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August&September mean expensive flights US to China

August&September mean expensive flights US to China

Old Mar 27, 18, 11:09 am
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August&September mean expensive flights US to China

we are looking at J seats on UA or AA from SFO/PEK/Hkg/SFO leaving in Late August and back mid Sept. Google flights showing cost pp about $5200 for nonstops. Seems very high but wondered if normal price. Not a business traveler or frequent flyer (usually to Europe)....should I book now or wait? Thanks for any advice.
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Old Mar 27, 18, 5:23 pm
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IME August can be expensive (though nowhere near 5200 expensive), but there is a substantial drop in demand in September. I would #1 wait until closer in #2 check out bucket shops, especially Korean ones, if you don't mind connecting in Korea. You should be able to get something for less than $1200.
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Old Mar 27, 18, 9:56 pm
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If you are flexible with airlines you'll likely find a better deal. If only AA or UA it can easily go up to 7-8K from SFO. LAX is often cheaper - check there...
I assume $1200 mentioned above is not for J...
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Old Mar 27, 18, 10:39 pm
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Wow, $5200 is insane. I don't think I've ever paid more than $4K flying J to PEK/PVG/HKG from the east coast, but I'm lucky to have some flexibility in my dates when I do it. I paid $2200 last year for August travel. Just wait it out, there is no way it will get worse than that and at worst you should be able to find pretty good J deals on non-US airlines like China Southern, China Eastern or Air China. Depending on your flexibility, you might be able to route through ICN or NRT and open up a few more options in the $2-3K range.

I would definitely wait it out until at least May, there are usually some pretty good sales between now and then for J flights to Asia that you might be able to get use out of. Even if UA or AA prices go up from $5200 for some ungodly reason, you'll still be able to find an alternative.
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Old Mar 27, 18, 10:40 pm
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Originally Posted by azepine00 View Post
If you are flexible with airlines you'll likely find a better deal. If only AA or UA it can easily go up to 7-8K from SFO. LAX is often cheaper - check there...
I assume $1200 mentioned above is not for J...
Oops. I missed the part about J. $5200 isn't horrible, but I agree that LAX might be a better starting point.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 6:36 am
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There was an article, I think, on the FT several website weeks ago saying that the best J fares USA-China are available for travel January through April. It also said you'll have better luck with these fares flying to PEK rather than PVG. I've seen RT for $2,500-ish. Not that that helps the OP's needs.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 8:55 am
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Thanks everyone. I have checked LAX - even more.$...so think I will wait it out for a bit. Never flown Any Chinese airlines..will look. Any opinion on them? Weirdly the fare is lower (the $5200) when I fly out of my small city connecting in SFO than if I fly out of SFO as starting point. I can bring the price down about $500 pp on UA with 1 stop on NRT homebound but if The flight (ANA) connecting at NRT is late...could miss the UA flight because of terminal change and UA’s reputation of not waiting for connecting passengers. Again - thanks - appreciate your taking time to respond!
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Old Mar 28, 18, 10:22 am
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So many Chinese Carriers have driven TPACs to non profitable for airlines.

nonstop economy $625 spend some time could find J at about $2300 depending on routing.

Roundtrip Flight AA
Los Angeles (LAX) to Beijing (PEK)
Tue, Aug 28 - Wed, Sep 12
1 ticket: 1 adult

Travelocity Booking Fee$0.00
Trip not protectedAdd now
Total: $625.61
$625.61
All prices quoted in US dollars.

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Old Mar 28, 18, 10:31 am
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Yes, the smaller city start can be less expensive, but I thought it was usually for one way fares.
I watch USA to Asia all the time, though Sometimes only SkyTeam. LAX is the cheapest gateway by far on ST.
Philippine Air has some cheap HKG-LAX RT. for $1900 in J. I did not check LAX_HKG

Yes, I wouls also wait. I bought a KE J months in advance and watched the price never change until 2 weeks before departure.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 1:56 pm
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Philippine Air

thanks for info... have you found flying Philippine Airlines to be similat experience to US or AA?
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Old Mar 28, 18, 10:02 pm
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Originally Posted by letsgook View Post
Thanks everyone. I have checked LAX - even more.$...so think I will wait it out for a bit. Never flown Any Chinese airlines..will look. Any opinion on them? Weirdly the fare is lower (the $5200) when I fly out of my small city connecting in SFO than if I fly out of SFO as starting point. I can bring the price down about $500 pp on UA with 1 stop on NRT homebound but if The flight (ANA) connecting at NRT is late...could miss the UA flight because of terminal change and UA’s reputation of not waiting for connecting passengers. Again - thanks - appreciate your taking time to respond!
It really is funny how that works right? I'm FLL/MIA based but I find myself looking for YYZ based TPAC flights because the repositioning to YYZ usually only costs me $200 but I usually end up saving $1-2K or more by flying out of YYZ and rarely add much more to my travel time because I'd have to fly to JFK, DTW or ORD anyway. Definitely look at some of the surrounding airports, I guarantee you'll find at least some savings.

I've only ever flown mainland Chinese airlines within Asia which is going to be a much different experience than a TPAC J flight so I can't really help you there, but they have their pros and cons. I wouldn't pay $2K+ more just to fly UA/AA/DL if one of the Chinese airlines had a better fare.
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Old Apr 4, 18, 8:56 pm
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From MSP, I would consider anything under about $6000 to be a good business class RT fare to China, assuming that it's reasonably convenient in terms of carrier, schedule, aircraft type, etc. I am assuming flat beds and really want 100% direct aisle access in business class.

For the OP's dates, I wonder whether the return flight is driving up the price as August/September is the season when a huge number of Chinese students travel to the USA. I've seem long immigration lines to enter the USA due to this effect. To me, it would make sense that the demand is big enough to affect inventory class availability or revenue management in general.
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Old Apr 6, 18, 5:18 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
From MSP, I would consider anything under about $6000 to be a good business class RT fare to China, assuming that it's reasonably convenient in terms of carrier, schedule, aircraft type, etc. I am assuming flat beds and really want 100% direct aisle access in business class.

For the OP's dates, I wonder whether the return flight is driving up the price as August/September is the season when a huge number of Chinese students travel to the USA. I've seem long immigration lines to enter the USA due to this effect. To me, it would make sense that the demand is big enough to affect inventory class availability or revenue management in general.
You're right about the school effect. This is the main reason for high fares. I know more than a few students who’s parents think nothing of flying them in first or biz class. Thankfully we may not have to worry about these high fares much longer as Chinese and other foreign students look to more “welcoming” counties going forward.

Unless you're using OPM then you shouldn’t ever pay $6000 from anywhere in the USA for biz class to China. Deals from gateways can usually be found for close to $3000. Add a domestic round trip from your starting point and you’re still well under 4K. SFO/LAX/NYC/YYZ/ORD and YVR seem to be the best bets.
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