there. As a result, I probably skipped at least 45 minutes by being the only customer in the line at the Transit Counter.

Feeling happy about this, I proceeded to xray, but not after being stuck behind a tour group which was getting their passports stamped in the Main Immigration area (the one in the Main hall processing people from the city side, before immigration). Their line was actually blocking the way to the xrays (funnily they had snaked into the xray area and were approaching the immigration from behind), so I had to wait about 5 minutes, then reached the agent and realized I could have just gone around them (duh me).

The lounge was fine, although the food was definitely just ok, so didn't eat anything. In the end I'm happy I had the extra time built in, being a first time transit passenger at PEK. I think that the wait time could have been better or worse depending on the passenger traffic, and the staff schedule that isn't under one's control. This is probably what Guy Betsy meant about going through immigration (regular immigration) or not...

My CA flight to FRA was very very good. The staff worked hard during the flight and is highly recommended!

Last edited by ENFO; Aug 28, 13 at 1:03 pm
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