Flights China - flight hacks for Chinese destinations
Flights to Beijing in China. Book plane tickets online to Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK).

China is open to international tourism

After three years of border restrictions, China has fully reopened to foreign visitors – including tourists. On 15 March 2023, the country resumed issuing all categories of visas for foreigners. Travelers entering China are still required to take a Covid test 48 hours before departure and to fill in the results in their customs health declaration forms.

Transiting through Chinese airports is permitted.

Please note that the official travel advisory for the People’s Republic of China issued by the US State Department recommends reconsidering any travel to the country, including Hong Kong and Macao due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws. There is a risk of exit bans and wrongful detention of foreign nationals by the Chinese government. Travelers may be detained without access to their country’s consular services and may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention without due process of law.

Arriving in Beijing

  • If you are flying to Beijing from abroad, you will most likely land at one of its biggest international airportsits main international airportBeijing Capital International Airport PEK (the default airport for Beijing) or Beijing Daxing International Airport PKX (the new airport).

    Beijing PEK airport is located in the northeast of Beijing, China, approximately 32 km (20 miles) from the city center. The airport is situated in the Chaoyang District, near the town of Shunyi, and is accessible by several highways, expressways, and public transportation options.

    The new Beijing PKX airport is situated at the boundary of Beijing and Langfang, in Hebei Province, approximately 53 km (33 miles) to the south of the city center. Its distance from PEK airport is 67 km (42 miles). This world's largest single-structure airport. commenced operations in September 2019. Currently, the majority of flights are still managed by PEK airport. However, many airlines are in the process of relocating their operations to the new airport
    .

    These are also the best (and the cheapest) airports to fly into Beijing. As they are used by many airlines serving the same routes, the competition for passengers is fierce – with decreased airfare as a result.
  • Once in Beijing, take advantage of frequent intercity flights operated by domestic airlines such as China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Air China, Hainan Air, Beijing Capital Airlines, Grand China Air, Lucky Air, Shanghai Airlines, Spring Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, and Tianjin Airlines. Those in-country carriers typically offer lower fares, operate from smaller airports located closer to city centers (you save on ground transportation), and provide flexible schedules – with a wide range of departure times.
  • Planning to explore the region? Popular destinations near Beijing can be easily reached with regional low-cost carriers (LCCs) by the likes of AirAsia, Cebu Pacific, Jeju Air, and Scoot. If you have a layover in Beijing and plan to fly only a short distance to one of its neighboring countries, these budget airlines are an excellent way to save money. However, the “no-frills” carrier may not provide free checked baggage allowance, complimentary food, in-flight entertainment systems, and fast customer support. You may not even get to choose your seats, unless you pay extra.

Airports of Beijing

Best airports to fly into Beijing: Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK)
Beijing has two large international airports – Beijing Capital International Airport PEK (the default airport for Beijing, 32 km / 20 miles from the city center) or Beijing Daxing International Airport PKX (the new airport, 53 km / 33 miles).
Things to know before flying to Beijing
Airlines flying to BeijingAeroflot, Air Algerie, Air Astana, Air China, Air France, Air Guilin, Air Macau, Air Serbia, Air Travel, AirAsia, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Beijing Capital Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific, China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Colorful Guizhou Airlines, Egypt Air, El Al Israel Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airlines, EVA Air, Fuzhou Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Grand China Air, Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Japan Airlines, Jeju Air, Jiangxi Airlines, Joy Air, KLM, Kunming Airlines, LATAM, Loong Air, LOT, Lucky Air, Lufthansa, Mahan Air, Mongolian Airlines, Pakistan International Airlines, Philippine Airlines, SAS, Saudia, Scoot, Shandong Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, SriLankan Airlines, SWISS, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, Turkmenistan Airlines, United Airlines, Uzbekistan Airways, Vietnam Airlines, Xiamen Airlines
Airlines of China (full-service)China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Air China, Hong Kong Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, XiamenAir, Shandong Airlines, Juneyao Airlines

Airlines of China (low-cost)China United Airlines, Beijing Capital Airlines, Spring Airlines, 9 Air, Chengdu Airlines, China Express Airlines, Grand China Air, Colorful Guizhou Airlines, Fuzhou Airlines, Jiangxi Air, Loong Air, Lucky Air, Okay Airways, Qingdao Airlines, Suparna Airlines, Tianjin Airlines, Tibet Airlines, West Air
Airports in BeijingBeijing Capital International Airport (PEK)
Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX)
Regular price (roundtrip)✈ €800 – €1200 (from Europe)
✈ $1100 – $1600 (from USA)
Flight hacks 40% — 80% off regular fare
Airline discountsDiscounted airline tickets to Beijing (student/family/seniors/military)

Low-cost flights from Beijing

Stay ahead of the game. Fly to popular destinations at a fraction of the regular fare.

