Originally Posted by dantheman
Yes, it's not a big worry in some
respects ... It's more the worry of lockdown, quarantine or other travel restrictions ruining the trip in what is a developing situation (seems likely that it going to get worse, as opposed to the other way around?)
There is currently a UK Gov warning against all but essential travel to the whole of China, which would invalidate travel insurance if we did that for our connection (I believe). We can investigate how China Eastern Airlines (that is our actual carrier) intend to get us to Japan if that is still the situation, but it is still 5 weeks to go, so that may not be known currently.
(This would be our first foreign trip (holiday even, other than visiting relatives) since 2013, and taken a while to save up for, hence it's a bit of a deal knowing that we're doing the right thing ...
I can really sympathise with how you must feel right now - my trip to Japan was quite a big deal for me too made possible due to a small 'windfall' from a pension scheme I'd paid into in a previous job years before - I'd have been gutted to find it all going pear-shaped five weeks before travel.
I've said it before, but you really must press your travel agents for a refund, then try China Eastern direct, and if you get no joy from either then a call to a consumer advice service may be in order.
We used an agent (Trailfinders) to book our Japan trip, because we had a complex sequence of flights (Newcastle to Hong Kong, then HK - Tokyo - Kushiro, Kushiro - Tokyo, then Tokyo - Sapporo, Sapporo - Tokyo, Tokyo - Newcastle). I wanted to get the train to Sapporo / Furano but the travel agent told me they'd booked it as part of a 3 flight sequence from Kushiro, and I would void the final leg if I didn't show for the 2nd. I decided to take the train anyway, as I wanted the experience of riding the bullet train to Hokkaido, then turned up at Sapporo airport to find absolutely no problem with boarding my flight - in fact ANA couldn't have been more helpful, and booked me on an earlier departure. Apart from getting a better deal on the two NCL - HK / Tokyo - NCL flights the agent was useless and unnecessary.
Moral of this long story, the airline may be willing to give you a refund if the agent won't - I think the chances of them re-routing you on a different airline are possibly lower, at least if their flights are not actually cancelled yet, but its worth asking. Personally I would then rebook with a different airline which isn't going anywhere near China - you may yet get a good deal, as I suspect some will be tarring anywhere in East Asia with the same brush and avoiding travel to the region. I would then be optimistic about being able to have a great and hassle free time in Japan - however, I think things have got plenty time to get worse in China over the next 5 weeks, so would be doing all I can to avoid that Shanghai transfer.