From offering tickets at the cost of a vegetable to multi-seat discounts, Chinese airlines are rolling out a series of deals to attract travelers in the run-up to Labor Day on May 1 the first major holiday since the nation came to a standstill due to COVID-19.
Recording a loss of RMB39.8 billion ($5.6 billion) in the first quarter of 2020, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China, the country’s aviation industry is taking its first steps toward recovery as lockdown measures ease.
Coming as a further sign of the market’s recovery, regional carriers including Guizhou Airlines, Air Guilin and Hainan Airlines are all adding new domestic routes for the summer and fall seasons in anticipation of passenger demand.
For now, airlines are focused on the upcoming Labor Day holiday, from May 1-5.
Some airlines have been offering wild deals -dubbed “bok choy-price” tickets by local media because they’re as cheap as vegetables — on domestic routes to attract fliers.
For example, China Southern Airlines’ Xinjiang branch is offering multiple routes at just 10% to 20% of their original prices.
A search on Fliggy, one of the major online travel booking platforms in China, indicates that a ticket from Beijing to Yantai in Shandong province (about 700 kilometers in distance) in June costs only RMB80 ($11) – about 90% off its usual price.