144 TWOV China- AA Issues/Questions

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AA Ground Staff May Deny Boarding for China Transit Without Visa Issues

This thread is ONLY for discussion of American Airlines' ground staff dealing with Chinese TWOV issues.
For further information, see:

FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Asia > China Forum

China Visa / Visas Master Thread (all you need to know)

and / or

China 24, 72, and 144 hour Transit Without Visa ("TWOV") rules master thread

The issue: though Chinese immigration authorities seem disposed to allow transit without visa for passengers going on to flights with connections in non-China, non-origin destinations, e.g. LAX-PVG <permitted TWOV> PVG-NRT-LAX, AA ground staff have denied boarding to passengers for the XXX-China leg.

Even if such a passenger were to secure alternate arrangements or reimbursement, there is still sure to be considerable inconvenience. Until AA informs ground staff such travel complies with China TWOV rules, purchasing such an itinerary currently entails some degree of risk, as evidenced in the following thread.

AA generally uses IATA Timatic to verify boarding eligibility. Link to Timatic Web provided courtesy of United Airlines; this form provides information on entry requirements, not departure policies as might be administered by any airline.



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Old Apr 5, 18, 3:10 pm
  #691  
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Originally Posted by YuropFlyer View Post
Terrible idea. Just terrible.

I hope the other regulars here join me in, in saying that your comment - especially coming from a moderator - is about the worst advice you could give about TWOV.

With 3 days in Shanghai, I'd just go ahead and not worry about anything. If AA fails again, they'll have to compensate you on a later stage and you reach China one day later, and from all I heard it wasn't too bad of an outcome for the FTer involved. Chances are very slim that might happen (every day, hundreds or even thousands travel via China on TWOV), since even AA might learn and train their staff better.
It just happens I’m a member here (and a pretty experienced traveler), and my comment has no bearing on moderation. But thanks for sharing your opinion...

But, I’ll ask one question here: given AA employees’ reported errors on this issue, which would one prefer? The satisfaction of being right - and missing a day (possibly more) in Shanghai, including the possible loss of hotel night or even bookings - or being protected in case Agent Ratched decides to take up angst and rigidity against one? The problem is AA doesn’t train their staff, and one can not count on customer orientation, knowledge of immigration and TWOV fine print or consistency.

Originally Posted by Stockjock View Post
Why would my current itinerary of USA-Shanghai-Japan (cruise) and Japan (cruise)-Shanghai-USA not be obvious? Seems apparent that Shanghai is the transit point for the onward trip to Japan via vessel. Unless I'm missing something. How dare she injure her ankle (it was obvious) and request a pre-board without a Doctor's note, which they rudely insisted upon?!

Still, I've dealt with AA before and they are not always so reasonable or logical. My ex-GF injured her ankle (2x normal size) and not only did AA refuse her per-boarding, but they did a retaliatory gate check of her nice carry-on bag, with the counter woman running over to insist that it be checked, even when it clearly fit in the sizer.
It’s obvious TWOV to you, to me, and very likely to the China immigration authorities. To AA when the connection is short, I’d not make that bet. As I stated, “I’ll ask one question here: given AA employees’ reported errors on this issue, which would one prefer? The satisfaction of being right - and missing a day (possibly more) in Shanghai, including the possible loss of hotel night or even bookings - or being protected in case Agent Ratched decides to take up angst and rigidity against one? The problem is AA doesn’t train their staff, and one can not count on customer orientation, knowledge of immigration and TWOV fine print or consistency.”
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Old Apr 5, 18, 3:33 pm
  #692  
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I understand the intention behind purchasing an alternative air ticket out, but that has to be balanced against giving incorrect information to Chinese immigration by (a) the check-in agent entering details into the system before departure and (b) by the passenger on arrival.

On balance I'd rather be giving Chinese immigration the correct information - otherwise it may raise concerns if they're expecting an air-air transit passenger who turns out to be air-sea. Chinese immigration do check and confirm onward travel.

As a back up it might work. If AA refuses uplift the OP could go ahead and buy a fully refundable ticket, be allowed to board, but then present the cruise ticket out of Shanghai once they arrive at the TWOV desk in Shanghai. That may cause some confusion and delays, but better than being denied boarding outright.
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Old Apr 6, 18, 4:47 pm
  #693  
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Originally Posted by C17PSGR View Post
Many of the itineraries that get discussed here are not obvious "transit." For example, some flies from LAX to PVG with a connection in NRT and stays in PVG for three days and then returns to LAX with a connection in KUL. The TWOV advocates state that PVG immigration will normally treat PVG as a "transit" in that scenario for purposes of TWOV even though most of us would not consider that to be a transit and there are stories of various airlines from the Australia, Europe and the US denying boarding. Your itinerary seems more obvious -- you're just going to Shanghai as a traditional transit point to get on your cruise although I'm not sure how the going to/from Japan works so I'll leave that issue to the TWOV advocates.
LAX-NRT-PVG-KUL-LAX is most certainly compliant. I don't consider myself an "advocate" of TWOV, but the rules are crystal clear.
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Old Apr 6, 18, 4:58 pm
  #694  
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Originally Posted by YuropFlyer View Post
Terrible idea. Just terrible.

