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ChinaSouthern online purchase

ChinaSouthern online purchase

Old Apr 13, 11, 5:48 pm
  #1  
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ChinaSouthern online purchase

A couple months back I purchased online from CS website, DLC-SEL roundtrip - no problem. Of course the flight from DLC stayed on the ground for 2 hours causing me to miss a transpacific connection - ( the CS flight crew found this a source of amusement - but thats another story) ...However, CS now has a different website scheme for those of us not paying with UnionPay. Too bad it does not work - the Visa, MC, Paypal link is DEAD ( does not work) in Chrome, in Firefox, in Safari. I emailed an inquiry to their customer service about this dead link and they replied ... "so use IE". I don't use IE.

I gotta hand it to CS - their attitude is like Forest Gump's box of chocolates.... you just never know what you are gonna get.
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Old Apr 13, 11, 9:47 pm
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Welcome to the world of Chinese airline websites.

Does anyone know of a domestic airline whose website is half decent? Or even quasi-functional......
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Old Apr 13, 11, 11:54 pm
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I paid for a CS flight in Feb with a Visa, are you sure you can't pay anymore.

Yes, Chinese websites are annoying to the foreigner and you pretty much need a Union Pay account, but once you figure out how to pay (doing the safety code this and that, scratch the back of this card and that, and then get secret code text this and that) it works quite well. I feel somewhat better about the security than US 3 digit code on the back of my CC.

Not to mention all my info keeps getting stolen from Epison type companies anyway.
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Old Apr 14, 11, 5:43 am
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C-trip is very easy and good prices, also for hotels. Never had a problem with their flights or hotels.
http://www.english.ctrip.com/
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Old Apr 14, 11, 11:03 am
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Originally Posted by code808 View Post
A couple months back I purchased online from CS website, DLC-SEL roundtrip - no problem. Of course the flight from DLC stayed on the ground for 2 hours causing me to miss a transpacific connection - ( the CS flight crew found this a source of amusement - but thats another story) ...However, CS now has a different website scheme for those of us not paying with UnionPay. Too bad it does not work - the Visa, MC, Paypal link is DEAD ( does not work) in Chrome, in Firefox, in Safari. I emailed an inquiry to their customer service about this dead link and they replied ... "so use IE". I don't use IE.

I gotta hand it to CS - their attitude is like Forest Gump's box of chocolates.... you just never know what you are gonna get.
Many China-based websites (and in fact, many throughout Asia), are not optimized by their designers for anything other than IE. If you wish to interact with these sorts of websites, you will have to suck it up and use IE, I'm sorry to inform you.
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Old Apr 14, 11, 11:53 am
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Originally Posted by Blue Tiger View Post
Mac
C-trip is very easy and good prices, also for hotels. Never had a problem with their flights or hotels.
http://www.english.ctrip.com/
I was referring specifically to the airlines' own websites. Every three or four months or so and in a pique of optimism, I try to give one of their websites a whirl again. Inevitably, I end up back at elong or another of the third party websites to get my ticket.

As Jiejie mentioned in the previous post, the quasi-ubiquity of IE here is a major reason people run into problems....though I find I still hate most Chinese websites when using IE.
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Old Apr 14, 11, 5:48 pm
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Ctrip is good so is Expedia

@bluetiger I have used ctrip many times and with good results, i.e. I actually got on the plane with their etickets ( I am easy to please ) This time I am really trying to save a buck. China Southern site has a far better deal for the same flight - and that is with international fees etc. Ctrip, in this instance, and after xtra fee are collected, is about the same as Expedia.

Looks like it's either ctrip or Expedia because CS will not budge from IE only on their international site. I do not have a UnionPay card so can not use csair.com the site I used a few months ago - gotta go to worldwide.

Thanks everybody for your responses - much appreciated
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Old Apr 14, 11, 9:25 pm
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Have you tried www.travelzen.com using Firefox? They are competitors to ctrip though not as well known. Sometimes I've found better deals with them, sometimes not. They will take foreign credit cards for online bookings. I honestly can't recall whether I used Firefox or IE to do my bookings (I use both), but might be worth a shot. Or call and book by phone.

Finally, have you tried the old-fashioned method of calling China Southern on the phone to do the booking? This may not work so well if you can't get a decent English speaker, and also if the special prices are not honored for direct phone bookings. Maybe also worth a shot though--not sure if your previous call to CZ was to general Customer Service or to reservation line.

Last edited by jiejie; Apr 14, 11 at 9:30 pm
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Old Apr 15, 11, 12:22 am
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For CZ flights though, keep in mind often you can get cheaper prices than ctrip/elong/travezen by going to CZ's website and you don't have to pay the 3% foreign card fee too. But again as this thread points out, you need to play the Union Pay card game.

