Chinese Plane Tickets

By greenteapanda

June 16, 2008

Category: Transportation

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As with things in China, one apparently cannot buy Chinese plane tickets with a credit card in Korea. Cash rules.

Last time I paid in cash, though that was at a travel agency specialising in China. I assumed they just did not want to bother with the overhead of credit card processing.

Fast forward to today. I went with my favourite discount online* travel agent here in Korea. When I went to Taiwan on EVA Airlines, I paid for the ticket with a credit card. Since it was over the phone, I did not even need to deal with the crapware that constitutes online banking and fund transfers within Korea.

*online in this case only means they have a webpage to input information. It seems like they have monkeys/gerbils/people transferring the data to legacy airline systems behind the scenes, even though the other sites run by this foreign company in other countries do everything automatically.

I would have assumed since I was buying through an online travel agent that took credit cards on previous occasions, I could pay with a credit card this time.

I put in the request for my plane tickets to China last Friday. At 9:30am today, I finally got a confirmation asking me to send in payment. The credit card payment box was nowhere to be found. Furthermore, the company gave me until 11am to book the ticket. No mention of what might happen if I didn’t make the guideline. I did my best, annoying another teacher by using up her break time to call the company (several tries calling the travel agent did not net me a rep that spoke English or Chinese). They gave some reasons the teacher did not understand for not accepting credit cards. I assume it has to do with protecting their margins.

It wasn’t possible to do a bank transfer without my personal certificate, which I didn’t and won’t install on my work computer. Virus protection is near non existent at school. I had to wait until I got home, well after 11am.

I didn’t worry about it because of recent Chinese visa procurement difficulties (I have mine!), the fact I am not going to a city many Koreans go to, and the fact that Koreans tend to fly Korean airlines. Not to mention the same amount of seats remained available on the flight since I first checked it out last week. The system has now taken my payment. I remember when I came back from Shanghai a few months ago, many rows in the back of the plane were empty. Of course, that flight left quite early…

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