The cheapest time to fly to Beijing

The cheapest time to fly to Beijing is between November and March (while avoiding public holidays like Chinese New Year). These are the winter months, with cold and dry weather and temperatures dropping as low as -15°C (5°F). As there are not many tourists visiting Beijing, this is the best time to look for deals on flights and hotels.

If you are looking for warmer weather, you will find affordable flights to Beijing in early Spring (March – April) or late fall (September – October).

Top gateway cities in China

China has four large international airports. Your first contact with the country will most likely be at one of these gateway cities: Beijing (a top tourist city with the biggest airport in China), Hong Kong (with many English speakers, and familiar standards of life, it’s a good city to “acclimatize” to China), Shanghai (144-hour visa-free stay policy makes it a great option for a stopover), and Guangzhou (one of China’s oldest cities, with a convenient ferry transport to Hong Kong and Macau).

These are also the largest hubs of China’s air travel, offering plenty of choices for domestic flights to all major cities within the country.

Know your time zone

When checking flights and airport transfer times, ensure you know the local time zones. The departure/arrival times on your plane ticket and boarding pass are based on the time zone of the departure/arrival airport – this also applies to the connecting (layover) airports.

Being almost as wide as the continental United States, China geographically covers five time zones. However, China has only one official time zone across the country – CST (China Standard Time) – the decision made by the Communist Party to enhance “national unity”.

CST is also known as Beijing Time and is 8 hours ahead of UTC (it means it’s 13 hours ahead of New York and 2 hours behind Melbourne). Unlike western countries, China does not follow daylight saving time.

Download a VPN app

When it comes to media censorship, China is one of the world leaders – it seems to have a problem with freedom of speech and certain online content. In the last years, thousands of websites have been banned temporarily or permanently, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, Telegram, and Wikipedia. Google and most of its free tools (Google Search, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Drive, etc) will not be available when traveling to Beijing – this will also affect any app or website that uses Google login.

Solution? If you want to keep access to your favorite websites while staying in Beijing, you should download a VPN app for your smartphone and laptop. By hiding your location, it will allow you to bypass government censorship and freely access all blocked content. Make sure to install it before you arrive – VPN websites and Google Play are blocked, so you can’t download any Android apps when in China.

Next tips

Flights to Beijing from United States and Canada

  • There are no direct flights from the US or Canada to Beijing. However, most major hubs in Asia have non-stop flights to Beijing, as do some larger airports in the Middle East – your journey will have at least one stop. There are plenty of direct flights to Beijing from major North American cities like Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. in the US or Toronto and Vancouver in Canada. Most travelers from the US and Canada arrive at Beijing Capital International Airport. Non-stop flights between the US/Canada and China are operated by United Airlines, Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines. The average direct flight time between North America and Beijing is between 12 and 16 hours
  • Beijing is well-served via one-stop flights from North America. Flights to Beijing with one layover depart from most major North American airports, including Atlanta ATL, Dallas DFW, Denver DEN, Chicago ORD, Los Angeles LAX, Las Vegas DFW, Miami MIA, Seattle SEA, Houston IAH, New York JFK, and San Francisco SFO in the United States and Toronto YYZ, Vancouver YVR, Calgary LAS, and Montreal YUL in Canada.
  • The best airlines to fly to Beijing from the US and Canada are: Air China, Alaska Airlines, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, EVA Air, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, United Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines. They are top full-service carriers, offering exceptional customer service, in-flight comfort, a generous checked baggage allowance, and reliable customer support channels – all included in the ticket price.

US and Canada to Beijing.Ticket prices in February 2024.

