Five tips to save you time - and sanity - while travelling by air in China
Originally published at the South China Morning Post on August 10, 2015.
1) Check your flight status with apps that track flights in real time:
VeryZhun: Provides updated flight information and departure estimations, as well as analysis of flight delays.
FlightHero: Features current airport weather information, tracks flights in real time and shows the position and speed of your aircraft.
Umetrip: This app from China Civil Aviation Information provides up-to-date information on flight status, real-time airport news and punctuality estimations.
2) Follow your airport or airline’s official Weibo or WeChat accounts before checking the website for flight updates:
Call up your airport or airline’s public Weibo accounts for posts regarding flights from your airline. Follow the instructions in the post for checking your flight status. Call the hotline or follow the WeChat or Weixin account that’s provided.
3) Buy flight-delay insurance from travel agencies:
For flyers who want to prepare for the worst, there are companies who sell flight delay insurance, allowing passengers to receive compensation for disruptions. Ctrip.com, one of the biggest online travel agencies in mainland China, offers flight delay or cancellation insurance for 20 yuan. Passengers receive 300 yuan if their flight is delayed more than three hours, or 100 yuan if their flight is cancelled.
4) Skip long lines at the counter by calling your airline’s hotline directly for faster service.
Instead of waiting in line, call the customer service hotline for your airline to speak to a representative directly and reschedule your flight over the phone to save time.
5) Consider taking the high-speed train.
Unlike China's airports and airlines, the country's new high speed rail network is punctual and relatively inexpensive. You can take different trains which vary by speed and service (and price) to all major cities, with G trains being the fastest. A soft-sleeper ticket on an overnight train is a comfortable alternative if time is not an issue.