What to Expect During Arrivals

This is based on my personal experience, flying into Xiamen with Xiamen Air. Your experience could be different, especially if flying into another city, so is just to give a general idea of what to expect.

Right before landing, on the plane, we were given a paper form to fill out, only in Chinese and I had to get another passenger to translate. It asked for basic information, our name, address, passport number, flight number, seat number. Once the plane landed, we disembarked in small groups and had to wait on the plane in our seats until we were told it was ok to get up. We then got on a shuttle bus to the gate.

Once in the terminal, we had to scan the QR code from the Customs Health App. If you did not have this completed or there was an issue with it, there are machines you can use to answer the questions and enter your information, which would give you a printout. Next, you line up and either scan the QR code from the app or the printout and you will get a printed label with your name and info for collecting you RT-PCR sample. Next you go to someone else who collects the paper form and then sends you on your way. You then go see someone else who tells you a room to go in for testing. After testing, you go and collect your luggage. There are washrooms in the baggage collection area. Next you have to scan another QR code to get a form. If you don’t have data, they have wifi with a password you can sign in to. This form is only in Chinese and you will need help if you can’t read it. You then show this app to someone and they tell you to get on a bus with your luggage. The bus then pulled up at a second location to sort us. I think in other places this step is done in the airport. They asked me where I live in China and my age and gave me a room number, which indicated which hotel I would be sent to. I did not have any choice. We then all sat in the room until they came to get us to board the bus to the hotel.

After maybe a fifteen minute bus ride, we arrived at the hotel (Jinrui Jiatai Hotel). We had to take all our own luggage off the bus and we sat down on stools and waited outside as hotel staff explained the rules to us. This was all in Chinese so I didn’t understand the majority of it. The collected our passports and handed us a piece of paper with instructions (only in Chinese) on rules, and how to order things, who to call for stuff etc. Then we went into the hotel lobby and checked in one at a time. I had to fill out a paper form (all in Chinese) and then I was given a choice of rooms. I didn’t know what the difference was so I picked one of the cheaper ones. I think the others were larger rooms or suites. My room was 350 rmb per night, which I had to pay in total upfront, as well as an extra 2000 rmb deposit. That price includes breakfast but not other meals. There is an option to pay for hotel meals for lunch and dinner but I opted not to, since we are allowed to order in waimai. My room is clean and pretty new, though kind of dark. It has a queen size bed, armchair, and a desk and chair. It has a kettle but no fridge. Overall, I’m pretty satisfied and just happy to be back in China.


Diana is from Montreal, but is currently living in Shenzhen. When she is not doing synthetic biology research in the lab at SIAT, she enjoys performing very amateur stand up comedy in the bars of Shenzhen and sailing in Dapeng or Hong Kong.

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