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 18, 18, 5:48 am
  #751  
 
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Chinese Embassy? Are you serious? How many Chinese embassy or consulate employees do you know that have a single ounce of knowledge about this topic?
I do know quite a few, but it's obviously not their main job.

Also the main idea behind TWOV is to support tourism and Chinese carriers to make stopover programs - something that the clear majority are using TWOV for. But the Chinese gouvernment also realized it brings extra money when generally allowing any kind of legal schedule to take advantage of TWOV. And since it doesn't matter if the cat is black or white as long as she catches mice, they've basically made the program being available as wide as possible.

A complete visa-free policy could easily be implemented of other countries are also allowing Chinese citizens to enter their countries Visa-free. In fact, some do, and China allows those Nationalities to enter China without a Visa.
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Old Sep 18, 18, 6:20 am
  #752  
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Chinese Embassy? Are you serious? How many Chinese embassy or consulate employees do you know that have a single ounce of knowledge about this topic?
The official webpage of the nation in section "Home > Visa & Consular Affairs > Visa for China" seems a pretty reasonable place to use as an authoritative source
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Old Sep 18, 18, 6:47 am
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
The official webpage of the nation in section "Home > Visa & Consular Affairs > Visa for China" seems a pretty reasonable place to use as an authoritative source
I assume you mean some kind of embassy website? They're notoriously outdated. TIMATIC is the only source used to verify if you're able to travel or not - not just for China, but every country (and there are countless examples where VERY small differences makes HUGE differences in outcomes. I've a friend who had a terrible experience with a layover (or NOT!) in Australia just because of such tiny prints..
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Old Sep 18, 18, 7:19 am
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
It would be clear if it simply stated that people visiting for 144 hours or fewer do not need a visa if entering for tourism purposes
Not going to happen! It’s called 面子/face. (Both Chinese and English Wikipedia have this exact article.) PRC ideology wouldn’t allow a general visa free policy on these countries (which won’t allow PRC citizens to visit without visa anytime soon) and could only carve out exceptions. First 24 hour transit, then individual cities for 72 and 144 hours.
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Old Sep 18, 18, 8:10 am
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
The official webpage of the nation in section "Home > Visa & Consular Affairs > Visa for China" seems a pretty reasonable place to use as an authoritative source
Are you serious? With due respect, you have no clue about the actual rules. I do!
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Old Sep 18, 18, 11:59 am
  #756  
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Are you serious? With due respect, you have no clue about the actual rules. I do!
Please show something that shows that your assertions are the published rules then. There is published information that is in line with timatic that is not in line with how it seems that the immigration process is handled.

What matters, as far as a carrier is concerned, is what is published ; if there is documentation to prive that AA is handling it incorrectly, that would be useful
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Old Sep 18, 18, 2:30 pm
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Dave Noble, since you're over 37k postings strong I doubt you intentionally stir unrest here, but your comment says otherwise. TWOV-wise, moondog is definitely the most knowledgeable person on FT.

It's a well-known fact that Chinese embassies (as well as consulates) and their websites are not always (in fact: Seldom - I know a few who are, but they're the exception, not the rule) up-to-date.

Usually the information they post is correct at the time it is published, but then rarely updated. And with TWOV and it's frequent changes, you could simply forget about being "up to date" from some websites which gets an update less often than I see a donkey flying over my head.

TIMATIC is what counts for ALL travel - not just China - and if TIMATIC says "YES", then any airline should work accordingly, and not make up some rules.

The Chinese authorities, who have so far been reported to ALWAYS be correct on usage of TWOV (with the case of pax not being let landside when on short layovers, but that's perfectly within their authority and when issues like baggage-re-check came up, apparently always a solution was found) to interpret TIMATIC exactly as it's intended to.

You fly Country A - China - Country B you're good, you fly directly back, you're not.
More than 1 stop in China, and you're down to 24hrs.
A few exceptions for some airports exist, but they're all documented in TIMATIC.
HKG/Macao and the province of Taiwan are also treated exactly the same in every case, there was never a "this doesn't count".

And we're talking about "main" airports here. When you fly to Shanghai from Germany and return to Austria, you're having a TWOV-compliant schedule. Lufthansa never had issues with this reported. Air France? Never! KLM? Never! BA? Iberia? (and with the case of ALL big alliances in Europe, such schedules are common and often used to take advantage of TWOV - hubs in different countries make for smooth transfer into and out of China to different countries.)

Basically, Chinese authorities at this point did straighten up TIMATIC definitely enough - any airline found to deny people to fly to China falsely should have to pay a massive fee, and for repeated offenders, face temporary ban from serving the People's Republic until they clean up their mess. Let's hope that Beijing comes to the same conclusion soon and make sure that wrongdoing airlines get a massive slap in their face - it's about time. And somehow I doubt that most offenders being either US-American or Japanese airlines would motivate them less to make sure the rules are upheld.
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Old Sep 18, 18, 2:57 pm
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Originally Posted by YuropFlyer View Post
Basically, Chinese authorities at this point did straighten up TIMATIC definitely enough
Have they?