But, one little secret is often elong will sell CZ W class tickets at mad discounts, and I have bought a few times CZ's discount FC fare class cheaper than many higher coach fare classes on CZ.com. Those FC fare's won't earn you miles on US airlines though (like DL's FFP).
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Old Apr 19, 11, 5:04 am
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Originally Posted by mnredfox View Post

But, one little secret is often elong will sell CZ W class tickets at mad discounts, and I have bought a few times CZ's discount FC fare class cheaper than many higher coach fare classes on CZ.com. Those FC fare's won't earn you miles on US airlines though (like DL's FFP).
The DL FFP program is diluted !.

Also with C-trip, if you use an AMEX plat card for air ticket charges, there are no exchange fees to the AMEX
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Old Apr 19, 11, 10:39 am
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Originally Posted by Jiatong View Post
The DL FFP program is diluted !.
In the past, I've often argued that there is basically no point for China based expats to get in bed with local FFPs because:

1) the mileage expiration policies tend to suck
2) it is really hard to amass big balances unless you fly a ton... no cool credit card games or 600% bonuses
3) there were good overseas *A (UA, BD, AC) and ST (KL, NW, and even DL) programs

However, the game is different now, at least in the case of Skyteam. As you note, DL is simply terrible these days and Flying Blue is almost as bad. Star Alliance is still pretty good (I will continue to throw everything I can into my BMI account as long Diamond Club remains, and Aeroplan is now a great program). Star Alliance works well for Beijing people, but not so well for Shanghai people any more, in light of FM's departure from the alliance... I firmly believe that part of the reason behind FM's switch was a desire on the part of CA to expand in Shanghai on its own; they have been building up their presence there at a pretty impressive rate.

That having been said, Shanghai residents invariably have to fly MU/FM a solid chunk of the time. It's not like the case in the USA, where, for example, Los Angeles residents can theoretically garner VIP treatment on DL by choosing to route many of their trips through Salt Lake City. If you want to fly from Shanghai to Xi'an on CA, you need to buy two separate tickets, one from Shanghai to Beijing and a second from Beijing to Xi'an. Apart from the cost issue, this would double your chances of being delayed a significant amount of time and be generally unpleasant.

In essence, those that don't live in a strong CA market no longer have any good foreign FFP options, so I will now concede that it makes sense for these folks to bite the bullet and focus on a local program (while continuing to accrue gobs of credit card miles to AA, BA, AS, UA, etc and jumping on good promos like cheap US miles).

The good news is, that in the current environment, Chinese FFPs are now somewhat more attractive. While mileage expiration remains annoying, there are numerous low priced awards (e.g. flights less than 600 km cost almost nothing), and it's possible to prevent miles from expiring as long as you don't set your sites too high (i.e. think weekend trip to DLC instead of SYD).

Also with C-trip, if you use an AMEX plat card for air ticket charges, there are no exchange fees to the AMEX
Ctrip's credit card acceptance policies change more frequently (like 10x as often) than any other company that I have ever done business with, but it's nice to know that this Amex promo is the "flavor of the day".
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Old Apr 19, 11, 11:53 am
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
The good news is, that in the current environment, Chinese FFPs are now somewhat more attractive. While mileage expiration remains annoying, there are numerous low priced awards (e.g. flights less than 600 km cost almost nothing), and it's possible to prevent miles from expiring as long as you don't set your sites too high (i.e. think weekend trip to DLC instead of SYD).
What I find most annoying is that the fares I want to book on the Chinese airlines never qualify for miles....I keep seeing these 100rmb fares to Changsha and think about how quickly I could make whatever the equivalent of EXP is on MU for nothing! Instead I'm reliant on my work trips to JFK on CX, which are going to happen a lot less frequently now that I'm working out of SH.

The fares on the CZ website are a lot cheaper - I recently posted about an international specials page which had fares to Europe for 300$ a/i on it. Ctrip and Elong and the like are fine for the domestic flights usually unless you're desperate to save that 50 rmb, but for the international flights I hate having no place to look....with the international flights, a scan of qunar.com, ctrip.com, and either kayak or ITA will give totally different results all around. the cheapest is usually qunar, which will either have a decently priced MU fare or an unbelievably cheap CZ fare which requires special payment method....annoying! i think i need to open an ICBC account and jump off the DCC bandwagon that is HSBC
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Old Apr 19, 11, 9:06 pm
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Originally Posted by benzemalyonnais View Post
i think i need to open an ICBC account and jump off the DCC bandwagon that is HSBC
Any domestic bank (i.e., excluding foreign banks such as the HSBC) here should be able to provide you with a debit card that has online payment capabilities so you're not limited to ICBC. Since you're now based in Shanghai opening a bank account here definitely makes sense.
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