possible to buy Air China ticket on China site?

Old Feb 24, 12, 6:36 am
  #31  
 
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Going from Chengdu to Lhasa, then Lhasa to Chengdu to Hangzhou, in early April (assuming TAR travel opens up timely). I think Travelzen is probably the only possibility for me - I know Ctrip won't book Tibet travel for foreigners and don't think elong will.

I have one award ticket on CA but no additional first class availability has opened up. CA doesn't appear to discount much in the front cabin in this route. The travel agency websites are showing 4200 RMB (ouch) full fare in the front cabin CTU-LXA. CA's Chinese website sells it for about 3600 (a little less ouch).

Last edited by chazas; Feb 24, 12 at 8:08 am
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Old Feb 24, 12, 7:37 pm
  #32  
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Originally Posted by chazas View Post
Going from Chengdu to Lhasa, then Lhasa to Chengdu to Hangzhou, in early April (assuming TAR travel opens up timely). I think Travelzen is probably the only possibility for me - I know Ctrip won't book Tibet travel for foreigners and don't think elong will.

I have one award ticket on CA but no additional first class availability has opened up. CA doesn't appear to discount much in the front cabin in this route. The travel agency websites are showing 4200 RMB (ouch) full fare in the front cabin CTU-LXA. CA's Chinese website sells it for about 3600 (a little less ouch).
Crip and elong will book if you can show your confirmed tour itinerary/payment/Tibet Travel Permit made through an agent. If not in China where it can physically be done at a ctrip office, then scanning/faxing the documents should be possible, but it's not a simple online transaction. Even on travelzen, I would be surprised if your booking for Lhasa goes through without getting kicked back to "call a representative" or something like that, at some point along the way. This would flag in the system as soon as your foreign passport number is entered as the traveler ID. If you already have your Tibet arrangements made and can produce evidence of the issued Tibet Travel Permit, then they can probably finish the ticketing. The Chinese government is very clear with travel agencies on how this is supposed to work, and only the foolhardy agencies would try to go around these Tibet regulations. Same goes for the airlines and their own website ticketing.

For foreigners boarding any flight to Lhasa, your regular documents as well as the Tibet Travel Permit are normally examined at check-in and/or the gate, regardless of how your air ticketing was done. Same goes for Lhasa-bound trains.

Last edited by jiejie; Feb 24, 12 at 7:43 pm
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Old Feb 28, 12, 9:37 am
  #33  
 
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Thanks. I'm aware of the Tibet travel permit issues. I am in contact with a Tibetan tour agency and have everything set to go once the TAR (hopefully) opens up for foreign travel and they start processing permits again in late March.

I am trying to stay in the front cabin through the entire trip and use points/miles whenever possible. Since only one seat has opened up so far on my itinerary, I'm exploring the lowest cost/least disruptive options to complete my arrangements - could be buying a Y ticket or getting a Y award, or could be buying an F ticket if I can manage it. I had seen references to the effect that one could ticket Tibet travel on travelzen before actually getting the permit, even though elong and ctrip aren't possible.

My current plan is, get an F award CTU-LXA on a flight that has a departure only 10 minutes earlier from the current flight - perhaps if I beg/whine/demand they will let us actually fly on the same plane, but even if not we should be fine. For LXA-CTU-HGH, I will probably buy the additional ticket and apply some Chase Ultimate Rewards points to the cost. Travelzen now has a small "discount" on the LXA-CTU leg that brings it to approximately the same cost as CA's Chinese website. I guess I will find out if they are willing to ticket flights LEAVING Tibet without the permit.
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Old Mar 23, 12, 12:36 pm
  #34  
 
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CA changed the schedule of the 10 minute earlier departure from Chendgu to Lhasa to 40 minutes earlier, so I refunded my partner's UA frequent flyer ticket. CA had put up heavily discounted first class fares, so I bought one for my partner on the same flight as I'm on, from Travelzen. It ticketed instantly, so that answers the question of whether Travelzen will ticket flights to Lhasa.
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Old Mar 24, 12, 6:57 am
  #35  
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Originally Posted by chazas View Post
CA changed the schedule of the 10 minute earlier departure from Chendgu to Lhasa to 40 minutes earlier, so I refunded my partner's UA frequent flyer ticket. CA had put up heavily discounted first class fares, so I bought one for my partner on the same flight as I'm on, from Travelzen. It ticketed instantly, so that answers the question of whether Travelzen will ticket flights to Lhasa.
Keep reporting back on what happens next.
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Old Mar 26, 12, 11:03 am
  #36  
 
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Originally Posted by jiejie View Post
Keep reporting back on what happens next.
Hmmm. Ticket was issued with CA ticket number, and I called CA and confirmed that the ticket was properly issued and got a seat assignment and the CA record locator. If Travelzen calls and asks about the Tibet permit I should have that in a few days.
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Old Apr 9, 12, 7:17 am
  #37  
 
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We flew on this ticket (and my United award ticket) with no problems.
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Old Apr 11, 12, 11:23 pm
  #38  
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Originally Posted by chazas View Post
We flew on this ticket (and my United award ticket) with no problems.
Good to know. Was any documentation asked for at check in and/or boarding?
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Old Apr 13, 12, 7:02 am
  #39  
 
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Originally Posted by jiejie View Post
Good to know. Was any documentation asked for at check in and/or boarding?
Oh, yes. They asked for our Tibet travel permit at least four times at the airport.

It was a very nice flight, in the front cabin of an A330 with a nice meal and fantastic service. There were some very obvious important personages on board, which may have had something to do with it.
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