I hope the other regulars here join me in, in saying that your comment - especially coming from a moderator - is about the worst advice you could give about TWOV.

With 3 days in Shanghai, I'd just go ahead and not worry about anything. If AA fails again, they'll have to compensate you on a later stage and you reach China one day later, and from all I heard it wasn't too bad of an outcome for the FTer involved. Chances are very slim that might happen (every day, hundreds or even thousands travel via China on TWOV), since even AA might learn and train their staff better.
I'm a bit conflicted on this point because of the long thread we had last summer (in which AA screwed up big time). That having been said, I also dislike the refundable ticket idea. In the event AA improperly denies the OP boarding, he can presumably sort things out a day later...with compensation. To me, this is a better option than jail in China.
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Last edited by moondog; Apr 6, 18 at 5:19 pm
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Old Apr 6, 18, 5:05 pm
  #695  
 
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I would much rather AA deny me boarding and get compensated than risk the ire of Chinese immigration officials over a fraudulently purchased flight.
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Old Apr 8, 18, 9:40 am
  #696  
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Originally Posted by Stockjock View Post
I have a very tight connection in Los Angeles and really don't want any hassles over not having a Chinese Visa.
Originally Posted by LHR/MEL/Europe FF View Post
Allow as much time as you can at your originating airport in the USA. You could in theory head to a ticket desk at SAN next time you're out there and show them all the documentation. If they agree it's TWOV then you have a pretty good idea you're good to go. The call centre or social media channels are not as reliable. They're not front line.
Don't worry about LAX, as LHR/MEL/Europe FF states, its SAN where the incorrectly denying boarding would happen. That's is where the determination is made. You cant take the domestic leg if you don't meet for the intl leg. Make sure to get to SAN with extra time just in case.

Originally Posted by iadisgreat View Post
I would much rather AA deny me boarding and get compensated than risk the ire of Chinese immigration officials over a fraudulently purchased flight.
Used to work back in the day but not so much now that they check. Obviously wont cause as much trouble as someone who would have not met entry requirements without using the "fake" ticket
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Old Apr 8, 18, 9:52 am
  #697  
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Originally Posted by CDKing View Post
Don't worry about LAX, as LHR/MEL/Europe FF states, its SAN where the incorrectly denying boarding would happen. That's is where the determination is made. You cant take the domestic leg if you don't meet for the intl leg. Make sure to get to SAN with extra time just in case.
...
Be careful here. I had my docs OK's at RDU but got blocked in ORD (connection to PVG) because they kept refusing to read past the first section of TIMATIC. Took a lot of persuasion and a few phone calls, but then allowed onboard ONLY if we agreed to pay for any fines/airfares if rejected by China. Nothing happened when we arrived.
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Old Apr 8, 18, 10:04 am
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Originally Posted by RogerD408 View Post
Be careful here. I had my docs OK's at RDU but got blocked in ORD (connection to PVG) because they kept refusing to read past the first section of TIMATIC. Took a lot of persuasion and a few phone calls, but then allowed onboard ONLY if we agreed to pay for any fines/airfares if rejected by China. Nothing happened when we arrived.
Sounds like some ground staff is overpowering their own ego and job description. I had one in Madrid airport few years back.
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Old Apr 8, 18, 2:16 pm
  #699  
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Originally Posted by iadisgreat View Post
I would much rather AA deny me boarding and get compensated than risk the ire of Chinese immigration officials over a fraudulently purchased flight.
Originally Posted by LHR/MEL/Europe FF View Post
I understand the intention behind purchasing an alternative air ticket out, but that has to be balanced against giving incorrect information to Chinese immigration by (a) the check-in agent entering details into the system before departure and (b) by the passenger on arrival.

On balance I'd rather be giving Chinese immigration the correct information - otherwise it may raise concerns if they're expecting an air-air transit passenger who turns out to be air-sea. Chinese immigration do check and confirm onward travel.

