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Home >> China Travel Tips >> Civil Aviation
Civil Aviation


China is a country of vast distances. If you don't have the time or inclination for a long drawn-out land campaign, take to the air.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China(CAAC) is the civil aviation authority for numerous airlines, including Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, China Southwest, China Northern, Shanghai, Yunnan and others, which has opened around 1,000 domestic lines that cover 140 cities with Beijing in the center. There are also 130 international airlines and 21 regional airlines, radiating to 60 cities in 40 countries. Flying along these lines are some of the world's finest aircraft, and all the major airports are equipped with the world's best available facilities. Air China is one of the safest air companies in the world.

Planes vary in style and comfort. The more regularly travelled routes between cities employ Boeing or Airbus. You may get a hot meal, or just a small piece of cake and an airline souvenir. On-board announcements are delivered in Chinese and English if there are foreigners on board.

Reservation & Cancellation

You'll need to show your passport when reserving or purchasing a ticket. Business-class tickets cost 25% more than economy-class tickets, and lst-class tickets cost an extra 60%. Children over 12 are charged adult fares; kids between two and 12 pay half-price. Toddlers under the age of two pay 10% of the full fare. You can use credit cards at most CAAC offices and travel agents.

Buying tickets during the Chinese New Year, and the 1 May and 1 October week-long holidays is near impossible, so plan early. There is an airport tax of £¤50 on domestic flights.

Cancellation fees depend on how 1ong before departure you cancel. On domestic flights, if you cancel 24 to 48 hours before departure you lose 10% of the fare; if you cancel between two and 24 hours before the flight you lose 20%; and if you cancel less than two hours before the flight you 1ose 30%. If you don't show up for a domestic flight, you are entitled to a refund of 50%. When purchasing a ticket, you may be asked to buy insurance (£¤20). It's not compulsory and the amount you can claim is very low.

Valuable Tips

  • Confirmation: If you have reserved a seat to continue your flight in China, or for a return journey on an international or regional flight, you should reconfirm its reservation at least 72 hours before departure if you'll stop over at the boarding place for longer than 72 hours. Or else the seat shall be automatically cancelled. No confirmation is necessary if you stop over at the place for your continued flight or return flight for less than 72 hours.
  • Ticket Validity: The validity period of normal fare tickets, whether for single, return or circular trips, is one year. The validity periods of special fare tickets and discount normal fare tickets are calculated on the basis of related fares in accordance with relevant stipulations.
  • You need to arrive at the airport at least 30 minutes before departure.
  • Airport Fee: A 90-yuan airport fee shall be collected from passengers departing from any international airports in the People's Republic of China. Passengers holding diplomatic passports, transit passengers who stop over for less than 24 hours, and children under the age of 12 are exempt from the airport fee.
  • Free Luggage Allowance by Weight: The free luggage allowance by weight for every passenger holding a ticket with full fare or half fare for an international or regional flight is 40 kg for a first-class ticket, 30 kg for a business class ticket, and 20 kg for an economy class ticket. No free luggage allowance is granted to babies who pay 10 percent of the adult fare.
  • Carry-on Baggage: 2 pieces for a passenger holding a first-class ticket; and 1 piece for a passenger with a business or an economy-class ticket. The dimensions for each piece of luggage allowed should not exceed 20x40x55 cm, and the maximum weight shall not exceed 5 kg. You'll have to pay if you bring more luggage aboard than is allowed in terms of piece or weight.
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