Olympic travel, Shanghai-Beijing

 
Old Jan 26, 08, 2:58 am
  #1  
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Olympic travel, Shanghai-Beijing

Hello, all;
I will be going to the Olympics in Beijing next August. In order to maximize my mileage and chance for mileage-copay upgrade I'm looking at flying SNA-ORD-PVG. I can visit family in Chicago on the way out and just suck up the long return on the way back. What would be the most desirable airline to fly the PVG-PEK roundtrip?
Or am I better off just going from LAX-NRT on American and onwards to PEK on Japan Airlines?
In fooling around on the Air China and China Eastern sites it seems I can't book on-line on either, is this correct?
Thanks for your help.
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Old Jan 26, 08, 4:00 am
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I would go to Shanghai if you want to see the city: if you just want to get to beijing as quickly as possible, you can look at a JAL flight (likely reduced mileage/EQM - 50% in most discount fare buckets) or purchasing a through-ticket with a codeshare on China Eastern to PEK from PVG.

if you just book to PVG you'll find specific help in the China travel forum on how to go about booking tickets on the internet. Normally the PVG-PEK route can be had for as little as 550 RMB all-in - but during the olympics I would be very suprised to get a ticket for less than 1000 ($130 USD, more or less) each way with no one-world mileage earning opportunities.

The best option for an AA flight may well be with a CX codeshare: you'll find that the maximum permitted mileage dampens the fun when traveling LA-ORD-PVG (AA's lowest m fares have a MPM of 7700 or so, and 8700 miles are required to go LA-ORD-PVG). CX codeshares go LAX-HKG-PVG. Sometimes MPM isn't enforced, though, so give it a try.
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Old Jan 26, 08, 4:39 am
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There are two airports in Shanghai - PVG and SHA. There are also more than one airport in Beijing, although most flights use PEK. You can try SHA-PEK, if you are spending a day or two in Shanghai.

You can also take a train. It takes about 12 hours.

However, I expect seat availability is going to be a big issue. I think it is best not to llimit your choice to only OW airlines.
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Old Jan 26, 08, 5:02 am
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Originally Posted by cxfan1960 View Post
There are two airports in Shanghai - PVG and SHA. There are also more than one airport in Beijing, although most flights use PEK. You can try SHA-PEK, if you are spending a day or two in Shanghai.

You can also take a train. It takes about 12 hours.

However, I expect seat availability is going to be a big issue. I think it is best not to llimit your choice to only OW airlines.
I should have been more clear. I'm not looking for mileage from PVG to PEK if I fly to Shanghai. I just want to pick the best airline and want to try and book online. On the Air China website I could book a good fare in first class, round trip PVG on Aug. 4 and returning Aug.26. I have a flight held on American going to Shanghai on Aug.1. So I'd have a couple of days to see Shanghai.
On the other hand if I book LAX-NRT now, my mileage/cash upgrade can go through immediately. But I've been to Tokyo. So I'm leaning towards Shanghai and booking my onward ticket to Beijing on whatever airline you experts think is better.
I'd prefer to book the ticket online myself but maybe that's not possible.
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Old Jan 26, 08, 6:51 am
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Originally Posted by flyforsports View Post
I'd prefer to book the ticket online myself but maybe that's not possible.
why not use 3rd part sites such as expedia or orbitz?
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Old Jan 26, 08, 8:03 am
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Originally Posted by nacirema View Post
why not use 3rd part sites such as expedia or orbitz?
They don't show the discounted fares that are available locally.

Sites I found udeful for planning/buying an eticket were:
http://www.travelchinaguide.com/china-flights/
http://chinatour.net/flight/
http://www.cbw.com/tourism/airline/
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Old Jan 26, 08, 8:14 am
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Originally Posted by nbevan View Post
They don't show the discounted fares that are available locally.

Sites I found udeful for planning/buying an eticket were:
http://www.travelchinaguide.com/china-flights/
http://chinatour.net/flight/
http://www.cbw.com/tourism/airline/
i did a comparison test

used the first link and expedia for r/t, same dates in aug, pvg-pek-pvg

both came back with the same fare +/- few $
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Old Jan 26, 08, 8:26 am
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Originally Posted by nacirema View Post
i did a comparison test

used the first link and expedia for r/t, same dates in aug, pvg-pek-pvg

both came back with the same fare +/- few $
You can get up to 30% off up to July: I guess they will release cheaper seats in August nearer the time depending on availability.
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Old Jan 26, 08, 11:43 am
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My favorite spot to check Chinese flights is elong.com (click English in the top right if you don't read Chinese). Generally, Chinese flights have a "set price", then add in discounts as you get closer to the flight depending on the availability (usually, I would shoot for 50-60% discount). For some reason, searches at Orbitz/Kayak/etc. never seem to find the discounted flights on Chinese domestic flights. SHA-PEK is something like $150, but I doubt they'll be discounted since flights around the Olympics are already very packed. If you want to see some countryside, the train wouldn't be a bad option, and the Soft Bed option is not much different from the plane cost. I rode the Shanghai-Beijing train a few years back, and it was quite nice, with individual LCDs at each bed, 4 beds in the cabin (which you book full up if you wanted more privacy).

