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LAX to BKK (in coach): Which sub-$500 RT Chinese cheapie airline is best?

LAX to BKK (in coach): Which sub-$500 RT Chinese cheapie airline is best?

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Old Oct 11, 18, 3:13 am
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LAX to BKK (in coach): Which sub-$500 RT Chinese cheapie airline is best?

Parameters: Very budget-conscious (definitely flying in back), need the 2 bags (2 x 23kg allowance fine, hopefully included), looking at the sub-$500 fares, have million-mile silver status on DL if that helps any with SkyTeam partners, would like to earn at least some miles (25%, I'm guessing), but comfort and the least hassle more important, and *A and OW partners would be OK as well.

Looks like the top candidates are Air China, China Eastern and Xiamen, and I guess there's a chance China Southern or Hainan drops to that range.

In 50+ transpacific trips to SE Asia I've still never flown any of those five, so I'm a bit phobic about what to expect with inflight or hassles with the connection or anything like that (CX or NH has usually ridden to the rescue with some sale, though I'm not sure it'll happen this time). I probably need to stop avoiding those carriers and give one a try.

Which would you pick?
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Old Oct 11, 18, 7:29 pm
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Least worst ?

I have not flown any of those save A321 on Air China when UA cancelled my PVG-SFO flight and could only come up with this connecting to UA in KIX.

I asked nicely and they gave me an exit row (much to my surprise) on the relatively short hop, and that was fine.

My one word of advice is from my limited experience and from what's been posted, try to avoid PVG; PEK is better, not sure about the other cities where some airlines connect.
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Old Oct 14, 18, 6:23 am
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PEK is not better than PVG, this is false. MU will give you 100% Delta qualifying miles, although you won't get full redeemable miles on all fares. China Eastern has free wifi on it's flights overseas as well (although it's China wifi so no facebook/google/etc). I'd take MU just for wifi alone.
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Old Oct 14, 18, 6:46 am
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Originally Posted by travelinmanS View Post
PEK is not better than PVG, this is false. MU will give you 100% Delta qualifying miles, although you won't get full redeemable miles on all fares. China Eastern has free wifi on it's flights overseas as well (although it's China wifi so no facebook/google/etc). I'd take MU just for wifi alone.
OK, less worse.
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Old Oct 15, 18, 4:48 pm
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sale fares come along all the time. I'd say you might want to keep an eye on the deals forum. Or even the TPG blog as they are always posting cheap fares that pop up. https://thepointsguy.com/deals/ I see there is a recent post that I guess you may have seen. Or set a Google Flights tracker

I'd imagine that flying in the back of the bus won't be fun with any of them. But you can always check seatguru to see how dense the seating is and read reviews of the various airlines.
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Old Oct 16, 18, 1:59 am
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Originally Posted by glennaa11 View Post
sale fares come along all the time. I'd say you might want to keep an eye on the deals forum. Or even the TPG blog as they are always posting cheap fares that pop up. https://thepointsguy.com/deals/ I see there is a recent post that I guess you may have seen. Or set a Google Flights tracker

I'd imagine that flying in the back of the bus won't be fun with any of them. But you can always check seatguru to see how dense the seating is and read reviews of the various airlines.
Have been seeing $400s if very date-flexible, which is much better than four figures out of ATL thanks to less competition...will take a positioning flight but I think I can do on F9 redeeming miles.

