~$1,580 Roundtrip Business Class Fares From LAX To China On A New Route!

A couple of days ago I wrote about how Sichuan Airlines is launching flights between Los Angeles and Hangzhou, with connecting service to Chengdu. Hangzhou might seem like a random destination out of LAX, but as of now Sichuan doesn’t have any planes that can fly nonstop between Los Angeles and Chengdu. So for now they’re operating the flight via Hangzhou, though in the future they hope to operate nonstop service between Los Angeles and Chengdu.

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However, what makes this route especially bizarre is that they started selling tickets only a few days before the route launched. Sichuan will begin flying to Los Angeles starting this coming Monday, October 17, 2016, even though they only started selling tickets a couple of days ago.

We’ve seen a lot of expansion from Chinese carriers to the US lately, and perhaps the best aspect of it has been the great introductory fares we’ve seen. When Hainan started flying between Los Angeles and Changsha we saw ~$1,350 roundtrip business class fares, while when Xiamen Air started flying between Seattle and Shenzhen we saw ~$1,580 roundtrip business class fares.

Well, Sichuan Airlines’ flights are now bookable, and we’re seeing some incredible introductory fares as well. Specifically:

  • Fly business class from Los Angeles to Hangzhou for ~$1,582 roundtrip
  • Fly business class from Los Angeles to Chengdu for ~$1,582 roundtrip
  • Fly business class from Los Angeles to Beijing or Shanghai for ~$1,478 roundtrip

If you are looking to travel between Los Angeles and Hangzhou, paying ~$1,580 for a roundtrip business class ticket on a nonstop flight is great.

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The fare to Chengdu is just as good, though it’s a long journey time.

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On the surface the best fare is actually from Los Angeles to Beijing or Shanghai. The catch is that it’s a really unpleasant routing, as you have to connect twice in each direction, in both Hangzhou and Chengdu. On top of that, due to the flight timing, you have an overnight layover in Chengdu in both directions. So it’s not ideal in terms of the routing, though the fare is great.

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In terms of searching for flights or booking, your best bet is to go through Google Flights, and then I’d recommend following the link on Google Flights to book through Cheapoair, since Sichuan’s website is horrible.

A few more notes:

  • Best I can tell, this fare is valid for outbound travel through December 22, 2016, and there’s availability every day the flight operates until then
  • Sichuan Airlines has angled flat seats in business class, so it’s not a great hard product they offer
  • Sichuan Airlines doesn’t belong to any alliance, so at best you can credit these flights to either Sichuan’s own Golden Panda Club (what a cool name is that for a frequent flyer program?), or otherwise to China Southern’s program

Bottom line

This is an incredible fare for business class between the US and China. If you’re going to Chengdu or Hangzhou this is an option that’s tough to beat. However, do keep in mind that Sichuan has angled seats in business class, so it’s not going to be the solid hard product you may have come to expect on some other Chinese carriers.

I’ve been extremely impressed by my business class flights on Hainan and Xiamen, so I’m sort of tempted to try this out as well. Would a review on Sichuan be interesting, or does their lack of partners for earning and redeeming miles make them less interesting?

Anyone planning on trying Sichuan’s new flight between Los Angeles and Hangzhou?

Comments

  1. I’d say it’d an interesting review. Even though my parents are from mainland China, I never hear anything great about their airlines and the short haul flights I’ve had on them were less then stellar, mainly because of the passengers. Your reports on Hainan and Xiamen does help change my perception of Chinese airlines though.

    In unrelated news, CZ’s 77Ws are 9 abreast in econ – I didnt know that, especially since they’re all fairly new planes. I thought they would have been 10 abreast. Might consider flying them when CX goes 10 across.

  2. CTU really has grown a lot in recent years internationally. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sichuan joins some alliance in the near future. In that case, you have leg up other bloggers since you review this first. 🙂 Plus, both Chengdu and Hangzhou are interesting cities to visit.

  3. Ben, if you do end up booking this, make sure you spent some time in Chengdu and Sichuan province, my favourite city and province in mainland China!

  4. As Alvin alludes, Shanghai is a short bus/train ride from Hangzhou, which is considered one of Shanghai’s backyard playgrounds – where Shanghainese go to enjoy themselves for the weekend.

  5. @Alvin @italdesign +1

    Going through Chengdu is definitely not a great way to get from Hangzhou to Shanghai.

  6. Rumor has it that Hainan Airlines will start flying non-stop from Chengdu to LAX later this year. Sichuan Airlines will start their non-stop CTU-LAX late 2017.

  7. I don’t think you can credit miles to China southern. Their Chinese website says only domestic flights are eligible. Be careful about that.

  8. Go to CTU and do a tour through Tibet. Theres little reason to go to chengdu besides some of the food(if you like sichuan) and the panda center, but there are a lot of pretty short flights to tibet from CTU.

  9. @Alvin
    Beware of Chengdu Airport, there’s X-Ray security installed, actually I’m one of your reader. We provide meals to Dragonair, Lufthansa, etc.
    @Anonymous23
    How? HU has little presence in CTU. Instead Sichuan Airlines (3U) will get new A350 late 2017 and fly nonstop.

  10. @Tim – apparently China Eastern uses A330-200 for its LAX to Nanjing routes twice a week…that’s also about 14 hours

  11. Def would be interested to hear a review on this. Although I fly from East Coast of US most often, I quite like Hangzhou. West lake area is beautiful!

  12. @ Curtis — Are you sure? Every reference I see to Sichuan online indicates they have angled flat seats on the A330.

  13. As someone living in Chengdu would be very interested to read! There are loads of international hotels as well so you wouldn’t have a problem finding somewhere to stay.
    Flew 3U from Melbourne here in business once and it wasn’t a terribly great experience though the crew were nice enough (after I spoke Chinese instead of English to them). Not sure if they’ve updated the product but yikes.. most important thing has to be bring your own IFE, it was the worst I’ve ever seen (Air Niugini was even better – and that was about 10 years ago).

  14. I’m from Sichuan, Chengdu, and I think Sichuan airlines is a decent airline. The catering is really good compared to other Chinese carriers and they really put in effort to showcase the Sichuan traditional cuisines to passengers which is something really cultural and stands out from other airlines (Chengdu is the city of food by UNESCO ), well not as good as Hainan obviously, however it always arrives on schedule and usually ahead of schedule. Personally I hate Chinese carriers even thou I’m Chinese, well Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon is still my favorite and my top choice. Well if you got Sichuan airlines, a few days layover in Chengdu would be very nice and fun as you can visit the pandas and like try out the food like the hot pot or mapuo toufu since you like spicy food.

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