Avoid Hong Qiao Airport on Friday Night

Everyone, if you travel to Shanghai, definitely avoid Hong Qiao Airport on Friday night. Never ever think of landing in Hong Qiao on Friday night. There is a simple reason for that – there is just no taxi that can help you get out of the airport.

Last time I used Hong Qiao Airport, it took me 40 minutes to get a taxi. That is not that bad. Today, it is much worse than last time.

Look at this illustration of the terrible situation today:

Illustrated by Jian Shuo Wang

If I count it correctly, there are 631 people waiting for taxi at the airport!

I was astonished to see how long the line today at 10:00 PM when I arrive from Beijing. Based on my last experience, it should take at least one hour to one and half hour to get a taxi.

As I complained last time, there are hundreds of taxi down in the garage. They also way for 3 to four hours to pick up a passenger. The bottle neck is clear – the pickup area.

This is a serious problem to solve for Hong Qiao Airport.

Me? I am not the first time passenger to face this situation. I made up my mind to walk out of the airport and to the downtown – with one hours I can even walk to the downtown instead of waiting for the taxi. There are much bigger chance to get a taxi on the way out of airport. Lucky as I am, I found a taxi at the Hong Qiao Airport hotel – 5 minutes walk from the crazy line of people.

15 thoughts on “Avoid Hong Qiao Airport on Friday Night

  1. The HQ airport is the most inefficient airport I’ve ever been to in China. Well, the majority of them are pretty inefficient, but HQ is the wost.

    Everytime I have arrived into HQ airport, there have been 1-2 hour lineups. It doesn’t really matter what time or what day you arrive. The lineups at the taxi stand is just crazy! Sometimes the taxi drivers refuse to let you in when they see you have too much luggage. That has happened to us 2 times.

    The airport inside is also a mess. People are always pushing and shoving in the lineups, or not lining up at all!

  2. I would argue that it may not be the WORST :-). I know some worse airport than Hong Qiao Airport. But I agree that it is definitely inefficient. Taxi drivers complains violately last night about its ineffectiveness – much mroe than passenger’s complain.

  3. Why not use the shuttle bus? It’s much cheaper. I have tried that for several times. It is comfortable.

    BTW, another complaint! When you want to take a taxt from BJ airport to Microsoft Mill Building, almost every taxi driver will reject to drive you. They said they didn’t know the path, but actually they knew.

  4. Haha. We have so many complaints… you know… if there was a way to fix things in China, we wouldn’t need to complain about it so much… the problem is the Chinese system doesn’t allow for people to make suggestions or complaints, so they can’t change!

    One thing that REALLY bothers me is when a foreigner criticizes China and the locals shoot back with, “it takes a long time to change!” and my response is, “how many thousands of years do you need??? this is the oldest civilization on earth!”. Btw… I have a yellow face for the locals that care so much about skin color.

  5. JS: You are right. It isn’t the WORST… but it is the most inefficient airport I’ve been to in China. I can’t say I’ve been to many like you have, but I’ve been to about 8 airports in China.

    To be fair, there are some inefficient airports in America also. ie. Colorado… you sometimes are taxiing on the runway for 30 minutes after you land! Chicago… to transfer from one airplane to another, you sometimes have to walk half the length of the airport!

    Efficient airports?? Hong Kong! From what I understand, they use RFID’s for their luggage transportation! Now that is efficient! You have a problem? Someone is there to solve it. Lost?? Just look up! There is a sign guiding you every step of the way!

  6. That is why I do not like the city like shanghai, facing the problem but not willing to change.

    Today I travel back to hangzhou via shanghai south railway station. It is modern but still some need to improvement.

    1. the annoucement system really need to improve, the sound is not clear due reflection of voice under this round roof.

    2. The train to hangzhou is almost for 1000+ once , but the waiting room dedicated for hangzhou is not suitable for this, so it is much convient stay outside the VIP waiting room,

    3. The timetable in waitingroom even make a mistake for dept. /arrival station name. It is really pity so find so lower level mistake.

    jiangsuo , going on, it is possible made a big voice to let related-person to make change.

  7. Shockr,

    Using RFID for luggage tagging? Cool… Can you describe more about or send me the link for that technology?


  8. Pudong used to be efficient, but they’ve started to adopt to Hongqiao model in order to make international travel equally painful. The delivery method makes no sense. Now in PD they put another idiot guy with a walkie who stands at the taxi line and walkie talkies up whenever he sees there are no more cars waiting. Really, the taxis should just be pouring in unabated. There are several simple ways to address to the problem: ditch the radio guy (although it’s probably a proteceted job by some arcane law), don’t make the taxis stop on their way in, hire 4 or 5 baggage people to get the lollygaggers loaded into the cars quickly, split the taxi line into two parts like before. If you look at JFK, there is no maze exit bottleneck, which actually speeds up the process because people can stand next to each other, and they can get in they cars without blocking too much incoming traffic. It should look like this, (X’S are people and — are taxis)



    X X X X X X not like this: X The way it is set up now, there is only one place to get into the car, right after you run the gauntlet.

    ————– –

    ————– –

    ————– –

  9. Ok, so my drawing didn’t work, but the idea is that more than 2 or 3 people should be getting into the cars at the same time. Unfortunately, if you try to go quickly and get into a car, The Taxi Nazi will yell at you for making things more efficient.

  10. You can also take a city bus a short way away from the airport, Hongqiao that is, and catch a taxi. Not too easy if you have a lot of luggage but neither is walking!

  11. Agree, even so at Wed evening. After 10 minutes waiting, I decided to step out of airport area. So lucky, I got a taxi after 2 minutes walking. It is not very far from downtown.

  12. compared to the skylines in Shanghai, the air travel system in china is way under-developed. maybe because all the major business are concentrated along the coastal areas and the railways are sufficient enough to accommodate most travel demands.

    in usa, from coast to coast (two huge economies), the air travel is the normal. how often you have to fly from PVG to the vast land of the west such as Tibet or Xinjiang, to attend a business meeting?

  13. Wow, I have never been to China, but I know now that I will never go to that airport if I can avoid it at all. That is just insane, I don’t know why taxi cab companies don’t capitalize on that and send more people over there to get more business. You’d think that would be a smart decision.

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