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Has anyone ever transited on international flights through China? I have with China Southern.
After you get off one international flight, you have to stand in a long line where they check your passport and ticket before you get into the international terminal. It's not a security search of your carryons, just an extra line-up.
What is the purpose of this?
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That happened to me in Shanghai. i dont know why. They also asked me unnecessary questions and asked me to write my name in chinese too. I asked why but they wouldnt give me an answer. Seemed unnecessary for a transit flight. I told them i was just transferring flights.
Plus the guards that asked me questions looked and acted like military soldiers and had strict disciplined faces like they were used to being yelled at and yelling at others too. I dont usually see that in Shenzhen though. Maybe its a northern China thing. It was too overly serious for me. Their faces looked harsh, like you see in the movies when movies depict chinese dictatorship. Im too laid back for that.
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You are supposed to go to customs when you enter a country, even if you are in transit.
I can never understand how sometimes my bags are sent through to my destination, sometimes I have to collect them in Beijing then check them in again.
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Once I got stuck in a line of Pakistanis at the Guangzhou airport. I had a personal bag and a carry on, and a bag I'd probably taken out of one of the other bags. The Pakistanis didn't respect my place in line like you do in US culture. They kept moving around me, not giving any personal space. One guy behind me had the nerve to ask me to go quicker while I was struggling to get more forms out while pushing all the bags. Their flight had been delayed and they were all cutting each other to get to the guy first. I wasn't in that big of a hurry, but I didn't want to go to the back of the line. I wished I'd skipped the trip to the bathroom.
The irritating thing is that this is an unnecessary check, IMO, that doesn't serve any real purpose. Other airports don't have it, but I guess some Chines bureaucrats wanted to add it. Maybe they use it to keep tabs for extra security reasons other countries don't worry about.
There are airports that require an extra security check before you get on their plane. I can understand that if local security is not up to snuff, but it is annoying.
China Southern just 'forced' me to book a flight through them. I couldn't help it. The flight was so cheap. It was a flight to the east coast from elsewhere in Asia that transits through China. I think it was less than $1100.
My concern was if I booked through a discount site like Skyscanner or Kiwi, that they didn't give realistic connection times. Kiwi has a customer service agent who said the recommended time to connect at a certain airport was 2 hours, and if I wasn't comfortable with the ticket, not to buy it. The flight had less than 2 hour connection time. I don't expect to be able to land in Chicago or LAX after an international flight, clear immigration, get bags and recheck them in in two hours. The line for the passport check machine and immigration seems like it can take an hour or an hour and a half, at least in LAX.
They added those passport checker machines some time ago. Doesn't that increase our time in line? We have to line up for that, then we still have to talk to someone in the immigration line. They also made our line wait while they let the foreigners go through. If the motive was to be hospitable, I can understand, but it sure seemed like it took a long time. Foreigners take a lot longer with their conversations with immigration officials, so letting them go first seemed to increase the aggregate wait time for our group. US citizens could have gotten through fast.