8h night layover in Beijing
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Aug 9, 2012 10:23 AM Last Post By: SoloHobo
Aug 8, 2012 9:04 PM
8h night layover in BeijingHey guys,
Sorry if this question is already answered in a past thread, but I didn't see any.
Just to give you guys information, I will be leaving Canada to fly to South Korea (Busan). This is my first time flying. My first stop is in Detroit for 3 hours during the morning, and my second is in Beijing for 8 hours overnight (midnight-8am).
My airlines are: Delta ottawa-detroit, delta detroit-bejing, and then Air China beijing-Busan (south korea).
My questions are these:
1. How do I know where to go after the plane dropped me off?
2. Do I need to go get my luggage and re-check it in either Detroit or Beijing? how do i know?
3. What will I do in Beijing for 8hours overnight? Can I just move on to my next Gateway and wait (possibly fall asleep on the bench lol)?
4. How do I know where to go after I'm dropped off in Beijing?
Those are my questions. Sorry, this is my first time flying. I am afraid of going to the wrong area and also of losing my luggage. I'm lucky enough to have enough time in between flights to kinda figure things out, but if I have a come help before hand then it should be less stressful.
Thanks for any help
Aug 8, 2012 10:43 PM
1"1. How do I know where to go after the plane dropped me off?"
Sorry, I'm not quite sure what you mean. If you mean in Detroit, just ask a gate agent on arrival where you need to go for your connecting flight.
It's good you have three hours in Detroit, since this allows enough time to correct a mistake if something goes wrong despite your best efforts. Don't add the stress of a tight connection to the mix.
"2. Do I need to go get my luggage and re-check it in either Detroit or Beijing? how do i know?"
Since you are flying Delta on the first two legs of your trip (Ottawa to Detroit and Detroit to Beijing) I presume they will check your bags through to Beijing and you won't have to handle them yourself in Detroit. That's the way it is usually done. Clarify this with the counter staff when you check in.
You can ask the airline to check your bags all the way through to Busan, but they may not do it since you are changing to Air China in Beijing. You will need to ask the people at the ticket counter and then confirm with a gate agent in Beijing.
If you do need to claim your bags, there is a place where you can leave them at the airport for a few hours (small fee) so you won't have to lug them around. It will be called the "left luggage room" or something along those lines. Ask someone at baggage claim. You should not have to clear customs, since you are not entering China.
"3. What will I do in Beijing for 8hours overnight? Can I just move on to my next Gateway and wait (possibly fall asleep on the bench lol)?"
There are hourly transient lounges in the Beijing airport where you can take a shower to freshen up, plus lie down in a room for a nap. You can also usually get a massage to loosen up after a trans-Pacific sitting marathon. You can have a decent meal. You can walk around and window shop. Try do do something besides sit.
I'd suggest when you first arrive in Beijing that you find out what gate or at least what terminal you will be leaving from 8 hours later. You may have to move between one terminal and another. Once you know, you can plan your available time better.
I would not recommend trying to go into the city, given your circumstances and it being the middle of the night.
"4. How do I know where to go after I'm dropped off in Beijing?"
Ask a gate agent. You can also ask the chief flight attendant before landing. In fact, I'd do both. Redundancy is your friend when traveling in an unfamiliar land. To expand on that, don't be shy. Ask several people the same question and double check the answers that way.
We were all were first time fliers once upon a time. I hope things go smoothly for you. Busan is an interesting city with excellent seafood.
Aug 9, 2012 3:48 AM
2You will be arriving in the International Section of the Beijing Airport -- do not leave the International Section because your next flight will also be international to Korea and you do not want to check through customs in China. If your departing terminal to Korea is a long distance from your arrival terminal, there may be an electric cart for carrying passengers long distances or there may be a train between terminals -- ask an airport attendant. The Shanghai Airport had lots of walking when I was there in 2006, without electric carts or train. Put your carryons in a cart to more easily wheel them the long distances.
Many of the signs in the Beijing Airport are not just in Chinese characters now because during the Olympics the signs were made easier for foreign tourists to read. Many of the Chinese who work with tourists are fluent speaking English. You might find a Wi-Fi outlet area if you are bringing your notebook computer for e-mails. Or, there may be a computer room where you may rent a computer for your e-mails.
I did not spend time at the Beijing Airport because we quickly went through customs and then were met by our hotel driver. However, in Shanghai Airport, I did spend some time while waiting for my flight and did see many shops, a computer room, many kinds of restaurants and snack shops, plus lounges. The Hong Kong Airport was much fancier, with elite boutiques and shops -- Cartier, Gucci, etc. Have fun!
