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-   -   2 hours to connect at PEK? (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/other-asian-australian-south-pacific-airlines/1472811-2-hours-connect-pek.html)

ENFO Jun 3, 13 9:37 pm

2 hours to connect at PEK?
 
SIN-PEK on SQ, then PEK-FRA on CA. Arriving midnight and leaving 2am. Both in J. Is 2 hours enough? Should I take the earlier SQ flight so I'll have 3 hours? Thanks.

Guy Betsy Jun 4, 13 1:22 am

Should be ok. But if you have 3 hours, go for the 3 hours.

PEK is one of those airports that is questionable if one has to go through immigration or not..

ENFO Jun 4, 13 7:04 am

Thank you!

What can I expect in terms of a lounge being open at that time?

jiejie Jun 4, 13 5:17 pm


Originally Posted by Guy Betsy (Post 20862283)
Should be ok. But if you have 3 hours, go for the 3 hours.

PEK is one of those airports that is questionable if one has to go through immigration or not..

Actually, there is no question on this particular connection, since both arriving and departing flights are in Terminal 3. He does not have to go through regular Immigration. After deplaning, he will follow the crowd but before the regular Immigration desk is a signed desk for "International Transit." (This is not the Transit Without Visa desk which is something else). The officer will look at the passport and at the onward boarding pass to the connecting flight and wave the passenger down a hallway, where he will encounter a dedicated security checkpoint that leads directly back to International Airside. This takes practically no time, except for the long terminal walk from arrival gate to Immigration area.

OP, you should be able to get your boarding passes for both flights in SIN and your bags should be tagged all the way to FRA, so you won't need to deal with them at PEK. Two hours is enough, but if you can get the earlier flight that gives you 3 hours, do so to give an extra cushion in case of incoming delay or PEK Air Traffic Control delay. You can spend any excess time in the CA J lounge until it closes at 01:00. You won't find anything else open in the departures area of the airport at this time, so have some snacks with you. The lounge offerings on the food parameter will be pretty sparse.

ENFO Aug 28, 13 12:52 pm

Thank you
 
Just wanted to say thanks for your advice here. I did end up taking the earlier flight to have more transit time at PEK.

Although in the end I didn't need the extra hour, I agree that extra time would help in making one feel more relaxed, now that I have seen the setup at PEK.

At SIN, they were not able to give me my boarding pass for PEK-FRA, although my bags were tagged to final destination JFK. It's probably because I was on Singapore Airlines while my next flight was on Air China. Upon arrival at PEK, I went to the help desk of CA to get a boarding pass. Since it was late at night, the staff were definitely sparse. The sole person manning it had no idea what to do, and had to wait for her colleagues, who seemed to be coming back from a coffee break. In the end I got the boarding pass but it seemed to me to take a long time...

While waiting for the boarding pass, the queues definitely piled up at the regular immigration counters. I could see flight after flight arriving until all the lines were full. I could also see that the International Transit counter was closed. But as it turned out, my wait for the boarding pass enabled me to be walking past the International Transit Counter just as the gentleman manning it came off a "break". The Transit Counter was a single counter off to the left side of the main lines and has a sign "International Transit" over it. Because this counter was "closed" up to this time, all the transit passengers walked past it and onto the regular immigration queues. It definitely still looked closed, but I saw this man walking around near it and I asked him if I could go through his line, and he looked at my passport, then went behind the glass and stamped it and waved me on. I'm really not sure if he was coming back from a break or I just got lucky to find him there. As a result, I probably skipped at least 45 minutes by being the only customer in the line at the Transit Counter.

Feeling happy about this, I proceeded to xray, but not after being stuck behind a tour group which was getting their passports stamped in the Main Immigration area (the one in the Main hall processing people from the city side, before immigration). Their line was actually blocking the way to the xrays (funnily they had snaked into the xray area and were approaching the immigration from behind), so I had to wait about 5 minutes, then reached the agent and realized I could have just gone around them (duh me).

The lounge was fine, although the food was definitely just ok, so didn't eat anything. In the end I'm happy I had the extra time built in, being a first time transit passenger at PEK. I think that the wait time could have been better or worse depending on the passenger traffic, and the staff schedule that isn't under one's control. This is probably what Guy Betsy meant about going through immigration (regular immigration) or not...

My CA flight to FRA was very very good. The staff worked hard during the flight and is highly recommended!

iahphx Nov 18, 13 11:30 am

Thanks, ENFO, for the helpful information. It looks like I'll have to do something similar: connect from SQ to CA at PEK, headed to the US. It will be in the morning when, hopefully, there will be more staff. I have 1 hour 50 minutes for the connection and it sounds doable -- but probably rushed!

So when I arrive at PEK, just look for an Air China service desk before heading to the customs hall where I find the int'l transit desk?

Did you try to find an Air China ticket counter in SIN before you left? I wonder if they could print me out a boarding pass for their flight. Given my relatively short transit time, it would obviously be helpful.

ENFO Jan 12, 14 9:42 am


Originally Posted by iahphx (Post 21806143)
Thanks, ENFO, for the helpful information. It looks like I'll have to do something similar: connect from SQ to CA at PEK, headed to the US. It will be in the morning when, hopefully, there will be more staff. I have 1 hour 50 minutes for the connection and it sounds doable -- but probably rushed!

So when I arrive at PEK, just look for an Air China service desk before heading to the customs hall where I find the int'l transit desk?

