Don’t say ‘Take me to the airport’ in Beijing and Shanghai (part 2)

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After successfully navigating Beijing’s three terminals, we head to Shanghai with our contributor.

SHA and PVG:
Shanghai’s two airports are on opposite sides of the metropolis. The older Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA) is 10 miles (16 km) west of the city center while Shanghai Pudong Internatonal Airport (PVG) is across the Huangpu River, 28 miles (44 km) east (the official airport website does not have functioning English). When given a choice, on many domestic flights and limited intra-Asia international flights, many travelers choose SHA but those based in Lujiazui may do better with PVG. Most international flights are at PVG.


Traveling to/from the airports, taxis are quite reasonable in price (and honest) compared to much of the world. The Metro is excellent though over-crowded, and a network of buses are a bit more luggage-friendly (SHA buses; PVG buses).
Prior to attempting a transfer between the airport, consider that greater Shanghai’s was pinned at over 23 million in the 2010 census. Taxi or Airport Bus Line 1, which runs nonstop between the airports (06:00-23:00) can be attempted in off-hours but are risky during the day. The subway is roughly 90 minutes but is reliable, though complicated, and the last leg (Guanglan Road Station to PVG) shuts down at 21:00.
By Metro, Line 2 runs between SHA Terminal 2 and PVG, but a change of trains (just across the platform) is needed at Guanglan Road Station, switching from an 8-carriage train to a 4-carriage, with waiting time up to 15 minutes. From SHA Terminal 1 it is possible to take Line 10 and connect up with  Line 2 by backtracking to Terminal 2 or ahead at East Nanjing Road. The system map shows the route.
None of this is particularly luggage-friendly, and even worse with luggage is the Maglev Train from Longyang Road Station on Line 2 to PVG. The Maglev is fun for novelty value but with the transfer, ticket line, baggage security scan, and waiting time, it is not worth the hassle and extra cost.
Note that domestic flights in China are constantly delayed and it is a daily occurrence to arrive after midnight, greeted by gleaming eyes of taxi drivers, with all public transport options shut down except one night bus route at PVG.
Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA):
SHA has two terminals connected by shuttle bus every 15 minutes:
Route: T1 departure level exit 6( 6:00~22:30) -> T2 departure level exit 1 (6:30~23:00).
Terminal 1 has the all international flights and a motley assortment of minor domestic airlines; Terminal 2 has all the major domestic airlines. The airport’s official website is in Chinese but airlines can identified by their logo, 2-letter code and website. only with logos (or see Wikipedia).

Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG):

Terminals 1 and 2 are separated by a 15-minute walk (faster on the rare occasion that the moving walkways are operating and going in your direction).

There is also a free shuttle bus but it is a hassle to load and unload luggage. For reference, it runs every 10 minutes from 6:00 to 24:00 stopping at T1 domestic departure exits 1 and 8, T2 international departure exit 23, and T2 domestic departure exit 27.It would be nice if PVG would sort out the airline alliances, for instance, most of SkyTeam is at T1 but not Delta, while JAL is marooned over in T1 away from all its OneWorld partners. Star Alliance comes out on top yet again, with all their members together in T2. Again, the official website and Wikipedia.

PVG exterior of Terminal 2

Photo by mclarenshen

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