Air China Check-in Procedure at SFO
The scheduled departures of China Spree Tours feature transpacific flights with Air China (code CA), which is China’s national airline and flag carrier. Air China operates non-stop flights from San Francisco (SFO) and New York (JFK) to Beijing (PEK). Air China flight schedules feature Winter and Summer Schedules, which changes on March 14th and November 7th, 2010, in line with Daylight Savings Time. Please read the following information regarding the check-in procedures for your China tours from San Francisco (SFO) and New York (JFK) and the air travel essentials about your international flights to China.
Download the PDF version of Air China Flight Schedule.
Travel Alerts & Advisories
- Visit TSA website for Travel Alerts and Advisories.
- Before packing, please check the updated information of Prohibited Items and New Policies regarding your air travel.
- Check Air China SFO Flight Status before you proceed to the airport.
Receipt of your airline tickets
Usually, your transpacific air tickets should reach you approximately two weeks prior to your China Tour departure date. Air tickets for China domestic portion(s) are either attached to the transpacific segments, or will be given to you when you are in China. Upon receipt of your tickets, you must check them carefully to ensure all name spellings appear exactly as on your passport. Any discrepancy should be reported to China Spree immediately.
Flight Time & Routing
Air China operates non-stop flight from SFO to Beijing (PEK). The flight time from SFO to PEK is 11 hours 40 minutes. You lose a day when flying to China; but you’ll recover this day on your return trip.
Call Air China for Seat Assignment & Dietary Request
Most Asian airlines don’t have an advanced seat selection system like their North America counterparts do. This means you will not be able to check-in or request your seating online. For seat selection and dietary requests, please call Air China upon receipt of your air tickets. You should get your tickets from China Spree about two weeks prior to departure. Air China: 800-882-8122. M-F, 8:30 am – 5 pm, PST.
Seats on the exit row can be assigned only at the airport when you check-in. If you have a medical condition and have a special seating request, you must contact Air China directly.
Contact the airline concerned to verify your flight schedule prior to leaving for the airport.
Air China Check-in counter at SFO
Air China Check-in counter opens about 3 ½ hours prior to departure time. Lines start to form about 4 hours prior. We strongly recommend you to check in as early as possible. Air China San Francisco check-in counter is located in G3 (Area G, Isle 3).
Air China mileage
As a general rule, the airlines don’t give mileage for discounted group airfares which are lower than the published fares. It is possible that you might not earn mileage when traveling with Air China on your China Spree tours.
Air China group tickets (classes: T & E) do not earn mileage points. Some individual air tickets can earn partial to full mileage with Star Alliance depending on the Air China ticket booking class. L class earns 50% mileage, K class and higher earn 100% mileage. Business class 130% mileage; First class: 150% mileage. Note the class of service mentioned above has nothing to do with where you sit on the airplane and the class of your seat. Mileage points are calculated using the airline booking code and pricing system.
Frequent traveler programs are administered by the airlines, and are beyond the control of China Spree. If you have questions or concerns regarding your frequent traveler mileage points, you must contact the AIRLINE about this when you receive your air tickets from China Spree. The Air China Call Center can be reached at: 800-882-8122. In order to claim your frequent traveler mileage, you may be required to provide the original ticket receipt and boarding pass, so be sure to save these papers.
Air China & United Airlines
Air China and United are code-sharing partners. Both airlines are members of Star Alliance.
Air China does not allow upgrade to business class using your United Mileage. Neither can you get a free Air China ticket by redeeming your United Mileage through Air China or China Spree.
United Mileage points can be used to purchase Air China flights. This must be done directly with United Airlines. It is your sole responsibility to verify the flight information with United and Air China, since flights and schedules are subject to change.
You are allowed two pieces of checked baggage for your transpacific flights. However all China internal flights allow only one checked baggage per person. Therefore we recommend you to start with only one piece of check-in and add the second one at the end of the tour in Shanghai (or in Hong Kong for some Affordable Luxury tours).
Transpacific flights allow two pieces of checked luggage per person, plus one carry-on bag and one personal item (purse or camera).
The total dimensions (Length + Width + Height) of the two pieces must not exceed 107 inches (273cm); maximum dimensions of single piece shall not exceed 62 inches (158cm). Maximum weight per piece is 50 lbs. Each passenger may carry one piece of hand luggage, the combined dimensions of which shall not exceed 45 inches (115cm).
