This is a large modern airport with all the features you would expect to find in the major hubs around the world. Arrivals are on the first floor, departures on the third.
There are two large terminals (T1 and T2) arranged as the verticals of a H shape. The crosspiece of the H is a walkway with moving sidewalks and some transport connections such as the intercity bus stop and the terminal for the fast Maglev trains. It is also worth noticing that if you are taking connecting flights to other cities in mainland China from Pudong, you have to pick up your checked-in luggage and check them in again, as the airport does not have the required facility for automatic transfer of checked-in luggage for connecting flights within China.
Terminal 1 has an international air-side which is somewhat cramped, whereas Terminal 2 is extremely spacious.
Consisting of three parts — the main hall, the hallway and the lounge — T2 has a combined floor space of 546,000 square meters or over 5.8 million square feet. Pudong can handle 490,000 flights annually, with a passenger capacity of 60 million.
A recent study by FlightStats has placed Shanghai down at 34 out of the top 35 international airports for flight punctuality. ( The worst offender being Beijing Airport ) Only 28% of departures are on-time, with 34% of flights falling under the "excessive" category - a delay of 45 minutes or more. This is an issue that affects most Chinese airports.
- Terminal 1 Air Asia, Air France, China Airlines, China Eastern, Gulf Air, Japan Airlines, Jin Air, KLM, Korean Air, Mandarin Airlines, Royal Brunei Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, SriLankan Airlines
- Terminal 2 Aeroflot Russian Airlines, Aeromexico, Air Asia, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air Macau, Air Mauritius, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, American Airlines, Asiana Airlines, British Airways, Cambodia Angkor Air, Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific, Chengdu Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Chongqing Airlines, Delta, Dragonair, Eastar Jet, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airways, Eva Air, Finnair, Garuda Indonesia, Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Juneyao Airlines, Kunming Airlines, Lucky Air, Lufthansa, Mahan Air, Malaysia Airlines, Mega Maldives, Philippine Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Scandinavian Airlines, Shandong Airlines, Shenzhen Air, Sichuan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South East Asian Airlines, Spring Airlines, Swiss International, Thai Airways, Tianjin Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Uni Air, United Airlines, Vietnam Airlines, Virgin Atlantic
Dragonair's minimum connection time rule for Domestic to International or International to International within same terminal is 2 hours, with an additional 20 minutes if a change between the two terminals is required.
To downtown Shanghai
This describes routes for People's Square, the center of downtown Shanghai. All of them pass through downtown Pudong, so if you are bound there you can get off early and save a bit of money and time.
Line 2 was extended eastward to the Pudong Airport in 2010. Operating hours are 6AM-10PM and a train change is required at Guanglan Rd (you basically have to leave the train and walk across the platform to the opposite side). Line 2 runs westward through People's Square (about 1 hr) to Hongqiao Airport (2 hr, ¥8).
There are eight shuttle bus lines from the airport, but most visitors will only find three useful:
- Line 1 runs from Pudong direct to Hongqiao Airport, making only one stop at Hongqiao Station for transfers with the high-speed trains. Every 15-25 min from 07:00 to 23:00 (both directions), travel time about 1 hr, ¥30.
- Line 2 runs from Pudong to the City Air Terminal at Jing'an Temple, west of People's Square. Every 15-25 min from 07:00 to 23:00, travel time about 50 min, ¥22. Return services from the City Air Terminal to Pudong Airport start from 05:30 and stop running at 21:30.
- Night Line (守航夜宵线), stops at Longyang Rd Station, East Hospital (Pudong Avenue), Middle Zhejiang Rd (Yan'an Rd/People's Square), Shimen 1st Rd (Yan'an Rd), Huashan Rd (Yan'an Rd/Jing'an Temple). Runs every 45 minutes from 23:00. Other than taxi, this is the only public transport option from the airport at night.
Services have been cut since the introduction of the metro, which also avoid the unpredictable delays of traffic. Call 021-68346612 for up-to-date information.
