1) Go to China's version of Orbitz, which is called Ctrip.com. Since most Chinese airlines have no (or minimal) English-language web pages, Ctrip is your only option. Input flight, passenger, and payment information.
2) The payment page will take you to another page for your Chinese credit card where you'll need to ask for a code on your cell phone. Hit button to receive code.
3) Code does not come, and transaction is canceled. Repeat steps 1-2.
4) This time, the code comes through and you can hit the "confirm payment button," but the payment is still declined. The transaction is still canceled. Repeat steps 1-2 multiple times, which will lead you back here to step number 4 each time.
5) Scream at computer. Turn off computer, and get a glass of wine. Go to bed.
6) On day number 2, attempt to buy tickets again. You notice that today, Ctrip's site now has a Paypal option they are heavily promoting: "USE PAYPAL, GET CTRIP POINTS!" Repeat step 1.
7) But this time, instead of using the Chinese credit card, try to pay with Paypal. Paypal login page appears. Enter Paypal login information.
8) The Paypal page crashes, and the transaction is canceled. But Ctrip still sends an email congratulating you on your airline ticket purchase.
9) Drink a glass of wine to respond to the confusion. Pay no mind to the fact it's only 11am. Wait 30 minutes to cool off.
10) Ctrip sends a text message to you saying the transaction has been canceled because the payment did not go through. Admit defeat as you realize Ctrip actually will not take any form of foreign payment (despite heavy advertising on their web site to the contrary).
11) Ask Chinese friend to help you book tickets.
12) Email Chinese friend flight information. Negotiate how you will reimburse Chinese friend (turns out, in cash).
13) Go to ATM to get cash to give to Chinese friend.
14) Chinese friend books tickets and forwards you confirmation email. Confirmation email shows the gender is wrong for both passengers.
15) Call Chinese friend to ask why the confirmation email says the two female passenger emails are listed as male. Chinese friend tells you that in China, all foreigners are categorized as male when they book domestic airline tickets. Ponder what philosophical implications, if any, this may have.
16) Drink more wine, and imagine a year from now when this story will be amusing.
Congratulations! You've booked your domestic Chinese airline tickets. Please return on your day of departure for your how-to guide for checking in and boarding a Chinese flight. Since the rules always change in China, and your gender is wrong in the ticketing system, we can only write the how-to guide for your boarding and departure after it happens. Cheers!