We read in this article (in Chinese) that after the (Roman calendar New Year) and before the Chinese New Year that prices on airplane tickets goes down. That means, according to the article, that flights from Shanghai to destinations such as Sanya (Hainan Island) and Beijing go for as cheap as 30% of the regular price. Searching Ctrip we found this to be true: picking a random day in January about two weeks from now we found two flights leaving from Pudong to Sanya that go for 340 RMB, which is 30% of the 1130 RMB full price ticket.
However, that wasn’t what caught out eye in the article. Rather, it was the statement that there are now 110 RMB one-way tickets to Beijing—and that these prices are only being offered by Hainan airlines. However, we checked the prices on the Hainan Airlines website and picking a day such as January 17 does not result in anything close to 110 RMB tickets, most of them are actually in the 500-800 range. This might mean that only certain travel agencies offer this price, or that you might have to agree to traveling on a plane with only one working engine.
110 RMB (if that price really exists) is a damn good reason to head anywhere by plane (and especially Hainan if you’re looking for a break from the cold) though 340 isn’t too bad either—that’s basically cheaper than the train, and takes a whole lot less time.