Aug 9, 2012 4:37 AM
3For a first time flying, you have a nightmare of an itinerary, much more complicated than it needed to be, with stops in both the USA and China and an overnight to boot. I hope that the cost savings on this ticket was worth it. Whoever put a newbie flyer on this routing should be shot. If there is anyway to change your ticket to at least fly USA-Korea (Incheon) directly or via Japan connection, I STRONGLY RECOMMEND you do so. That said, I'll assume you are stuck with what you have:
First off, ignore #2's advice as s/he is clearly not knowledgeable about either Beijing Airport or Chinese procedures. Second, Beijing Airport is well-signed in English as well as Chinese. If you need personal help, somebody will be around who can speak English, or can find someone who can. Don't worry too much about that, just get down the following general procedure:
1) You have no choice but to go through Chinese immigration, even if in transit. This is not a problem to do without a visa, as upon landing you'll get 24 hours (special stamp in passport) to do your international transit. Please search on "Transit Without Visa" and my user name on this forum for more details. Note that despite all verbiage you may see to the contrary including on official Chinese Embassy websites, you may indeed leave the airport. Be absolutely certain to have handy printouts of your confirmed onward itinerary all the way through to Busan.
2) Delta flights are in Terminal 2. Air China flights are in Terminal 3. There is no connection you can make yourself between these two--you need to take the (free) Airport Shuttle bus from one to the other. Note: As these terminals are on opposite sides of the runway, you in fact must leave the airport and airport property to get from one to the other!
3) Since your flight to Korea is a next-morning flight, you may not be allowed in Terminal 3 beyond security after you arrive. In which case, you would have to stay the night on the nonsecure side, if there is space in the Transit Hotel (often called Time-Rate Lounges), or go to a hotel. Terminal 2 also has a Transit Hotel in the nonsecure side (lower level) so once you exit via Customs, you might check there first. These hotels don't take reservations, just walk-up. So if T2 is full, you can take the shuttle over to T3 and try there. (Or have T2 transit hotel desk call over to T3 or even T1 to see if space available). If you want to cheap it out or have to resort to all-night in a seat, T3 doesn't have a lot of comfort. I think a couple of the restaurants in T3 non-secure area are open 24/7 so you might find some respite there in a pinch.
4) If your flights are all on one through ticket, then Delta should be able to tag your bags all the way through to Busan. Delta interlines bags with Air China, and PEK airport policy is to auto-route international transit bags that are tagged through, so no baggage pickup and recheck by you would be necessary. This would save you some physical effort and aggravation.
5) If your flights are on separate tickets, then likely you will have to pick up in Beijing in Terminal 2 Baggage Claim after you pass through Immigration. Then take them through Customs (normally foreigners are not stopped) and then on the shuttle bus to Terminal 3. At T3, if you don't want to be stuck with them all night (doubtful you can check in right away but you can try), there is 24 hour Left Luggage where you can park bags for a fee. You'd need a bit of RMB.
6) If you decide to just make a reservation at a hotel off premises, then you'll take a taxi from the official queue. Have a printout of the address in Chinese characters and the hotel phone number for driver to call (they all have mobiles) in case he needs guidance. If you have to do a bag pickup, your choice as to whether to park them in Left Luggage or take them with you to hotel.
Finally, for the USA connection, get straight what you need to do. My understanding is that there is US Immigration/Customs preclearance at some Canadian airports (not sure if Ottawa is among those). That would save you time and trouble in Detroit. 3-hour connection in Detroit if you have to go through International Immigration there, plus Customs, plus recheck bags, get to gate etc. is not a lot of time.
Aug 9, 2012 6:10 AM
4#3 gives the right advice.
I have to raise one more issue, do you have a USTA for transiting in the USA? Check if a Canadian passport Holder needs one. Also, Delta should know this as well. I also think Canadains are pre cleared in Canada prior to boarding a flight to US, and you dont need to pre-apply, but double check. things change.
See USA Branch, or read here.
Your baggage should be checked thru to Beijing at the least, if Delta has agreement with Air China, it can be checked all the way to Korea.
Detroit Metro Airport for International is very nice and very easy, no worries on the transit to gates. Beijing airport on the otherhand, is very nice, but its also HUGE, like so big its a jaw dropping. But the good thing about Asia major hub airports is they have everything you need, and Beijing has everything from a Spa for a massage and relaxing, to all types of food from Texas BBQ to classic Chinese noodle dishes to Sushi. Its also very clean, with many people able to assist in English. All the signs in are English too, no worries on figuring out the airport other than its shear size, and getting between terminals...its also a very cool airport as far as its design.
