Travel Options in China Part I

Travel – Air

Anyone faced with the unpleasant experience of air travel across Canada or the US, would not believe the the new world in Asia.

From Canada and its [only] two and half carriers, poor service and insane pricing to the US with their paranoia, militarized security and poor service, travelling Asia gives you a new perspective on things.

Security

First and foremost, you will question who is the Totalitarian State once you have made your way through security and customs in an Asian airport. Gone is the same question asked 15 different ways, waiting for your to trip up. Gone is the ego with a badge. You may even be greeted with a small smile.  In and out, the wait  based only on the the number of people entering, not because everyone in line is getting patted down or removing shoes.

Pricing

Wow……what a difference. A typical ticket to and from a major airport will costs considerably less than those of the US and even more so when compared to Canada.  And travel costs cannot be mentioned without making readers aware most tickets can be changed with little to no extra fee.

For example

A standard return ticket from Yantai (a low traffic airport) to Hong Kong, came in at the rough equivalent of $400 (CAD) per person. This is a 4 hour flight. In exchange for the $400, the flight included a meal/snacks, movies, free headset, pillow and blanket. A far cry from Air Canada’s wondrous service.

This ticket also had to be changed to RETURN on a different day. The fee for each ticket came in at roughly 42$ (CAD). Last time I tried to change a ticket in North America, they tried to charge me the difference between the old ticket and new ticket, which was now priced as a last minute ticket. Customer service at its best.

China Eastern (Yantai to Hong Kong): $400 + Change fee: $42 = Total: $442

Including Meals, headphones, Inflight Movies, Warm Meals and Snacks, Blanket/Pillow……AND NO fee for checked in lungage.

Air Canada (May 12th flight from YVR TO YYZ) $404

Included: NO MEALS, NO BLANKET, NO MOVIES, NO HEADPHONES and A FEE for Checked luggage.

The real savings, however, can be found on sites as Taobao. There, you will find tickets that are ridiculously cheap, but not restricted to the Red-eye flights.

Lets go back to our Hong Kong Flight…..the same trip on a discount airline, on a Wednesday Afternoon, cost 1 yuan ($.20 CAD) + the taxes. The taxes came in at 248RMB or about 50$ Canadian.

Mind you this flight did not carry luxuries such as free lunch, but the flight was only 3 hours and no layovers. So bring a sandwich and an ereader.  I also would like to point out, this was not a tin can with wings.  The airline offering this deal provided a rather large sized plan with lots of leg room.

Airports

Spend anytime travelling Asia and you will start to realize the Western World is slowly degrading. Airports are HUGE, modern, and efficient. Hong Kong, for example, is the 3rd busiest airport in the world and you will find arriving and departing a breeze. Should you happen to require a stop over of any length, there is plenty to do. Oh, by the way, unlike airports such as Miami, Wifi is free and robust.

Service

Each flight is loaded with staff, who are quite friendly and helpful, even if they cannot speak english.

Overall, travel by air can be a great experience and not the drain on your soul as is Canadian and US Travel.

Other notable things:

–Despite being in Asia,  the seating in planes seems to be roomier than a Western Counterpart.

–There are smoking rooms inside the airport

–A surprising item which seems to be left out of almost every airport is the stereotypical “city” T Shirt.  Only in Hong Kong, are you able to purchase a “I love Hong Kong” T shirt.  Beijing, Shanghai, Yantai, and Qingdao have no such gift items for travellers.  Perhaps there lies another interesting opportunity in China?

Glass of Scotch

Be sure to check out The Young Travelling MacNichols to read about their experience at the Airport and how it could change how the west can plan for potential conflict with China.

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2 responses to “Travel Options in China Part I

  1. Pingback: China Travel Part II – The Bus | glassoscotch·

  2. Pingback: Teach in China | glass of scotch·

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