Some of the higher-end hotels offer their own shuttle service for guests. If you are going to stay in such a hotel, enquire about this when booking your reservation.
The most convenient but also most expensive way to get to central Shanghai is by taxi, expect around ¥200 or even more and about an hour to get to the center of the city (People's Square). The rate increases by around 35% during night time, so expect to pay even more if it is past 23:00-05:00. There are taxi queues just outside both Terminals 1 and 2 on the first floor.
Taxi drivers will generally not know how to find your address if written in English, and even often when written in Chinese! Some taxis have GPS but most do not. It is recommended to have a printout with both the area map and the address in Chinese. Hotels often provide such a map on their website.
In summer the taxis often do not use air conditioning and can get very hot.
You can also hail taxis or ride-sharing cars using the app Didi Chuxing, the Chinese equivalent of Uber. That allows you to enter your destination in the app, without having to communicate directly to the driver, and pay for the ride using an international credit card. The app is available in English.
You may be approached by a driver or someone claiming to be "airport staff" on your way to the queue. These drivers tend to be untrustworthy and will either take you to your destination via a longer route, or they have "adjusted" their meters. You can try agreeing on a price beforehand but it's better to use the formal queue just outside the airport.
Maglev (Magnetic levitation train)
Depending on your final destination, it may be possible to use the Maglev train; this provides quite a memorable experience if fast trains are of interest. Using magnetic levitation technology, it does not touch the tracks and traverses 30.5 km in as little as 7 minutes, while hitting a maximum speed of 431 km/h (267 mph). During non-peak hours, the train goes to 301 km/h. It currently operates from 06:45 to 21:30 daily and costs ¥50 one way (¥40 if you have a flight ticket or if you use the Shanghai Transportation card)) or ¥80 for a round-trip ticket (good for up to seven days from date of purchase). You can also opt to pay double for "VIP Class", which gets you a soft drink and bragging rights but no really different environment. Trains depart every 15–30 minutes depending on the time of day.
The Maglev has only one stop, Longyang Road Metro Station (龙阳路地铁站) where you can transfer to Metro Line 2 or Line 7, still a way from People's Square but a good stopping point if Pudong is your final destination. The journey usually requires a combination with walking, public transport or a taxi. You will need the ticket to get out of the station. The Maglev and airport station are not well marked on the city metro/rail map so if in doubt ask so you exit at the right station to make your connection from Maglev to normal metro line.
The Maglev station is between Terminals 1 and 2 along the second floor walkway that connects them. Note that between the baggage claim and the Maglev station, people may tell you the Maglev is "broken" or "shut down because of weather" but they may just be trying to get you into their taxi. Pay them no attention; upon arriving at the station you will see the trains are running.
From Longyang Rd as you exit, the escalator on your right goes down to the Metro Station (Line 2) and another escalator on the opposite end to your left will take you to the taxi queue. A taxi to Puxi city center will cost you another ¥30-50, while a ride to Pudong's Lujiazui should only be about ¥20-25. Taxi drivers seldom speak any English so have your destination in writing (or use an airport attendant's how-to) and fare estimate before agreeing on a driver. Estimates are also posted near the exit doors on the first floors near the pick-up area and bus station area. It is not advisable to use a driver outside the queue unless there are two of you and someone speaks good Shanghainese (Wu Chinese) or standard Mandarin. Use caution and double check the charges as some drivers may try to scam you, but not many. It is against local law to pick up other passengers not affiliated with your party so reject this if attempted by the driver.
If your destination is conveniently located on a metro stop (People's Square, Jing'an Temple) and your baggage is light, it would be cheaper and maybe even faster to hop onto Line 2 located just parallel to the Maglev station. You will need to go down the escalators on the opposite side of the taxi queue. Metro fare ranges from ¥2-6 all across the city.
Many tourists ride the Maglev just for the experience rather than getting to and from their flights. If doing so, try to take your ride during off-peak hours in the daytime on weekdays. At those times the Maglev will be operating at its highest speeds.
