possible to buy Air China ticket on China site?

Old Jan 21, 09, 7:26 pm
  #1  
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possible to buy Air China ticket on China site?

I found a Y450 ($66) OW fare PEK-PVG on Air China if I go into the China site vs $167 from the U.S. site. I got all the way to payment. Screen stated they only accept Visa if issued outside of China. When I clicked on it to pay with Visa, a message in Chinese came up. Am I to assume that only local residents are eligible for the discounted fare? Has anyone tried to book on the China website?

Should I wait til I get to Beijing to buy it? I hear it's is cheaper than buying it the U.S. anyway. Thanks.
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Old Jan 22, 09, 9:03 am
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Originally Posted by zigzagg900 View Post
Should I wait til I get to Beijing to buy it?
Yes.
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Old Jan 23, 09, 12:11 am
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I bought an Air-China ticket PEK-XIY from the US site, every time I tried buying the same ticket from the Chine Site, it doesn't work...I got the same rate though.
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Old Jan 23, 09, 4:23 am
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A few days ago in January, CA announced on its Chinese website that it would temporarily suspend accepting Visa, Mastercard and Amex cards online.

Anyway, CA's website has always been useless. Just go look for a good local travel agency, such as Ctrip.
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Old Jan 23, 09, 9:20 am
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This website is a good one for you to check the low fare. But it is in Chinese. If you have friends who can pay for you, it is better.

http://www.kuxun.cn

This website can search the fare provided by all sorts of channels and give you the fare from the lowest to the highest.
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Old Jan 23, 09, 10:43 am
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you should try ctrip.com, they have an english version, and should be able to accept payment by credit card (US based). They are like orbitz of US, have air fares from a variety of chinese airlines, and they also have some contract fares negotiated directly with the airlines.

Kuxun.com (or kooxoo.com, same site), on the other hand, is like Kayak.com, so it compares fares from a variety of website, but do not sell you tickets directly. I don't think they have an english page yet.
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Old Jan 24, 09, 9:27 pm
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Originally Posted by zhuzheng View Post
A few days ago in January, CA announced on its Chinese website that it would temporarily suspend accepting Visa, Mastercard and Amex cards online.

Anyway, CA's website has always been useless. Just go look for a good local travel agency, such as Ctrip.

I've been using their website for about 4 years, and it has always worked fine. If it was down earlier this month, it must've not been long, because I recently bought several tickets traveling between Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Beijing for an upcoming trip in Feb.

As for making payments on their website, you won't get the payment window loaded properly if you do not have a Chinese-language software installed (it's sufficient to enable the Chinese add-on in Windows.) You won't need to understand Chinese to proceed once your payment window is properly loaded. You can use either VISA or AMEX (I have never used an MC) to check out.

CTRIP is better if you want to search across different Chinese airlines, and they even have a 1-800 number in case you have questions. But they will charge you an online booking fee.
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Old Jan 24, 09, 9:34 pm
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Originally Posted by JimAtl View Post
CTRIP is better if you want to search across different Chinese airlines, and they even have a 1-800 number if case you have questions. But they will charge you a booking fee.
Answering questions is only the tip of the iceberg insofar as what they can do is concerned; when you show up at the airport and learn that your CA airplane is sick, they can book another ticket for you behind the scenes and direct you to the new airline's ticket counter.

Ctrip doesn't charge any booking fees, but like (almost) all other travel agents in China, they hit you up for a foreign CC fee (3 or 4%). Of course, this doesn't apply if you pay cash or use a UnionPay card.
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Old Jan 24, 09, 11:38 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Answering questions is only the tip of the iceberg insofar as what they can do is concerned; when you show up at the airport and learn that your CA airplane is sick, they can book another ticket for you behind the scenes and direct you to the new airline's ticket counter
All Chinese airlines (CA has been good in my experience) can rebook you on one of their later flights or with another airline themselves, without extra fees unless you missed a flight due to your own mistake. Has anyone tried calling Ctrip from a Chinese airport? While the airport ticketing lines can be long, you would still have been rebooked and waiting to clear security before you get a Ctrip agent on the phone. Besides, if you need Ctrip to issue a new ticket on another airline, you will have to pay again.

Ctrip doesn't charge any booking fees, but like (almost) all other travel agents in China, they hit you up for a foreign CC fee (3 or 4%). Of course, this doesn't apply if you pay cash or use a UnionPay card.
Actually they do, you just don't know it because they're included in the base price. Here are a couple of examples for the exact same class PEK-PVG on Jan 28 (as on 1:35AM EST Jan 25):
CA984 Y230 (Air China) Y340 (Ctrip)
CA986 Y230 (Air China) Y340 (Ctrip)
You are right they will charge you an extra 3% for using a CC issued outside of China.

Last edited by JimAtl; Jan 25, 09 at 12:47 am
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Old Jan 25, 09, 1:13 am
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Originally Posted by JimAtl View Post
All Chinese airlines (CA has been good in my experience) can rebook you on one of their later flights or with another airline themselves, without extra fees unless you missed a flight due to your own mistake.
If you we're a PEK-XIY (pick another city pair) commuter, you'd quickly learn that CA is terrible with regard to problem at hand, whereas ctrip is decent. I'm speaking from lots of experience.
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Old Jan 25, 09, 1:24 am
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Originally Posted by JimAtl View Post
CA984 Y230 (Air China) Y340 (Ctrip)
CA986 Y230 (Air China) Y340 (Ctrip)
All you've proven here is that CA has access to better fare buckets than ctrip, with respect to these flights. But, when push comes to shove, both can book the same.
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Old Jan 25, 09, 6:38 am
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CTRIP booking

Yesterday I have tried to book on ctrip with a MC and they wanted me to fax them copies of the card front and back, my passport, and a signed payment slip. Anyone else know another way to get a trip PEK/CGO return booked? Thanks
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Old Jan 25, 09, 8:56 am
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Originally Posted by mikey110890 View Post
Yesterday I have tried to book on ctrip with a MC and they wanted me to fax them copies of the card front and back, my passport, and a signed payment slip. Anyone else know another way to get a trip PEK/CGO return booked? Thanks
Zhengzhou is one destination I wouldn't lose any sleep over (i.e. just wait until you're in China to book it, even at the airport is fine).
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Old Feb 1, 09, 11:41 pm
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I often find good deals on the Chinese Language CA website for PEK-CAN. 70-85% off isn't unreasonable.

As a foreigner, I've never had problems using tickets booked through the CA Chinese website.
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Old Feb 2, 09, 4:03 pm
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Originally Posted by JimAtl View Post
I've been using their website for about 4 years, and it has always worked fine. If it was down earlier this month, it must've not been long, because I recently bought several tickets traveling between Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Beijing for an upcoming trip in Feb.

As for making payments on their website, you won't get the payment window loaded properly if you do not have a Chinese-language software installed (it's sufficient to enable the Chinese add-on in Windows.) You won't need to understand Chinese to proceed once your payment window is properly loaded. You can use either VISA or AMEX (I have never used an MC) to check out.

CTRIP is better if you want to search across different Chinese airlines, and they even have a 1-800 number in case you have questions. But they will charge you an online booking fee.
Actually I agree with most of your comments. I had made several bookings on CA's domestic website in the past, using both credit cards issued by BofA and Chinese domestic bank cards, and I never encountered any problems when flying with them.

CA's website sometimes offers deeper discounts (e.g. Z class) on domestic flights than any other agents can possibly provide. What I am complaining about is the constantly ongoing changing of its online payment system, which makes it seem quite "fragile" and unreliable.
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