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CHINA NOW ALLOWS ROUND-TRIP AIR TICKETS FOR INDIVIDUAL TRAVELERS TO MAJOR DESTINATIONS

SHARE CHINA NOW ALLOWS ROUND-TRIP AIR TICKETS FOR INDIVIDUAL TRAVELERS TO MAJOR DESTINATIONS

To make independent air travel more predictable, China's national airline has begun to issue round-trip tickets and to accept round-trip reservations.

As of July 1, air travelers have been able to reserve and purchase round-trip tickets to 16 large cities, including most major tourist destinations.Round-trip tickets to smaller cities in China apparently will not be available.

Tour groups have been immune from this problem, and they will continue to be able to have confirmed round-trip tickets to all destinations.

The Chinese cities for which round-trip tickets are now offered are Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Dalian, Canton, Xiamen, Nanjing, Wuhan, Guilin, Xian, Chengdu, Shenyang, Harbin, Changchun, Haikou and Shantou.

It is not clear how smoothly the new policy will be implemented, nor whether round-trip tickets will be offered only on the national carrier, Air China, or also on the regional airlines that have been established in recent years.

Buyers may need to be persuasive.

A reporter who tried to book a seat from Beijing to Shanghai and back again - with the outward journey on Air China and the return on China Eastern Airlines - was initially told that round-trip tickets were possible only when the entire journey was on Air China.

But after a bout of pleading, the clerk produced the round-trip ticket as requested, with the return on the regional airline.

Even though foreigners pay higher prices than local Chinese, air fares are still very inexpensive.