Archives For Airport

The huge airport built in Beijing for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games is very impressive in many ways. I would suggest you know which terminal you are heading to if you are getting into a taxi to take you to the airport. There are two main terminals for travel: Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. Terminal 2 is the one I always used when I started going to China. It isn’t as new as Terminal 3, but it functions quite well. Here are a couple of pictures of the terminals.

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You need to know what airline uses which terminal and plan accordingly, especially if you have a connecting flight. I say that because it will take you at least 25 minutes to take the shuttle bus between the terminals. It can take more depending on traffic, the driver’s style of driving, and how long you have to wait for the bus to leave.

image006The shuttle buses are free but crowded because most people have luggage with them. You can meet some nice and interesting people on the shuttle buses. On my last trip, I overheard someone whom I assume was from western Europe telling a Chinese man about some cultural issue he had read about China. The Chinese man kept saying no, it wasn’t true, but the other man kept insisting it was true because he read it on the Internet.

There is a Terminal 1, but I am going to guess it is for cargo since I have never heard of a passenger flight being used from that facility. Also, don’t be surprised if your gate at either of the terminals has some stairs and an elevator near it. You may be instructed to go down a level and get on a bus that will take you to your plane, which is parked away from the building waiting for the passengers. The terminals are easy to use, and there are many signs in English directing you to where you want to go. Also, they have information booths, and usually the people can speak English.

On my last trip to China, I got to say hello to something new, and perhaps goodbye to something old. As I was in the food court in Newark’s airport, I saw a new way of ordering and paying for your food. Instead of actually speaking with someone behind the counter, you use a monitor to make your selections. But the changes didn’t stop there.

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Once you were handed your order, you were also provided a receipt with a bar code printed on it. Then you took your receipt to a different kiosk to pay for your order. Thankfully there were no lines, because I would have hated to slow people down as I learned the new system. Actually, the system worked well for me, and it was easy to use once you knew what to do.

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As you can see from the picture above, you can select a language to help with the process. I am still trying to understand how you tell the electronic touch pad you want extra ketchup!

On the other side of the spectrum, I saw something that kind of made me sad. When I graduated from college and started traveling for work, the shoe shine stands were always busy. Over the years I have seen a decrease in their popularity, so hopefully this isn’t a dying industry. Sometimes your shoes really do need a good shine during your travels!image006

Recently I spent some time in the Qingdao airport, and a few things stood out to me. The airport was quite clean, and it seemed to be user friendly. I was impressed by that.qingdao1

When I went to the rest room, I noticed a man hard at work cleaning a sink and stocking the dispensers. Also, I noticed how clean the entire restroom was. When I was exiting the restroom, I noticed an area reserved for workers, and this is what I saw mounted on the wall.qingdao2

I am sorry the picture didn’t turn out very well, but as you can see, the bathroom’s custodial team had a schedule and/or a checklist. I like checklists, so this caught my eye. It also looks like the person responsible has their badge with a photograph on it posted. I also like accountability!qingdao3

Another aspect I appreciated about this airport was a designated seating area for someone that may truly need it. As you can see, the list of people represented must truly appreciate this area specifically for their seating.

If your travel plans ever have you passing through Qingdao in the Shandong Province of China, I think you will be pleased with your time in the airport. By the way, Qingdao is where the Olympics sailing events were held during the 2008 Summer Olympics!

The Argyle Hotel

June 11, 2015 — Leave a comment

If you are looking for a hotel near the HongQiao Airport in Shanghai, you can’t find one closer than the Argyle Hotel. In fact, some of the literature on the Internet is a little misleading about it, because it says it is actually in the airport, but it isn’t. If you take the subway to it, don’t take the terminal 2 exit; stay on the train and take the next exit west of terminal 2. I think it is called terminal 1. You will have to exit the airport and subway system, but the hotel is on the corner of the next block.

The lobby is nicely decorated and they have fresh flowers displayed. Also, they have some nice, large leather furniture is a waiting area. The staff at the front desk speak English well, so checking in and out is no problem at all.

