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China East Airlines - trying to PAY for a ticket that is being booked online

China East Airlines - trying to PAY for a ticket that is being booked online

Old Oct 26, 11, 3:02 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Chicago
Posts: 86
China East Airlines - trying to PAY for a ticket that is being booked online

I'm having a really frustrating time just trying to pay for a ticket I'm booking online..

They have a deal on their main page listed as the "Mastercard zone" where you can get a 2-1 business class ticket if you book through that link. I book through the link and get the tickets issued and an actual order #... the way their site works is you get an order # confirmed and you then have to hit pay now and do that within 60 minutes. Every time I hit the pay now button, it brings up a popup window and information and everything looks fine, but then I get a redirect and it gives some nondescript error.

I've tried calling their web site support department about 5 times now and they are not helpful at all. The first guy said I needed Internet Explorer 7, not 8, but that's not an option if you have windows 7 (you can't downgrade). Luckily I'm in IT and have 6 computers sitting in front of me. I asked him what the recommended browser on an Apple Mac is, and he just repeated Internet Explorer 7, which is impossible because Microsoft hasn't made Internet Explorer for a Mac product in about 10 years... anyway, I did try IE 7 and had the same issues. I don't think it has anything to do with my computer.

Also, it's giving an error before I have a chance to even put my card information in, so I don't think it's my card or any actual authorization problem, either.

Here is the error itself, can anyone decipher any meaning from this:
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/20/chinesej.png/

I read and re-read the deal terms and everything about the deal is valid for the tickets I issued, including being a USA resident, and I called their "sales" team who confirmed the ticket was valid as written up. I asked if I could pay them over the phone, they said they cannot take payment. They said they actually don't even have access to the Internet.

I asked for a supervisor in both departments but the one time they transferrred me to another department and it wasn't a supervisor it was someone in another department (claims and 'issues') that I had already talked to even. The other department said there are no English speaking supervisors now and I'd have to try back tonight.

I've spent 3 hours of international long distance on the phone with them, have rebooked the tickets about 6 times now, and still don't have a valid ticket.

Has anyone booked on their site lately, specifically this deal? Is there a trick I'm missing here?

I'm thinking I'll just need to book with Hong Kong Airlines instead, which is roughly slightly cheaper anyway but not business class. (but it's a short flight).

Their web site has a "contact us" link on the US page but when you fill it out it goes to a 404 page so I don't think the contact us link is working either.

How is this company in business?
dddane is offline  
Old Oct 26, 11, 7:56 pm
  #2  
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Welcome to Chinese airline websites. The reason most foreigners don't use them is that they don't work too well--particularly the English language versions and also the payments for processing non-Chinese cards.

These websites are geared for Chinese users using their native language and using Chinese credit or UnionPay debit cards.

Resign yourself to the fact that you just may not be able to book anything on this website, including this special deal. It will keep your blood pressure in check. I'm not surprised your efforts at dealing with IT and managers, etc. have proven in vain. Likely if you keep trying, nothing will change.

Switch instead to one of the China-based online agents listed in the Master Transportation Thread. Try ctrip.com as they have good English speaking customer support and a US-based phone line, and can take foreign credit cards. If the same deal is on their website you can probably book it yourself. If you don't see the deal, call them and ask if they can replicate it (not guaranteed). Travelzen.com is also easy to deal with but AFAIK doesn't have a North American toll free line.

Website commerce aside, IMO, China Eastern Airlines is generally a relatively sucky company, even by Chinese standards. But others feel differently and find them OK.
jiejie is offline  
Old Oct 26, 11, 11:40 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by jiejie View Post
Resign yourself to the fact that you just may not be able to book anything on this website, including this special deal. It will keep your blood pressure in check. I'm not surprised your efforts at dealing with IT and managers, etc. have proven in vain. Likely if you keep trying, nothing will change.
As a moderately frequent East Asia/domestic China flyer I agree with this 100%. Chinese airline websites are simply terrible (even worse than Korean ones which are pretty bad) and the English half of their websites are simply not a priority. I've never booked anything on the websites of a Chinese airline, I usually use Travelzen or sometimes Ctrip if availability is different. (Ctrip charges pesky foreign card fees) You'll find discounted fares on online TA websites as well which can be very cheap sometimes.

Flying MU is nothing to get excited about.
Santander is offline  
Old Oct 27, 11, 8:43 am
  #4  
 
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Whenever possible, I try to avoid MU.

Imo, they are never on time and I personally prefer CZ more although chinese airlines are in general.

Most of the time, I book my domestic flights using Ctrip or Elong.

Reliable and the only downside is that they charge fees when using foreign CCs as mentioned.
tycosiao is offline  
Old Oct 27, 11, 9:05 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
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MU has vastly improved over the last year, in my opinion. Most remarkably on board service (first class food is still a disgrace) and ground services.
Chinatrvl is offline  
Old Oct 28, 11, 8:13 pm
  #6  
 
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I am unfortnately a regular user of MU and I do that only because it is the only other option I have. My last 3 flights with them, it has been delayed, cancelled flight and points were lost. Did I mention that I really hate these guys?

I have purchased tickets from Air China but that was a horrible ordeal that I plan never to redo. I had to end up asking a Chinese friend to purchase the tickets for me using her credit cards.

I have become very loyal to ctrip because of their service. They do make things right in the end.
Taiwaned is offline  
Old Nov 1, 11, 4:01 pm
  #7  
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ended up having to book on ctrip instead, on another carrier. their customer service is amazingly bad. if their "contact us" link wasn't a 404 not found error, I'd send them a log of the calls so they were aware how bad it was, but alas...
dddane is offline  
Old Feb 2, 12, 9:04 pm
  #8  
 
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I'm seeing a cheap MEL-PVG-CDG fare on jetabroad.com.au, which is China Eastern all the way. Yes, I've heard all the stories...

But if I go to the actual MU website, no flights come up for the dates I've selected (Dep: June 24th, Ret: July 28th). Is this just a Chinese website thing, and I'd be fine to book with Jetabroad?
Catweazle is offline  
Old Feb 3, 12, 11:02 am
  #9  
 
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As a US citizen with a valid mainland Visa, can I buy domestic tickets directly from the MU China English website? (I can't get the English language international site to show domestic flights.)

I'm looking at some reasonable P fares that don't show up on the indirect booking sites I have prior experience with. Can I just put my passport # in as the ID card number?
Ambraciot is offline  
Old Feb 3, 12, 12:05 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
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Originally Posted by Ambraciot View Post
As a US citizen with a valid mainland Visa, can I buy domestic tickets directly from the MU China English website? (I can't get the English language international site to show domestic flights.)

I'm looking at some reasonable P fares that don't show up on the indirect booking sites I have prior experience with. Can I just put my passport # in as the ID card number?
You can if you managed to pay for them. The website only accepts Chinese issued cards.

No international cards. Mentioned before many many times, Ctrip or Elong would be a much better choice if you are paying using an international card.
tycosiao is offline  

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