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.

Roundup: Airport to city transportation tips

Hong Kong Cityscape

When travelling between a major airport and the city centre, going by car or taxi isn’t always the most effective means, particularly when those airports are located far on the outskirts of the city. In these instances, using a dedicated express train can often be the most prudent option.

But travel by train is not simply a matter of buying a ticket and being on your way – there are tricks to making that journey even more efficient. We take a look at some of the ways travellers can make their trips between the airport and the city in these Asian destinations a little more cost effective.

Hong Kong International Airport – Hong Kong

Operated by the MTR (Mass Transit Railway) Corporation, Hong Kong’s Airport Express takes travellers from the airport to the city’s central business district on Hong Kong Island in just 24 minutes.

Costing HK$100 (US$12.8) for a one-way journey to Hong Kong Station, the service becomes cheaper with a larger group. A ticket for a group of two averages out as HK$85 (US$10.9) per person, a group of three costs HK$76.7 (US$9.9) per person and a group of four is just HK$70 (US$9) per person. That said, if you are travelling with children between the ages of three and 11, stick to the HK$50 (US$6.4) children’s tickets.

Meanwhile for travellers staying on the Kowloon peninsular side of Victoria Harbour, Airport Express offers a 50 per cent discount on train tickets when a taxi is used to travel to the line’s Kowloon or Tsing Yi Stations, on or before June 30, 2017. The taxi fare must be HK$60 (US$7.7) or more with an original receipt for the taxi on the date of issue – and travellers need to have a valid stored-value Octopus travel card.

Seoul Incheon International Airport – Seoul

Seoul’s notorious rush hour traffic jams may make travel via road seem like an awful idea. Indeed, taxis in the city can be quite expensive – operating on flat rates to particular areas of the city, starting at KRW55,000 (US$48) – and the journey by road can take upwards of 45 minutes depending on traffic.

A more economical but still highly comfortable option is Korean Air’s KAL Limousine bus service, which stops at a wide number of hotels. The service is not just restricted to those flying with the carrier either, and while the journey takes approximately 80 to 90 minutes, it costs just KRW16,000 (US$14). Spacious seats and complimentary wifi and mineral water are offered.

That said, an even more economical option is the city’s Airport Railroad Express (AREX) – not to be confused with the KTX Korea Train Express – that goes non-stop between Incheon airport and Seoul Station and takes 43 minutes. The service is currently offering a discount from its previous price of KRW14,800 (US$13) to KRW8,000 (US$7) for all travellers valid until December 31, 2016, while purchasing a ticket at an automatic ticket machine at Seoul Station or Incheon airport provides a further KRW500 (US$0.44) discount.

Travellers with tickets for flights on Jeju Air, Korean Air, Asiana Airlines and China Southern Airlines within seven days, meanwhile, can get a further discount to KRW6,900 (US$6) when they present their tickets upon purchase. Regardless of airline, however, groups of three or more can get a discounted rate of KRW6,000 (US$5.3) per person.;

Narita International Airport – Tokyo

Though it shares incoming international traffic with Tokyo’s other major airport, Haneda International Airport, Narita is a great deal farther from the city than its counterpart. This distance can make taxis or cars to the centre of the city somewhat prohibitive in terms of cost and time efficiency.

East Japan Railway Company (JR East) operates the Narita Express (N’Ex) that travels directly between Narita International and major stops in the city, including Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shibuya and Yokohama, among others. The journey time is approximately 53 minutes from Tokyo Station and the trains offer wifi.

Perhaps the most attractive aspect for international travellers, however, is the reduced fare offered to foreign passport holders. The N’Ex Tokyo Round Trip Ticket reduces the cost for a regular round-trip ticket in ordinary cars with reserved seating for a flat 4,000 yen (US$38.3) regardless of destination – a vast discount compared to the regular fare of 6,040 yen (US$57.9) to Tokyo Station or 9,240 yen (US$88.5) to Ofuna. Tickets have to be purchased at the JR East Travel Service Centers or JR Ticket Offices at the airport, and require passengers show a non-Japanese passport.

