Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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Chinese students to take advantage of direct flights

College of Communication freshman and Beijing resident Jiaying Li says cost will determine if she flies directly to China in the future. PHOTO BY ALEXANDRA WIMLEY/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

College of Communication freshman and Beijing resident Jiaying Li says cost will determine if she flies directly to China in the future. PHOTO BY ALEXANDRA WIMLEY/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Chinese Boston University students who travel home for vacations will soon be able to avoid layovers and save five to six hours of travel time due to Logan International Airport officials’ recent decision to offer direct flights from Boston to Beijing.

Xi Jin, a College of Communication junior who lives in Beijing, said the new service will make traveling easier for her.

“Taking connecting flights is very time consuming and it’s very tiring,” she said. “You have to wait in the airport, and it’s pretty boring. If I could stay on the plane for the whole time and just go home, it will be better. I might want to travel home more frequently.”

Hainan Airlines, a Chinese carrier, was recently granted federal approval for direct flights from Boston to Beijing, according to The Daily Free Press on Monday. The nonstop flights will be available beginning in June 2014.

This came as good news to BU’s international student population, almost a third of which hails from China. According to the data from BU’s 2012 applicant pool, 31 percent of international students at BU are Chinese.

Chi King Li, a School of Management senior, said the flight would make his trips to and from Beijing less stressful.

“The addition will definitely make my trip more convenient, since [a] layover sometimes means that I have to go through security twice, which is especially troublesome in the U.S.,” he said. “Shorter trips and knowing exactly how long it takes for me to get home is also a plus.”

Other Chinese students at BU will likely take advantage of the non-stop service, King Li said.

“A lot of students will go directly to Beijing if they’re from there, or at least use it as a hub,” he said. “Beijing is one of the major cities in China, so most flights go through it. It will be more convenient for students who are going to nearby places as well.”

King Li said he travels home to Beijing twice a year for BU’s winter and summer breaks. The university’s shorter breaks, such as spring break and the short Thanksgiving recess, are not worth enduring the jetlag and long flight time, he said.

“I would definitely consider direct flights if they were around the same price as the non-direct ones,” he said. “They’re more convenient and there isn’t the stress of waking up just to go through immigration. Running around an airport at three in the morning with your suitcase isn’t exactly fun.”

Jiaying Li, a Beijing resident and COM freshman, said she is typically required to stop at least once anywhere from Detroit to Philadelphia during her trip home.

“I don’t mind [having] to take a one-stop flight,” Li said. “… If I have one stop, I can relax, get some food to eat, [walk] around and relax myself. Without a stop, I have to spend 14 hours on the plane without any [chance to] relax.”

Li said the cost of the new flight will likely determine whether she and other Chinese students at BU decide to take advantage of the direct flights to Beijing.

“For direct flights, it will be much more expensive,” she said. “… Because we don’t know the price of the new flight right now, I don’t know if a lot of students will choose the direct flight, or the one-stop or two-stop flight.”

Zhongyi Wang, a School of Management junior who lives in Beijing, said several Chinese students were pleased with the announcement of nonstop service to and from Beijing.

“I heard from a few friends that they were excited about [the nonstop flight],” he said. “We have been waiting for it for three years, ever since I came to BU.”

Wang also said the trip might encourage more students to fly home to Beijing for spring break.

“It would be a lot easier to go home,” he said. “If I visit Beijing, it’s 12 hours from Boston to Beijing, direct, but it’s usually going to be 20 hours if I take a stop somewhere.”

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