Shanghai Hongqiao’s T1 reopens with self-service machines

Hongqiao Airport. Credit: Shanghai Airport

Shanghai Hongqiao Airport’s terminal 1 has reopened after three years of renovation, becoming the first airport in China with self-service options at check-in, security and boarding for domestic flights.

In T1 section D, passengers on international and domestic flights can use one of 28 self-service check-in machines to print tickets and luggage tags after scanning their passports or ID cards.

Eight self-service security machines use facial recognition technology and promise to process passengers in 12 seconds. There are also 20 self-service machines at boarding.

Six staffed counters will remain available at check-in for those who do not wish to use self-service.

According to Spring Airlines, 86 per cent of 2,239 passengers used the self-service machines on Monday morning. During peak morning hours, passengers queued for less than three minutes at the check-in counters, the airline said.

Shanghai Hongqiao Airport is China’s seventh largest by passenger numbers. Terminal 1 serves 10 million customers annually, while the airport’s two terminals serve a total of 40 million.

Airport Vice President Dai Xiaojian said the renovation was focused on upgrading the service rather than growing the airport, and he did not expect passenger numbers to change.

Flights out of T1 also remain unchanged, with routes continuing to Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. Spring Airlines has moved from Section A to Section D.

Other renovations at Shanghai Hongqiao include an increase in parking bays from 700 to 1,250, and space for duty-free shops expanding to 2,000 square metres.

Record number of guns seized at US airports this year

Xray scan detects weapon in briefcase (iStock)

More than 100 Guns Seized at One U.S. Airport Already This Year

US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents have stopped 108 travellers for attempting to carry firearms – mostly loaded, and many with chambered rounds — through security checkpoints at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in 2018. That includes 30 guns seized during the month of May alone, USA Today (https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/2018/06/07/record-number-guns-confiscated-atlanta-airport-worlds-busiest/682150002/) reported June 7, 2018.

 

U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents have stopped 108 travellers for attempting to carry firearms — mostly loaded, and many with chambered rounds — through security checkpoints at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in 2018. That includes 30 guns seized during the month of May alone, USA Today (https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/2018/06/07/record-number-guns-confiscated-atlanta-airport-worlds-busiest/682150002/) reported June 7, 2018.

 

Including the weapons seized at the U.S.’s busiest airport, TSA has confiscated more than 1,700 guns at airports across the nation so far in 2018. In 2017, the agency seized a record 3,391 weapons at airports in the U.S. (https://www.businesstraveller.com/business-travel/2017/01/21/tsa-seized-nearly-3400-guns-airport-security-checkpoints-last-year/)

 

“People are so used to having guns with them all the time,” said TSA spokesperson Mark Howell said, who added that there is “hardly ever an intent to do it on purpose.”

 

Mistake or not, the cost for entering a security checkpoint is high: first-time offenders typically face a fine of $3,900, and fines can go as high as $13,000. The government also takes possession of all seized weapons, which are often resold at auction.

 

Georgia has particularly liberal laws regarding concealed carry of weapons.

 

In addition to guns found in carryon luggage, TSA also may seize weapons packed in checked luggage if they have not been declared and enclosed in a hard case separate from ammunition.

Harbour Grand Kowloon introduces F&B offers

Harbour Grand Kowloon

Harbour Grand Kowloon has introduced an Oyster Fiesta Dinner Buffet at their western restaurant – The Promenade. The restaurant is offering five kinds of freshly shucked premium oysters from communes in France such as Bouzigues, Brittany and Normandy. The festival offers different variations of oyster preparations including oyster shooters as well as baked oysters. It is being held at the restaurant until the end of the month.

The hotel has also introduced Australian Tajima Wagyu beef to their menu at the Harbour Grill restaurant with three different cuts namely striploin, tenderloin and shorted ribs. The offer lasts until October 31.

