PEK Routing Question

 
Old May 27, 08, 6:47 pm
  #1  
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PEK Routing Question

This thread could sit in the *A or Itineraries boards, but figure the UAL MP flyers would have more recent experience and advice.

-Routing to the Maldives by ATL-YYZ-PEK-SIN-MLE on a *A award. When I booked the trip this was the only way to go and included an overnight in PEK.....however we are now getting around to checking for Visa requirements etc. The PR's Visa requirement is not only $130/pp but has recently gotten a lot more difficult to obtain. Questions:

1. The overnight is from 4PM to 8AM the next morning, but we are figuring by the time we clear into China and get to the hotel we will just want to crash, therefore not much advantage to clearing into PEK. With such a short stay is clearing in advantageous and really worth it? How can we make the most of the overnight in PEK?

2. We have the option of continuing on to SIN that night at midnight, but this would require 8+ hours in PEK after the 13 hour transpac. Is there a decent lounge with showers to occupy in the new PEK terminal?

3. Is there a hotel or other recommendation to pass the time in PEK if we choose not to clear into China? Hotel is on points, the cabs are cheap and the city is supposedly cheap.....the Visa fee would be the most expensive part of the overnight.

Appreciate any feedback or input....thank you.
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Old May 27, 08, 6:52 pm
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Sorry I can't specifically answer your questions, but I probably wouldn't touch your routing. From the looks of it, the routing doesn't look too legal. I know it's ticketed, but another FTer posted that their ticketed itinerary was modified by another agent after it was deemed an illegal routing.

Booking *A award travel with UA miles can be very hit or miss. What is legal to one agent might be not legal to another.
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Old May 27, 08, 7:23 pm
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We've really been through the legal v. illegal routing battle with UAL....very long story, but as of now there are comments in the record by a supervisor that the routing is OK although not considered legal. To recap for discussion (might be a little off topic), but our experience with UAL:

1. Booked ATL-FRA-CPT-MRU for vacation for 120k/ticket in business.
2. Wanted to change the routing to MLE (while still a 1k) and wanted ATL-FRA-SIN-MLE (was available), but UAL agent insisted this routing would take two different awards and I HAD to travel over the Pacific. I even pointed out the award chart on the website, but the agent insisted anything on the website was "website support's error".
3. Booked current itin over the Pacific. For 90k miles/ticket but held the itin whle figuring out hotels. When I called back UAL booked the award, but took 120k miles (rightfully so).
4. Called back a month later to make one change to the routing and the agent found the illegal routing and insisted I couldn't make any changes and I would have to find a routing over the Atlantic.......3 hours later.....UAL agrees to keep the current routing and add the comment.
5. Called back recently with an available routing over the Atlantic that takes care of the PEK overnight issue, but alas....ANA award tool availability doesn't mean anything with UAL seeing availability on LH, SQ, or TG.
6. Here we are with trying to figure out the PEK layover issue.

Appreciate the heads up as UAL messing with the itin is a major concern.

Thanks.
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Old May 27, 08, 8:37 pm
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Originally Posted by PLTHOO View Post

2. We have the option of continuing on to SIN that night at midnight, but this would require 8+ hours in PEK after the 13 hour transpac. Is there a decent lounge with showers to occupy in the new PEK terminal?

Appreciate any feedback or input....thank you.
There is currently only one lounge available that I'm aware of, and that's the Air China lounge. I was there last Friday... very spacious, and decent food, but no showers (at least in the Business class Lounge).

Chris
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Old May 27, 08, 8:45 pm
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my question would be whether there is any chance of rerouting it thru hong kong which has lounges, I believe showers, and also a flight that goes right on to singapore. it also avoids the visa issue
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Old May 27, 08, 8:46 pm
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Originally Posted by PLTHOO View Post
3. Is there a hotel or other recommendation to pass the time in PEK if we choose not to clear into China? Hotel is on points, the cabs are cheap and the city is supposedly cheap.....the Visa fee would be the most expensive part of the overnight.

Appreciate any feedback or input....thank you.
No transit hotel within the sterile area in PEK like you might find in SIN or other places.

Only limited hotels near the airport. I agree, if you have time, get a cab into town, even if only to spend the night and enjoy the feel of Beijing and its people in the morning as the city wakes up.
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Old May 27, 08, 8:47 pm
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It's a 30-60 minute ride to downtown, depending on traffic. The lounges in Terminal 3 are not bad, but the terminal vendors (although not the lounges) shut down around 9:00, so you will quickly be bored. There are no showers as far as I know in Terminal 3. Personally, I think I would be inclined to head to Singapore.
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Old May 27, 08, 9:10 pm
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Thanks for the replies so far-----unfortunately to date there has been nothing available to re-route through PVG (48 hours transit allowed without visa), HKG, NRT, KIX, or ICN.