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There is no Uber nor Grab in Beijing

Uber launched in China in early 2014, but due to difficulties in gaining a meaningful market share, it decided to take a passive role by selling its local operations to DiDi. The popular Asian super-app Grab never entered the China market.

However, getting around Beijing is quite convenient thanks to the DiDi Rider app, which works similarly to Uber and Grab. DiDi Rider is the main ride-hailing app in China, letting you hail a private car or a taxi and automatically pay the fare when your ride ends. Only registered drivers with a special license can offer rides in accordance with the law introduced by The Ministry of Transport.

You can download the DiDi Rider app for Android or iOS before arriving in Beijing.

Plan for airline delays

Unfortunately, flight delays in China are not uncommon, so be prepared. If you are booking a domestic flight from Beijing that connects to an international flight, make sure you’ve got plenty of time before your international flight takes off. This can save you a lot of stress on the day of travel.

Always keep at least one change of clothes and a toothbrush in your carry-on – just in case your flight gets seriously delayed and you will have to spend the night in the hotel.

Next tips

Flights to Beijing from UK, Germany, France, Netherlands and other countries in Europe

  • There are no direct flights from Europe to Beijing — you’ll need to get a connecting flight from elsewhere in the Middle East or in Asia. Direct flights from Europe to Beijing are around 8 hours long if you fly from Warsaw or nearly 12 hours if you depart from London. Other important European hubs with direct connections to Beijing are Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Rome, and Vienna. These non-stop long-haul flights are operated by large carriers such as Air China, Air Serbia, Austrian Airlines, Beijing Capital Airlines, British Airways, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Finnair, Hainan Airlines, LOT, Lufthansa, SAS, and Xiamen Airlines.
  • Airlines that frequently fly from the UK, Germany, France, and other European countries to Beijing include Air China, Air France, Air Serbia, Austrian Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Emirates, KLM, LOT, Lufthansa, SAS, SWISS, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Turkish Airlines.
  • Consider departure airports in neighboring countries to increase your chance of spotting the best deal. Especially look for large airports that serve as hubs for multiple airlines. For example, if you live in Western Europe, check air tickets to Beijing from Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Paris, and Rome. Leverage frequent promotions from European budget carriers like RyanAir, EasyJet, and Eurowings to reach a major hub; from there, take a cheaper long-haul flight to your final destination, potentially saving hundreds of euros.
  • These major European airports are excellent departure points for trips to Beijing: London LHR and Manchester MAN in the United Kingdom, Frankfurt FRA and Munich MUC in Germany, Paris CDG and Nice NCE in France, Amsterdam AMS in the Netherlands, Madrid MAD and Barcelona BCN in Spain, Rome FCO and Milano MXP in Italy, Brussels BRU in Belgium, Copenhagen OSL in Denmark, Oslo OSL in Norway, Stockholm ARN in Sweden, Zurich ZRH in Switzerland, Lisbon LIS in Portugal, Vienna VIE in Austria, Warsaw WAW in Poland, Prague PRG in the Czech Republic, and Dublin DUB in Ireland.

Europe to Beijing.Flight schedule and ticket prices.

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Last-minute flights to Beijing. The real cost of convenience.

Last-minute flights are often touted as a great way to save money, but the reality is far from it. Booking last-minute flights to Beijing almost always never works out. The convenience of being able to book a flight on the fly is a dangerous game of chance, and you will most likely end up paying significantly higher than booking in advance.

Last-minute flight cost spike
Late booking penalty: The flight prices rise as departure draws near. Last-minute flights are almost always more expensive than booking in advance.

The common perception may be that airlines decrease ticket prices to fill empty seats as the departure date approaches. However, the truth is that airfares depend on demand. Based on years of research and current customer data, the airlines know what people are willing to pay for specific flights and dates. They are also well aware that people are willing to pay a premium for flights they need to take immediately. To make the most money, the airline will sell its cheapest fares first and then increase the prices right before the flight to take advantage of business travelers and others who are willing to pay the premium price for late booking.

Occasionally, airlines can put some seats on sale to fill the remaining seats, but these are for unusual times and unpopular places. Popular destinations and dates around peak travel times tend to sell out quickly.

