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Air

Flights to China

The best price found from United States to China is on April 10th, 2019, travelling with Spirit Airlines. See more options, compare prices and book: search flights.

BWI
Baltimore Washington International
from $333.00
PEK
Beijing Capital

Getting around by air

China’s air network is extensive and growing. The civil aviation fleet is expected to triple in size over the next two decades, up to 70 new airports were planned for construction in recent years alone and 100 more were to be expanded or upgraded. Air safety and quality have improved considerably, but the speed of change generates its own problems: a serious shortage of qualified personnel to fly planes means China needed a reported 18,000 new pilots by 2015. When deciding between flying and using high-speed rail, note that flight delays in China are the worst in the world (according to travel industry monitor FlightStats), while trains almost always leave on time.

Planes vary in style and comfort. 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.

Shuttle buses usually run from Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC; Zhōngguó Mínháng) offices in towns and cities throughout China to the airport, often running via other stops. For domestic flights, arrive at the airport one hour before departure.

Remember to keep your baggage receipt label on your ticket as you will need to show it when you collect your luggage.

Airlines in China

The CAAC is the civil aviation authority for numerous airlines. Some of the listed airlines also have subsidiary airlines. Not all Chinese airline websites have English-language capability.

Air China (www.airchina.com)

Chengdu Airlines

China Eastern Airlines (www.ce-air.com)

China Southern Airlines Serves a web of air routes, including Běijīng, Shànghǎi, Xī’ān and Tiānjīn.

Hainan Airlines

Shandong Airlines

Shanghai Airlines Owned by China Eastern Airlines.

Shenzhen Airlines

Sichuan Airlines

Spring Airlines Has connections between Shànghǎi and tourist destinations such as Qīngdǎo, Guìlín, Xiàmén and Sānyà.

Tianjin Airlines

Tibet Airlines Domestic connections all over China from Lhasa.

Tickets

Except during major festivals and holidays, tickets are easy to purchase, with an oversupply of airline seats. Purchase tickets from branches of the CAAC nationwide, airline offices, travel agents or the travel desk of your hotel; travel agents will usually offer a better discount than airline offices. Discounts are common, except when flying into large cities such as Shànghǎi and Běijīng on the weekend, when the full fare can be the norm. Fares are calculated according to one-way travel, with return tickets simply costing twice the single fare. If flying from Hong Kong or Macau to mainland China, note that these are classified as international flights; it is much cheaper to travel overland into Shēnzhèn, Zhūhǎi or Guǎngzhōu and fly from there.

You can use credit cards at most CAAC offices and travel agents. Departure tax is included in the ticket price.

Ctrip Excellent hotel booking, air and train ticketing website, with English helpline. Useful app available.

Elong Hotel and air ticket booking, with English helpline.

Travel Zen Air tickets and hotel bookings. Chinese-only website.