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The rooms are nice and clean, but if you want to use the Internet, you will need to plug in a small box and insert the network cable into it to get Wi-Fi into your room. It is becoming more and more common for hotels in China to provide Wi-Fi connectivity in this manner.

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This hotel had a feature I hadn’t seen in any hotel in China before. There was a night light built into the lower wall near the bathroom door. The light stayed on all the time if you were in the room, and I found no way to turn it off.

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The Argyle provides a free shuttle to the airport on the hour in the mornings. Since I was with a large group, they made a special run for us on the half hour, which we appreciated very much. The hotel also offers a small convenience store with good hours, so you can get a snack or bottle of water if you need one. I am thankful we stayed at the Argyle Hotel. It was so close to the airport, and right on a subway line. I hadn’t stayed there before, but it worked out much better than I thought it would when the hotel I wanted to use was booked.

In many of the airports I have been in inside China, when you are taking a flight to a smaller city, your plane may not pull up to the terminal. Often, the plane will be waiting for you in a designated area on the tarmac and you will be put on a bus at the terminal to be taken to the plane. This was a little unnerving for me at first, because I wasn’t sure where the bus was taking us!

As you wait for your flight, you can get something to eat, watch the activity at the gates, or meet some very nice people! On this particular day, I was fortunate enough to meet some very friendly people with smiling faces.

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When a flight is announced, people will line up at the gate, have their tickets checked, and board the bus. The buses are nice and clean, but get crowded quickly. It is usually a very short ride to the plane that is waiting to take you to your destination.

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I imagine this system allows more flights to be used per gate. With the number of travelers increasing in China, it is imperative that their airports function efficiently! Just remember this: keep your coat if it is cold. Don’t put it in your backpack because you may wait in a line outside the plane when boarding.

Everyone knows that sometimes you have some time to kill at an airport. I have some suggestions for you if your find yourself in that state at the Beijing Capital Airport.  You actually have some pretty good options, including, but not limited to, using the free WiFi!  You can find a fairly strong signal at all of the places I have tried at the airport and, as I previously mentioned, it is free.  If you have some work or emails to catch up on, or pictures to send, you can stay current via the airport’s WiFi.

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If you enjoy art, there are some unique items to enjoy at the airport.  It would surprise me if there wasn’t some story about the artwork, but I don’t know what it is. Sorry!

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Also, if you are a shopper, you have many options within the airport.  There are plenty of restaurants and many shops where you can pick up snacks. There are also many high-end shops available to keep you occupied and give you a chance to spend the money you didn’t exchange!

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If you want a little taste of home, you never know what you may see at the Beijing Capital Airport!  Who would have thought Lady Liberty would be at this airport!

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OK, I agree with you, I wouldn’t go to the airport to purchase a chandelier, but it is interesting to find them for sale there.  It is also interesting to see that some of the light bulbs needed to be tightened or replaced.

Another way to relax at the airport is to go to the floor which has showers and beds for rent by the hour.  If I remember correctly, this is on the third floor (or the floor just below the main terminal).  I have seen the signs for this facility. I have never been there, but it is nice to know that the option is available!

So, you are going to China and you are wondering about where you will encounter squatty potties and where western-style toilets will be available.  You may be glad to know that at the Beijing Capital Airport you will have a choice!  Without opening a door and looking inside, the easiest way I know to tell which toilet option is behind the door is to look at the picture on the outside of the stall door.  The first picture below is what is on the door for a squatty potty, and the second picture is for a western style toilet.  It is very easy to see the difference!

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I must say that the restrooms are quite large and very clean.  I think there is always an attendant in the restrooms working to keep the facility clean and supplied.  They even have flowers on the counters and at the entrance sometimes.

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Speaking entrances, they are very well marked for the ladies, men, and families.  Usually there is a large hall and, at the end of the hall, you see a picture indicating where you should go.  Also, the family restroom is usually a well-marked door within the hallway.  Additionally, you may find an another doorway within the hall marked as being wheelchair accessible.

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In my opinion, the people planning the airport have done a great job of locating the restrooms. You never seem to have to go too far to find the facilities and the employees keep them very clean!