Heathrow or Hongqiao


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.

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7 Responses to Heathrow or Hongqiao

  1. Swiss James says:

    I’ve never used Hongqiao but was straight through Hong Kong airport in about 30 minutes once, incredible. Once I turned up at Tokyo Haneda with an hour and a half to spare but got so confused by the place that I missed my flight.

    Pudong isn’t difficult, it’s just f’ing dull…

  2. CP says:

    Arrive at Beijing airport. Thick “fog” grounds most flights: announcer tells us that “Plane delayed due to plane delay”. But still far better than Heathrow!

  3. Woaizhongguo says:

    @Chas – They usually say due to late arrival of the plane. Maybe they just decided that was too long winded since late arrival of the plane obviously means “delayed”.

    @James – Your loyalty to Pudong airport is admirable and I think the same would apply to Pudong vs Heathrow, except there’s no Elements Fresh at Pudong, although there are lots of pretend “western” establishments. Tokyo is indeed confusing – did you miss the flight because you were trying to work out how to buy used schoolgirl panties from the vending machine?

  4. Swiss James says:

    Kind of.

    First of all I had to get some money out of the ATM to pay for the panties, then I’d bought so many that they tipped me over my baggage allowance, then I had to go and make sure they were as advertised. All in all I was at the airport for 3 days.

  5. Woaizhongguo says:

    How did you check that they were indeed the real deal? Did you do a sniff test?

  6. Swiss James says:

    of course, how do you usually test them?

  7. Woaizhongguo says:

    No, no, that’s the way I tested them too, I was just wondering if there was an alternative method.

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