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Flying XIY-PEK-US on MU and UA, separate tickets. Connection time in PEK?

Flying XIY-PEK-US on MU and UA, separate tickets. Connection time in PEK?

Old Dec 16, 18, 8:33 am
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Flying XIY-PEK-US on MU and UA, separate tickets. Connection time in PEK?

I'm aiming to fly from Xian to Beijing and then connect to a United flight. The United flight departs at 530 PM.

I am considering the 1130AM China Eastern flight from XIY to PEK. It arrives at 130 PM. That would nominally allow 4 hours to claim bags, change terminals (if necessary), recheck them with United, and get through security. I

However, I've read that these flights are often delayed, and am deciding if I should book the 8 AM (arrive 10 AM) flight instead. But that would give us a 7.5 hour layover which we'd rather avoid. (We've been to Beijing, so no need to go downtown on this trip.) We'd rather have those extra hours in the morning in Xian.

We are 1K's on United, so if we were to miss the flight, chances are pretty good that they'd rebook us without an issue, but still, would like to avoid that.

So, is 4 hours reasonable?
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Old Dec 16, 18, 12:52 pm
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I suggest you go with CA instead of MU in order to avoid the terminal switch.
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Old Dec 16, 18, 2:52 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
I suggest you go with CA instead of MU in order to avoid the terminal switch.
I would prefer to fly CA just to stay in *A. But the ticket price is $75 vs $300 per person. Got the family, so it adds up fast.

Given that I want to save money, how long should I allow for the connection?

I could also take the train. Similar price as MU (though kids are half price). But getting to Beijing West at 130 PM and then taking a taxi / bus to the airport didn't sound so fun.
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Old Dec 16, 18, 3:12 pm
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Is arriving the night before an option?

In theory you would have plenty of time with train arrival @ 130pm transfer to subway and then airport express train would get you to PEK in under an hour, but if this is your first time, I would not advise.
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Old Dec 16, 18, 3:18 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
I suggest you go with CA instead of MU in order to avoid the terminal switch.
What date are you looking at?

I would also consider heading to BJ the night before by the way.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 3:40 am
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I would not risk a domestic-international connection on the same day and would fly into Beijing the day before.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 8:23 am
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Thanks for all the responses!

1. Leaving the night before isn't really an option. Very short time in Xian.
2. We have spent a week in BJ before so have some familiarity with the city and transportation. (But have only connected once at PEK, and that was on a late evening flight from Kumming, which was really easy.)

We originally planned to take the train from Xian, but then saw that the MU flights are about the same price and that seemed easier. It's honestly hard for me to believe that taking a flight with a scheduled arrival of 10 AM into PEK is "risky" for a 530 PM connection. (Or an 840 AM arrival.) So a 7 or 9 hour connection is not enough? That sounds crazy to me, not that I don't believe you.

So, given that arriving the night before is not an option. Do you a
.) take the train or
b.) take the 630 AM MU flight,
c.) the 9 AM MU flight?

Thanks again for all the help!
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Old Dec 17, 18, 11:29 am
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Originally Posted by hobo13 View Post
Thanks for all the responses!

1. Leaving the night before isn't really an option. Very short time in Xian.
2. We have spent a week in BJ before so have some familiarity with the city and transportation. (But have only connected once at PEK, and that was on a late evening flight from Kumming, which was really easy.)

We originally planned to take the train from Xian, but then saw that the MU flights are about the same price and that seemed easier. It's honestly hard for me to believe that taking a flight with a scheduled arrival of 10 AM into PEK is "risky" for a 530 PM connection. (Or an 840 AM arrival.) So a 7 or 9 hour connection is not enough? That sounds crazy to me, not that I don't believe you.

So, given that arriving the night before is not an option. Do you a
.) take the train or
b.) take the 630 AM MU flight,
c.) the 9 AM MU flight?

Thanks again for all the help!
Go for CA 1232 (11a) or CA 1290 (1220p). Both are available for Y460, which is only Y50 more than the 1130a MU flight.

I can't speak for everyone else here, but the reason I support going up the night before doesn't really hinge on the risk of misconnecting, but rather the fact that PEK layovers are not fun. That having been said, the Hilton and Langham are okay places to kill time, and both are walkable from T3.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 11:56 am
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Go for CA 1232 (11a) or CA 1290 (1220p). Both are available for Y460, which is only Y50 more than the 1130a MU flight.

I can't speak for everyone else here, but the reason I support going up the night before doesn't really hinge on the risk of misconnecting, but rather the fact that PEK layovers are not fun. That having been said, the Hilton and Langham are okay places to kill time, and both are walkable from T3.
Thanks. I don't mind a reasonable layover, as we'll have access to the Air China lounge. It's decent enough.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 4:44 pm
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My daughter once had something similar. Early morning domestic flight, so plenty of time. When she arrived at the airport the flight had been cancelled. She eventually arrived at her destination at 11pm. Her international connection to Australia was the next day, so no harm done.
Not saying that this is a big risk, but "stuff" happens.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 6:31 pm
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Such "stuff" happens everywhere in the world. It's way travel on seperate PNR's is always a risk something needs to be aware when planning this way. Last time I took the HSR in China to PEK, it arrived 1.5hrs delayed (and that was on their SHA-PEK line) - basically if a train gets delayed a bit, it becomes the victim rather fast and most make room for other trains so they stay on time. Better one train heavily delayed than each and every train creating a domino effect. Overall, obviously, HSR is quite reliable, but I'd not go with too tight connections including it when taking flights either.

As others said, try to make it a T3-T3 connection by taking CA. If there is a later flight (ideally by the same airline) STILL being perfectly fine to make the connection, it adds a bit more safety to it as well. Thus in thise case I'd go for the CA1232 flight. Leaves decent time for breakfast in XIY, heading to the airport not crazy early, and then a bit extra safety "just in case".
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Old Dec 17, 18, 6:54 pm
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Originally Posted by hobo13 View Post
Thanks. I don't mind a reasonable layover, as we'll have access to the Air China lounge. It's decent enough.
If you actually end up with a 4 hour layover, you can do a lot better by leaving the terminal.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 9:16 pm
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Originally Posted by hobo13 View Post
I would prefer to fly CA just to stay in *A. But the ticket price is $75 vs $300 per person. Got the family, so it adds up fast.

Given that I want to save money, how long should I allow for the connection?

I could also take the train. Similar price as MU (though kids are half price). But getting to Beijing West at 130 PM and then taking a taxi / bus to the airport didn't sound so fun.
Completely agree with moondog, try to avoid different terminals. Are you using ctrip, elong or Air China's site to get your airfare? Do no rely on any travel site not based in China to get the best prices for domestic flights.
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Old Dec 18, 18, 9:03 am
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Originally Posted by YuropFlyer View Post
Such "stuff" happens everywhere in the world. It's way travel on seperate PNR's is always a risk something needs to be aware when planning this way..
Stuff happens more in China though. Randomly cancelled and delayed flights because of military operations.
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Old Dec 18, 18, 11:51 am
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Originally Posted by drewguy View Post
Stuff happens more in China though. Randomly cancelled and delayed flights because of military operations.
IME, military operations along trunk routes are much less common these days than they were in previous years. That having been said, "stuff" definitely happens more in China than other places.

I am 95% confident that the OP will be fine with a 4 hour layover, but I would be 95% confident with a 2 hour layover in any airport in the USA.
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