You can leave the airport as well without a Chinese Visa, if you do clear Immigration, you will show your onward travel, they check the flight status and will stamp you thru, once out of Immigration/customs, you can go into the downtown Biejing if you want on the express train, walk around and do what ever, then head back. Just allow time for the Immigration/Passport security to get to your gate.
Its too bad you are booked direct to Korea from Canada, 1 layover is enough, but 2 is a pain, but you will be an expert traveler when this is journey is complete.
Thank god you asked here on this forum for advice. Its your first time flying international to strange new lands and it can be stressful for some people.
Some tips for international flights to be comfy-
I take a small backpack carry-on, and in it I have the following-
Inflatable Neck pillow for sleeping, keeps your head in resting position
Drink a lot of water on the flight.
I take a prescription sleeping pill like Ambein, take after the 1st meal service, usually after 2 hours of flight or so.
Long sleeve comfy shirt, planes can be really cold.
Easy fitting pants, sitting in a small seat for 13 hours is best in a non constricting pant.
Snacks, like energy bars, peanuts, protein bars.
Handiwipes/towelettes as planes and airports are dirty and lots of germs, keeping hands and things clean is key to not picking up a bug, especially in Asia.
Aspirin and Tylenol
Tooth brush/tooth paste
Also, make a PDF copy of your Passport, send to your Email account, if lost/stolen just download and print for Embassy to have all info.
Notify your Bank cards you are traveling so they dont freeze accounts thinking your cards were stolen/hacked.
Aug 9, 2012 9:07 AM
Aug 9, 2012 9:10 AM
6Yes, Thank you for ALL the help. You guys don't even know how much I appreciate it. I will definitely be printing all this out. As for money, I was going to just take 100 dollars canadian and get it exchanged before I go. I think it should be enough if I will be doing the hourly room.
Thanks again everyone.
Aug 9, 2012 9:13 AM
7I should clarify, you can leave the Beijing airport, with a connecting international flight within 24 hours, so you would qualify. Otherwise, you would need a Visa in advance for China if not connection to an outbound flight.
I just saw the arrival time, with a midnight arrival, really no need to go into the city, it will dead and everything closed. Also the express train does not run that late. Stay put, find a peaceful area and just chill out. I am pretty sure the food courts are open too, if not, they are open by 5am, as I have used them that early.
China is very safe, and the airport is especially safe with so much security, they have cameras everywhere, so be careful picking your nose,,,hehe, They are also very polite and helpful with foreigners, no worries, they have seen it all I am sure.
Lot of info and nice pictures...
Aug 9, 2012 10:04 AM
8I started answering the US part of your question this morning, but it did not get sent, so I will rephrase it now. Following on jiejie's comment, I checked online, and apparently, from Ottawa (Macdonald-Cartier international airport) there is US customs preclearance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_border_preclearance). This means that you should be able to, at least, have your luggage checked all the way to Beijing, and you do not need to go through customs in Detroit, making your life a lot easier.
You might have to be at the airport in Ottawa with sufficient time. It probably takes a bit longer to go through security AND preclearance before your flight at Ottawa airport.
oh, I also checked if you needed ESTA, and apparently citizens from Canada, traveling on a Canadian passport, don't. (https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/1094/kw/esta%20transit%20passenger/session/L3NpZC9IUlR4TWczbA%3D%3D). In any case, it won't hurt you to recheck all the information appropriately.
Edited by: qwert_
Aug 9, 2012 10:23 AM
If you can, take USD, it will be easier to exchange in China and Korea. There are ATM's though in both Detroit and Beijing airports, though you should know your Foreign Fee Charges and also Non Network fees for your Debit card. There is currency exchanges in Beijing, try to use the State Banks exchanges, not the international currency exchanges like Forez/Travelex as they charge a lot of % of the conversion, as China banks are regulated and have to adhere to fair exchange rates. There is exchange in the center of Terminal 2 when you are about to go thru Passport Control to gates.
if you have a smartphone with wifi, or a tablet or laptop, Beijing has wifi everywhere for free, I like the Haagen Daaz ice cream store :)
But you can not access Facebook and some Google functions...
Also Delta is a airline partner for China Air and China Eastern, and Korean Air, be sure to sign up for Skymiles, get the FF# attached to reservations online or via calling, and get flight credits for miles flown, if you make 2 round trips to Asia will have a free US Domestic ticket....it adds up fast in International....
(3 star Hotel)
From US$159.00 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$264.28 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$217.70 per night