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Air China - DEL-PEK and then United PEK - EWR

New York
posts: 306
reviews: 54
Air China - DEL-PEK and then United PEK - EWR

We have tickets DEL-PEK arriving PEK 12:25 and departing on PEK-EWR 3:45PM on United. Both are Star Alliance arriving and departing T3 at Beijing. The tickets were purchased separately. Will we be able to check our luggage in DEL through to EWR? or Will we have to claim it in PEK and then have to recheck in PEK and process through imigration in PEK. Also is there sufficient time? We have multi-entry Chinese Visas.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 15,302
reviews: 5
1. Re: Air China - DEL-PEK and then United PEK - EWR

This is risky. As you have separate tickets there is no obligation on Air China (CA) to through check your bags to UA, even though they're in the same alliance. You can ask (nicely) at check in, but if the agent says no then you are stuck with having to go land side at PEK to get your bags and check them in again with UA. And, asking a contractor for a Chinese airline at an Indian airport isn't going to be the best bet for discretion.

Is 3hr20 enough time if you have to go land side? I wouldn't do it, though with an on time arrival and a quiet tome at immigration you may be okay. BUT any delay to the plane, and/or a long line at immigration at PEK and you could be looking at a cancelled onward ticket and an eye watering walk up fare to get back to the US.

The question is why do it that way, when you can fly DEL-EWR non stop on United?

Bangkok
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
posts: 13,626
reviews: 71
2. Re: Air China - DEL-PEK and then United PEK - EWR

Hi,

Agree with #1 in that it can be done as both CA and UA have all the necessary agreements in place *and* that it will be at the sole discretion of the CA staff in DEL if they choose to do so or not.

The other point I think is worth mentioning is that even IF CA does thru-check (you and/or) your in bags in DEL all the way to Newark, *IF* you misconnect in PEK for any reason, even if thats wholly CA's fault, neither CA nor UA will be obligated under your ticket contract language to assist you, rebook you or offer you any carrier-paid accommodations.

Discretionary "thru-checking" of baggage or the passenger does not then confer any of the normal confractual connection protections that a standard single-ticket booking would entitle a passenger to.

Travel Safe,

New York
posts: 306
reviews: 54
3. Re: Air China - DEL-PEK and then United PEK - EWR

Because we have a rtp ticket EWR-PEK and the fare DEL-EWR was $1000 vs $640. Maybe we will do carry on. Would that not be a transfer?

London, United...
posts: 14,845
reviews: 22
4. Re: Air China - DEL-PEK and then United PEK - EWR

Hmm. You seem to be struggling hard to get the benefits of a connecting ticket without paying for it. If you arrive and depart in the same terminal, and you just have hand luggage one would assume you just walk between gates, on the assumption you have checked in on line and have your boarding pass to hand. If this is not the case, ie there is a concern with your documentation or olci, you will still need to go landslide to check in.

I would not do it on this ticket either.. Connecting tickets mean you are protected, and under seperate tickets, if the flight schedule is changed, or if the flight is delayed, you will need to buy new tickets, if any availability. It's a big gamble and not one many frequent travellers would take, with such a short window between flights, as the up front reward is very very low v the very high cost of the potential risk.

However I hope it goes smoothly for you and you have a fair to good chance it will.

Bangkok
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
posts: 13,626
reviews: 71
5. Re: Air China - DEL-PEK and then United PEK - EWR

Hi,

Only your ticketing or ticket issuance dictates what is and is not a formal connection..

While going hand-carry only does side-step the "thru check" baggage risk with CA staff in DEL, it still does NOT change your status-- that remains still IF you miss the PEK-EWR section- for any reason- since its still a 2-ticket booking, neither CA nor UA is obligated to assist you beyond what each carriers ticketing rules dictate.

The only way for you to have formal connection protection is for all segments to be on ONE ticket, which you've found it *can* in some case be more expensive than 2 single bookings.. If you choose to go with a 2-ticket booking or otherwise, this one of the risks that comes with the territory.

Travel Safe,

Edited: 8:11 am, March 31, 2013
London, United...
posts: 14,845
reviews: 22
6. Re: Air China - DEL-PEK and then United PEK - EWR

Ah, ok, " is that not a transfer" . I understand now.

No, as Gobpi says, it just means you don't have any luggage. A connecting ticket, is one ticket, with two or more legs ( flights) in it.

Seperate tickets are seperate tickets and are when you book two flights, incependantly of one another, as you did. You can't turn these into connections, luggage or no luggage. Cheaper, but you lose the protection of one ticket ie if first leg was delayed the airline would put you on the next flight with available seats for the second leg, and pay for any accommodation or meals etc required in the interim period. On two tickets, you are on your own and simply seen as a no show if you miss and lose it all and forced to buy another ticket and pay for your own accommodation etc if you can't get a flight for an extended period due to lack of availability.

It's totally up to you to get to the gate, fully checked in on time, for the second leg. It's doable, probably a 80 or 90 percent chance you will make it. Ten to 20 percent chance you won't, looking at on time stats ( which does not give degree of delays or changes to schedules).

On seperate tickets, most people would recommend ideally 24 hours between flights due to the risk involved.

Raleigh, North...
posts: 5
7. Re: Air China - DEL-PEK and then United PEK - EWR

We just flew TPE to PEK on Air China then PEK - IAD on United on one ticket. Word of caution: it's not as easy as you think even on ONE ticket.

Maybe it's just our route: Air China couldn't provide us boarding passes to UA flights checking in in TPE even we bought the tickets from UA. When the plane arrived in PEK we had to board a bus from the landing filed to the gate. That is time consuming and unexpected. Had to go through a Transfer Desk to get a temporary pass to go through immigration control. Not computerized process: a lady had to phone in each connecting passenger's information to the airline then hand wrote a temp boarding pass. Then 2 more passport checks (also taking time to explain why the hand-written boarding pass and to be approved by a supervisor) and 2 more security checks before you get to the gate. Then you have to exchange your hand-written boarding pass into an official boarding pass. Then another security check before boarding the plane. As you can see it's VERY TIME CONSUMING even this is all within the air-side transfer.

With two tickets arriving and departing from terminal 3 you have to go though immigration from concourse E to C then C back to E by metro, if with luggage. Go through security check and immigration again back to the air-side. I'm just telling our experience, It's your call you can make it in time or not.

London, United...
posts: 14,845
reviews: 22
8. Re: Air China - DEL-PEK and then United PEK - EWR

That's pretty brutal. So not just walk one gate to the next.

Toronto, Canada
posts: 4,626
reviews: 32
9. Re: Air China - DEL-PEK and then United PEK - EWR

I have avoided transfers in PEK just for the exact reasons ShadowNC stated. Just have read to many horror stories about delays and red tape there.

New York
posts: 306
reviews: 54
10. Re: Air China - DEL-PEK and then United PEK - EWR

There are two more flights after 3:45 that would require a connection in the the U.S. We are platinum eltie or whatever it is called on United. One of the few benefits being plantimum is same day change fees are waived and also within 3 hours of the flight the difference in fare is waived. (CO previously waived the fare difference within 24 hours) So we should be able to get on the 4:10PM to ORD or the 6:30PM to DC. From everyone's experience we have a 80-90% chance to make it. It's a bit to late as we have purchased the tickets. Thanks for your assistance.