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 China

  • If you are flying to China from abroad, you will most likely land at one of its biggest international airportsits main international airportBeijing PEK, Hong Kong HKG, Shanghai PVG, and Guangzhou CAN.

    These are also the best (and the cheapest) airports to fly into China. 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 China, 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 China can be easily reached with regional low-cost carriers (LCCs) by the likes of AirAsia, Bangkok Airways, Batik Air, Cebu Pacific, Jeju Air, Scoot, Tigerair Taiwan, and VietJet Air. If you have a layover in China 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 China

Best airports to fly into China: Beijing (PEK), Hong Kong (HKG), Shanghai (PVG), Guangzhou (CAN), Xiamen (XMN), Hangzhou (HGH), Chongqing (CKG), and Chengdu (CTU)
China has more than 200 airports, including 8 major international airports – Beijing PEK, Hong Kong HKG, Shanghai PVG, Guangzhou CAN, Xiamen XMN, Hangzhou HGH, Chongqing CKG, and Chengdu CTU.
Things to know before flying to China
Airlines flying to China9 Air Co, Aeroflot, Air Algerie, Air Astana, Air Canada, Air China, Air France, Air Macau, Air New Zealand, Air Serbia, Air Tanzania, AirAsia, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Batik Air, Beijing Capital Airlines, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, British Airways, Cambodia Angkor Air, Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific, Chengdu Airlines, China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, China United Airlines, Colorful Guizhou Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Egypt Air, El Al Israel Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airlines, EVA Air, Fiji Airways, Finnair, FlexFlight, FlyArystan, Fuzhou Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Grand China Air, Hainan Airlines, Hebei Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, IndiGo, Iraqi Airways, ITA Airways, Japan Airlines, Jeju Air, Jiangxi Airlines ,Juneyao Air, Kalitta Air, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean Air, Kuwait Airways, Lanmei Airlines, LATAM, Loong Air, LOT, Lucky Air, Lufthansa, Mahan Air, Mongolian Airlines, Myanmar Airways, National Airlines, Neos Air, Nok Air, Oman Air, Okay Airways, Pakistan International Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Philippines AirAsia, Qantas, Qingdao Airlines, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Philippines, Royal Brunei Airlines, SAS, Saudia, Scoot, Shandong Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Spring Airlines, Solomon Airlines, South African Airways, SriLankan Airlines, Suparna Airlines, SWISS, Tap Air Portugal, Thai Airways, Thai Lion Air, Tibet Airlines, Tianjin Airlines, Tigerair Taiwan, Turkish Airlines, Turkmenistan Airlines, Uni Air, United Airlines, Uzbekistan Airways, VietJet Air, Vietnam Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, West Air, WestJet, 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
Main airports in ChinaBeijing Capital International Airport (PEK) — Beijing
Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) — Hong Kong
Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) — Shanghai
Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) — Guangzhou
Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport (XMN) — Xiamen
Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport (HGH) — Hangzhou
Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport (CKG) — Chongqing
Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU) — Chengdu
Kunming Changshui International Airport (KMG) — Kunming
Regular price (roundtrip)✈ €800 – €1200 (from Europe)
✈ $1100 – $1600 (from USA)
Flight hacks 40% — 80% off regular fare
Airline discountsDiscounted airline tickets to China (student/family/seniors/military)

Low-cost flights from China

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

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 5 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 in China – this will also affect any app or website that uses Google login.

Solution? If you want to keep access to your favorite websites while traveling in China, 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.

Duty-free rules

China is serious about the duty-free concession. There is a limit for bringing in certain items. As of 2024, alcoholic beverages for personal consumption – such as wine or spirits (more than 12% alcohol) – cannot exceed 1.5 liters per person, and you can carry only 400 cigarettes, or 100 cigars, or 500g of other tobacco products. You are also only allowed to bring gifts up to a value of RMB 2,000 (~ USD 280) per person, and a maximum of RMB 20,000 in cash (~ USD 2,800).

Anything above those limits must be declared at the airport.

Next tips

Flights to China from United States and Canada

  • There are no direct flights from the US or Canada to China. However, most major hubs in Asia have non-stop flights to China, as do some larger airports in the Middle East – your journey will have at least one stop. There are plenty of direct routes to China 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 one of big international airports in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Xiamen, and Chengdu. Non-stop flights between the US/Canada and China are operated by Air Canada, American Airlines, United Airlines, Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines. The average direct flight time between North America and China is between 12 and 16 hours.
  • China is well-served via one-stop flights from North America. Flights to China 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 China from the US and Canada are: Air Canada, 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.

China from US & Canada.Ticket prices in February 2024.