Last time I checked, TIMATIC uses the wording "onward ticket to a third country".
Unfortunately, that is still ambiguous, at least to me.
For someone originating at LAX, is PVG-NRT-LAX (NRT is a 3 hour layover) an onward ticket to a third country?
I know what the answer is for Chinese authorities at PVG, but for a TA stationed at LIT (Little Rock) it might not be that obvious.

Last edited by carlosdca; Sep 18, 18 at 3:06 pm
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Old Sep 18, 18, 3:24 pm
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Than that TA at LIT might either need to get better training, or being replaced by someone who knows how to do it's job.

If you can't flip the Burgers correctly at McDonalds, they won't make them bigger either to help you with your task.

For someone NOT working in the airline industry, TIMATIC might indeed not be always clear.

But for a checkin agent, even at a remote outstation, I expect them to be able to understand TIMATIC and what it says.

If not, then either the training was not sufficient, or the staff just doesn't match the job. Either way, thats not China's problem. And hopefully China will soon make sure every airline understands this very clearly.
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Old Sep 18, 18, 6:23 pm
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Originally Posted by YuropFlyer View Post
Than that TA at LIT might either need to get better training, or being replaced by someone who knows how to do it's job.

If you can't flip the Burgers correctly at McDonalds, they won't make them bigger either to help you with your task.
The practical issue is that PAX1 who flies from LAX to PVG and then returns non-stop to LAX will require a visa while PAX2 who flies from LAX to PVG and the returns with a connection through NRT does not.

That's obviously a rule that has no logic (although I'm not disputing the rule) and since it is completely illogical airlines around the world (and there are certainly reports on various forums about this issue with European airlines) will continue to have problems with it. So ... no need to insult GA's who are trying to do their job or other posters on this forum. Obviously, if the Chinese government wanted to have an easy to administer short term tourist visa that doesn't depend on whether someone returns home on a non-stop versus a connection, they could do so but have chosen not to do so.

But ... agreed Timatic is clearer than when this thread first started.
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Old Sep 18, 18, 6:47 pm
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Originally Posted by C17PSGR View Post
The practical issue is that PAX1 who flies from LAX to PVG and then returns non-stop to LAX will require a visa while PAX2 who flies from LAX to PVG and the returns with a connection through NRT does not.

That's obviously a rule that has no logic (although I'm not disputing the rule) and since it is completely illogical airlines around the world (and there are certainly reports on various forums about this issue with European airlines) will continue to have problems with it. So ... no need to insult GA's who are trying to do their job or other posters on this forum. Obviously, if the Chinese government wanted to have an easy to administer short term tourist visa that doesn't depend on whether someone returns home on a non-stop versus a connection, they could do so but have chosen not to do so.

But ... agreed Timatic is clearer than when this thread first started.
Reading comprehension skills are far more important than logic in the instant case. The USA, China, and Japan are three different countries, full stop.
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Old Sep 18, 18, 6:51 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Reading comprehension skills are far more important than logic in the instant case. The USA, China, and Japan are three different countries, full stop.
Over 26,000 posts...have any of them NOT included an insult?
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Old Sep 19, 18, 2:20 am
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Originally Posted by Uncle Nonny View Post
Over 26,000 posts...have any of them NOT included an insult?
He rather meant the staff at the airport.

Where indeed no "logic" needs to exist to do their job but rather a 1:1 interpretation of the rules clearly laid out in TIMATIC.

Its not China's fault if some airport staff somewhere in the world cant use the international standard tool.
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Old Sep 19, 18, 4:33 am
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Originally Posted by YuropFlyer View Post
He rather meant the staff at the airport.

Where indeed no "logic" needs to exist to do their job but rather a 1:1 interpretation of the rules clearly laid out in TIMATIC.

Its not China's fault if some airport staff somewhere in the world cant use the international standard tool.
I agree. It's a shame but it always boils down to a human making an error. That seems to be par for the course at AA with a lot of things.
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Old Sep 19, 18, 6:07 am
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
The official webpage of the nation in section "Home > Visa & Consular Affairs > Visa for China" seems a pretty reasonable place to use as an authoritative source
AA has admitted to the passenger earlier in this thread that they were wrong, and that an itinerary USA-China-Japan-USA is valid. AA assumed all liability IIRC.

I'm not sure what further evidence is needed? AA seems to be the airline at the moment having trouble with interpreting TIMATIC. For a while it was Delta. Aside from those two carriers there are very few reports on the master TWOV thread of airlines misinterpreting the rules (there's the odd occasion, but it's fairly rare these days. The last one was EK ex Tehran, but that's possibly not too surprising.)

Chinese embassy and consulate websites are hopelessly out of date in many cases and don't reflect TIMATIC. Some official websites still listed PEK and PVG as 72-hour TWOV until very recently (there's probably some that still do). This would suggest airlines could have overruled the 144-hour TWOV in TIMATIC?
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