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Posts: 961

Shifu

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Q: Has anyone had major transit problems at Guangzhou airport?

I am returning to China from Australia in a few weeks and for the first time I am using China Southern. $750 Sydney-Shenyang return was too much of a bargain to turn down. We had a 4 hour layover in Guangzhou and while I have read about connection dramas and lack of assistance from China Southern there I was not concerned because the 4 hour window was plenty to get things sorted. I checked my booking recently to find that the connecting flight to Shenyang had been canceled and I had been rescheduled  on a later flight with an 8 hour layover. Called my travel agent in Sydney who then told me that there was an earlier connection with only a 2 hour stopover (why they didn't tell me about that one first up I have no idea). So I think great, less waiting and earlier arrival. Now 2 hours would be plenty at Shanghai where bags are checked through and I have done the connection even in Beijing where you have to pick up your bags and recheck them on the domestic flight along with all the security and immigration checks in less that 2 hours. 

For those with experience in transit in Guangzhou will this 2 hour connection be easy or is it chaos there as has been discussed on other forums. Bags are checked straight through so I have been told. Can anyone confirm this?    

8 years 25 weeks ago in  Transport & Travel - China

 
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Posts: 3046

Emperor

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I would say two hours may not be enough.  Normally, I will not schedule anything less than 4 hours, even if sometimes can do it in two.  It is better for me to feel sure than sorry, especially when dealing with China Southern, which will not move a finger to help you in my experience.  Even if your bags are checked thru to your final destination, you will have to take them to clear Customs in Guangzhou, then recheck them again for the domestic leg, and fight the attendant that will want to charge you for an extra bag ( if you carry two) even if OK on international flights.  At most Chinese airports, in overseas flights, you land at the international side of the airport, then must go to the domestic side to process the rest of the flight.

It will all depend on how many international flights arrive when yours does, and how many customs and immigration officials are at work at that time.  

It is my feeling, again, that two hours you are cutting it too close, you may do it, you may do not have enough time.  But it is your decision, not mine to tell you.  wink

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8 years 25 weeks ago
 
Posts: 6321

Emperor

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Do NOT take anything less than a THREE hour layover when international flights are concerned (and that goes for the US too!). Too much can (and does) go wrong.

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8 years 25 weeks ago
 
Posts: 2391

Emperor

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I would be cautious. My guess is the reason the travel agent didn't tell you about the earlier flight is they don't expect this will give you enough time.

 

I've transited through Guangzhou, international to domestic like you will. It's not really that huge an airport, and theoretically it's more than enough time... theoretically. 

 

It took us much longer to find the domestic terminal from the international than was really required, since no staff could /would speak with us to help us. We were also given a boarding card for the domestic leg when we boarded the international flight, with the wrong information. It took 20-30 minutes to work that out, so it did take us a full two hours to go from landing to arriving at the gate, and if there's any flight delays then that's really cutting it fine. 

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8 years 25 weeks ago
 
Posts: 961

Shifu

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I will have two Chinese people with me. I am now wondering if we miss our connection will they just put us on the later flight or will it be our problem and we will need to pay extra. I am getting worried after reading about China Southern and unhelpful staff at Guangzhou. Last trip out flight from Sydney to Shanghai was late and we only had about 45 minutes from landing till our Shenyang connection was scheduled to leave. The China Eastern/airport staff were great waiting for us and escorting a group of about 10 who had the same connection while they also had the plane wait till we could board.

Anyway as usual thanks for the advice.  

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8 years 25 weeks ago
 
Posts: 2735

Governor

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If your transferring flights you don't have to check your bags again. Just get the ticket if you need it. 2 hours is plenty of time to get things sorted out and Guangzhou is no different. The security actually is involved in controlling the pace and all you can't just cut lines. I've just got done traveling and although there were some cutters all in all went pretty smooth with only 2 hours time frame. Just make sure you don't get lost trying to find your gate...

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8 years 25 weeks ago
 
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