Cancelling flight booking for China visa application: best practices

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sebhoff
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Re: Cancelling flight booking for China visa application: best practices

Postby sebhoff » Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:07 pm

Assuming you have enough funds to do this, wouldn't it be easiest to buy full-fare tickets (booking classes Y, W or J) that are fully refundable without cancellation charges even weeks after you purchased them? (I admit I haven't tried this myself - so if there's a snag here, please let me know...)
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BakuBound
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Re: Cancelling flight booking for China visa application: best practices

Postby BakuBound » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:16 pm

The snag is that if you delve deep into the fine print, nearly every airline now charges a service fee of some sort to process the refund of a full-fare ticket. Airline profits these days come from fees.
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hh2sg
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Re: Cancelling flight booking for China visa application: best practices

Postby hh2sg » Sat Aug 24, 2019 3:48 pm

Lubylu wrote:Hi all
On this topic - I’m planning on Moscow/Uzbekistan/Kazakhstan and then into China via Xinjiang, all by rail. So was planning to apply from London for the Chinese visa with cancellable flights London to Beijing, hotel etc.
However I’ve now realised I’ve already got my Russian transit visa in my passport which, if you read Cyrillic, says I’m transitting to Uzbekistan. If they really scrutinise my passport, they’ll look at dates and could throw doubt on what I’m telling them are my travel plans - how come you’re going to Uzbekistan via Moscow, and then claiming you’re flying from London to Beijing a week or two later?
Anyone got any knowledge/experience of whether they will really look at my passport that closely? Are they highly suspicious of all or is it generally a process they follow “flights in tick, hotel tick, flights out tick” etc.?? Should I bother to come up with some other vaguely plausible route to explain my Russian visa, which may make finding cancellable flights a bit trickier?
Realise no guarantees etc but would really appreciate a best guess from experienced hands, for a first time Chinese visa applicant!


I think it's just a process they follow. We just applied by post at the Berlin Visa Application Service Centre with flight bookings from Hamburg to Beijing, but if you scrutinise our passports you will realize that we have been traveling in Central Asia for months and we have entered Kyrgyzstan but don't have an exit stamp. We still got our visas anyway.

On this topic, we booked with SAS (Scandinavian Airlines), which has fully refundable tickets with no service fees for the refund.
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Lubylu
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Re: Cancelling flight booking for China visa application: best practices

Postby Lubylu » Mon Aug 26, 2019 12:28 pm

Thanks a lot for the replies. In the end I booked a flight from Moscow to Shanghai with Aeroflot. No problems at all with the visa and Aeroflot refunded within a couple of days after cancelling so all good.
As a few have written above, I got the distinct impression they didn't pay much attention at all to the logic of the route, seemed very much a tick box exercise, I think I'd have been fine with any flights in or out.
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blakep76
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Re: Cancelling flight booking for China visa application: best practices

Postby blakep76 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 6:26 am

Chuvash wrote:I just got my visa from the London embassy and I very much got the impression it was a box-ticking exercise


It's exactly that. The Chinese *love* their red tape, but no one in the embassy has the time or inclination to wade through checking if all the flights and hotel bookings of thousands of applicants are legit or made up unless they were already planning on rejecting you and just looking for some justification.

Just book any old flight, save the e-ticket and cancel.
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blakep76
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Re: Cancelling flight booking for China visa application: best practices

Postby blakep76 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 6:30 am

I guess if you really *had* to have an actual ticket you could always buy a Spring Airlines or AirAsia promotional fare. You can often pick up a one way zero frills flight for as cheap as 15USD (including tax) between Guangzhou and Don Muang Airport in Bangkok. At that price just toss the thing if you never end up using it.
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Chuvash
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Re: Cancelling flight booking for China visa application: best practices

Postby Chuvash » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:39 am

blakep76 wrote:I guess if you really *had* to have an actual ticket you could always buy a Spring Airlines or AirAsia promotional fare. You can often pick up a one way zero frills flight for as cheap as 15USD (including tax) between Guangzhou and Don Muang Airport in Bangkok. At that price just toss the thing if you never end up using it.


I would actually disagree with that. A friend of mine was actually flying into China from Thailand and they asked to see bookings for his entire journey from the UK/Europe to China and back
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blakep76
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Re: Cancelling flight booking for China visa application: best practices

Postby blakep76 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:45 am

Chuvash wrote:
blakep76 wrote:I guess if you really *had* to have an actual ticket you could always buy a Spring Airlines or AirAsia promotional fare. You can often pick up a one way zero frills flight for as cheap as 15USD (including tax) between Guangzhou and Don Muang Airport in Bangkok. At that price just toss the thing if you never end up using it.


I would actually disagree with that. A friend of mine was actually flying into China from Thailand and they asked to see bookings for his entire journey from the UK/Europe to China and back


Who asked for bookings for the entire journey? The embassy in Thailand?

I've applied for 4 'L' visas in Bangkok now. 3/4 they didn't ask for anything onward ticket-wise, and once *any* ticket out of the country was fine. They just glanced at the printout of an e-ticket (In this case I had Chengdu back to Bangkok), and handed it back. They certainly didn't care about my earlier trip from my home country two years earlier, or later trip back to my home a year later.

I'd wager your friend was arousing suspicions for other reasons - shorts, dreads, tatts, flip flops, fishnet crop top, B.O. specified plans to visit Xinjiang/Tibet etc.
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Travelgian
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Re: Cancelling flight booking for China visa application: best practices

Postby Travelgian » Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:42 pm

I just used Expedia to buy a ticket from China to Kazakhstan. I downloaded the travel itinerary plus invoice and then I immediately cancelled the ticket. Expedia was a bit reluctant at first l, but it made me cancel it in the end and got full refund. In my experience officials at visa offices never check if the ticket is actually running, so I think the printout is the only thing they need.
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Chuvash
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Re: Cancelling flight booking for China visa application: best practices

Postby Chuvash » Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:33 pm

blakep76 wrote:
Chuvash wrote:
blakep76 wrote:I guess if you really *had* to have an actual ticket you could always buy a Spring Airlines or AirAsia promotional fare. You can often pick up a one way zero frills flight for as cheap as 15USD (including tax) between Guangzhou and Don Muang Airport in Bangkok. At that price just toss the thing if you never end up using it.


I would actually disagree with that. A friend of mine was actually flying into China from Thailand and they asked to see bookings for his entire journey from the UK/Europe to China and back


Who asked for bookings for the entire journey? The embassy in Thailand?

I've applied for 4 'L' visas in Bangkok now. 3/4 they didn't ask for anything onward ticket-wise, and once *any* ticket out of the country was fine. They just glanced at the printout of an e-ticket (In this case I had Chengdu back to Bangkok), and handed it back. They certainly didn't care about my earlier trip from my home country two years earlier, or later trip back to my home a year later.

I'd wager your friend was arousing suspicions for other reasons - shorts, dreads, tatts, flip flops, fishnet crop top, B.O. specified plans to visit Xinjiang/Tibet etc.


Hi,

No I was referring to getting a visa in the UK. If you're applying in Thailand then it makes sense that your flight originates in Thailand.

Given the few previous messages were talking about getting a visa in the UK I thought you were suggesting to get the cheapest ticket into China from anywhere in the world, which was not enough for my friend. It was no big deal they just wanted him to add the other tickets to the supporting documents of his application.
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