Oneworld member Finnair heavily promotes its service from Helsinki to Xi’an in China by selling business class tickets from several European airports at €1,300 for a roundtrip. All flights include a short layover in Helsinki and – of course – the chance to see the magnificent terracotty army. The latter is located right outside the city limits of Xi’an.
We’ve found the following departure airports and fares:
- Copenhagen at €1,285
- Milan at €1,288
- Tallinn at €1,289
- Amsterdam at €1,292
- Vilnius at €1,299
- Brussels at €1,299
- Riga at €1,299
- Madrid at €1,299
- Paris at €1,317
- Oslo at €1,320
- Stockholm at €1,330
- Lisbon at €1,400
The long haul segments are operated by Finnair Airbus A330. These feature alternating 2-2-1 and 1-2-1 seating patterns in business class. Inner European flights are Embraer 190 or Airbus A320 family aircraft without a dedicated business class cabin, but preferred seating in form of an empty middle seat.
Search & Book
According to fare rules, this offer remains online until January 27, 2020 or until sold out. It is valid for flights between April 23 and June 19, 2020. You need to stay at least five days or a night from saturday to sunday to get the lowest fare, while not more than one month may pass between out- and inbound flight.
Google Flights displays all possible flight dates accurately. Enter the dates you’ve found in our flight search to see what online travel agencies have to offer. More often than not, the cheapest tickets are sold directly by Finnair, which is the best option to purchase your tickets anyway.
Why is booking with an airline better than with an online travel agency?
More often than not, online travel agencies offer lower fares than airlines do. We still recommend booking with the airlines directly. There are three main reasons for that:
- The Covid-19 Pandemic
During the worldwide outbreak of Covid-19, planning international travel got more and more risky because of ever-changing restrictions. In contrast to many online travel agencies, most airlines modified their terms & conditions to become more customer friendly. Rebooking conditions are eased, change fees are waived and cancellations are much easier when there is no third party involved.
Further, by adding an OTA to your plans, you increase the risk of one service provider involved going bankrupt. Now, the airline and the online travel agency involved could vanish along with your money.
- Better Customer Service
In case any problems like delays, cancellations or missed connections arise, you can communicate directly with the airline. The airlines has to take care of you because you have a contract with them.
If a travel agency issues your ticket, you may have to reach out to them first. You also depend on your OTA to forward you information like flight changes instead receiving them directly from the airline. You may get a prime exhibition of responsibility shifting rather than problem solving.
This especially applies for premium tickets. You don’t want to spend more than €1,000 to wind up with some budget OTA’s telephone hotline in case anything goes wrong.
- Baggage Fees
Economy fares not including hold luggage are more and more common. In most cases, travel agencies charge much higher baggage fees than the airlines themselves. If bags are not included in your fare, airlines are often the cheaper alternative.
Finnair issues tickets for all flight segments in booking class I. This results in glorious earning opportunities in British Airways Executive Club if you’re flying from Lisbon. In this case, each flight segment is worth 140 tier points – adding up to 560 tier points for a roundtrip. That brings you very close to the 600 tier points needed to gain British Airways Executive Club Gold and therefore Oneworld Sapphire tier (among its perks are lounge access for two persons). Your mileage accrual with other airlines on the same route looks like this:
- 27,320 on Alaska Mileage Plan
- 15,180 on Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- 15,180 on Iberia Plus
- 15,180 on Asia Miles
- 15,180 on S7 Airlines Priority Club
- 15,180 on British Airways Executive Club
- 15,180 on Malaysia Airlines Enrich
- 15,180 on SriLankan FlySmiles
- 8,500 on Japan Airlines Mileage Bank
- 3,030 on LATAM Pass
Information & Tips for China
China is the most populous and the third largest country in the world, so naturally, there is a lot to see. The most touristically important cities are the capital of China, Beijing and the financial and trade center Shanghai.
Best Time to Travel
Since the country is vast and extends over several climate zones, there is no best travel time for China. China is connected to Europe through numerous direct flights and the travel time is about 11-13 hours. Flights to China can be found for less than 400€ throughout the year, and there are also often excellent Business Class fares.
A general advice is that travel should be avoided during the Chinese national holidays, which span over the first two weeks of October. During these time tourist destinations are overcrowded with Chinese tourists on their domestic vacation.
Visa for China
Most European citizens will need a visa to enter China.
You can apply for a tourist visa at a Visa Application Service Center (CVASC) in your country. There you’ll hand in your visa application personally and can pick it up again after a few days. There is no faster and cheaper way.
Alternatively, you can apply for a visa by mail. The processing time will be up to two weeks, and you’ll have to pay for extra for shipping.
There are also so-called Visa services available that sometimes offer a faster (and maybe even cheaper) way to get your Visa. Check local sites to find out more.
All Dealz for China
Information & Tips for Xi’An
No city has been China’s capital for a longer time than Xi’an – or its predecessor Chang’an. Beginning with the first emperor Qin Shihuang, over a thousand years China has been governed from this secure place in the midst of a mountain range. Said first emperor gave the city its greatest attraction, the marvelous Terracotta Army. But Xi’an has a lot more to offer than soldiers made of clay. It is one of the culturally most diverse cities in the country, being home to many Hui, an ethnicy of Chinese Muslims.
Best time to travel
Xi’an is subject to extreme climate conditions. The summers are usually hot and humid, while winters can get unpleasently cold. In April, May, September and October, temperatures are pleasant and percepation is low. Please be awara that during the Chinese National Holidays (usually the first two weeks of October) the city is overcrowded with Chinese tourists. If possible, you should avoid the city during this time frame.
From the airport to the city
Xi’an Xianyang International Airport lies 41 km outside of Xi’an’s city centre. It has yet to receive a metro connection to the city. Until then, a large number of buses operate services to different parts of the city. A oneway ticket costs 25 RMB (around €3) and trips can take up to 2 hours, but are usually 60 minutes or shorter, depending on your destination. A taxiride downtown will take about 45 minutes. The fare should be around 120 RMB (approx. €15).
All Dealz for Xi’An
Cover Picture: Thanks to pixabay user artemtation