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What's the deal with airfare prices to China?

What's the deal with airfare prices to China?

Old Aug 24, 22, 8:32 am
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What's the deal with airfare prices to China?

I just checked prices from FRA to PEK - $14K (business). Is this the "new normal"?
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Old Aug 24, 22, 9:45 am
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Originally Posted by gruimed View Post
I just checked prices from FRA to PEK - $14K (business). Is this the "new normal"?
Simple supply and demand. This won't change until flights increase.

Probably would be worse without the ability to transfer, which spreads out the demand. But the root cause is still the anemic number of flights into China.
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Old Aug 24, 22, 5:31 pm
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Originally Posted by gruimed View Post
I just checked prices from FRA to PEK - $14K (business). Is this the "new normal"?
I researched that route (for a friend) before the direct flight requirement was lifted and business class was north of $20k, so $14k is an improvement. And, as YariGuy suggested, they can charge more money per seat when there are only 1-3 flights per week v 14-21 flights per week.

There is extensive (by China forum standards) discussion about this topic here:
Best way to travel from London to China

A few revelations from that thread:
-flights from Europe/N. America to ICN are much cheaper, and ICN-PEK/SHA isn't crazy expensive
-if you can hold off your trip until more China flights are added, fares on direct flights should be more reasonable
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Last edited by moondog; Aug 24, 22 at 5:56 pm
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Old Aug 25, 22, 2:35 am
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+1 on the exorbitant prices to China and Taiwan. I was hoping to visit extended family in Taiwan over the end of the year holidays (like everyone else), but ticket prices from Europe direct or via mainland China (PVG) are all at least double what they normally are.

Guess it's going to have to wait another year.
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Old Aug 25, 22, 2:46 am
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Originally Posted by mlin32 View Post
+1 on the exorbitant prices to China and Taiwan. I was hoping to visit extended family in Taiwan over the end of the year holidays (like everyone else), but ticket prices from Europe direct or via mainland China (PVG) are all at least double what they normally are.

Guess it's going to have to wait another year.
Europe to Taiwan isn't so expensive if you are flexible wrt routings. For example Europe-BKK is cheap and BKK-TPE is not exhorbidant. The mainland is more difficult because most regional flights into China are exhorbidant. Korea (and Taiwan, actually) are notable exceptions.
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Old Aug 25, 22, 4:14 am
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Europe to Taiwan isn't so expensive if you are flexible wrt routings. For example Europe-BKK is cheap and BKK-TPE is not exhorbidant. The mainland is more difficult because most regional flights into China are exhorbidant. Korea (and Taiwan, actually) are notable exceptions.
Unfortunately departing from FRA/CDG/AMS to BKK during the year-end is quite expensive, as a lot of people head to SE Asia during the dark/gloomy part of the year. Tried VN, AF, and KLM, best i could come up with was over 1 600 EUR A/R in Eco to BKK........
KE would be an option except the total travel time is a little unreasonable (extra long layovers at ICN, weird).

Has to be Skyteam for me.

Perhaps by next Easter, things will be a little normal. I think a whole lot of Asians have closer direct family ties and thus are using this first chance to return and the capacity Europe-Asia just hasn't returned yet (as opposed to N. America-Asia) so the airlines are really taking advantage. Hopefully the mainland opens up by next spring as well so I could do a stopover at Shanghai, it's been over a decade since I've been !
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Old Aug 25, 22, 6:21 am
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Hoping that the mainland opens up anytime in the near future is a fool's errand.
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Old Aug 25, 22, 6:29 am
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Originally Posted by angetenar View Post
Hoping that the mainland opens up anytime in the near future is a fool's errand.
I'll settle for more flight capacity. Even with the entry restrictions, demand outstrips supply in a big way.
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Old Aug 25, 22, 9:00 am
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Originally Posted by angetenar View Post
Hoping that the mainland opens up anytime in the near future is a fool's errand.
Agreed, they arent opening next year. Beside it would be almost impossible for a tourist or short term businessperson to function in this society now without a local mobile phone, local bank account and local address. The land of the scan and QR codes is decidedly unfriendly right now to anyone not settled here.
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Old Aug 25, 22, 1:07 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
I'll settle for more flight capacity. Even with the entry restrictions, demand outstrips supply in a big way.
The other side of flight capacity is that many airlines don't have excess aircraft to move to their previous China routes. Many aircraft were retired (or sold if possible) at the beginning of the pandemic. Others were send to be parked in the dessert and would need major maintenance (and refurbishments in many cases) before they can be used. It would be difficulty to ramp up frequencies on mainland China routes, although carriers like CX could try to fill the gap.

