Flight booking advice: transfer flights
If you’re concerned about the length of the flight to China, it is worth bearing in mind that it is possible to break up a flight into multiple legs by transferring. Those joining us from European countries (including the UK) can split their travel into two roughly six- and seven-hour flights with Emirates, Qatar, Etihad, Aeroflot and others; similar transfer options are available from the US.
For those doing a long-haul flight for the first time, please note that conditions tend to be far better than those found on regional carriers, such as Easyjet/Ryanair in Europe; there is normally better leg-room on larger aircraft, with complimentary baggage, meals, drinks and films included. The only exception to this rule that we are aware of is Ukrainian Airlines—they operate a no-thrills service on the Europe-China route. It is worth bearing in mind that, usually, the more premium the airline, the more likely it is that they haven’t sold out their seats and so will have rows and rows of empty seating—so if you’re lucky you could be able to get two or more seats to lie down.
It is also worth considering that you can usually book significant layover durations if you like, to give you time for a rest and to explore a new city. In the past, participants have taken 24 hour layovers in Vienna (Austrian Airlines), Prague (Hainan Airlines), Amsterdam (KLM), Paris (Air France), Istanbul (Turkish Airlines), Moscow (Aeroflot), Helsinki (Finnair), Warsaw (LOT), Dubai (Emirates) and even Astana and/or Almaty (Kazakh Airlines), lots of other destinations are also available based on how you plan your route.
If you would like a longer layover, please consider breaking up your journey; it can sometimes be cheaper to make your own way to the first city, such as Paris, and have a return booked from there. *Of course, if you like the sound of this, be sure to check that you don’t need a visa for the mid-way destination before booking!
Please check out the following search engines to find the best rates. The top two are Chinese and so are usually the best for China flights
- https://itunes.apple.com/cn/app/qunar-find-cheap-flights/id965784666?mt=8 (www.qunar.com is usually the cheapest site with the most route options—but it is only accessible in English as an App.)