Budget China Travel I – the international & internal flight

26/11/2012
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Traveling China on a budget? You should read through this post literally for buying the international and internal flight tickets.

Use the Air Asia to China

Ready to buy the air ticket to China? Getting to China can be the biggest expense, even on a per-day basis, so before you press the “buy” button on the internet to your international air tickets, stop!

 

Asia Airline

Asia Airline

 

There is one discount airline flying into China, Air Asia (airasia.com). It does not fly from North America however it flies from several cities in Australia, New York, Paria and obviously all over Asia. Their flights will generally not come up when seaching on search engines or travel agent’s websites like Expedia. So you need to book on their website. Note that they do not fly into Beijing or Shanghai. Instead they fly to Tianjin (close to Beijing), Hangzhou (close to Shanghai) as well as Chengdu, Guangzhou, Guilin and Shenzhen. Theu hub is Kuala Lumpur and many flights will connect there.

Buy Internal Flight 3 months or more in advance

Internal airfares in China are priced at list and then by discount, sometimes less than 50% of the full list price. So there is a lot of room in airline pricing for a flight from Bejing to Chengdu or Shanghai to Xi’an. (Caution though, as any fare involving Hong Kong is an international fare, not an internal fare, and thus not subject to these deep discounts.)

Chinese Internal Flight

Chinese Internal Flight

 

If you are on a competitive route, such as the examples between Chinese cities above, then several airlines will be flying many flights a day. The early and latest flights will be cheapest in general, as well as one-stop flights. Fares will vary by day of the week. On Friday the airfare might be discounted around 20%, but on Saturday the discount might be 40%, depending on the type of routes. Virtually all internal flights are priced this way. Thus, before you nail down any itinerary in China, it is best to consult the last-minute airfares to determine how to save the most money.