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Seems like an unfair “trade practice” as on the other side in Singapore China Eastern Airlines can check-in passengers earlier than 3 hours.
Don’t see how. It is clearly what SQ is paying for. No doubt SQ could pay more to have the desks manned all day (maybe the do, I don’t know) and maybe SQ could pay more to store bags longer too.
Mentioned it before but Qantas in Sydney has only just in the past few years allowed all day check-in at the international terminal, and the reason they didn’t offer it before was baggage storage issues. The international airport is run by the airport, not Qantas and the airport allocates loading bays for the baggage carts 3 hours before, so if pax check in before the bags had to be stored somewhere. When Qantas first trailed all day it was limited to, if I recall just first class (and maybe business,) and what they did was after checking in the bags kept them behind the desk until 3 hours before when they were sent down into the airport system.
Conversely at Qantas domestic they run the terminal, so had no such issues with baggage storage, so it was something that has been allowed for as long as I remember.
Maybe similar thing at Shanghi. Maybe China Eastern runs or has more control over the terminal they use so can offer longer check-in.