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The cheapest time to fly to China

Spring and autumn (the low season) are the best times to visit China if you are on a budget. The cheapest flights to China can be found from November through February – while avoiding public holidays like Chinese New Year. The weather is comfortable, with moderate temperatures.

If you are looking for warmer weather, you will find the cheapest fares to China in early Spring (March – April) or late fall (September – October).

There is no Uber nor Grab in China

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 Chinese cities 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 China.

Long waiting times when calling the helpline?

Social media is usually a faster way to reach the airline when a problem arises. Use Twitter or Facebook Messenger to contact the airline customer service and get a response and solution within minutes (see detailed guides for American Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, and others).

When it comes to Twitter there’s one more trick to get in touch with the airline faster: mention the airline in a tweet about your issue (add “@airline_handle”, for example: “@CEAirglobal” for China Eastern Airlines). The social media team will often notice it immediately, ask you for a direct message, and respond privately.

Plan for airline delays

Unfortunately, flight delays in China are not uncommon, so be prepared. If you are booking a domestic flight 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 China from UK, Germany, France, Netherlands and other countries in Europe

  • There are no direct flights from Europe to China — you’ll need to get a connecting flight from elsewhere in the Middle East or in Asia. Direct flights from Europe to China 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 China 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, Austrian Airlines, Beijing Capital Airlines, British Airways, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Finnair, Hainan Airlines, LOT, Lufthansa, Neos Air, Virgin Atlantic, and Xiamen Airlines.
  • Airlines that frequently fly from the UK, Germany, France, and other European countries to China include Air China, Air France, Austrian Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Emirates, KLM, LOT, Lufthansa, SSAS, SWISS, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.
  • 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 China 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 China: 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.

China from Europe.Flight schedule and ticket prices.

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Check different departure airports

Consider neighboring cities when choosing the departure airport – especially look for larger cities with airports that serve as hubs for multiple airlines.

For example, if you live in West Europe, check prices for flights departing from Paris, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Rome, or Vienna. In 9 out of 10 cases, the cheapest flight to China will depart from one of these hubs, and it may be €500 less or more than your first choice. Yes, you may have to fly a few hundred kilometers to this hub, but low-cost airlines like EasyJet, RyanAir, or WizzAir will happily take you there for €50 – €100.

Use a similar tactic if you depart from the US or another region. It’s one of the best ways to save hundreds on trips.

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

Last-minute flights to China. 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 China almost always never works out.

Based on years of research, the airlines know what people are willing to pay for specific flights and dates. To make the most money, they will sell their cheapest fares first and then increase the prices right before the flight to take advantage of these travelers who are willing to pay the premium price for late booking.

Occasionally, airlines can offer last-minute deals to fill the remaining seats, but these are for unusual times and unpopular places. Popular destinations and dates 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 China is 2-8 months before the takeoff.

Airlines of China

The People’s Republic of China has three main state-owned airlines, also known as the “Big Three”: Air China, China Eastern Airlines, and China Southern Airlines. Together, they handle nearly half of the Chinese air traffic. Air China is a member of Star Alliance which enables codesharing, networking and sharing of operational facilities with other member airlines. Similarly, China Eastern and China Southern are members of the SkyTeam Alliance.

The fourth largest airline in China (in terms of fleet size) – Hainan Airlines – is one of the most recommended airlines to fly both internationally and domestically in China. It is certified by SkyTrax as a 5-Star Airline, which proves the highest quality of its onboard product and staff service.

Most short-haul and medium-haul routes from/to China are operated by its smaller airlines, often with service limited to one region – such as Shanghai Airlines, Shandong Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Xiamen Airlines, and Sichuan Airlines.

There are also many budget carriers (AKA no-frills airlines) that offer flights at much lower prices in comparison to full-service airlines such as Air China or Hainan – Spring Airlines, Chengdu Airlines, China Express Airlines, Colorful Guizhou Airlines, Fuzhou AirlinesLucky Air, Okay Airways, Suparna Airlines, Tianjin Airlines, West Air, etc. Because budget airlines manage affordable tickets by cutting down on their operation costs, they may not provide free baggage allowance, inflight refreshments and meals, or Wi-Fi and onboard entertainment. In most cases, their tickets are fixed and non-refundable in case of no show-up or cancellation.

Flights to China from Australia and New Zealand

  • Australia and New Zealand offer robust flight networks to key APAC locations, China included. While domestic carriers like Qantas, Jetstar Airways, Virgin Australia, and Air New Zealand provide solid options, several major international airlines also serve these routes. These include ANA, Cathay Pacific, EmiratesGaruda Indonesia, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways — expanding your choices for travel between Australasia and Asia.