Planning ahead is key to securing a good deal on your flight. Last-minute flight deals are hard to come by, so as soon as you have a tentative travel timeline, book your flight. The earlier you book, the more likely you are to save money. If you are looking for a good deal, the best time to book your flight to Beijing is 2-8 months before the takeoff.

Looking for the best deals for Beijing? Check different departure airports.

Airlines often have varying prices for flights to Beijing from different airports – even if they are in close proximity to one another. So don’t limit yourself to just your nearest airport. The neighboring cities may have lower-priced flights that include a layover at Beijing, or may even have direct flights that are more budget-friendly.

For example, if you’re looking to fly from Paris to Beijing, it may be worth checking prices for flights departing from London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, or Rome. Yes, you may have to fly a few hundred kilometers to these hubs, but domestic low-cost airlines like EasyJet, RyanAir, or WizzAir will happily take you there for less than €100.

Book flights from many departure airports
By entering more than one departure city in the flight search engine (at the top of this page), you can quickly find the airport with the cheapest flights to your destination

The same goes for long-haul flights to Beijing from anywhere in the world. By broadening your search to include neighboring airports, you may discover lower-priced options that can save you hundreds of euros!

Domestic flights from Beijing

Most domestic routes in China are operated by local carriers. When traveling to popular tourist destinations such as Hong Kong, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenzhen Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Wuhan, and Xi'an from Beijing Capital Airport and Beijing Daxing Airport, you’ll likely fly with one of these domestic airlines: China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Air China, Hainan Air, Beijing Capital Airlines, Grand China Air, Lucky Air, Shanghai Airlines, Spring Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, and Tianjin Airlines.

This is often the best transportation method, providing speed, convenience, and cost-effectiveness. Local airlines often offer multiple daily flights to key destinations, providing flexibility in scheduling and competitive pricing. They also serve smaller regional airports, enabling access to a wider range of Chinese destinations.

Flights to Beijing from Australia and New Zealand

  • Australia and New Zealand are well-connected with popular Asian destinations, including Beijing. In addition to domestic airlines – Qantas, Jetstar Airways, Virgin Australia, and Air New Zealand – routes from Australasia to Asia are operated by large international carriers such as ANA, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Garuda Indonesia, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways.

    Currently, there are no direct flights from Australia or New Zealand to Beijing. You’ll need a layover in one of the major hubs in Asia.
  • Airfare costs can vary widely depending on the route and the airline’s pricing strategy. To find the cheapest flight to Beijing, compare ticket prices from various international airports in Australia – Sydney SYD, Brisbane BNE, Melbourne MEL, Perth PER, Adelaide ADL, Cairns CNS, Gold Coast OOL, Canberra CBR, and in New Zealand – Auckland AKL, Wellington WLG, Christchurch CHC, Queenstown ZQN, and Dunedin DUD.
  • For optimal savings, consider flying from Australia or New Zealand to a key Asian hub, then connect to Beijing via a regional low-cost carrier. Among budget airlines that fly to Beijing are AirAsia, Cebu Pacific, Jeju Air, and Scoot.

    For the first leg, use the budget carriers that fly out of Australian airports, leveraging sales and promotions they run frequently: AirAsia (connects with Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore), Cebu Pacific (Manila), Jetstar (Seoul, Singapore, Tokyo), Scoot (Singapore), VietJet Air (Ho Chi Minh City), Bamboo Airways (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Beijing), and Batik Air (Jakarta, Singapore).

Australia and New Zealand to Beijing.Flight ticket prices today.

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“Hot seats” on long-haul flights

Those days seat selection is considered an optional, extra paid service – seats with extra legroom (front and exit rows) are usually priced higher. However, if you’re about to take a long-haul flight to Beijing, those “hot seats” are worth considering – expect to pay $50-$100, which is much less than upgrading to Premium Economy.

If you want to choose your seats, do this early (ideally during the booking) for a more extensive selection of available options.

Booking hot seats (preffered seats with extra legroom) on plane
Choosing a hot seat during the flight booking process is usually worth it. For a reasonable price, you will get more room to stretch your legs, as well as a wider seat pitch.

Booking group flights to Beijing

Flights are cheaper when purchased in bulk rather than as individual tickets. Booking group flights to Beijing can be a cost-effective option for a school trip, family reunion, or corporate group traveling to a conference.