Kowloon.harbourgrand.com

Bhavya Aggarwal

Harbour Grand Kowloon has introduced an Oyster Fiesta Dinner Buffet at their western restaurant – The Promenade. The restaurant is offering five kinds of freshly shucked premium oysters from communes in France such as Bouzigues, Brittany and Normandy. The festival offers different variations of oyster preparations including oyster shooters as well as baked oysters. It is being held at the restaurant until the end of the month.

The hotel has also introduced Australian Tajima Wagyu beef to their menu at the Harbour Grill restaurant with three different cuts namely striploin, tenderloin and shorted ribs. The offer lasts until October 31.

Kowloon.harbourgrand.com

Bhavya Aggarwal

Harbour Grand Hotel, Kowloon marks 22nd anniversary with dining offer

Harbour Grand, Kowloon

Harbour Grand Hotel, Kowloon is celebrating 22 years of being in business with a dining special for its guests in the month of July. The hotel has put forward a selection of dining offers namely:

  • Buy 3 Get 1 Sumo’s Choice Japanese Brunch — the all-you-can-eat menu comprises of grilled delicacies, fresh sashimi, sushi, tempura and desserts such as Hokkaido Pudding. For every three paying diners, one additional diner eats free.
  • 22 per cent off on an eight-course set dinner — includes the yellow tail, salmon and sweet shrimp sashimi, Japanese blow fish, Australian Wagyu beef rib eye and ice cream.
  • Buy 3 Get 1 Free set lunch — the fourth diner of the set lunch is not charged. Available from Monday to Friday.
  • 1 Complimentary Bottle of Sake for a group of eight and above.

The offers are valid until July 31, and prices are subject to ten per cent service charge.

harbourgrand.com 

Bhavya Aggarwal 

Harbour Grand Hotel, Kowloon is celebrating 22 years of being in business with a dining special for its guests in the month of July. The hotel has put forward a selection of dining offers namely

  • Buy 3 Get 1 Sumo’s Choice Japanese Brunch — the all-you-can-eat menu comprises of grilled delicacies, fresh sashimi, sushi, tempura and desserts such as Hokkaido Pudding. For every three paying diners, one additional diners eats for free.
  • 22 per cent off on an eight course set dinner — includes the yellow tail, salmon and sweet shrimp sashimi, Japanese blow fish, Australian Wagyu beef rib eye and ice cream.
  • Buy 3 Get 1 Free set lunch — the fourth diner of the set-menu lunch is not charged. Available from Monday to Friday.
  • 1 Complimentary Bottle of Sake for a group of eight and above.

The offers are valid until July 31, and prices are subject to ten per cent service charge.

harbourgrand.com 

Bhavya Aggarwal 

  • Buy 3 Get 1 Free set lunch — the fourth diner of the set-menu lunch is not charged. Available from Monday to Friday.
  • 1 Complimentary Bottle of Sake for a group of eight and above.

The offers are valid until July 31, and prices are subject to ten per cent service charge.

harbourgrand.com 

Hong Kong Airlines and Bangkok Airways codesharing to Koh Samui

Holidaymakers looking to head to Koh Samui in Thailand with Hong Kong Airlines can now make use of two Bangkok Airways flights to the island, either by flying non-stop or via Bangkok.

The codeshare allows Hong Kong Airlines passengers to travel either non-stop from Hong Kong on board Bangkok Airways’ flight, or to connect with the Thai carrier’s domestic Bangkok-Koh Samui services following a connection from one of Hong Kong Airlines’ 37 weekly flights to the Thai capital.

Speaking about the codeshare, Bangkok Airways president, Puttipong Prasartthong-Osoth said: “[The codeshare] allows us to give passengers a convenient and seamless access to and from Samui, either on our non-stop twice daily service from Hong Kong to Samui or on multiple daily domestic flights between Bangkok and Samui.

“Moreover, Hong Kong Airlines’ passengers travelling on Bangkok Airways will enjoy the boutique airline’s unparalleled services such as lounge access and in-flight meal.”