    There are no direct flights from Australia or New Zealand to China. You’ll need a layover in one of the major hubs in Asia.
  • Airlines have different pricing strategies for different routes. A flight to China could be significantly cheaper from Sydney than from Melbourne, depending on airline partnerships, demand, and even time of year. Compare fares from different international airports in Australia: Sydney SYD, Brisbane BNE, Melbourne MEL, Perth PER, Adelaide ADL, Cairns CNS, Gold Coast OOL, Canberra CBR, Darwin DRW, Hobart HBA, Alice Springs ASP, and in New Zealand: Auckland AKL, Wellington WLG, Christchurch CHC, Queenstown ZQN, Dunedin DUD, and Hamilton HLZ.
  • If you’re looking to save, consider flying from Australia or New Zealand to a primary Asian hub, then catch a connecting flight to China with a regional budget airline such as AirAsia, Bangkok Airways, Batik Air, Cebu Pacific, Jeju Air, Scoot, Tigerair Taiwan, and VietJet Air.

    For the initial leg of your trip, full-service airlines such as Qantas or Virgin Atlantic offer premium comfort and exceptional service, albeit at a premium price. However, many Asian airlines, including budget carriers, operate out of Australia and frequently feature sales and promotions. For instance, AirAsia runs deals to Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore; Cebu Pacific to Manila; Scoot to Singapore; VietJet Air to Ho Chi Minh City; Jetstar to Seoul, Singapore, and Tokyo; Bamboo Airways to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Beijing; Batik Air to Jakarta and Singapore.

Australia & New Zealand to China.Flight ticket prices today.

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Booking group flights to China

Flights are cheaper when purchased in bulk rather than as individual tickets. Booking group flights to China 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.

Most airlines have a group booking form or phone number (see examples at Emirates and Qantas). Fill out the form, and the airline will come back to you with the proposed group rate. If your group is large and a scheduled flight cannot accommodate everyone, the airline may offer you a charter flight.

Additionally, there are various perks that your group may be eligible for:

  • free seats (complimentary tickets for every 10 or 20 passengers that book together)
  • free checked baggage allowance
  • dedicated group check-in counter at the airport
  • cabin crew who speak your group’s language
  • flexible booking terms (that allow changes without fees)

Booking group flights to China is similar to booking individual flights. The main difference is that you’ll need to provide personal information for all passengers, and the airline may request additional details, such as meal preferences or accommodations for disabled travelers. A deposit – typically 10-50% of the total cost – may be required to secure the booking. However, some airlines offer deferred payment options where you can secure a reservation with a booking fee and pay the balance later.

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 China and can help with logistics and scheduling.

“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 China, 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.
Next tips

Flights to China 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 China 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 China 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. 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 China — 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.

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

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Lost luggage prevention: Essential tips

Every year, airlines handle millions of bags and a small percentage never make it to their final destinations. Avoid lost luggage nightmares on your trip to China by removing old tags from previous flights on your suitcases – they can confuse baggage handlers and conveyor belt scanners. It’s also a good idea to label your luggage with your name, address, and phone number (both inside and outside the case) and attach a GPS-tracker device like Apple AirTag or Samsung SmartTag.

For peace of mind, consider purchasing travel insurance to cover the full value of your luggage, as airline liability usually doesn’t reflect the actual value of the baggage content.

“Book Flights Now, Pay Later” — is it worth it?

Booking a flight and paying for it later has recently become a popular trend in the travel industry, with many airlines offering delayed payment plans. They will allow you to make flight reservation to China now and then pay the bill in installments. But should you take advantage?

Book Now Pay Later (BNPL) plans are essentially short-term personal loans. By partnering with financial companies such as Affirm, Afterpay, PayPal Credit, Fly Now Pay Later, and Uplift, airlines can offer their loan services on the checkout page. When you book the flight with the BNPL option, the company pays the airline, and you repay the loan in installments over a set period (usually up to 24 months), with a set interest rate.

BNPL providers have varying terms and fees. Some may offer interest-free loans 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). There may also be transaction fees, down payment requirements, and many companies even run a credit check on the traveler.

Fly now pay later - delayed payments for flight reservations
Fly Now Pay Later works with numerous popular travel brands to provide delayed payment options

Among the airlines that offer a “fly now, pay later” option are American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Qantas, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, Southwest, and Virgin Atlantic.

Is BNPL financing worth it? If paid off on time, interest-free delayed payment on your flight ticket to China can be a great way to free up your cash flow. However, there may be safer alternatives available – such as taking advantage of an introductory 0% interest offer on a credit card or using flight price “freezing” services like Hopper.

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)