SkyTeam airlines KLM, Air France, Xiamen Air, China Eastern, and ex-SkyTeam member China Southern are currently partnering up to offer a very good deal from various Czech airports to 17 Chinese destinations. Although KLM and Air France now usually charge extra for luggage, their websites clearly state that luggage is included in these flights. The other airlines also allow one piece of luggage.
We found cheap flights to the following destinations:
- Beijing: €433 (~CZK 10,512)
- Guangzhou: €443 (~CZK 10,755)
- Xiamen: €443 (~CZK 10,755)
- Haikou: €443 (~CZK 10,755)
- Dalian: €446 (~CZK 10,828)
- Tianjin: €446 (~CZK 10,828)
- Zhengzhou: €446 (~CZK 10,828)
- Shenyang: €446 (~CZK 10,828)
- Changchun: €446 (~CZK 10,828)
- Harbin: €446 (~CZK 10,828)
- Nanchang: €447 (~CKZ 447)
- Qingdao: €447 (~CZK 10,852)
- Shenzen: €450 (~CZK 10,925)
- Shanghai: €468 (~CZK 11,362)
- Changsha: €488 (~CZK 11,847)
- Xi’an: €491 (~CZK 11,920)
- Fuzhou: €491 (~CZK 11,920)
Unless you’re flying with China Eastern, you would usually first fly to Amsterdam or Paris, and then head on to China. As stated in the introduction, all airlines will allow you to bring one suitcase. China Eastern apparently even allows 2 pieces of luggage. Drinks and meals are also included at all airlines.
If you’re flying to one of the lesser-known Chinese destinations, your trip will usually have a second layover in China, from where one of the Chinese airlines will fly you to your destination.
Search & Book
The fare rules vary a bit according to the airline and destination. All fare rules state that the trip has to be at least 6 days (or a Sunday) long and may not exceed 3 months. Your trip may take place before July or between August 21st and December 21st.
You should use Google Flights to find the available dates that suit you best. Sadly, the China Eastern prices, which are the cheapest, don’t get displayed correctly on Google’s calendar, so for those, you might have to try around a bit.
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.
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
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