Have been sorta assuming that things like seat pitch won't be great but that there aren't any outliers there. Have flown quite a few Asian carriers over the years and they're usually good in the air but much less so on the ground, so things like getting through a connecting hub or any hassles there are of special concern. For Latin America, for example, I don't like connecting in MEX because they make you go all the way through customs and back in, even for just a connecting flight. Stuff like that.
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Old Oct 16, 18, 5:13 am
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Just flew the first leg of Hong Kong Airlines mistake Biz fare, but must say when I tried coach seat it was OK. Realize it's HKG based but owned by Hainan.
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Old Oct 16, 18, 8:25 am
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Originally Posted by RustyC View Post
For Latin America, for example, I don't like connecting in MEX because they make you go all the way through customs and back in, even for just a connecting flight. Stuff like that.
Yeah, like at O'Hare when coming back to the USA. You have to go all the way back through security again. I hate that.
For China, I've always connected through PEK, so I'm familiar with their transit process (walk past the sometimes massive crowd to go into the little transit gate in the middle of the mass), but how does it compare to PVG?
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Old Oct 16, 18, 9:32 am
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I hated connecting in PEK. Even though I only did it a couple of times and from IAD it is one of the quickest ways to BKK I refuse to do it again. The transit security was completely nuts the last time I went through there. I had a decent amount of camera gear and electronics and was required to remove every lens and device from my bag and place them in a bin. It took a long time and was a total PITA. They tried to hurry me along but I was like, you are the ones requiring me to do this so it is going to take a while. I've never been through any other airport requiring that. Maybe that's standard in China, I don't know. When flying back to the US it was also a total mess. I had a boarding pass already but when I tried to board they required me to go back to the desk and get a BP issued there instead of using the one I had. And then they searched everyone's bags in the hallway on the way to the plane. I vowed then to avoid the airport and now I just go via NRT, ICN or HKG instead.
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Old Oct 18, 18, 2:36 am
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Originally Posted by glennaa11 View Post
And then they searched everyone's bags in the hallway on the way to the plane.
That is SOP from some US bound airports, even indirectly. BKK-NRT-SFO comes to mind before the BKK leg was dropped.
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Old Oct 18, 18, 11:04 am
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NRT doesn't do this...or at least the didn't the last few times I flew through there. I think they did select some people "randomly" but not everyone. HKG might, but I can't recall. I know they had changed the set up when I flew through there last year
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Old Oct 18, 18, 9:34 pm
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Originally Posted by glennaa11 View Post
I hated connecting in PEK. Even though I only did it a couple of times and from IAD it is one of the quickest ways to BKK I refuse to do it again. The transit security was completely nuts the last time I went through there. I had a decent amount of camera gear and electronics and was required to remove every lens and device from my bag and place them in a bin. It took a long time and was a total PITA. They tried to hurry me along but I was like, you are the ones requiring me to do this so it is going to take a while. I've never been through any other airport requiring that. Maybe that's standard in China, I don't know. When flying back to the US it was also a total mess. I had a boarding pass already but when I tried to board they required me to go back to the desk and get a BP issued there instead of using the one I had. And then they searched everyone's bags in the hallway on the way to the plane. I vowed then to avoid the airport and now I just go via NRT, ICN or HKG instead.
I've never transited through a Chinese airport (unless you count HKG). Do you mean carry-ons here? I've certainly had the NRT experience many times, though they don't tend to stop many people for going through everything. Much worse is MEX where they wanted transit passengers to go through THEIR customs with both checked and carry-on bags as if they were arriving passengers and then come back in as if you were starting the flight there.

Have also gotten the jetway ambush many times, either randomly or checking everyone.
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Old Oct 19, 18, 7:36 am
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Yeah, carry-ons. Not as smooth as the NRT experience.

In my limited PEK experience (3 times), not many people transit, so just finding the transit area is difficult. At Narita, it's easy enough to just follow the line off the plane because it always seemed most people were transiting.
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Old Oct 19, 18, 2:56 pm
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yes, carryon bag. It's the only place I've ever had to essentially remove every single thing from my carryon bag. And then they got impatient with me for following their instructions
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Old Oct 19, 18, 6:52 pm
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Originally Posted by RustyC View Post
I've never transited through a Chinese airport (unless you count HKG). Do you mean carry-ons here? I've certainly had the NRT experience many times, though they don't tend to stop many people for going through everything. Much worse is MEX where they wanted transit passengers to go through THEIR customs with both checked and carry-on bags as if they were arriving passengers and then come back in as if you were starting the flight there.

Have also gotten the jetway ambush many times, either randomly or checking everyone.
What nerve! I can't imagine that there would be any other country that has such arcane rules for international transit passengers ;-)

Transiting in PVG is similar to PEK, except that PVG is a better airport and the security people at PEK are ridiculously uptight as another poster mentions above. I hate flying into or from PEK.
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