Gotta go!
May 22, 2006 6:04 AM   Subscribe

Is there any way one can buy an international plane ticket while waiting for a replacement passport?

I'm taking up a job offer in China wherein I'd be leaving at the end of June. I fully plan on getting a new passport, but I'm wondering if I need to pay a metric ton for expedited service just to buy the ticket before prices go up even more. Is there any way to purchase Int'l airfare without a passport # or conversely, can I aquire the passport number from the State Department before I have the physical copy?


Also: anyone know of a good site that specializes in cheap China tix?
posted by trinarian to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total)
 
Is there any way to purchase Int'l airfare without a passport #

I have never been asked to provide any proof of travel documents until the day of travel. Has this actually happened to you or do you just think it will? If the former, try somewhere else. If the latter, then you are incorrect.
posted by grouse at 6:11 AM on May 22, 2006


I've been asked to provide a passport # every int'l flight i've purchased.... then they verify it at lift-off.
posted by trinarian at 6:13 AM on May 22, 2006


Japanese discount airfare companies dont require any sort of id at the time of purchase, but obviously they primarily sell tickets departing from Japan...
posted by ejoey at 6:23 AM on May 22, 2006


You can buy the plane ticket without the passport and you won't need it until the day of travel, but won't you need the passport to get the visa? I think it took at least a couple of weeks for me to get a visa to China.
posted by gt2 at 6:26 AM on May 22, 2006


chinese visas can be done with same day service! Max it will take if seven days. Just make sure the office isn't closed for the two days before you leave when you assume you can pick up the visa (or if it is, make sure you have a crying girl).
posted by soma lkzx at 6:32 AM on May 22, 2006


My experience with international travel indicates that you won't need to show your passport until you get off the plane in China.
posted by dead_ at 6:53 AM on May 22, 2006


Who do fly with that does this trinarian? Might be good info to have that info to know who to avoid. I, like others here, haven't had to provide passport info until the flight.
posted by edgeways at 7:05 AM on May 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


I seemed to have worked it out... it wasn't an issue, as you guys suggested. Thanks.
posted by trinarian at 7:08 AM on May 22, 2006


Anyone know how to cancel a cell phone contract?
posted by trinarian at 7:15 AM on May 22, 2006


edgeways: I had to provide a passport number for Air France - BOS-CDG-BOS - when buying online. I'm sure I've done it for others, too, but that one sticks out for me.
posted by whatzit at 7:21 AM on May 22, 2006


you won't need to show your passport until you get off the plane in China.

This, also, cannot be correct. It behooves airlines to check your documents at check-in, because if you arrive at the foreign country without them, they can get fined thousands of dollars.
posted by grouse at 7:29 AM on May 22, 2006


My experience with international travel indicates that you won't need to show your passport until you get off the plane in China.

That might be the experience of someone leaving the US, but it's most certainly not the case in other parts of the world. Flying from the UK to Los Angeles, for example, as I do, I have to show my passport at least twice before making it to departures! They (Virgin Atlantic) also take the passport number when I buy the tickets online, and once again for checkin.

The original poster is also from the US, so he may not have the trouble, but just wanted to point out that other cultures have different customs.. and depending on the airline, may be forced to comply with them.
posted by wackybrit at 7:36 AM on May 22, 2006


if you arrive at the foreign country without them...

Additionally, you do need a visa for China and IME the airlines will thoroughly check for a visa, and a valid one at that, when you check-in...
posted by whatzit at 7:59 AM on May 22, 2006


you won't need to show your passport until you get off the plane in China.

But you'll need it way before then, to get your visa stamped in it, in the first place. I'd get your passport ASAP. Also check how long a Chinese work visa takes, as opposed to a tourist visa. Is your new employer sponsoring your visa? Are they paying for the visa? What's their take on this? Also - when you say 'replacement,' do you mean it's expired, or that you've lost your old passport? A lost passport will be more a pain in the ass.

End of June is not far away - you should really get all your ducks in a row, ASAP. Trust me, I've done this ;) Start with the new passport. And - you should not be doing this research just on Metafilter. Grab a cup of coffee, sit down, check out the Chinese embassy and US Passport office web sites, get all the info you need, and print it out. There may be all kinds of weird hoops that you to jump through. Finally - expedited services can be worth it - I've used these in the past. Usually several hundred dollars, but you can really save a lot of time and stress.

Happy travels!
posted by carter at 9:19 AM on May 22, 2006


Anyone know how to cancel a cell phone contract?

Pay the fee and be done with it - for example, Verizon's contract-breakage fee is $175. It's steep, but better than paying a monthly bill for a phone you're not using.

You may be able to call and beg for mercy, but it'd be a surprise if they let you out of the fee...
posted by pdb at 10:53 AM on May 22, 2006


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