The Traveling Steve's

Travel to Shanghai!

After a fun overnight stay in Toronto, we had a leisurely day in the city, as our flight to London was not until 6:30pm. We walked around the same area where we had dinner last night, and as there was a Blue Jays game today, the whole area very lively and colorful with the Blue Jays jerseys and colors of blue.

We couldn’t believe the lines for people waiting to get in the CN Tower, or even to have their photo taken by the giant Canada sign, which we both done the night before.

After walking around the CN Tower and ballpark area, we returned to our hotel, showered, and changed for our flight. We left our hotel, the Hyatt Regency Toronto around 3pm for the airport via a limo arranged by the hotel.

Once at the airport, we checked in for our British Airways flight to London Heathrow.

After checking in, we headed to security, following this nicely dressed Asian flight crew all decked out in their uniforms, and filing in line as they walked.

We also saw them after security, as they made their way to their gates. I always like seeing a jumbo-jet flight crews, usually as a foreign carrier, in their nicely attired uniforms – very classy, and knowing they must be taking a flight to a far-away place with such a large number of crew members staffing the plane.

After clearing security, we then went to the British Airways Lounge for dinner before our flight. The lounge was fairly small and crowded by we got a table and had a nice and leisurely meal during our two hour wait for our flight.

Once we boarded, we were seated in Business Class, on a British Airways Boeing 777 jet. We had a nice overnight flight to London, arriving around 7am into the busy Heathrow airport.

As we arrived at terminal five and were departing from terminal 3, we then took the airport bus to terminal 3, where we were screened once again by security.

In London, we had approximately a 3 hour layover, so we made use of a couple of the airport lounges; first American’s First Class Lounge, and second, our favorite at Heathrow – Cathay Pacific’s First Class Lounge, which we are both entitled to as One World Emerald members. We always enjoy having breakfast in the Cathay Pacific Lounge, and after breakfast relaxed in the lounge chairs by the windows watching the jumbo jets take off.

Next, we had a two and half hour flight from London to Helsinki on FinnAir. Our flight was on a new Airbus 350, which would be the same type plane we would fly on later to Shanghai later in the evening. We had seats 3A and 4A, which were Business Class Window and Aisle seats both, due to the 1 X 2 X 1 arraignment on FinnAir. The seats are the newer class of Business seats and are much nicer than the First Class seats of only a few years ago, as they are mini-‘suites’ with 180 degree lay flat reclining, making the seat into a bed.

While waiting for takeoff, I took this photo of an American Airlines plane, with the control tower in the background, headed back to the US.

Once in Helsinki, we had a short two hour layover, and unfortunately the First Class Lounge at FinnAir was closed due to remodeling, and the Business Class Lounge was standing room only. We eventually managed to snag a seat when a couple left and had a quick bite to eat before heading to our gate for our flight to Shanghai.

Our overnight flight to Shanghai had outstanding FinnAir service, and including a nice meal service as well. As it had already been a long trip so far since we had left Toronto some 15 hours ago, DOS and I both ate lightly and opted for some shut eye after watching a movie. The flight from Helsinki to Shanghai was also on an Airbus 350 aircraft, and we both had the same seats as we had on the previous flight from London for the 8 1/2 hour flight.

The flight landed around 7:15 am local time in China, and it was alright daylight a bit before landing when breakfast was being served.

Upon arrival into China, you are required to have your fingerprints taken via the self service kiosks, and then clear immigration, both of which went fairly quickly and orderly. Likewise, our luggage was already on the belt by the time we were thru immigration, and both of our checked bags made it for the 3 flight hop from Toronto.

After customs, we hopped in the pre-arranged transportation DOS had arranged for us, with our driver waiting for us outside the immigration hall. The ride itself took about an hour, and offered us our first view of Shanghai along the way. The first half of the ride was freeway and with little traffic, while we ran into the rush hour 8am traffic as we got closer to the high-rise financial district.

After some 25 hours travel from Toronto, it was now Tuesday morning around 9am (after leaving Sunday night at 6:30pm Toronto time) as we arrived at our home for the next four nights, the Grand Hyatt Shanghai. We got checked in quickly, and fortunately DOS had reserved the night before for our arrival (effectively 5 nights), so we had no waiting for the official 3pm check-in time.

We had reserved a Grand Suite, but as Hyatt Globalist members we were upgraded to a Diplomat Suite, which was well – sweet! The room is amazing with a separate bedroom, large master bath with jacuzzi, separate guest bath, huge living and dining room with floor to ceiling windows overlooking both the city of Shanghai and the river 84 floors below! The Grand Hyatt is in a multi-purpose high rise building, and the hotel itself is accessed via an express elevator up to the 54th floor. You then change elevators for whatever floor you are on; in our case the 84th of 85 floors. The Diplomat Suite was quite a nice treat after such a long flight.

Welcome to Shanghai!

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