Which flight would be better?

Old Jan 14, 20, 9:19 pm
  #1  
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Which flight would be better?

We are looking at visiting in April with some of her relatives. We were originally looking at a direct flight from Shanghai to Madrid (which means Iberia or China Eastern), but we are more interested in the coastal areas and I'm thinking we would perhaps be better taking a British Airways flight to Barcelona with a connection in London. This means transit visas for England. (Her relatives are on Chinese passports.)

Thoughts?

And is there anything to do to avoid the risk of buying the tickets and then being turned down on the visas? (Why do they want tickets when applying for the visa??) Her sisters are in their early 70s, in decent financial shape--although pretty much we will actually be paying the costs of the trip.
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Old Jan 14, 20, 10:02 pm
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Fly IB to MAD and connect there to BCN. No need for worrying about transit visas. In the alternative, fly either IB or MU to Madrid and take the AVE high speed train from Atocha Station to Barcelona; it takes less than three hours.
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Old Jan 14, 20, 10:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
We are looking at visiting in April with some of her relatives. We were originally looking at a direct flight from Shanghai to Madrid (which means Iberia or China Eastern), but we are more interested in the coastal areas and I'm thinking we would perhaps be better taking a British Airways flight to Barcelona with a connection in London. This means transit visas for England. (Her relatives are on Chinese passports.)

Thoughts?

And is there anything to do to avoid the risk of buying the tickets and then being turned down on the visas? (Why do they want tickets when applying for the visa??) Her sisters are in their early 70s, in decent financial shape--although pretty much we will actually be paying the costs of the trip.
There is always some risk of being turned down on visas, even at times for those who could ordinarily be expected to have a near certain chance of being approved for a visa.

Refundable tickets work just fine for applications for UK visas and for Schengen visas. [That is, at least if the ticket doesn’t come across as being inconsistent with the apparent means of the visa applicants.] The refundable ticket route just means locking up some capital with the refundable ticket purchases, it doesn’t mean that they can’t use a different ticketed PNR for travel than the one used for the visa application.] If not wanting to lock up as much capital but willing to eat a small fee perhaps, refundable mileage tickets work too.

For the visas, if you’re considering travel via the U.K. in both directions for them, make sure the UK visa is good for more than just a single UK entry. For the Schengen visa, not sure if the Spanish (or other relevant EU) embassy/consulate would only give a single entry visa, but if they will be crossing into and out of the Schengen zone more than once on the trip to Europe, a double-entry or multiple entry Schengen visa may well be useful.

I would suggest routing in a way that requires a transit visa. There are plenty of routes that go directly from PVG to Schengen zone airports and have onward connections to Spanish airports close to the Balearic and Alboran Seas and would spare the hassle of a UK transit visa.

Last edited by GUWonder; Jan 14, 20 at 10:35 pm
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Old Jan 16, 20, 4:03 am
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The Chinese citizens are in their 70s, and may not speak English. Why would you subject them to getting an unnecessary visa that requires a day trip to be fingerprinted plus documentation of their recent life history, just to take an extra flight which also involves an LHR terminal change and passing through an extra security screening in both directions?

Fly direct to Madrid (flights arrive in the evening), get straight to a hotel and relax/adjust timezone, then take a train to Barcelona in the morning. OK, the high speed trains in Spain have security screening but it is nothing like in an airport.

Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
I would suggest routing in a way that requires a transit visa. There are plenty of routes that go directly from PVG to Schengen zone airports and have onward connections to Spanish airports close to the Balearic and Alboran Seas and would spare the hassle of a UK transit visa.
Did you mean a route that does not require a visa?
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Old Jan 16, 20, 4:48 am
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Yes. Left out the word “not”, even as I was suggesting to spare them the hassle of getting a UK transit visa.

But do most Chinese citizens with a Schengen visa even need a UK transit visa to do airside transit at say LHR? I thought they didn’t, at least for those with Schengen D visas. Even with Brexit scheduled in a couple of weeks, I expect the transit visa exemption for a lot of Schengen visa holders will remain. Are Schengen type D visas not the most common visas issued by say Spain in China?

Avoiding UK transits is my suggestion either way because it has the transfer security screening hassle that it does and has it doubly at that, but transits in the Schengen zone have transfer security screening too, albeit mostly just on the way in (with some exceptions)..

Last edited by GUWonder; Jan 16, 20 at 8:10 am
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Old Jan 16, 20, 9:28 am
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Many tourists from China visit the Schengen area on an Approved Destination Scheme (ADS) visa which does exempt them from requiring a UK DATV.

I think independent tourists like the OP's in-laws would be issued with a Schengen C visa, not a D visa, and thus they would still require a DATV, to my knowledge.
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Old Jan 16, 20, 7:01 pm
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Originally Posted by :D! View Post
The Chinese citizens are in their 70s, and may not speak English. Why would you subject them to getting an unnecessary visa that requires a day trip to be fingerprinted plus documentation of their recent life history, just to take an extra flight which also involves an LHR terminal change and passing through an extra security screening in both directions?

Fly direct to Madrid (flights arrive in the evening), get straight to a hotel and relax/adjust timezone, then take a train to Barcelona in the morning. OK, the high speed trains in Spain have security screening but it is nothing like in an airport.
Yeah, they freaked at the idea of getting another visa, we're flying direct to Madrid. One of them is well enough traveled that I'm surprised at her reaction.
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Old Jan 19, 20, 6:32 pm
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Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
Yeah, they freaked at the idea of getting another visa, we're flying direct to Madrid. One of them is well enough traveled that I'm surprised at her reaction.
Maybe not. The U.K. is getting a bad reputation re: visitor visas.
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Old Jan 19, 20, 11:36 pm
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Originally Posted by YVR Cockroach View Post
Maybe not. The U.K. is getting a bad reputation re: visitor visas.
It is not a visitor visa that is needed in this case.
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Old Jan 20, 20, 10:37 am
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Originally Posted by :D! View Post
It is not a visitor visa that is needed in this case.
Broad category. Includes (for me) transit and student visas.
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Old Jan 20, 20, 11:55 am
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Originally Posted by YVR Cockroach View Post
Maybe not. The U.K. is getting a bad reputation re: visitor visas.
I agree that itís not surprising. However, itísnot a new reputation for UK visas. Itís often been more hassle (and/or money) than itís worth for those who would just be in transit and have an option to transit/travel elsewhere without applying for a(nother) visa.
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