Tickets for the codeshare flights are now available for travel effective immediately.

hongkongairlines.com; bangkokair.com

12 new and upcoming hotels in Shanghai

Wanda Reign on the Bund
Opened: June, 2016

While the past 12 months have seen a number of international hotel brands make their entry or bolster their number in Shanghai, domestic brands also have been making their mark, as Wanda Hotels and Resorts’ Wanda Reign on the Bund illustrates. The Chinese company describes the property as “ultra luxury”, though even if you didn’t know this in advance, its abundant use of gold in its colour scheme along with extravagant crystal chandeliers would likely be a pretty clear clue. Nearby attractions include the ancient Yu Garden and the City God Temple.
wandahotels.com

Hyatt Regency Shanghai, Wujiaochang
Opened: July, 2016

Situated north of Shanghai’s famous Bund area in Wujiaochang, the first of Hyatt’s two planned Hyatt Regency hotels in the city forms part of the business zone’s Hopson International Center mixed-use development. While the property is a little further from the action than some of the other hotels in the city closer to Pudong or Jingan districts, the hotel is located next to Metro Line 10 Wujiaochang Station providing straightforward connectivity downtown.
hyatt.com

Intercontinental Shanghai NECC
Opened: September, 2016

Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) opened its fifth Intercontinental-brand hotel in Shanghai in September 2016, and arguably one of its most notable. The Intercontinental Shanghai NECC is located in Section D of the National Exhibition and Convention Center (NECC) – claimed to be the “largest single building and exhibition complex in the world”. It’s little surprise, then, that the 536-room hotel itself has more than its fair share of events space also, offering some 2,200sqm of events space including a nine-metre-high pillarless grand ballroom.
ihg.com

Pullman Shanghai Jing An
Opened: December, 2016

Pullman Hotels and Resorts’ latest foray into the Shanghai market used to be the Grand Mercure Shanghai Central, before the property was selected for a year-long renovation and rebrand. Now the property – which has 288 rooms in total – offers a number of Pullman-specific offerings. Among the most notable is the Pullman Artist Playground, an initiative recently launched by the hotel group, in which properties collaborate with artists. In this case, Chinese artist Qin Ming created a series of bespoke artworks for the hotel.
accorhotels.com 

Le Meridien Shanghai, Minhang
Opened: December, 2016

Shanghai’s third Le Meridien hotel in the city, Le Meridien Shanghai, Minhang is another property that’s sprung up in the city’s Hongqiao district. Some 240 rooms are available here, though perhaps the hotel’s key focus is on its lobby area, which it positions as a social gathering space as part of its “Le Meridien Hub” concept. Key offerings as part of this concept are light bites, coffees created by the hotel’s master barista, signature éclairs, and many others.
marriott.com

Sofitel Shanghai Hongqiao
Opened: March, 2017

While many hotel brands have recently made their debut in the city, Sofitel is not among them. The recently opened Sofitel Shanghai Hongqiao is Sofitel’s third hotel in the city after the Sofitel Shanghai Hyland and Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental. Offering the brand’s signature French-inspired stylings, the 354-room property also features a Cantonese restaurant called Le Chinois. Those looking for something different, though, can head to the Japanese restaurant Takara or the Spanish tapas and wine bar, Ocho.
accorhotels.com

Hilton Garden Inn Shanghai Hongqiao
Opened: April, 2017

The 226-room Hilton Garden Inn Shanghai Hongqiao was the first property under the Hilton Garden Inn brand in the city when it opened its doors in April 2017. The hotel’s location in the Hongqiao CBD places it in close proximity to the city’s second airport, Hongqiao, which is about a ten-minute drive away, while the National Exhibition and Convention Centre and Shanghai Yintao Golf Club are also nearby.
hiltongardeninn3.hilton.com

