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 Sep 16, 18, 12:42 am
  #721  
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Originally Posted by D3KingAmerican View Post
You must have a China visa to fly on American even though you are in transit and wonít require it once you are at China customs. If you donít have a visa American will not board you.
You do NOT need a visa to transit in China.
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Old Sep 16, 18, 8:37 am
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
You do NOT need a visa to transit in China.
that is correct. Iím not saying they need a visa. Once they land in China they can transit through. However , American will still require you have a visa to fly to China. They wonít risk a fine. They will hassle you at lax ord or Dfw for your China visa at the airport when you checkin.
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Old Sep 16, 18, 8:54 am
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Originally Posted by D3KingAmerican View Post
You must have a China visa to fly on American even though you are in transit and wonít require it once you are at China customs. If you donít have a visa American will not board you.
That is not correct. I have used TWOV on AA multiple times without any issue. Obviously others have experienced difficulties based on incorrect information and interpretation from various AA employees, but this statement is as wrong as they are. 😉
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Old Sep 16, 18, 10:25 am
  #724  
 
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For all the travel bloggers do to supposedly get inside info from airline reps they are well connected to and then leverage that to hawk credit cards to us, it boggles my mind that one of them hasnít used a couple of chits to push ĎMerican and Dultah in particular to understand they have numerous front line agents who have been misinterpreting how China interprets ďtransitĒ in TWOV. It is crazy that you have to use a nonUS carrier or have a visa to have a high certainty you wont be denied boarding, even at an airport where you might have successfully boarded with an identical itinerary and availed to TWOV in the past.
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Old Sep 16, 18, 10:33 am
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Originally Posted by LHR/MEL/Europe FF View Post
Hang on a second! There may not be a need to go to great expense for visas.

The problem with AA is not TWOV per se, it's the definition of travel 'to a third country'. The two issues mentioned on this thread are because the routing was USA-China-Japan-USA (or similar), where the stop in the third country was only a transit.

Had the stop in Japan been a proper stopover, AA wouldn't have cared.

Of course AA is wrong, there is no difference between a transit and a stopover. As long as the boarding passes into and out of China read country A-B(China)-C they don't care as it satisfies TWOV.

In your case you will be flying into China and departing on a cruise. There is no issues with transit/stopover etc.

If you are in doubt, you could head to your local airport and ask check-in to give you an idea of how they will determine your flights. Perhaps a lot cheaper and less time consuming that applying for visas (unless of course you intend to travel to China again).

Thanks... But with 15 people coming from all over the USA and a good portion of them gathering in Dallas, Chicago and Los Angeles as we jump across the pond in three groups, I'm fearful, as the group leader, of there being any issues. With all the TWOV readings I've done I did start letting the group know we'd be okay to TWOV. Well, I think I'll either have to eat crow or just advise getting a visa to avoid issue with those that are traveling on American.

The "odd" think that concerned me for a while too was that our first stop out of PVG on the cruise is HKG. But that's an okay stopover to be TWOV correct? I'm the most likely person in the bunch that will be returning to China on a regular bases for work purposes since I've been dashing over to HKG on a rather regular basis every 4-6 weeks this year. Now I'm slated to go to the mainland prior to the cruise beginning, so the plan is to get my LAX AA group setup for visas.

Sure, it's an expense that I'd rather not advise for the group, but I'd rather we be safe than sorry as we've been planning this cruise for the past 18 months. That's a long time to be disappointed by a "rogue" AA agent not letting peeps board.
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Old Sep 16, 18, 1:27 pm
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Originally Posted by stephem View Post
It is crazy that you have to use a nonUS carrier or have a visa to have a high certainty you wont be denied boarding, even at an airport where you might have successfully boarded with an identical itinerary and availed to TWOV in the past.
This thread is obviously in the AA forum but you will see plenty of reports out there with people traveling on non-US carriers that have similar issues.

Originally Posted by Zacnlinc View Post
Sure, it's an expense that I'd rather not advise for the group, but I'd rather we be safe than sorry as we've been planning this cruise for the past 18 months. That's a long time to be disappointed by a "rogue" AA agent not letting peeps board.
I can't comment on the HKG question and will leave that to others who are more familiar with the way it is normally handled by Chinese immigration.

But ... Chinese visas are relatively inexpensive -- particularly considering the cost of travel and cruise. Why take that chance? And ... beyond TWOV, there are sometimes situations where people are denied admission to China for reasons they would never suspect. Why not get visas and make sure there are no issues?
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Old Sep 16, 18, 2:04 pm
  #727  
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Originally Posted by stephem View Post
For all the travel bloggers do to supposedly get inside info from airline reps they are well connected to and then leverage that to hawk credit cards to us, it boggles my mind that one of them hasnít used a couple of chits to push ĎMerican and Dultah in particular to understand they have numerous front line agents who have been misinterpreting how China interprets ďtransitĒ in TWOV. It is crazy that you have to use a nonUS carrier or have a visa to have a high certainty you wont be denied boarding, even at an airport where you might have successfully boarded with an identical itinerary and availed to TWOV in the past.
While it is fun to mock the names of other carriers, it does not help others trying to get to a decision. Particularly when you are so wrong.

There are multiple reports of non-US carriers denying TWOV boarding under the same circumstances as people are experiencing on DL and AA and originating at locations across the world.

