10

On August 3rd (less than a month ago), I booked tickets for my wife and I to go to Thailand for a couple of weeks with China Southern Airlines. Our itinerary for the relevant leg:

CZ658 Mon 27 Nov 22:55 SAN FRANCISCO , SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL (SFO) 05:15 | 29 Nov GUANGZHOU , BAIYUN INTERNATIONAL (CAN)

CZ357 Wed 29 Nov 08:50 | 29 Nov GUANGZHOU , BAIYUN INTERNATIONAL (CAN) 10:50 | 29 Nov BANGKOK , SUVARNABHUMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (BKK) TERMINAL 1

In the email they say:

Dear Passenger of China South Airlines:
Hello! Sorry to inform you that, the flight-from SAN FRANCISCO to Guangzhou Airport take off time at 22:55 and arrive time at 05:15,Nov 27 ,2017,CZ658, you booked has changed to:
from SAN FRANCISCO to Guangzhou Airport take off time at 12:55 and arrival time at 22:10,Nov 28,2017,CZ660 Sorry for any inconvenience!

Your current reservation information is as follows:
CZ660 2017-11-28 SFO(SAN FRANCISCO)--CAN(GuangZhou) 1255 2210+1
CZ357 2017-11-29 CAN(GuangZhou)--BKK(BANGKOK) 0850 1050

Also they added:

1.If you agree to take the changed flight, please reply “Yes”to this email. Hint: if you need to make another change after this, it will be dealt with according to use conditions of original ticket;
2.If you want to refund the ticket, please edit all following information:ticket no., traveler name, number of flight document, refund reason, refund leg, contact information, and provide the email address given in booking ticket or directly send email to RFD@CSAIR.COM with that email, in order that we can verify corresponding information and refund the ticket for you. If you have not received our reply within reasonable time interval, please call our service hotline for ensuring that we have received your refund email.


Obviously this is a very bad change for us, since we wanted to leave a day earlier, and the layover in CAN is overnight now instead of a few hours(!), and also flying during the night is much better for our sleep time etc.

Also (and perhaps most importantly), isn't this itinerary flat out impossible? It seems that we arrive to CAN after our flight from CAN to BKK? This is how it looks in their website:

itinerary

Am I entitled to any compensation, or are there any regulations that I could use to my benefit? I will also greatly appreciate if anyone has information regarding how to contact them via phone (a working US phone number perhaps? I tried the LA office, nobody picks up, and when you call the International China number I press "2" for English but the choice isn't registered and they keep speaking Chinese.)

  • 4
    Your itinerary is indeed impossible as listed -- your connecting time is actually negative! It sounds like you need to make an angry phone call to them... perhaps some of the users on this site will have advice on what to say/what to ask for in terms of compensation. – nukeguy Aug 22 '17 at 18:34
  • @nukeguy yeah it's pretty messed up. I tried to call multiple phone numbers but they all speak in Chinese and say "For English press 2", and I press 2 like a million times but they keep speaking Chinese X_X – Idos Aug 22 '17 at 18:43
  • If you live close enough to SFO to go there conveniently, consider making the drive to the airport and going to the check-in/Ticketing counter. There is no guarantee that they can help you, but I have had decent luck when I have had to do this (three successes and one failure, all with United). If you choose to try this, make sure you go when their counter will be open (3-4 hours before flight time). Good luck! – user1008090 Aug 23 '17 at 0:05
  • 2
    Even under EU 261 rules you wouldnt be due anything in terms of compensation for the schedule change as its more than a month away - regulators acknowledge that airlines have to change schedules, and if they do it in an appropriate amount of time then they get to do it without penalty. You might get some consideration from China Southern for the fact that they screwed your schedule change up however, assuming that all your flights are on the same ticket - but it isnt going to be a massive hand out, you might get a complimentary upgrade to Premium Economy or something. – Moo Aug 23 '17 at 0:34
  • Drive?? Take BART or the SamTrans buses. – Harper Aug 23 '17 at 3:21
8

You are entitled to alternative transportation or a refund, nothing more.

As noted in the comments, the alternative you have been offered is physically impossible unless you have a time machine, so they will definitely need to come up with a better option. If you're not having any luck with the phone, visiting an office in person is a good way to sort things out.

In addition, the new routing goes through Wuhan with a domestic connection to Guangzhou, so you now need Chinese visas as well! Make sure you're given a one-stop routing that does not require a visa.

Finally, if you're still stuck with an overnight stay, it's worth asking for a hotel voucher: they'll likely give you one, and you should get a transit visa on arrival that will let you use it. (This is available to US citizens in both Guangzhou and Wuhan.)

  • Thanks! I have contacted them via email and requested a refund, because they are incapable of having a "normal" English conversation via email or phone... Just figured it is the easiest solution. They agreed to refund the entire fare (no penalty), and I bought a ticket with a different airline :) Not repeating this mistake ever again... – Idos Aug 23 '17 at 21:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.