Arrive 3 hours before take off. Stand in line to check in for about one hour, then another 30 minutes to get through security checks that include removing your shoes and belts, and of course, showing all your liquid personal care items (no more than 100ml each) contained in a clear bag. You haven’t had lunch but there’s no time now as your flight is boarding!
Arrive 30 minutes before take off. Check in using the automated express check in terminal by swiping your passport or ID card, then choosing where you want to sit. Boarding pass is dispensed automatically and the whole process takes approximately 45 seconds.
Pop down to Elements Fresh (yes, they now have an outlet at Hongqiao airport) for a latte and with a ham and egg mayonnaise sandwich, before walking through the security check point which takes all of about 3 minutes. Arrive at the gate just as the flight begins to board, so you’re the first on the plane. The plane takes off less than 45 minutes after you arrived at the airport.