The two big web sites for booking airfare inside China are Ctrip.com and eLong.com (pictures below from the eLong site). eLong.com is affiliated with the USA’s Expedia.com (‘the world’s largest travel company’ it calls itself). Why didn’t I just use Expedia? The fare I looked at was $100 cheaper on eLong.com. With the eLong website I could pay with my US credit card the way we do on websites in the USA, with credit card validation and payment authorization done in the background. The Ctrip site needed a faxed or e-mailed copy of a form I needed to print and sign, pictures of the front and back of my credit card, as well my passport picture page. No! Too much work! and I felt I would put my credit card information at risk for abuse (more so than entering the number on a secure website). But both sites charge a 3% credit card fee on top of the ticket price.
And where am I headed? I have Beijing and the Great Wall of China in my sights for the upcoming Chinese holiday weekend. The project team is taking a break before the final push to get our system up and operative in May.