To qualify for the special group rate, the group must usually have at least 10 passengers. Discounts depend on the airline, group size, and travel dates, and typically range from 5% to 20% off the regular airfare.

Airlines and flight search websites typically limit automatic group bookings to 10 passengers. This limit reflects the complexity of managing larger groups, which require personalized service and more time to coordinate. To get the price quote for your group, you’ll need to contact the airline or a travel agent directly.

If you’re open to different airlines or want more personalized service, a travel agent may be a better choice. Travel agents may have access to discounted group rates to Beijing and can help with logistics and scheduling.

Flights to Beijing from Bali, Bangkok, Delhi, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo, and other major hubs in Asia

  • Asia is probably the best continent for short-haul and mid-haul flying. The sheer scale of this most populous region on Earth is reflected in the type of aircraft operating many shorter routes: intra-Asia flyers benefit from comfortable, wide-bodied aircraft by the likes of Boeing 777, 787 or Airbus A350, A330, and A380. When booking your flight to Beijing look for these bigger planes as they will almost always give you the best experience in every cabin, including better seat pitches, higher ceilings, and larger overhead bin space.
  • Asia is also home to most of the world’s best airlines. There are only ten airlines that received the prestigious 5-star mark of quality from Skytrax, and all of them are from Asia: ANA, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines. Choosing one of these airlines for your trip to Beijing will guarantee a pleasant journey – delicious meals served during the flight, great in-flight entertainment, and above-average airline customer service.
  • Asia is extremely well served by low-cost regional airlines. If you are visiting China and want to see several other countries on a tight budget, they often have great sales with rock-bottom prices, while still offering a relatively comfortable flight experience. Among the best Asian budget airlines you can book without hesitation are AirAsiaCebu Pacific, Citilink, FlyDubai, Indigo, Jetstar Airways, Scoot, SpiceJet, and VietJet Air. The cons? Being no-frills airlines they may not provide free baggage allowance, inflight meals, or onboard entertainment. The departure times may also be quite inconvenient as they try to save money by flying at off-peak hours.
  • Most major Asian airports have convenient and frequent flights to Beijing — including Changi (Singapore), Dubai (UAE), Hong Kong (China), Incheon (Seoul, South Korea), Indira Gandhi (New Delhi, India), KLIA (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Narita (Tokyo, Japan), Denpasar (Bali, Indonesia), Soekarno–Hatta (Jakarta, Indonesia), Ninoy Aquino (Manila, Philippines), Suvarnabhumi (Bangkok, Thailand), Taoyuan (Taipei, Taiwan), and others.

Beijing from major Asian airports.Flight prices in February 2024.

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Proof of onward travel – a simple hack

Travelers who go on long trips often don’t have a set itinerary and fly on one-way tickets. The problem? For many APAC countries, proof of onward travel is a legal requirement. If you arrive at the airport without an onward ticket (from China to another country), you’ll either be forced to buy one online or forbidden from boarding the plane altogether.

The cheapest solution? Renting an onward ticket! Use the websites such as OneWayFly or OnwardTicket to get a flight reservation for a limited amount of time (usually 2 to 14 days). They work by actually booking you on a real flight out of China and giving you a confirmable flight reservation with a PNR (Passenger Name Record) under your name. After the time limit, your spot on the flight is automatically canceled. Such “temporary tickets” tend to cost anywhere from $10 to $20.

Confirmed flight ticket reservation
Proof of onward travel: confirmed flight ticket reservation (source: OnwardTicket)

Fly now, pay later

Book Now Pay Later (BNPL) plans for flights have become a popular trend in the travel industry, allowing travelers to book flights and pay in installments. Among the airlines that offer this option are American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Qantas, Turkish Airlines, and United Airlines. They partner with external financial companies to offer their loan services on the checkout page.

The BNPL plans come with varying terms and fees. Some may be interest-free but have fees for late-payments and require forced autoplay on your bank account, while others may have high annual percentage rates (up to 30-40% APR).

When considering BNPL financing for your flight to Beijing, it’s crucial to carefully evaluate the pros and cons, and thoroughly review the terms and conditions.