The majority of tourists arrive in China by plane. Considering its location compared to Europe and North America, the plane tickets can spell a high price. But careful planning will get you affordable plane tickets to China.
Airports and Airlines
There are more than 10 important airports in China (excluding the one in Hong Kong) but out of them, two receive the most international flights: Pudong International Airport in Shanghai and Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing.
Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) is located 40 km / 25 miles east of the city center and is one of the most important airports in China. Flights arrive at the 1st floor and depart from the 3rd. The facilities include a bank, an exchange office and several ATMs. There are plenty of restaurants, cafes and bar if you need a quick snack and if you need to check your emails you can use the Internet bars. To get to the city you can either take one of the buses (but they stop running at 11 PM) or a taxi (be aware of the scams though particularly because taxi drivers do not speak English).
Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) is located at 26 km / 16 miles from the city center. There are 12 ATMs in the airport, as well as a bank and several exchange offices. Buses connect the airport to the city and there are also metered taxis available (just as mentioned above, avoid the scams and always have the destination written in Chinese to give the driver).
The airlines serving both airports include: Air France, Alitalia, All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Canadian Airlines International, CAAC, China Northwest Airlines, China Southern Airlines, China Northern, China Southwest Airlines, China Xinhua Airlines, Dragon Air, Finnair, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Lufthansa Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Mongolian Air, Northwest Airlines, Pakistan Airlines, Qantas Airlines, Russian International Airlines, SAS, Singapore Airlines, Swissair, Thai International and United Airlines.
Canton, Kunming, Xiamen, Dalian, Urumqi and Tianjin also receive direct international flights.
Tips to get a cheap ticket to China
It’s pretty hard to figure out how to get a cheap ticket to China. The country is expending so fast that planning, although technically working, might be a bit hard than for other Asian countries.
To get a cheap ticket to China, consider the following:
- Fly into Seoul in South Korea and then catch a low-cost flight on one of the Asian airlines.
- Many travelers arrive via Hong Kong so it’s worth to check these fares as well
- Fly into the main airports — Shanghai or Beijing — and travel by bus or train between the Chinese cities. Also check if you can fly into one of the other airports which receive international flights
- Mid-week tickets are generally cheaper than the weekend ones while Mondays are filled with business travelers. So if you have some flexibility fly on Wednesday or Thursday.
- Summer is high season in China when everything is more expensive so try to visit the country during the shoulder season (spring and fall).