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anavert Nov 22nd, 2009 02:29 PM

Flight to Shanghai
We want to go to Shanghai but hate 13 hours flights. Has anyone come up with an alternate...maybe through Honolulu and Tokyo...........Doesn't seem to be any way to get there without a long flight...........Plus we're using miles..............We prefer layovers than long flights and could stop in another city if possible.......

Grassshopper Nov 22nd, 2009 03:25 PM

I just did this flight a few weeks ago. I would much rather do the whole trip in one fell swoop than make it even longer by stopping somewhere. You don't say where you're flying from but it sounds like the West Coast. By the time you get to Tokyo you're almost there. A layover extends your flight by all that airport time.

anavert Nov 22nd, 2009 03:30 PM

Well I'd rather stop and move around than a long flight...yes coming from the west coast..........looking for a logical place to stop en route...........

sdtravels Nov 22nd, 2009 05:07 PM

We are flying this coming March. I found that flying from Atlanta, we used less miles to stop in Honolulu for 3 days coming and going rather than flying straight there (with layovers)

rkkwan Nov 22nd, 2009 07:23 PM

There is no non-stop HNL-PVG.

LAX-PVG is about 14 hours. LAX-NRT is about 11.5.

If you stop in Honolulu first before Tokyo, LAX-HNL is about 5.5 hours, while HNL-NRT is about 8.5. It's a significantly longer route via Hawaii.

sdtravels Nov 23rd, 2009 04:37 AM

rkkwan, you forgot to add NRT to PVG which is 3.5 hours. So yes, going through HNL is longer, a total of 17.5 hours vs 14. Basically the extra time is going through NRT. But your longest leg is only 8.5 compared with 14 direct. Plus if you have the time, a few days in HI to unwind is blissful. And a layover in NRT may peak your interest for a return trip to Japan. I too would have liked to go direct, but the miles required to do that at the time I booked was prohibitive. You do what works.

rkkwan Nov 23rd, 2009 09:05 AM

Right, and if 8.5 hours on HNL-NRT is still too long, one can always go through GUM. HNL-GUM is only 7.5 hours, and Continental has one-stop and five-stop island-hoppers between HNL and GUM that cuts the longest leg even further. So, the longest flight one will need to take between US and Asia is about 5 hours from SFO (which is closer than LAX) to HNL. The rest can be done in shorter flights if desired.

anavert Nov 24th, 2009 06:25 AM

Thanks all..We're leaving from PHX and trying to be creative using either AA or Continental miles. Ultimately our final destination is Shanghai but only want to be there 4-5 days so looking at Tokyo as another destination.

anavert Nov 24th, 2009 06:31 AM

Does anyone know if all flights route the same to China whether leaving from east or west coast? Seems like all go east...can you fly over the top (so to speak?)

willzzz88 Nov 24th, 2009 08:57 AM

Yes but it's even longer if you are coming from the West Coast. What you are describing is the polar route from Midwest/Eastern North America to Asia which flies over or near the north pole then down over Russia and then China. This route is sometimes (not always though) dependent on the winds, and other aircraft route planning details dependent on the day the route is flown. This is done by the airlines to save time and fuel as sometimes they get lucky and arrive 1 to 2 hours early (again depending on the winds it can be TO Asia or FROM Asia).
Routes that sometimes go polar (times are approximate, again depending on winds/seasonality it can vary +/- 1 hour or even 2 hours if you're lucky/unlucky: (these are data from recent flights within the last 1/2 days off
ORD-PVG (AA, UA) (14.5-15hrs TO, 13hrs FROM)
EWR-PVG (CO) (14.75-15hrs TO, 14.4hrs FROM)
JFK-PVG (MU) (similar to above)
JFK-HKG (CX) (16hrs TO, 15.25 FROM)
EWR-HKG (CO) (similar to above)
EWR-PEK (CO) (13.75hrs TO, 13.5hrs FROM)
JFK-PEK (CA) (similar to above)
YYZ-HKG (AC/CX) (15.75hrs TO, 14.75hrs FROM)
YYZ-PVG (AC) (14.5hrs TO, 13.5 hrs FROM)

As said, you're better off just doing the 13 hours nonstop from a west coast gateway to PVG via LAX or SFO. If you want to stop in NRT you can go through LAX, SFO, PDX, SEA or YVR (shortest Asia flight from North America).
Connecting through Hawaii takes a longer route as it's practically over the ocean instead of a faster northern route over the pacific (most of the time).
If you really want to break it up:
Maybe make a trip to both Tokyo and Shanghai? Stretch/walk around the Seattle/Vancouver airports?
Those are the shorest flights that I can think of at the moment.

BTW, airlines these days are all about the most "economical" flight meaning flying slower to save fuel as long as it doesn't impact the time too much (15-30 minutes) and congestion in the airways (rare over the Pacific, maybe in Japan/China/USA/Canada).

My recommendation: Break it up and take the shortest flights from the west coast as mentioned above or just give into the long flight, choose an airline with AVOD (Audio Video On Demand, basically Video on Demand (kinda like your Cable TV) at your seat), bring a laptop + content on it, lots of books, or simply relax and choose a window seat, enjoy the scenery and marval at modern technology that allows you to travel between continents in <24 hours.

willzzz88 Nov 24th, 2009 09:15 AM

Also for a visual representation of the route check out these links: (VERY INTERESTING!)

rkkwan Nov 24th, 2009 09:17 AM

anavert - Flights from Chicago and eastward (ORD, DTW, YYZ, EWR, JFK, etc) to China and Hong Kong almost always use one of the 4 Polar Routes that goes north to the North Pole and down through Russia to China.

Flights from the West Coast use North Pacific tracks that usually just hugs the Alaska coastline, the Aleutians and then down the Japanese Islands to China.

That is why Continental's EWR-PVG takes only about half an hour (14.5) longer than China Eastern's LAX-PVG (14).

For eastbound flights, most ride the jetstreams in the North Pacific/Alaska to the US, and do not fly over North Pole, though sometimes they do use one of more "southern" Polar Routes that cut through Eastern Siberia into the Arctic Ocean and fly just north of Alaska then into Canada for flights from HK/China to the East Coast.

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