Is Sydney to London - via Beijing - a good option?

By homeister | Apr 15, 2019, 11:17 AM
I just saw a BBC News piece about the soon to be completed second airport in Beijing Daxing.
It got me googling flight times for Sydney to London via Beijing and it seems Beijing is conveniently at the halfway point in terms of flying time at around 11 or so hours each for SYD-PEK and PEK-LHR.
That kind of evenness in flying time appeals to me and I'm wondering if others recommend Beijing as a preferred stopover for Sydney to London.
I wouldn't mind an overnight stopover at the airport Hotel before continuing the ne t morning for example, as I've done with China Southern in Guangzhao.

Any ideas welcome, thanks
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By anonymous | Apr 15, 2019, 01:13 PM
A few people might prefer to not fly Air China. Note that Air China does not have a short connection option for the LHR-SYD journey.

I guess one could take a QF/BA combination but the fares would probably be high with long connections required in both directions.

Unless you have a personal desire to visit Beijing or the fares are really low then I would say that it doesn't really look all that attractive.
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By moa999 | Apr 15, 2019, 01:24 PM
Only QF and CA Air China currently fly to PEK.
CA won't be moving to the new PKX Daxing Airport. Unknown if Qantas will move (it would make some sense given its key China partners are moving)

And CA isn't normally as cheap as the other Chinese airlines. Possible that CZ China Southern or MU China Eastern might start services from Daxing in the future.
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By PCHammond | Apr 15, 2019, 04:56 PM
Ever flown on a Chinese airline? Food, service and Chinese airports are terrible.

It would have to be significantly cheaper for me to even consider it. If you are flying in F/J, the lounges in China are usually terrible and run by 3rd parties.

If you want to go via Asia, stick with Cathay Pacific, and if you want to save some money go via China Airlines (Taiwan) or Vietnam Airlines.
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By Dredgy | Apr 15, 2019, 05:15 PM
Ever flown on a Chinese airline? Food, service and Chinese airports are terrible.

It would have to be significantly cheaper for me to even consider it. If you are flying in F/J, the lounges in China are usually terrible and run by 3rd parties.

If you want to go via Asia, stick with Cathay Pacific, and if you want to save some money go via China Airlines (Taiwan) or Vietnam Airlines.

Sorry that's just not remotely true. I'll concede some domestic lounges are pretty bad in some cities, but in major airports lounges are above average or even great. Airports in general are no better or worse than any other average airport.

Just flew Brisbane to Shenzhen to Beijing on Hainan airlines and food and service were amongst the best I've had.
Also recently flew Beijing to Shanghai to Brisbane on China Eastern and hard product was excellent with good food and service too.
Previously flown China Southern, Cathay, Air China, Shenzhen Airlines and Donghai, and all have been fine.
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By Traveller14 | Apr 15, 2019, 06:53 PM
I just had a friend fly on China Eastern (MU) which he said was very 'average.' Apparently one way was better than the other. Allegedly there was one bottle of red, and one of white per aisle so after five or six pours it ran out. He said English skills of the crew were just adequate.

Air China have eliminated some of their flights from Oz recently, probably because the communist mainland government prefers 'one (local) airline per route.

You also need to be aware that mainland Chinese airspace is unpredictably commandeered by the Chinese military, contributing to large delays for commercial airlines.

If you are after a second tier carrier I'd recommend PR via MNL (keen fares including in J, modern planes, good service, excellent safety record and first class English speaking staff on board) or CI via TPE (the first three also a tick, but although not recently, previously a questionable safety record, while English language skills variable).
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By PCHammond | Apr 15, 2019, 10:54 PM

Ever flown on a Chinese airline? Food, service and Chinese airports are terrible.

It would have to be significantly cheaper for me to even consider it. If you are flying in F/J, the lounges in China are usually terrible and run by 3rd parties.


If you want to go via Asia, stick with Cathay Pacific, and if you want to save some money go via China Airlines (Taiwan) or Vietnam Airlines.


Sorry that's just not remotely true. I'll concede some domestic lounges are pretty bad in some cities, but in major airports lounges are above average or even great. Airports in general are no better or worse than any other average airport.