To Hongqiao Airport
Hongqiao is Shanghai's main airport for domestic flights and is across town (perhaps 50 km or 30 miles) from Pudong Airport. Transfer between the two by taxi takes about an hour and costs about ¥200. There are also shuttle buses which go directly between the two, slower but cheaper. The two airports are at opposite ends of metro line 2, so you can also use that.
See Shanghai#Hongqiao_Airport for more.
To nearby cities
Alternately, you can take a train as described in the next section. For more distant places such as Nanjing this will likely be faster.
To elsewhere in China
Usually the best way to get around China is on the extensive network of fast bullet trains. Shanghai's main terminus for them is the new Hongqiao Station; this is a one-km (half mile) walk or one metro stop on Line 2 or 10 from Hongqiao Airport. See #To_Hongqiao_Airport above for transport options.
Shanghai has multiple train stations. Others that may be useful, depending where you are bound, are the main Shanghai Station (Line 3 or 4, or Line 1 North from People's Park) or Shanghai South Station (Line 3, or Line 1 South from People's Park). See Shanghai#By_train for more.
A free shuttle bus service connects the two terminals in case walking about 10 minutes (or using the conveyor belts) is too cumbersome.
Shanghai airport has surprisingly few shops and Terminal 2 has lots of quiet open space. It is still a pleasant enough place to wait around, however very little to do.
Visa Free Transiting
If you are transiting through Shanghai, from one country or region (i.e. Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan) to another, then you are allowed to spend 144 hours in the city (along with the neighboring provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu) without having to obtain a visa beforehand as long as you are a citizen of one of the following countries:
- Asia: Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates , Qatar
- Oceania: Australia, New Zealand
- North America: United States, Mexico, Canada
- South America: Brazil, Agentina, Chile
- Europe: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, German, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Rumania, Ukraine
Eat and Drink
Considering its size and importance, it is strange that Pudong Airport doesn't have many eating options. Prices are exceedingly high by both Shanghai standards and those of other international airports. A (not great) coffee will set you back RMB 50.
The Maglev station in the middle of the two terminals offers a KFC.
Terminal 1 land side
There are a few restaurants, including a Subway sandwich.
Terminal 1 International air-side
A few cafes serving Chinese food and even one Korean restaurant. There is a convenience store. There is a Starbucks right at the end of the terminal which is your best option for coffee and pastries.
Terminal 2 International air-side
There are a selection of Western and Chinese restaurants, and even a Burger King on the second floor.
There are a few duty free shops, as well as Chinese souvenirs to buy. Don't expect a wide variety of choice that you would see in most other major international airports.
It is fairly common for people to stop at either Science & Technology Museum (上海科技馆) or People's Park metro stops to pick up various things before going to the airport. Both are on line 2, are reasonably easy to navigate on foot even with luggage, have a lot of stuff suitable for gifts or souvenirs, and are generally cheaper than the airports shops. See Shanghai#Clothing for more.
The airport has free Wi-Fi in the terminal buildings, with simple registration via an SMS password to your mobile phone. With mainland Chinese mobile phones this is very quick, although be aware that international phones have experienced long delays in receiving the text message, if a message is even received at all. There are machines that print out Wi-Fi access codes, but all are located past security in the pre-departure area.
There is also a Boingo Wireless network at the airport for passengers with a Boingo Wireless account.
Chinese airspace is congested, and you may well encounter frequent delays of flights departing from Pudong Airport.
This can cause fellow passengers to become angry with and aggressive towards the airline. If your plane is significantly delayed then you may find you are eligible for some small gesture of compensation.
Flying at the beginning or end of a national holiday (such as a Golden week or National Day holiday week) will be extremely busy, although travelling in the middle will be very quiet.
Both terminals have a left luggage facility. They will x-ray your bags, place in a locker and provide you with a key. Prices depend on size, although a normal suitcase will cost around RMB 20 a day.
There are hotels and motels around the airport, however it would be more comfortable to go into the city for accommodation.
Downtown Pudong is close by Maglev train or the metro.