“ Shanghai Pudong International Airport (IATA: PVG, ICAO: ZSPD) (Simplified Chinese上海浦东国际机场, Traditional Chinese 上海浦東國際機場, pinyin Shànghǎi Pǔdōng Guójì Jīcháng) is an airport located in the eastern part of Pudong district of Shanghai, China. It is a major international gateway into China, handling 17.15 million passengers on international flights in 2006, of which 9 million are foreigners, and beating Beijing Capital International Airport's 12.6 million international passengers. The airport is the main hub for China Eastern Airlines and Shanghai Airlines. The airport opened on October 1, 1999, replacing Shanghai Hongqiao Airport as Shanghai's international airport and taking over all of its international flights (including flights to Hong Kong and Macau). A second identical runway was opened on March 17, 2005 and a third runway is currently under construction. The second terminal is under construction and scheduled for completion by 2007. The long-term plan calls for a total of three terminals, two satellite halls and five parallel runways, for a final capacity of 80 million passengers per year. Transrapid constructed the first operational maglev railway in the world, from the Pudong International Airport to Long Yang Road Metro station. It was inaugurated in 2002. It has a peak speed of 431 km/h and a track length of 30 km. „
Having never travelled before to Shanghai I didn't really have an image of Pudong International Airport in my head and no idea what the facilities were like. Taking into account the size of Shanghai and the land space I had an inkling that the airport would be on a grand scale and modern. Indeed it was grand and very futuristic. The roof alone is very impressive; it looks like a giant blue metal pin cushion with white steel pins coming forth from the top holding the large expanse together.
On arrival I was very pleased that the temperature was 28 degrees centigrade but I hadn't really prepared myself for the humidity level. Warsaw is very humid in the summer but Shanghai is a different story. Pudong airport officials were slick and professional when it came to processing 450 passengers from Amsterdam and by the time we had passed through immigration and picked up our bags I was soaked with perspiration. Not the best way to greet two business colleagues who had invited us to their city and were going to be our hosts for the next few days. I very nearly missed Mr Wang and Diva Vu because I was too busy helping an Indian lady and gentleman with their toddler. The man was struggling to wheel the wayward pram with one hand while the other hand was steering the largest and lumpiest suitcase I have ever seen. Poor child wasn't sure where she was going to end up and my pram steering wasn't the safest turning corners at a rapid speed nearly throwing the child out of her safety belt and pram.
The airport is quite away from downtown Shanghai, at least 30 kilometres east of the city. The grey China Sea is right behind the airport and on a misty day the sea blends in with the steel covered terminals and on the day we were there the boats seemed to drift away into oblivion.
Pudong has two terminals and is very easy to navigate. If you are dropped off at the wrong terminal by accident you will have a long way to walk to the correct one. Departures are on the top level and arrivals on the bottom level. Drivers dropping passengers off have to follow in an orderly fashion and be quick about exchanging farewells as police are stood in a line moving people on. So don't hesitate while removing your luggage from the boot of the car. There are parking lots located at Lot 1 F1 Exit.
If you are familiar with other forms of transport and want to travel by public transport there are several options; shuttle buses connect to both terminals as do long distance buses. A new funky way of travelling is on the Maglev train but this doesn't actually take you straight into the centre of Pudong only to Longyang Road Metro Station. I didn't travel on the Maglev but would have liked to. I hear it is basic inside, travels very quickly but smooth only bumpy on turns. Another cheap form of travel is taxi. Shanghai taxis are available all hours. Prices vary due to time of day and how many kilometres you travel. I am told Shanghai drivers are friendly and won't rip you off so that's good to hear. On this trip we were driven everywhere so we didn't have to worry too much about getting to and from the airport. Next time I will make sure we travel on public transport just for the experience.
Our experience of the airport was connected more with our departure than arrival as on arrival we were soon whisked off to the delights of Shanghai and our hotel so we didn't spend much time in this area.
Lifts will take you to check-in areas, these are easy to operate and very spacious. Terminal 1 has International Check-in marked with the letters E-L. Domestic check-in is marked A-D. You find Terminal 1 on 3F Departure Level. There are 9 Ladies and Gents toilet points situated along the International and domestic concourse. I know as I counted every one. The sign for toilet depicts a figure of a man with a line separating the figure of a female. I am pleased to inform you that all toilet facilities are spotlessly clean, with low level sinks, plenty of white toilet tissue, automatic taps and hand towels from a machine on the wall that automatically perforates. There are disabled toilets and facilities for Mother and Baby. I had a peep in one of the Mother and Baby rooms and was surprised at how jolly the room was all decorated in pink with pictures of Hello Kitty dotted on the wall. My Granddaughter would have loved to have seen this.
