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Old Sep 13, 18, 10:00 pm
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Wash, DC area
Programs: DL-Plat, UA-ex1K
Posts: 4
Just wanted to relay that AA refusal to recognize China's 144-hour visa-free transit policy remains a problem and, in my instance, AA would not take full responsibility.

I had an itinerary of BWI-ORD-PVG-NRT-ORD-BWI with a 4-day break in PVG. Very similar to one listed above. I had not seen this post before, but had used the 144-hour policy before (actually when it was 72-hour) Agent at BWI got on phone with some international AA desk. Spent about 40 minutes on phone. She spoke to four people. First three said wasn't allowed because NRT was a connecting point and not a stopover. I patiently showed the Chinese immigration explainer and noted that the Timatic entry says the only disqualifier on the routing is if you fly "direct" from US and back to US. Final person on phone acknowledged routing/itin was allowed but said you need "a letter from the embassy." Of course, this is not a government requirement this is something AA is making up.

Anyway I rebooked on DL flights leaving five hours later. DL ticket actually cheaper. DL didn't give me much trouble. Gate agent at DTW-PVG seemed very familiar with the issue. Couple years back back boarding agent at ORD-PVG for UA also understood how it works.

No trouble at Shanghai immigration either. There's a line for 144-hour all the way to right. Had to wait for about 25 minutes to get to front. Guy looked at my itin for about 15 seconds. Jotted some things down. Got a sticker in passport in about 90 seconds. They do not care whether your onward flight connects to another flight. Jeez, it doesn't even have to be a flight. It can be a cruise or a train. I mean how would they know what you will do? They look to see if the flight you're scheduled to go out on is going to a different country/region (HK/Macau/Taipei included) from the one you flew in from and whether it leaves within six days that follow the day of your arrival. That's it.

Anyway, I emailed AA, referenced the discussion above and the rules, and AA sent me a boiler-plate response saying I didn't meet the requirements and it's my fault. I won't bore you. They did agree to waive the change fee, so that's something. I could dispute it through Amex maybe but since I have the credit perhaps not worth it. I do feel they refused carriage with no legitimate reason so legally they are on the hook as others said above.

So, a thumbs down to AA for not fixing this issue/problem since earlier poster had it more than a year ago. I agree with advice above that for most US citizens, may as well get a multiple entry visa and save yourself the hassle. Or try an airline other than AA. Or try flying from the city where the China flight departs, because you may get more experienced agents.
TVStar is offline