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Transit through Hong Kong

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  • GaryNewman

    I posted the below in the daily chat threads earlier in the week. Probably should have posted here.

    Can anyone advise whether they have transited through Hong Kong lately? The official advice seems to be you need the onward destination has to part of a single ticket although Cathay say on their website they will check you through to your final destination if you hold an onward flight with them booked separately. We have return business flights to Hong Kong over Christmas and New Year that we booked for about £1800 each back in March. We want to fly out and back to Bangkok from Hong Kong to fit in with those return flights so ideally we’d book a separate return from Hong Kong to Bangkok with Cathay and hope to be checked through to Bangkok from London and through to London when we start the return journey from Bangkok. I have checked with Cathay regarding rebooking the whole ticket to Bangkok but the new price would be approximately £5000 more than the original return to Hong kong. Obviously if the rules ease a bit more then there my not be an issue but despite the PCR test no longer being required for transit passengers, I can’t pick up any chat regarding the rules easing further at the moment.

    Additionally, ideally, I would prefer the onward flights to Bangkok to be economy rather than Business. Has anyone ever checked through baggage to a final destination where the final leg was a different class to the first leg? I realise there are different baggage allowances but we could make sure our baggage complied with the economy requirements. We do have Silver status so perhaps that wouldn’t be necessary any way.

    Any recent experience anyone has had with transiting Hong Kong would be very welcome. Thanks, Gary

    JDB

    I can’t help you with recent experience, but the problem with HK is things can change at very short notice and unlike many countries that are desperate to reopen for business and tourism, China/HK have totally different considerations and this winter is not likely to see covid gone.

    SamG

    Christmas is a long way away so it’s mere speculation, but assuming both tickets are Cathay then I don’t foresee a problem. However you won’t get any confirmation in advance short of going to LHR and asking them what they’d do on the day and as JDB says things can change very quickly.

    With seperate tickets your bags will need to abide by the rules of the economy ticket or pre-pay for extra bags

    John

    Ordinarily CX will happily through check baggage on separate tickets, but them doing so does not cause your flights to then become on a single ticket.

    Therefore you do not comply with the HK government requirements and you shouldn’t be allowed to board without a test and quarantine hotel booking.

    If you want to chance getting an agent at LHR brave enough to bend the rules… go ahead.

    The note on the CX website is more about if you were doing something like HKG-LHR + LHR-FRA, they would check your bags to FRA even though BA wouldn’t do the same the other way. As you say, there’s no problem with being in different cabins as long as you comply with the most restrictive limits (and in the past they’ve not bothered to look up the limits that applied to me, but I didn’t go overboard)

    GaryNewman

    Thanks for the comments folks. Yes John, I appreciated that buying the separate tickets didn’t comply with the rules. I guess I was hoping someone on here might have actually transited Hong Kong in the way i would like to so I could gauge the possibility of success. Any doubt as you go to check in is a bad thing so unless the rules change we might be seeking a refund and a trip to Bangkok by a different route.

    BJ

    Do the rules require transit on one ticket? I thought they required a printed boarding pass (as opposed to mobile or print at home) for onward flight in which case two tickets would be fine. If so, then a cheap flexible Y BAEC redemption on CX is likely your best option. You could try to get CX to link the reservations before departure and even if that were not possible hopefully you might still be able to check in and get a boarding pass for onward flight at LHR. If they are strict on this printed boarding pass thing then it complicates and limits your options. Seems like a lot of uncertainty that could wreck Xmas, then there is nothing certain about HK these days. Can you cancel for a refund? If the Scoot flights from Gatwick direct to Bangkok have launched they might be a more acceptable option for peace of mind, I think they have some sort of premium economy.

    John

    Do the rules require transit on one ticket?

    Yes, or at least one PNR, and they do require a boarding pass printed at the first departure airport. Rationale being that if the inbound flight is disrupted, the outbound airline is not obliged to rebook you on a separate booking.

    Now, the OP’s first flight is CX LHR-HKG, and as the second flight is CX, they would ordinarily happily check bags through and even take responsibility if the first flight was disrupted; but I highly doubt any CX agent at LHR will let the OP board with separate tickets in current circumstances.

    The PRC and Taiwan have published details about each imported covid case, and in some cases the itineraries as described were supposed to be banned for non-citizens and/or non-residents, yet somehow people managed to travel on them. So I suspect that you would get away with transiting HKG on 2 tickets, if your first flight was from a more lax country and not on CX. As long as you manage to board, the HK authorities might never find out as it wouldn’t be obvious when you possess your onward BP and proceed straight to the departure gate; but there is a risk of being fined and/or the airline being banned from HK for a few days, especially if the first flight is disrupted.

    polly

    Might have to rethink our NOV end of trip from PEN KUL HKG on MAS J. Then on BA to LHR that night. Think the check in agents in PEN are really great at onward baggage through check. At least they have been in the past. Hope things might have settled down in HKG by late November. At least we can go straight to lounge/gate as will have our BPs from PEN. Here’s hoping. Might just have to jump on a QR anything to LON if it all goes bad on he day… just want one last trip to the Pier or Wing, as a memory….just wonderful lounges, probably were the best in the world , in our opinion! Well, maybe not now, they aren’t….

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