As a back up it might work. If AA refuses uplift the OP could go ahead and buy a fully refundable ticket, be allowed to board, but then present the cruise ticket out of Shanghai once they arrive at the TWOV desk in Shanghai. That may cause some confusion and delays, but better than being denied boarding outright.
Why the worry about giving incorrect information to Chinese immigration? There’s no necessity for that - it’s improperly trained AA staff that are the problem, and a backup ticket, which I ordinarily would not recommend, would be to remediate possible AA staff intransigence. As others have pointed out, SAN is the most likely problem point. The backup ticket can be cancelled easily prior to arriving in China, and there’s no need to disclose other than the actual travel itinerary to Chinese authorities.
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Old Apr 8, 18, 4:17 pm
  #700  
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
Why the worry about giving incorrect information to Chinese immigration? There’s no necessity for that - it’s improperly trained AA staff that are the problem, and a backup ticket, which I ordinarily would not recommend, would be to remediate possible AA staff intransigence. As others have pointed out, SAN is the most likely problem point. The backup ticket can be cancelled easily prior to arriving in China, and there’s no need to disclose other than the actual travel itinerary to Chinese authorities.
AA will likely pass on the incorrect information to PRC border control.
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Old Apr 8, 18, 4:39 pm
  #701  
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
Why the worry about giving incorrect information to Chinese immigration? There’s no necessity for that - it’s improperly trained AA staff that are the problem, and a backup ticket, which I ordinarily would not recommend, would be to remediate possible AA staff intransigence. As others have pointed out, SAN is the most likely problem point. The backup ticket can be cancelled easily prior to arriving in China, and there’s no need to disclose other than the actual travel itinerary to Chinese authorities.
As moondog says, the information on outgoing flights is transmitted to China immigration. A passenger then turns up who is supposed to be leaving by air, but all of a sudden presents cruise tickets.
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Old Apr 8, 18, 4:51 pm
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And ... all of this seems like a lot of machinations to avoid a $140 fee for a visa allowing multiple entries over 10 years. It's not as if this is a huge fee or a complicatged process.

Think of it as travel insurance. No need to argue with gate agents over interpretations of Timatic which has occurred on several European and US airlines. Plus, it gives time to work through any complications for travel into China since not every law abiding US citizen will be granted a Chinese visa. Better to know that now rather than when standing in line at PVG immigration.

And, I'll add that I'm old enough to have enjoyed sneaking across the French border without a visa during the years it was required. Then I realized, just pay the money and get the stamp and not worry about getting kicked out of a country.
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Old Apr 8, 18, 4:55 pm
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Originally Posted by C17PSGR View Post
And ... all of this seems like a lot of machinations to avoid a $140 fee for a visa allowing multiple entries over 10 years. It's not as if this is a huge fee or a complicatged process.

Think of it as travel insurance. No need to argue with gate agents over interpretations of Timatic which has occurred on several European and US airlines. Plus, it gives time to work through any complications for travel into China since not every law abiding US citizen will be granted a Chinese visa. Better to know that now rather than when standing in line at PVG immigration.
Point taken, but it's not exactly just $140. Considering Visa agent fees along with the fact that there are 2 of us, probably closer to $450. If we truly don't need to pay that, I'm inclined to investigate traveling without a Visa. Not saying I won't get one, but I hate spending money and wasting time needlessly.
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Old Apr 8, 18, 6:12 pm
  #704  
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Originally Posted by Stockjock View Post
Point taken, but it's not exactly just $140. Considering Visa agent fees along with the fact that there are 2 of us, probably closer to $450. If we truly don't need to pay that, I'm inclined to investigate traveling without a Visa. Not saying I won't get one, but I hate spending money and wasting time needlessly.
You will be fine. Hundreds of people use TWOV every day. You have a good buffer in shanghai before your cruise, and will get out to the airport in good time at your point of origin.
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Old Apr 8, 18, 7:53 pm
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Originally Posted by LHR/MEL/Europe FF View Post


You will be fine. Hundreds of people use TWOV every day. You have a good buffer in shanghai before your cruise, and will get out to the airport in good time at your point of origin.
You're probably right. That being said, I know three people who were denied tourist visas to visit China -- none of whom thought they were at risk of being denied a visa. One had booked a very expensive tour in an alumni group with his wife. While those three found out when their tourist visas were rejected, I suspect it would have been a much more difficult situation if they were at PVG immigration.

Certainly, most people don't have issues with getting tourist visas but some do -- and that's in addition to issues regarding TWOV interpretation.

Seems to me if I was doing a cheap fare to PVG for a weekend, the risk of either having TWOV issues or being denied admission isn't that significant. On the other hand, if I was joining a very expensive tour it would be. So, if we're an exchange of information on FT rather than promoting or advocating, we should identify the risk. As the US State Department advises: "Exercise increased caution in China due to the arbitrary enforcement of local laws."
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