As someone noted above, most domestic flights from Shanghai will go out of SHA, not PVG, so make sure to search both.
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Old Jan 26, 08, 1:41 pm
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Originally Posted by flyforsports View Post
I'd prefer to book the ticket online myself but maybe that's not possible.
I booked Air China online from the US last summer with almost no glitches for a Beijing-Shanghai one way ticket. The only slightly goofy thing was that there was a separate $5 charge that came through on my credit card from some travel agency, and the Air China charge that I was expecting was $5 short (so let's say I was expecting to see a $150 Air China charge, and instead I saw a $145 Air China charge and a $5 from some random travel agency in Nevada). Other than that, no troubles, I had an electronic reservation just like any other I would have expected here in the US.

To keep things on topic, I did research OW choices and just came up empty. I wasn't going to route through Hong Kong or some such thing in order to turn a sub 2 hour trip into a significantly longer trip. So Air China it was.
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Old Jan 26, 08, 4:21 pm
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Normally, the best way to travel by air between Shanghai and Beijing is to purchase a ticket locally while you are there, if you have about 72 hours in Shanghai or Beijing. You can also ask your local friends to do that. You can get up to 70% discount. The discount was much less last summer, but is still quite significant. However, with so many people going to Beijing, including many local Chinese, I have no idea what it will be like traveling by air or by train.

Traveling via HKG may not be a good alternative. It is a detour. In addition, I just took a PEK-HKG flight yesterday (26 Jan). All flights, KA/CX and CA, were full. I had to invoke seat guarantee to get a seat on a KA flight - and CNY is still 12 days away. You can expect how it is like in August.

Last edited by cxfan1960; Jan 26, 08 at 4:42 pm Reason: nacirema, thanks (post #12)
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Old Jan 26, 08, 4:36 pm
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Originally Posted by cxfan1960
I have no idea what it will be like traveling by air or by plane.
is this what boeing means when they say "next generation"?
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Old Jan 26, 08, 4:43 pm
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Originally Posted by nacirema View Post
is this what boeing means when they say "next generation"?
Oops, I meant "by air or by train"
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Old Jan 26, 08, 7:48 pm
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Originally Posted by michellemck99 View Post
I booked Air China online from the US last summer with almost no glitches for a Beijing-Shanghai one way ticket. The only slightly goofy thing was that there was a separate $5 charge that came through on my credit card from some travel agency, and the Air China charge that I was expecting was $5 short (so let's say I was expecting to see a $150 Air China charge, and instead I saw a $145 Air China charge and a $5 from some random travel agency in Nevada). Other than that, no troubles, I had an electronic reservation just like any other I would have expected here in the US.

To keep things on topic, I did research OW choices and just came up empty. I wasn't going to route through Hong Kong or some such thing in order to turn a sub 2 hour trip into a significantly longer trip. So Air China it was.
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Old Jan 26, 08, 7:51 pm
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Originally Posted by michellemck99 View Post
I booked Air China online from the US last summer with almost no glitches for a Beijing-Shanghai one way ticket. The only slightly goofy thing was that there was a separate $5 charge that came through on my credit card from some travel agency, and the Air China charge that I was expecting was $5 short (so let's say I was expecting to see a $150 Air China charge, and instead I saw a $145 Air China charge and a $5 from some random travel agency in Nevada). Other than that, no troubles, I had an electronic reservation just like any other I would have expected here in the US.

To keep things on topic, I did research OW choices and just came up empty. I wasn't going to route through Hong Kong or some such thing in order to turn a sub 2 hour trip into a significantly longer trip. So Air China it was.


Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm not concerned about getting the absolute cheapest ticket because I'm not paying for it. But I am going to book as soon as possible as I'm sure flights will fill up as the Olympics get closer. I tried like crazy on the Air China site last night but when it to the payment option it only listed Chinese banks as options for payment.
I'll look for a phone number and try to book that way.
Is Air China preferable to China Eastern?
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