Did you try to find an Air China ticket counter in SIN before you left? I wonder if they could print me out a boarding pass for their flight. Given my relatively short transit time, it would obviously be helpful.

I'm sorry I didn't see your post in time. Were you able to locate an Air China desk in Changi?

If not, how did you do in PEK? If you are on the way to the Main immigration counters, the Air China service desk I went to was on the right hand (it is a freestanding counter in the middle of the very big arrival hall). From there you can see the rest of the arriving passengers on your left, from the direction from where you came, on their way to the Main Immigration. The immigration hall is somewhere in the general area behind the service counter. The International Transit counter is on the left side just before the Main Immigration counters. I think 1 hour 50 is quite doable since after you pass the xray the gates are very easy to find.

How was the Air China flight?

iahphx Jan 12, 14 2:46 pm


Originally Posted by ENFO (Post 22138465)
I'm sorry I didn't see your post in time. Were you able to locate an Air China desk in Changi?

If not, how did you do in PEK? If you are on the way to the Main immigration counters, the Air China service desk I went to was on the right hand (it is a freestanding counter in the middle of the very big arrival hall). From there you can see the rest of the arriving passengers on your left, from the direction from where you came, on their way to the Main Immigration. The immigration hall is somewhere in the general area behind the service counter. The International Transit counter is on the left side just before the Main Immigration counters. I think 1 hour 50 is quite doable since after you pass the xray the gates are very easy to find.

How was the Air China flight?

I meant to update this thread with my experience.

I was not able to get my Air China boarding pass at SIN. Their ticket counter was in another terminal at Changi, and the Singapore Air gate agent told me that they wouldn't be able to print it out anyway. She said I could try getting it on the internet, but no guarantees. I then went to the SQ Star Gold lounge (disappointing on many levels, they reserve their better lounge for their own premium cabin customers), but they had no printer, so I just "gave up" on having the CA boarding pass.

When I arrived at PEK, I had to walk to the main arrivals area and, as you said, there's this big free-standing counter manned by CA employees that prints boarding passes for connecting pax (everyone seemed to want CA boarding passes, but I think they could have done other airlines as well). At 7 am, though, there was a big line, and it was slow moving -- having a boarding pass in hand would definitely be better. Once we finally got one (half hour wait), the rest of the process was easy. There are booths to the left where Chinese immigration looks at passports for connecting pax, and that only took 5 to 10 minutes. They a quick security check, and we were back on our way to our connecting gate. The whole process probably took an hour. Sadly, with our inbound aircraft 15 minutes late, this was long enough to not have time for a lounge visit.

Our CA flight in coach was pretty darn mediocre to start, and then got worse. Obviously CA is a far cry from SQ service -- both in food, service and entertainment -- and I would only recommend flying them if they had the best schedule (which, for us, they did). Unfortunately, at the last minute, our JFK flight was diverted to BOS due to icing at JFK. A 5-hour delay on a 13 1/2 hour flight, and CA didn't do much to communicate what was going on (we just whipped out our cell phones in BOS to figure it out).

ENFO Jan 13, 14 7:30 am


Originally Posted by iahphx (Post 22140009)
I meant to update this thread with my experience.

I was not able to get my Air China boarding pass at SIN. Their ticket counter was in another terminal at Changi, and the Singapore Air gate agent told me that they wouldn't be able to print it out anyway. She said I could try getting it on the internet, but no guarantees. I then went to the SQ Star Gold lounge (disappointing on many levels, they reserve their better lounge for their own premium cabin customers), but they had no printer, so I just "gave up" on having the CA boarding pass.

When I arrived at PEK, I had to walk to the main arrivals area and, as you said, there's this big free-standing counter manned by CA employees that prints boarding passes for connecting pax (everyone seemed to want CA boarding passes, but I think they could have done other airlines as well). At 7 am, though, there was a big line, and it was slow moving -- having a boarding pass in hand would definitely be better. Once we finally got one (half hour wait), the rest of the process was easy. There are booths to the left where Chinese immigration looks at passports for connecting pax, and that only took 5 to 10 minutes. They a quick security check, and we were back on our way to our connecting gate. The whole process probably took an hour. Sadly, with our inbound aircraft 15 minutes late, this was long enough to not have time for a lounge visit.

Our CA flight in coach was pretty darn mediocre to start, and then got worse. Obviously CA is a far cry from SQ service -- both in food, service and entertainment -- and I would only recommend flying them if they had the best schedule (which, for us, they did). Unfortunately, at the last minute, our JFK flight was diverted to BOS due to icing at JFK. A 5-hour delay on a 13 1/2 hour flight, and CA didn't do much to communicate what was going on (we just whipped out our cell phones in BOS to figure it out).


Yes I agree that the ability to print a boarding pass beforehand would be a big timesaver. At least, you didn't miss anything by not going to the lounge!

iahphx Jan 13, 14 8:31 am


Originally Posted by ENFO (Post 22144060)
Yes I agree that the ability to print a boarding pass beforehand would be a big timesaver. At least, you didn't miss anything by not going to the lounge!

I can imagine. For some reason I remember the Star Alliance lounge at PVG, but am drawing a blank as to the PEK lounge. No great shakes at PVG, but there's plausible food if you want it.

If possible, I would recommend having something to eat at PEK before boarding a CA long haul coach flight. It took them several hours to serve us anything (we were getting hungry) and the food was below average for an int'l coach flight. All food was Chinese, which I'm OK with, but not "good Chinese" like you get on SQ.


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