I have recently booked a number of flights for my trip to Asia in February. As part of the trip I will be travelling from Taipei to Beijing and 4 days later flying from Beijing to London (British Airways). I would like to make use of the 144-hour visa-free transit, but am somehow confused by the rules.

The information on the Beijing Airport website mentions passengers with 'confirmed seats', but I'm not sure what it actually means.

I can log in to BA website/app using my booking reference and can see the full itinerary - is this (or the printout) enough for the authorities at the Beijing Airport? British Airways only allow one to check in for a flight 24 hours before the departure, which means I won't be checked-in (and have a seat number) at the time when I arrive in Beijing. I can spend an extra £14 to book a seat now. £14 is not a huge amount, so I'm OK with that, if it helps with getting through Beijing, but is it necessary?

  • 1
    It means a confirmed reservation, i.e., you are not on a waitlist for your flight (which mostly happens if the flight is full but you are very insistent that you have to travel on that exact flight). Almost everyone buys confirmed reservations since the late 90s. You will only get on a BA waitlist for a full flight if you have an argument with them, they like to pretend it's impossible. You are confirmed unless you know otherwise.
    – Calchas
    Oct 14, 2018 at 23:21

1 Answer 1


You’re reading into words too much. Confirmed seat in this case means nothing more or less than a confirmed ticket.

Passengers with a British passport with nationality "British Citizen" with a confirmed onward air, cruise or train ticket* to a third country within 144 hours, starting from 00:01 on the day following the day of entry.

They must:

  • arrive at and depart from one of the following locations: Beijing (PEK), Tianjin (TSN), Shijiazhuang (SJW), Beijing West Railway Station, Tianjin International Cruise Home Port or Qinhuangdao Sea Port; and

  • have documents required for the next destination.

* The emphasis is mine.

Source: Timatic Via Emirates

  • Thanks for reassuring. I will have the app with itinerary and a printout, just in case, which I guess should be enough. Some people mention hotel booking confirmation, which I will also have if necessary.
    – Jerry
    Oct 14, 2018 at 18:10
  • @Jerry - How did it go? I guess the printout was necessary?
    – Pranasas
    Apr 15, 2019 at 0:23
  • Yes, I had a printout and an app with my flight itinerary. Can't remember which I used now, but there was no issue at all.
    – Jerry
    Apr 15, 2019 at 15:51

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