Escalators are in use as well as some travelators for some parts of the concourse. Information desks can be found by looking for a sign with a question mark. You will find that most airport staff can speak English so don't think you have to quickly brush up on your Chinese.
In each check-in section there is the opportunity to check in online by using a machine. You can only do this 3 hours before flying. Usually for international flights there is a separate customer care desk outside so if there are any problems you can deal with them here. Seats are available for each area and there are priority seats for disabled, elderly and children. We sat in the appropriate check out area for a long time seeing that we had another long wait due to a mistake I made when booking the flight. That's another story for another time. I can vouch for the relaxation quality of the chairs although I didn't lie down on them. There are spacious aisles so I was able to stretch my legs out. I enjoyed my time in this area as there was always something going on whether it be police officers whizzing around on bikes or walking around with sniffer dogs or a group of twenty employees from Spring Airlines marching into a circle to take part in a morning's training course. They didn't practice any Tai chi but they did sing at the end of the course.
Like in any airport there is a selection of shops and restaurants selling mainly Chinese goods. Not a great selection of restaurants and all serving Chinese food. You could buy a sandwich and ice cream with an International touch but mostly food was strictly Chinese. On one of my walkabout trips I noticed several Chinese people holding giant size pots of noodles. I was intrigued by this, I assumed they were eating the food dry until I saw a machine dispersing sterilised drinking water and then it clicked; this is where they filled their pots up with warm water.
A couple of times we moved to different boarding gates; the first gate we sat and waited at was very peaceful except the smell of aviation fuel was too powerful for me and made me feel nauseous. I was pleased we moved to Gate 17 where there was a TV lounge and an area with 4 computers and internet connections. I was amazed that this area wasn't packed out as the Internet was free. This area also had some very stylish shops selling hand made goods from south China, designer shoes and handbags. I am glad I bought those designer chop sticks as I have got the hang of using them now and can't wait to tuck into my bowl of rice every day.
Gate numbers seemed to change frequently and I couldn't find any information boards in the departure area so you really have to listen to the sing song announcements which are spoken in Chinese with a delay and then English. The Chinese language is very soothing at an airport and it can sometimes send you to sleep so try not to nod off or you will miss your flight.
Two large international airports in the space of 6 days. Which one do I prefer? I think I like Pudong more than Schiphol as it is so spacious, easy to relax in, not as many announcements and not as many shops and activities which means you can save some money. I loved the minimalist design especially in Terminal 2 where you can walk for miles and the only decoration is a row of single monuments representing different races of people. The roof is wonderfully wacky too.
This summer I made my first trip to the Far East. It took in Hong Kong, Beijing and finally Shanghai. During my trip I visited many(6) different airports in three different countries and the final one in China was Shanghai Pudong International. During my stay in Shanghai, I had visited an exhibition designed for the Shanghai Expo2010 which featured a section on the new Pudong International airport, so I had high expectations on arrival.
I took the Maglev train from Shanghai to Pudong airport, as it is a fair distance outside of the city. That was a fantastic experience, although over quick at 401km/hr, well worth a go if you happen to find yourself in Shanghai! Arriving at the airport it seemed new, clean and very spacious.
Once inside there were a couple confusing signs supposedly indicating which terminal to go to for what airlines. After a few confused minutes we found out terminal 1 was where we should be for our airline (KLM).
Terminal 1 was very spacious and clean. There was work taking place on the bottom level, but this was boxed off by boards with some pictures on them, so was well contained and clean.
Our flight was at 11pm but we arrived a while earlier expecting to have some food at the airport itself. However, I was disappointed to discover the airport to be somewhat lacking in fooderies. In terminal 1 itself there were 4 eateries but two of them were the same and one only served food before 7pm. I was rather disappointed as there was not a variety of food available at these and it was expensive. Eventually we went to explore the wider airport in order to find some other food. We finally settled on PizzaHut (very chinese!) back at the entrance from the Maglev.
The airport security was efficient and we were through in no time. When we were through the 2 hour wait for boarding began. Most shops were shut at 8pm so we hadn't much to do. There were (boiled) water fountains to get drinks from which was nice and the airport was clean, fairly quite and comfortable.
I was glad when the time came to board the plane, but Shanghai Pudong International was a comfortable place to wait on the flight. An ok airport for comfort and cleanliness but NOT for food.
