‘Moon flights’ have become a popular trend—they are more cost-effective than travelling during the Chinese National Holiday

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We are in the midst of celebrating China’s longest holiday!

The Mid-Autumn Festival takes place annually on the 15th day of the 8th Chinese lunar month. It is celebrated as a 3-day holiday. This year, it falls on 22-24 September.

Following the Mid-Autumn Festival is the Chinese National Holiday, also known as the Super Golden Week, which stretches from 1-7 October.

By taking a 6-day leave, many Chinese people will make a 16-day vacation out of these two neighbouring holidays.

This year, more people booked more flights to leave from China on 24 September (the night of the full moon) than ever before. Why that day in particular?

Well, there are 3 main reasons:

  1. Auspicious beliefs
  2. Lowered flight prices
  3. Large-scale price cuts for scenic spots across China

Auspicious Beliefs

Traditionally, the Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated by friends and families gathering together to eat moon cakes and appreciate the spectacular beauty of the moon in its fullest, brightest form. (Myth! The moon is not always the brightest on this day.)

Flying between 6pm to 12am during the Mid-Autumn Festival is known as ‘赏月航班’ (‘moon flight’). This timing allows passengers to be as close as possible to the moon to admire it in its fullest glory.

Ctrip flight booking experts dished some tips for booking moon flights, because different seats get a different view of the moon:

  1. If flying north to south, choose east-side seats.
  2. If flying east to west, choose left-side seats.
  3. If flying west to east, choose right-side seats.
  4. Don’t choose seats near the plane wing as it may obstruct your view.

Lowered Flight Prices

Ctrip recently released its2018 Mid-Autumn and National Day Tourism Trend Forecast Report.

Overall, Mid-Autumn Festival trips are about 40% cheaper than Chinese National Day trips, according to Ctrip’s Tourism Price Index:

  • The average price of domestic tourism before and after the Mid-Autumn Festival is 2,091 yuan, while during the Chinese National Holiday, domestic tourism prices increase to an average of 3,068 yuan—a price difference of 46%.
  • For outbound tourism, the average price during the Mid-Autumn Festival is 5,272 yuan, while the average price during the Chinese National Holiday is 7,295 yuan—a price difference of 38%.

Tourism Consumption Forecast for Mid-Autumn Festival + Chinese National Day (Source: China Daily)


Big data from Ctrip shows that as of 10 September, moon flight bookings on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival have increased by 270% year-on-year.


Top 10 Domestic Travelling Destinations during Mid-Autumn Festival + Chinese National Day (Source: China Daily)


Top 10 International Travelling Destinations during Mid-Autumn Festival + Chinese National Day (Source: China Daily)


While domestic flights are in high demand, many also prefer to enjoy the moon festival outside of China. The number of international flight bookings increased by 191% during the Mid-Autumn Festival, with America, Japan, and Singapore being the most popular destinations.

Large-Scale Price Cuts for Scenic Spots across China

For the first time, there has been a large-scale price cut for visiting key scenic spots across the country. By the end of August, 314 scenic spots either reduced their prices already or are expected to cut prices before the National Day. Out of the 314 spots, nearly 90% are 5A and 4A scenic spots.

Entrance fees play an important role in attracting travellers. Some scenic spots realise this significance, and have even offered to waive entrance fees, making it more cost-effective and hence more attractive to visit.

As a reference, China AAAAA (5A) Scenic Areas represent world-class tourism quality with better amenities, such as transportation, tourism safety, and capability, than AAAA (4A) Scenic Areas. The number of A’s are proportionate to tourism quality.

What’s Next?

Up next is the Chinese National Holiday. Despite the spike in cost of travelling during this time, it is expected that 700 million people will travel domestically. Travel during the holidays is a priority for the Chinese and is a means of mass consumption. This consumption behaviour is not slowing but is in fact expected to grow beyond domestic travel in the years to come.

Chat Chat can help you understand the social media, travelling, and purchasing preferences of the ever-growing demographic of Chinese tourists—and ultimately help you access and attract Chinese consumers. Get in touch.

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