Hyatt Regency Shanghai Global Harbor
Opened: April, 2017

The second of Hyatt’s two new Hyatt Regency hotels in Shanghai, the Hyatt Regency Shanghai Global Harbor is located in the Putuo district, north of Jingan. The hotel forms part of the Global Harbor shopping and entertainment hub, though a number of event spaces and F&B options will also be available. As for the hotel itself, some 2,600sqm of indoor and outdoor events space is on the cards, along with outdoor terraces on the 47th floor and a rooftop bar. As of May 2017, not all of the facilities are open to the public, however.
hyatt.com 

St Regis Shanghai Jingan
Opened: May, 2017

The ninth property in Greater China from St Regis Hotels and Resorts, the St Regis Shanghai Jingan is – rather surprisingly – its only one in China’s major eastern city (Hainan Island alone has four). The property is located in one of the major business and cultural districts in the city, Jingan, in walking distance of the Shanghai Natural History Museum and near to the 400-year-old Yu Garden. This also places it closer to Shanghai’s less-prominent Hongqiao Airport (about 30 minutes away) than the major international airport, Pudong (one hour away).
starwoodhotes.com/stregis

Melia Shanghai Hongqiao
Opened: May, 2017

The most recently opened hotel on this list, the Melia Shanghai Hongqiao ended up delaying its launch by close to a year, having originally been slated for a July 2016 opening when it was announced in 2015. While it is located about five minutes from the NECC, the hotel markets itself as more of a mixed business and leisure (or “bleisure”, to some) hotel than an entirely MICE-focused one. Perhaps most noteworthy about the hotel are its more traditionally styled Garden Villas, measuring around 400sqm and featuring, as their name suggests, a 200sqm garden terrace.
melia.com

Aloft Shanghai Nanxiang
Opening: January, 2018

Starwood Hotels and Resorts originally signed the Aloft Shanghai Nanxiang back in 2015, prior to its merger with Marriott International. The city’s debut Aloft property, however, still looks set for its January 1 opening next year, bringing with it all the brand’s usual highlights including loft-inspired rooms and an abundance of social spaces. Aloft Shanghai Nanxiang is located in the Jiading district in the city’s north-east.
starwoodhotels.com

Shama Caojiadu Shanghai
Opening: 2018

Announced back in May 2015, Onyx Hospitality Group’s fifth serviced residence in Shanghai, the Shama Caojiadu Shanghai, was originally slated for a 2017 opening. This has since been pushed back to 2018. Located in the city’s Jingan district, the hotel was originally planned to have 168 units, however as of May 2017 this now appears to have been adjusted to just 159, according to the hotel’s online portfolio.
onyx-hospitality.com

[Get a more in-depth look at developments in Shanghai’s Hongqiao district with Business Traveller‘s May 2017 feature, “Spotlight on Shanghai: Room for growth]

Hong Kong MTR proposes Airport Express price increase

Hong Kong Airport Express MTR

The cost of a ticket on Hong Kong’s Airport Express rail link may be set to increase by 10.3 per cent as early as June, the South China Morning Post reports. The price hike would be the line’s first since it first began operations 19 years ago.

According to the proposed increase submitted to the Legislative Council of Hong Kong by The MTR Corporation on Tuesday, the cost of an adult Octopus travel card fare between in-town stations and Hong Kong International Airport and the nearby AsiaWorld-Expo would increase by HK$5-10 (US$0.6-1.3), while adult single journey tickets would rise by HK$10-15 (US$1.3-1.9).

Meanwhile adult fares of long validity round-trip tickets would increase by HK$15-30 (US$1.9-3.9).

Currently a single fare ticket from Hong Kong Station in Central district to the airport is HK$100 (US$14.1), while the fare from Kowloon Station is HK$90 (US$11.6). Under the proposed increase, these would increase to HK$110 (US$14.1) and HK$100, respectively.

However, promotional items including the Airport Express Group Tickets and Airport Travel Pass will remain unchanged.

According to the proposal, a significant increase in the operating cost of the Airport Express has necessitated the fare revision.

mtr.com.hk