China domestic flights have stringent luggage restrictions allowing one piece of checked baggage that must not exceed 44 lbs per person, plus a carry-on bag not to exceed 11 lbs, and a personal item (purse or camera). The carry-on must fit in the overhead bin or under the seat. The airport authorities seldom weigh your carry-on baggage, but the size of it does matter, particularly when the flight is full.
Overweight luggage in excess of allowances will incur excess baggage charges payable on site by the passenger. For intra-China flights, you may be asked by the airline to pay fees of approximately $2-4 per pound in excess of the weight limit.
Baggage Lock & Liquids
For the convenience of airport security check, you should leave your checked baggage unlocked for U.S. domestic flights and the transpacific flights as well. If you wish to lock your baggage, you MUST use a TSA recognized locks, which allows TSA screeners open and re-lock your bags for security screening. Ordinary locks are cut if physical inspection is required.
China aviation and transportation authorities have a different rule on this issue and your checked baggage must be locked during the transportation in China. This is a Chinese regulation. If your bag is found unlocked during transit, the airline or the train station will lock it for you and you will be billed for the locks. So prepare a lock for the main compartment of each bag and any lock will do.
Liquids & gels over 100 ml must be packed in checked luggage at all airports in both U.S. and China
Make sure that you have luggage tags for each checked suitcase. A copy of your itinerary and contact information should also go in an outside pocket of your luggage to aid the airline personnel to locate you in case you and your luggage become separated. Never check luggage containing prohibited items (i.e. lighters), valuables (i.e. cash, jewelry, and cameras), fragile items (i.e. undeveloped film, bottles, eyeglasses) or critical items (i.e. medicines, travel vouchers). You should read more information about TSA Permitted and Prohibited Items.
China Spree will not be responsible for loss or damage to your luggage and/or personal belongings. You must report any loss or damage immediately at the time of the incident and obtain a written report from the local authority for submission to your insurance provider. If you luggage is lost or damaged by the airlines, a baggage claim form must be filled with the carrier before leaving the airport.
If you arrange your flight to San Francisco (SFO) or New York (JFK) in connect to Air China flight to China, you should leave plenty of connecting time between flights. Be sure to arrive at your international gateway at least 3 ½ hours prior to departure time. Allow similar amount of time for the return trip. Please take the following fact into consideration. China Spree is not responsible for any missed connections and/or penalties/loss as a result.
- For transpacific flights, you must allow a minimum of 3 ½ hours check-in time
- For U.S. domestic flights, you must allow a minimum of 2 hours check-in time
- The minimum transfer time between U.S. domestic and international connecting flight is 3 ½ hours
- It takes at least 1 hour to clear the Customs and claim your checked baggage.
Jet Lag Consideration
Jet lag happens when your body's inner clock falls out of sync with daily cycles of light, rest, meals, and as you cross time zones to reach your destination. Symptoms are fatigue, irritability and vague disorientation. You cannot totally avoid jet lag, but you can minimize its effects. Here are some suggestions:
- Get several good nights of sleep before your China Tour departure
- Set your watch to your destination time when you board the plane, and adjust sleep and meals accordingly
- Try to sleep on the plane
- Walk around the plane occasionally, do isometric exercises at your seat
- Drink plenty of water and fruit juice while flying
- Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated drinks during and after the flight
- On arrival, throw yourself into your new schedule, avoid naps, and try to stay awake until your normal sleeping time at home
U.S. Duty-free Exemption
When shopping in China, keep receipts of all purchases. Upon reentering U.S, be ready to show customs officials what you've bought. The standard personal duty-free exemption is $200, $800, or $1600 if you are a returning U.S. resident and the items you acquired abroad accompany you.
Duty on items you mail home to yourself will be waived if the value is $200 or less. Antiques that are at least 100 years old, and fine art may enter duty-free, but folk art and handicrafts are generally dutiable.
Only 1 liter of alcohol and 200 cigarettes or 100 cigars may be included in this exemption. Items purchased in "Duty Free" shops are subject to duty if the value of your total purchases exceeds $800.
Family members who live in the same household and are returning together to the United States may combine their standard personal exemptions. Children and infants are allowed the same exemption as adults, except for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.
Please check the updated information on Duty-free exemptions available on the U. S. Customs Service Web site.