The real issue is that if we continue on to SIN that night, we endure an 8 hour wait in the airport, without a shower, and limited lounges. We are also being a little $$$ savvy (need the $$$ for the Maldives) and don't want to drop 300 bucks for a night in PEK...unless it is really worth it.

Just trying to weigh out our options, thanks and keep the replies coming.
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Old May 28, 08, 7:38 pm
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are you sure there are no showers in the air china lounge?

several sites suggests there are showers

http://www.loungepass.com/index.cfm?...e_code=PEKIBUS

http://www.prioritypass.com/lounges/lounge-details.cfm

Last edited by MrAOK; May 28, 08 at 7:45 pm
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Old May 28, 08, 8:52 pm
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You do not need a Chinese Visa if you are staying in PEK less than 24 hours. This applies even if you pass thru immigration.

But it is my experience that last time I had a connection in PEK (SQ to UA last June), they still made me clear customs, stamped my passport, collect my bags, and re-check-in for my UA flight at the check-in desk (not the transit desk). I had 2 hours and almost missed my flight, had to argue with them to let me on (you're late, flight closed!)

I would rather transit anywhere than in PEK or PVG. And in the entire airport, I didn't see anyone smile (passengers or staff).
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Old May 28, 08, 9:09 pm
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Originally Posted by MrAOK View Post
are you sure there are no showers in the air china lounge?

several sites suggests there are showers

http://www.loungepass.com/index.cfm?...e_code=PEKIBUS

http://www.prioritypass.com/lounges/lounge-details.cfm
The information you quoted relates to Terminal 2, not the new Terminal 3. There are no showers at the T3 business lounge and *G won't get you into the first class lounge.
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Old May 29, 08, 8:17 pm
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Originally Posted by BangkokTraveler View Post
You do not need a Chinese Visa if you are staying in PEK less than 24 hours. This applies even if you pass thru immigration.
Really?? If this is true then we are set to transit through PEK and spend the night in the city.....but every consulate and embassy instruction on visas indicates passengers must have a visa unless "pax is a non-US or British passport holder and may transit for less than 24 hours without leaving the airport". Does this mean that US and British passport holder can transit AND leave the airport.

Anyone with insight on if we can leave the airport, spend the night in Beijing, and not pay the visa fee would be extremely helpful.

Thank you!
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Old May 29, 08, 8:36 pm
  #13  
Ari
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Originally Posted by PLTHOO View Post
The PR's Visa requirement is not only $130/pp but has recently gotten a lot more difficult to obtain.
Just show up without a visa. For the 24 hours you can have the visa issued at PEK before immingration for little or no fee.
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Old May 29, 08, 9:03 pm
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Originally Posted by PLTHOO View Post
Really?? If this is true then we are set to transit through PEK and spend the night in the city.....but every consulate and embassy instruction on visas indicates passengers must have a visa unless "pax is a non-US or British passport holder and may transit for less than 24 hours without leaving the airport". Does this mean that US and British passport holder can transit AND leave the airport.

Anyone with insight on if we can leave the airport, spend the night in Beijing, and not pay the visa fee would be extremely helpful.

Thank you!

I did it in Dec 07. It was before the new terminal opened, and I had to go through immigration. No fees, or Visa required. They simply use a hexagon-shaped stamp on entry rather than the usual oval one. No stamp when you exit China.

Everything may be different now, also because of the Olympics? I'm no expert on Chinese Visas, but here is what Timatic has to say about US Passport holders traveling to Maldives:


Code:
CHINA (PEOPLE'S REP.) (CN)


Visa not required provided:
- continuing to a third country by same/first connecting
  aircraft within 24 hours; and
- holding confirmed ticket and documents required for
  onward journey.
Leaving the airport transit area is allowed.
Overnight facilities are available outside the airport.

However, and only applicable if arriving at and departing from:
Shanghai Hongqiao or Pu Dong airports:
visa not required provided continuing to a third country
within 48 hours and holding confirmed onward ticket and
all documents required for next destination.

Non-compliance with entry regulations will result in
deportation of passenger by same or returning aircraft.
Fines for the transporting carrier varying between CNY 500.-
and CNY 2,000.- will be levied for each passenger with an
additional fine varying between CNY 5,000.- and CNY 10,000.-.
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Old May 30, 08, 7:50 am
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I have NOT yet been to T3 in Beijing, but from my past experiences in China.

Lounges tend to be contract lounges with less amenities that one normally sees elsewhere. Showers Food internet access all are more spotty in China.

I do not count on lounges when I am in China. I do not go to the airport early for lounges when I am in China.

FWIW
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