10 Ways to Book Cheap Flights in China

By That's, December 2, 2016

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Booking flights can be a hassle for anyone traveling on holiday or business, especially when holiday prices start spiraling out of control. 

With a number of 2017 public holidays just around the corner, keep these airlines and booking agencies in mind, which can help make planning your next trip cheaper and easier.

Booking Services

1. Ctrip

Ctrip offers flights, trains, hotels, package holidays and tips for what to see and do. For China getaways and travel, Ctrip has it all. Navigating Ctrip's app and website is incredibly easy to do in both English and Chinese. As well as providing unparalleled service for Chinese travel, Ctrip also offers flight price comparisons. Though it doesn't factor in as many airlines or booking agencies for international flights, Ctrip is king when it comes to domestic flight price comparisons.


2. Skyscanner

Skyscanner, which was recently acquired by Ctrip, is a price comparison website that compares budget and premium airlines. It includes airline deals too, so it's really useful for finding bargains with some of the more expensive airlines. Skyscanner also includes a lot of other booking services in their price comparisons, which can land you an even cheaper deal. Their interface is very simple and easy to understand, making planning trips and multi-stop travel very easy. Hotel and car rental comparisons are also available through the site.


3. Flight Centre

Offering everything from flights to business hotels, Flight Centre is really straightforward to use. For flights, the website will do the usual airline comparison and will also look for special deals. Flight Centre also offers an airfare price guarantee, meaning if you find a better deal somewhere else they’ll match it. For holidays, whether you're seeking a cruise or a skiing holiday, they can organize all the flights, activities and hotels for you.


4. Elong

Much like the other sites, Elong offers booking comparisons for flights and hotels. However, the focus is much on China for Elong. While they offer international flight comparisons, it can be a little obtuse to use and it’s clear that their focus is on Chinese domestic travel and holidays. In addition to hotels and flights, car hire comparison is also available. Additionally, Elong offers ticket booking for events and attractions as well as a 24/7 English call center.


5. Qunar/Qua

Qunar and its English-language site Qua offer super cheap flights. For last minute trips, Qunar offers fantastic deals and prices, however be warned as the process for changing tickets is a nightmare. We would recommend Qunar if you have dates set in stone as their prices are usually the best, but avoid if you’re still unsure about your travel dates.



1. Spring Airlines

Spring Airlines is a relatively new low cost carrier based out of Shanghai. Founded in 2004, the airline offers flights across the mainland and to nearby countries. Tickets are generally cheap for both international and domestic flights. Beware though, because the price advertised doesn’t include taxes or baggage fees, which will take the cost of the flight up significantly. However, they still remain pretty cheap, even with the cost of taxes included.


2. AirAsia

The pioneer of low cost travel in Asia, the Malaysian airline has grown significantly since it commenced operations in 1996. From Shanghai Pudong you are able to fly across Asia and Oceania. The AirAsia X division of the airline also offers long haul flights around the world. Like the short haul flights, they tend to be cheaper than traditional carriers, but just don’t expect the same levels of comfort.


3. TigerAir

This Singapore based airline has been operating since 2003 out of Singapore Changi airport. Unlike Spring Airlines, Tiger only flies international routes to and from China, however there are lots of destinations available. For example, one can fly from Shenzhen to Greece with TigerAir, although most of their destinations are in Asia and Australia. 


4. Cathay Pacific

The national carrier of Hong Kong often has deals on for trips their long haul flights, and is slightly cheaper than many of the other big international carriers such as BA or Emirates. While they offer a very good service, AirAsia X may be better value for those who are looking at a cheap getaway if comfort isn’t their number one priority.


5. China Eastern

One of the national carriers in on the Mainland, China Eastern have extensive routes across China and the world. For an international carrier, they are priced very reasonably for both domestic and international short and long haul flights. Based out of Pudong International, China’s second largest carrier is a good choice for domestic flights as it covers the vast majority of domestic airports from Shanghai and usually offer a better service than many of the ‘low cost carriers’ for a similar rate.


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