Pudong International Airport – Shanghai

Much like Narita, Pudong International Airport acts as an out-of-town alternative to its sister airport, Hongqiao International Airport – though the large majority of international flights go through Pudong.

The city’s Maglev (magnetic-levitation) train is fast. Hitting speeds of up to 430km/h, the train gets you to the outer part of the city on the Pudong side of the Huangpu River in approximately eight minutes – a journey that would typically take about 45 minutes by road. From there, connections to the Shanghai Metro can be accessed directly at Longyang Road Station, or a taxi could be taken the rest of the way into the centre of town.

A single-journey ticket costs RMB50 (US$7.3), the train also offers a VIP class at twice the cost. However, if you present an air ticket for the same day as your journey, a single journey ticket ends up being just RMB40 (US$5.9) for standard class. Meanwhile, regular travellers to the city can opt for a RMB900 (US$132.8) ticket valid for 30 standard class trips for a year after purchase – averaging out to RMB30 (US$4.4) per trip.

Kuala Lumpur International Airport – Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur’s KLIA Ekspres is arguably the most convenient way to travel to the city from the airport. The express even offers a VIP Service providing executive-class door-to-door service with a car transfer between the main station in the city, KL Sentral, and your hotel.

However, travellers looking to get the best deal when using the express can get a 20 per cent discount when buying a single or return ticket from now until December 31, 2016. The purchase has to be made with a Mastercard debit or credit card, with tickets valid for travel one month from the date of purchase.

In Shanghai – hot bars on the Bund

Shanghai, being one of the most prominent cities in China, is buzzing with energy. But, while this dynamic city evolves and grows, the iconic Bund maintains its position as the most elegant and exciting location for a good night out.


Bar Rouge is one of Shanghai’s more popular clubs sporting a distinct French Shanghai character with a large terrace overlooking the Hangpu River. It regularly runs themed parties and hosts world famous DJs, such as Hedkandi and Benny Benassi.

Address: Bund 18, 7/F, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu

Tel: +86 21 6339 1199




Strolling through the art deco-style lobby of the renovated Fairmont Peace Hotel is an experience of its own, and even if you are not staying here, at least drop by this landmark for a drink. Shanghai glamour is reinterpreted at this new bar on the lobby mezzanine level (enter through Jasmine Lounge) – take your pick between the cocktail bar, wine cellar and cigar lounge and you are set for a good night out.

Address: 20 Nanjing Road East

Tel: +86 21 6138 6889





Stepping into the Long Bar in the old wing of Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund feels like time travel. It’s a replica of what was once a popular watering hole in the elite Shanghai Club, the former tenant of the building. In the interior of dark timber paneling and rich, dark masculine furniture, you can imagine what it was like when the big boys in the old days gathered here, stogies in their mouths and talking about their adventures in the Far East. And you can do the same today with the classic cocktails, single-malt whiskies and selection of premium Cuban cigars, as well as fresh mollusks from the oyster bar and pub-grub classics.

Address: 2 Zhong Shan Dong Yi Road, Huang Pu

Tel: +86 21 6322 9988




Located at the north end of the Bund next to the Peninsula hotel, the prestigious House of Roosevelt is a huge yet classy wine establishment housed in a nine-story building dating back to the 1920s, which was originally used by the British trading firm Jardine Matheson. The entire second floor comprises the wine cellar itself, storing up to 20,000 bottles of wine. Bottles from here are used to serve the courtyard bistro on the first floor, the private members club on the third floor, the upscale restaurant on the eighth floor and the rooftop terrace on the top floor. Visitors can ask to be seated in the expansive wine cellar, which also serves tapas and small bites.

Address: 27 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu

Tel: +86 21 2322 0800




Privé Shanghai, which opened late last year, is yet another Hong Kong nightlife name that set up shop in the city, following in the footsteps of KEE Club and M1NT Shanghai, and has already drawn star studded crowds including Naomi Campbell and Eric Mabius. It brings together a large dance floor, a more relaxed lounge section and a terrace with a stunning view. Like the Hong Kong Privé, this is supposedly a members-only club but is pretty lenient on letting non-members in.

Address: 4/F, Bund 6

Tel: +86 21 3331 7585

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Reggie Ho and Alisha Haridasani