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Rephrasing a question I had in the comments of another question into a new question.

Me (Belgian) and my wife (South-Korean) are planning to travel from Seoul to Barcelona during a very busy (and expensive) time of the year. To reduce costs, I looked into making separate flight reservations.

My first flight would be from Seoul (Gimpo) to Beijing, with Asiana, landing at 9:50AM.

After that, we would have another reservation (separate ticket) with Aeroflot to fly from Beijing to Barcelona, leaving at 11:40AM (with layover in Moscow, but same ticket there).

We would only have carry-on luggage, so no checked-in luggage.

So, do we need a Chinese visa for this?

Is it reasonable (I'm willing to take some risk to save almost 1000$ per person), time-wise? I of course know that we are not covered if any flight delay on the first flight, leading us to miss our connection.

Can we stay in the transit zone, without having to go through customs? For this, we would have to do online check-in for Aeroflot in advance of course.

Any known problems for online checking with Aeroflot?

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Do we need a Chinese visa for this?

NO, both South Korean and Belgian citizens can avail 72 hour-visa-free-transit at Beijing airport.

Source: Beijing International airport

"Beijing offers 72-hour visa-free transit for foreign visitors with third-country visas and transit at Beijing. Foreign visitors, who hold passports issued by the countries on the 72-hour Visa-free Transit Policy List and stay in Beijing for transit for up to 72 hours, could apply for a visa-free transit stay in China at the immigration inspection authority at Beijing Capital International Airport. This policy is only applicable for foreign visitors who enter into, stay in and leave from Beijing."

Also Timatic confirms the same.

Moreover, you have 1 hour 50 minutes layover time, you and your wife don't need any transit visas. However there is an issue, as you have just commented Asiana lands at T3 and Aerofloat departs from T2 which means you will need to clear immigration and cutoms because distance from T2 to T3 is 8 km. You can take shuttle bus which runs every 15 minutes and would take around 20 minutes for the shuttle bus from T3 to reach T2 at Beijing airport. Please SEE

Therefore, it is a short connection and there is always a possibility 1 hour 50 minutes won't be enough to change terminals.

Any known problems for online checking with Aeroflot?

Please see the following like all major airlines, Aeroflot also has online check in facility which begins 24 hours and closes 45 minutes before departure .

Source: Aeroflot Onlie Check In

Further there is a warning from Aeroflot

Attention!

You must have a paper boarding pass in order to board the plane. If you were unable to print your boarding pass at home, you may print your boarding pass at a self-service check-in kiosk at the airport.

  • Thanks a lot! Any idea if Asiana and Aeroflot are in the same terminal? Or if those terminals are well connected to each other? – Nigu Jan 19 '17 at 3:09
  • Actually found the information myself. Asiana is T3, Aeroflot is T2. How much time would it take to go from one to the other? Minimum Connection Time is 120 minutes for International to International (travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/beijing/…), so I'm very close to that number. Is there a internal connection between to two terminals? Should I ask this in a separate question? – Nigu Jan 19 '17 at 3:26
  • According to google, this aeroflot flight is often delayed by 30 minutes. Wishful thinking? ;) – Nigu Jan 19 '17 at 3:32
  • Separate tickets means clearing customs and immigration. – Loren Pechtel Jan 19 '17 at 3:37
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    @LorenPechtel OP has asked he will be carrying only hand luggages – Ali Awan Jan 19 '17 at 3:38
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Visa-wise you're fine. However, a 1 hour 50 minute connection on separate tickets in Beijing is totally asking for it. I probably wouldn't take the flight even if the tickets were free.

As for the question about which terminal the airlines are in--I don't know and I don't care, the connection is insane, period.

Since you are on separate tickets you can't check your bags through, you will have to clear immigration, recover your bags and then clear customs. You then need to deliver your bags to the new airline then go back through customs, immigration and security. Having to move from one terminal to another is only a small part of the time. I don't know the checkin time limit for Beijing, I know it at least was 60 minutes in Shanghai--and the one time I did it with 65 minutes I would have missed the plane had it departed on time.

Beijing is notorious for connection problems, also--and since you're on separate tickets if you're not fast enough your main ticket goes poof.

Given the separate tickets I would book this with an overnight stay.

  • Thank you. Are you saying this because Asiana and Aeroflot are not in the same terminal? Or because they are not well connected to each other? – Nigu Jan 19 '17 at 3:10
  • Actually, I just commented on this in the answer above... – Nigu Jan 19 '17 at 3:26
  • @Nigu Note my expansion of my answer. – Loren Pechtel Jan 19 '17 at 3:37
  • Thank you. I understand what you're saying and I appreciate you being very clear. I know I'm taking risks, just trying to quantify them. FYI, as stated in the question, I have hand luggage only, no checked in luggage. – Nigu Jan 19 '17 at 3:41
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    @Nigu Ok, if you're hand luggage only and one terminal I'll downgrade it to simply quite risky. I still wouldn't fly it even on free tickets, though. – Loren Pechtel Jan 19 '17 at 3:44

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