None of this makes the failure correct, but the reasoning by both the non-US and US carriers is roughly the same.

My best advice to the group planner is to speak with the group desk at AA (the folks you are working with on this trip and see if you cannot nail this down and have an entry made in the PNR notes of each passenger.
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Old Sep 16, 18, 4:38 pm
  #728  
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Embassies and consulates are NOT good resources because: 1. they provide outdated information; and 2. they lack front line experience. It's much better to get familiar with TIMATIC.
In hindsight, I agree. However, at the time I needed the info, AA did not mention TIMATIC as their source and did not provide a link to use, unlike UA at the time! The embassy data was correct/current and followed what was in TIMATIC. The problem was the AA GA refusing to read past where it described the need for a visa and not read the section talking about TWOV. The "find a way to say no" attitude is tough to fight at the last minute when everything else has been cleared. We had already been cleared to travel by another airport, but ORD took it upon themselves to intervene even though they were a transit point.
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Old Sep 16, 18, 6:15 pm
  #729  
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Embassies and consulates are NOT good resources because: 1. they provide outdated information; and 2. they lack front line experience. It's much better to get familiar with TIMATIC.
The real issue is the AA Agents receiving proper instructions on how to correctly use TIMATIC - If the next stop after China is a different country (or even HKG), and the stay in mainland China is within the time limits, the TWOV should work. AA Agents are the ones which seem to have trouble understanding this, not the Chinese immigration people at the airport. That said, I have a cruise on Carnival, and even though my wife doesn't need a visa to visit Cuba , we are prepared to get it from the cruise line when we check in this week.
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Old Sep 16, 18, 6:24 pm
  #730  
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Originally Posted by D3KingAmerican View Post
You must have a China visa to fly on American even though you are in transit and wonít require it once you are at China customs. If you donít have a visa American will not board you.
Not really true for the most part. It seems the issue comes up if the return flight is back to the US, even if returning via a 3rd country (or Macau, HK, or Taiwan)
The main post that stuck was a return trip to the US via Japan on JL, Apparently AA claimed it was a roundtrip , so it was not within the rules.
A trip out of China to HKG for a cruise, plus other countries, eliminates that worry
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Old Sep 17, 18, 12:03 am
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Originally Posted by mvoight View Post
Not really true for the most part. It seems the issue comes up if the return flight is back to the US, even if returning via a 3rd country (or Macau, HK, or Taiwan)
The main post that stuck was a return trip to the US via Japan on JL, Apparently AA claimed it was a roundtrip , so it was not within the rules.
A trip out of China to HKG for a cruise, plus other countries, eliminates that worry
Originally Posted by jAAck View Post

That is not correct. I have used TWOV on AA multiple times without any issue. Obviously others have experienced difficulties based on incorrect information and interpretation from various AA employees, but this statement is as wrong as they are. 😉
Would you care to elaborate or can you please specify what route you flew on American without gate agents insisting you have a China Visa ?
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Old Sep 17, 18, 5:29 am
  #732  
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Originally Posted by D3KingAmerican View Post



Would you care to elaborate or can you please specify what route you flew on American without gate agents insisting you have a China Visa ?
This is a complicated subject matter-- and it's often oversimplified by some, ignoring certain realities ("on principal" so it seems)-- but, regardless, it's clearly a subject matter that you don't know anything about nor understand, so kindly don't add to the confusion.
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Old Sep 17, 18, 8:33 am
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Originally Posted by D3KingAmerican View Post
Would you care to elaborate or can you please specify what route you flew on American without gate agents insisting you have a China Visa ?
An exhaustive thread in the FT China forum explains how China's TWOV provisions work (or are supposed to work). With 4,700 posts in the thread, nobody is going to go through the discussion at this point. The Wiki appearing at the beginning of the thread lays it out quite well. Have a look.

A big chunk of those posts comes from people asking about their itineraries: "I am flying LAX-NRT-PEK-LAX, where NRT is just a connection. Do I have to get a visa?" One of the regulars in the thread answers: "You're good to go with TWOV." And they are, barring some check-in agent who doesn't know how the rules work.

Last edited by SJOGuy; Sep 17, 18 at 8:54 am
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Old Sep 17, 18, 8:52 am
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Originally Posted by D3KingAmerican View Post



Would you care to elaborate or can you please specify what route you flew on American without gate agents insisting you have a China Visa ?
In the past 18 months...
1. MIA-xDFW-PEK-xNRT-xORD-MIA
2. YYZ-xORD-PEK-xNRT-xDFW-MIA
3. MIA-xORD-PEK-xNRT-xLAX-MIA

None of my NRT transits were more than a few hours. Twice checked in with no questions at all, once had a friendly conversation with the agent and pointed them to the TWOV section of TIMATIC and she was quite satisfied I met the requirements.
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Old Sep 17, 18, 10:42 am
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Originally Posted by D3KingAmerican View Post

Would you care to elaborate or can you please specify what route you flew on American without gate agents insisting you have a China Visa ?
In 2014, I had an LAX-PVG-LAX roundtrip booked on AA. Separately I had PVG-ICN-PVG on another airline. When I checked in at LAX, they asked the question, and I presented my e-ticket from the other airline, clarifying my TWOV option by heading to ICN and was able to check-in.

While others may have experienced problems/issues, by no means is it "required" that one must have a visa to fly to China on AA. Your assertions are manifestly wrong.
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