I arrived at 07 30 on Thursday 9th July onboard Virgin Atlantic. Your first encounter is Health Officials boarding the plane to take veryone's temperature. Stay seated or they shout at you. Being in Upper Class you get to leave the aircraft first. It is a very modern airport and being one of the first flights in it was spotless clean almost as if it has just opened.
There is a long walk to arrivals the terminal is a long straight building. As you reach immigration you expect a queue but nothing. First of all they check you have completed the health form you then hand that in and then you join the short queue to clear immigration again no problem.
As you walk into the Baggage Claim you have the opportunity to buy currency either from cash point or from a Bureau. Exchange rate is the same
TIP Make sure you tell your card provider that you are travelling to China or you may find your card blocked after this transaction as happened to me
After picking up your bags again straight through customs into a relatively empty arrivals area. Signs are plentiful written in English and Chinese - Mandarin I think but not sure
I was picked up my Virgin so did not get to use public transport
There are many options
MAGLEV for your fastest train journey ever but remember it stops in middle of nowhere in Shanghai so you need a taxi to final destination
Taxi cheap and many of them but be prepared for a manic fast lane changing journey
Bus ? Metro not really an option unless you are familiar with network
It is one of the best international airports I have visited and I will do a review for my return flight this weekend
Pudong to Heathrow with Virgin Upper Class
Driver was there waiting as I checked out of my hotel a very clean Rover 75 imitation, thankfully not a bog standard Shanghai VW Passat taxi
It was about a 50 minute journey pass new motorway network for Shanghai Expo in very light traffic so I would suggest allow 90 mins in rush hour.
The road to the airport is 20km of beautiful gardens I would compare it to a drive through Kew Gardens.
As you approach the terminal building it reverts back to Shanghai chaos 5 lanes in front of terminal simply used as car park so lots of near pedestrians collisions. The Driver just stopped pointed at entrance at Terminal 2 and that was it .
Entering the terminal expect the usual Departure boards telling you where to check in. Reached the Virgin Desk which already had a queue building but with Upper Class straight to the front and received boarding card all in less than 5 minutes
Lounge access comes with the ticket and they gave you directions where to go
Through departure immigration 10 mins no priority unless you are a Diplomat or member of Communist Party elite - some are still more equal than others.
Sign says 95% of passengers clear security in 25 mins so in busy times you may have to queue. Whilst waiting a polite man tests you with an Explosive sniff device. After that
through the usual security scanners not as thorough as Europe I had left liquids in my bag no one bothered / noticed.
Long modern terminal very clean and was busy but not overpowering probably due to its size meaning plenty of space for people to spread out. Pudong is for international departures only.
Usual range of eateries, for example, Burger king and coffee bar in lounge. Usual range of expensive shops and duty free as if you have not shopped enough in Shanghai
Terminal windows look out onto apron and in the near distance see all the ships pulling into the harbour collecting the exports
Left terminal behind and went to Virgin lounge shared with other airlines even at 730 quite busy. Self service food area mix of Chinese and western - fine coffee machine  and some excellent cream cakes - worth paying the extra for on the ticket just for the cakes.
Seats are comfortable in the lounge a cubicle arrangement. Newspaper selection disappointing and magazines are decidedly for wealthy people not poor business travellers.
Amazing toilet with control pad which had more functions than the average DVD player
Boarding scheduled at 0840 for a 0920 departure did not board until 9 but still left gate at 9 20 so credit to staff for fast boarding
Once on board offered champagne / orange juice being early morning I asked for cup of tea and to my surprise got one
Meal selection made shortly after take off I went for the lamb which was excellent
Good selection of films on demand, bit of a snooze in between films and a bacon roll mid flight and a second one just before landing and flight was nearly at an end
On landing given a Priority Pass to whisk you though Customs which I was grateful for given the length of the queue. Walking through Heathrow is like a rabbit warren and they are doing their bit to upgrade Terminal 3 with new toilet blocks and repainting but when you compare it to other Hub International airports it is purely a sticking plaster, there is only one solution demolition each terminal in turn and rebuild. The radical option of a new airport in the Estuary is just too big for the European mentality
Anyway back to my trip bags were there quickly and then straight through customs and walked over to Virgin Limo Desk and Driver was there waiting. Back to the relative sanity of M25 M1 and home for 6pm a little tired after 18 hours travelling but nowhere near as exhausted if all done in economy
Virgin Upper Class well worth , if I had the money would select it anytime had a long haul flight
I think they set the standard for Europe airlines, I hope one day to be able to compare with airlines such as Singapore and Emirates who are supposed to have even better service levels
Thursday this week back to reality and a day trip to Brussels from East Midlands sigh