Just flew Brisbane to Shenzhen to Beijing on Hainan airlines and food and service were amongst the best I've had.
Also recently flew Beijing to Shanghai to Brisbane on China Eastern and hard product was excellent with good food and service too.
Previously flown China Southern, Cathay, Air China, Shenzhen Airlines and Donghai, and all have been fine.

I've never flown with Hainan airlines, but I disagree with China Eastern and Air China. People complain about the service on American airlines yet the standard of service is lower on Chinese airlines, and they sometimes serve some mysterious food (especially in Y when I have gone as a tourist).

Like I said, they would need to be significantly cheaper. Long layovers with a Chinese airline need to have a clear financial advantage over a shorter layover with a top tier airline.
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By smithy787 | Apr 15, 2019, 11:27 PM
I'm with you homeister on the even flight times.
Having had to travel to Europe twice in the past 4 weeks, I have tried to different routes.
1: MEL-NRT-HEL-CPH on Japan Airlines 787
Night time departure from Melbourne, 6pm arrival into CPH allowing an easy transition into new time zone
2: MEL-HKG-LGW on Cathay A350
Early arrival into LGW (5am!!) but after a nice shower and refresh in HKG and decent sleep on the aircraft, wasn't too difficult to transition.

I preferred the Japan airlines option, effectively 2x10hr flights then a short hop to CPH. I believe they also have NRT-LHR which would be around the same timings. After years of doing early arrivals into Europe, the night time arrival suited much better.

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By CityRail | Apr 16, 2019, 09:44 AM
If you can afford to stay in a country where there is no Facebook, no Twitter, no BBC, no CNN, and transit, then go ahead.
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By S | Apr 16, 2019, 12:43 PM
Why anyone would choose a stopover in Mainland China is beyond me!
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By MRYJDrake | Apr 16, 2019, 12:55 PM
If you can afford to stay in a country where there is no Facebook, no Twitter, no BBC, no CNN, and transit, then go ahead.
those are all very appealing reasons to stay there.

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By AsiaBizTraveller | Apr 16, 2019, 05:40 PM
It's a good option if the price is a lot less than other routes such as Singapore or Hong Kong, but that's the only reason to consider it unless of course you also have business in Beijing and can make use of the visa-free stopover period. Otherwise if you are just changing flights I would much rather transit at SIN or HKG with SQ or CX, and if you wanted to break your journey but don't have a specific reason to do this in Beijing then Singapore and Hong Kong would also be better choices. Just my 2c.
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By jch | Apr 16, 2019, 05:51 PM
The Chinese government is relaxing the rule of one airline per long haul international route so there may be more PEK-SYD flights from Chinese carriers in the future.
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By CityRail | Apr 16, 2019, 10:04 PM
If you can afford to stay in a country where there is no Facebook, no Twitter, no BBC, no CNN, and transit, then go ahead.
those are all very appealing reasons to stay there.


Oh. Don't forget there will also be no YouTube and no NetFlix. If you are GoT fan, then think twice.
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By New York State | Apr 16, 2019, 11:30 PM
Ever flown on a Chinese airline? Food, service and Chinese airports are terrible.

It would have to be significantly cheaper for me to even consider it. If you are flying in F/J, the lounges in China are usually terrible and run by 3rd parties.

If you want to go via Asia, stick with Cathay Pacific, and if you want to save some money go via China Airlines (Taiwan) or Vietnam Airlines.

The aforementioned comment is full of rubbish and got all the facts wrong somehow.
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By pab2025 | Apr 17, 2019, 10:30 AM
Chinese airlines are generally sub par US Airlines, so very subpar Australian airlines.
Everything on the plane feels just a little off - eg. the China Eastern J seats look like a cathay style J seat, but everything is just a little not quite right. Like they have installed rip offs.
Food is nothing to remember, so if that is your thing look elsewhere. Lounges, nothing to remember. Entertainment also nothing to remember.
If it is simply about lying flat, then it might be fine, but if you're in economy, fly another airline.

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