There are pilot shortages too, and some carriers are also cancelling flights if they don't have enough FAs.
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Old Aug 25, 22, 1:57 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
The other side of flight capacity is that many airlines don't have excess aircraft to move to their previous China routes. Many aircraft were retired (or sold if possible) at the beginning of the pandemic. Others were send to be parked in the dessert and would need major maintenance (and refurbishments in many cases) before they can be used. It would be difficulty to ramp up frequencies on mainland China routes, although carriers like CX could try to fill the gap.

There are pilot shortages too, and some carriers are also cancelling flights if they don't have enough FAs.
The Russian overflight ban, and ICN crew change stops will also put European and North American airlines at a disadvantage comparing to Chinese airlines. The China flights are still profitable due to high prices but I can imagine if flight restrictions are lifted, you'd see many routes dominated by Chinese airlines.
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Old Aug 25, 22, 5:29 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
The other side of flight capacity is that many airlines don't have excess aircraft to move to their previous China routes. Many aircraft were retired (or sold if possible) at the beginning of the pandemic. Others were send to be parked in the dessert and would need major maintenance (and refurbishments in many cases) before they can be used. It would be difficulty to ramp up frequencies on mainland China routes, although carriers like CX could try to fill the gap.

There are pilot shortages too, and some carriers are also cancelling flights if they don't have enough FAs.
If they receive permission to add more flights, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will pull planes from other routes in order to provide them, if needed. Even with the capacity cap and the added expense of the ICN stop/crew change, China routes are A LOT more profitable than all other routes that use the same airplanes. Of course, it's true that if capacity is increased, those profits will decrease, but there's quite a bit of room to move.
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Old Aug 25, 22, 5:44 pm
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Originally Posted by m.y View Post
The Russian overflight ban, and ICN crew change stops will also put European and North American airlines at a disadvantage comparing to Chinese airlines. The China flights are still profitable due to high prices but I can imagine if flight restrictions are lifted, you'd see many routes dominated by Chinese airlines.
I would bet against this prediction in a heartbeat.
-the ICN stops aren't the end of the world from a pax standpoint, and the crews don't seem to mind them either
-avoiding Russian airspace on flights between the US and ICN doesn't seem to tack on more than 30 minutes to flight times in any scenarios, and many optimal flight plans don't entail Russia
-Europe China is a slightly different story, but there too, AF, AY, LH, etc have been avoiding Russian airspace for the past 6 months, and I haven't heard many complaints
-a key advantage that NA and European airlines have over Chinese airlines are networks in their own regions; China side networks are of minimal value as long as quarantine takes place at the gateway city

In short, I think foreign airlines will dominate the market if given the opportunity to add flights.
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Old Aug 25, 22, 9:10 pm
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Well the USA took a substantial step today and cancelled all the Chinese airlines flights from China to the USA for the next month. This is in retaliation for China cancelling so many flights of US airlines recently.
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Old Aug 25, 22, 9:24 pm
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Originally Posted by travelinmanS View Post
Well the USA took a substantial step today and cancelled all the Chinese airlines flights from China to the USA for the next month. This is in retaliation for China cancelling so many flights of US airlines recently.
Just the following flights (and they've done this before):
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