Railway stations in cities near Shanghai will will soon become check-in points for air travelers. This is an amazing idea taking what has already happened in a small way to its logical extension. If it works in Shangai — and there is no reason why it should not — it will be copied in full around the world within two years.
The government-supported project aims to lift liaison between air and rail traffic. When in place, luggage could be left at some out-of-town railway stations that would, in a sense, become remote check-in terminals for Shanghai’s Hongqiao and Pudong international airports.
Shanghai Airport Authority, the local airport operator, said yesterday that a joint panel from the Shanghai construction and science commissions had agreed on the feasibility of the project steered by the authority.
The authority also said yesterday that some pioneering efforts may be up and running before next year’s World Expo.
Eight cities — Nanjing, Zhenjiang, Changzhou, Wuxi, Suzhou, Kunshan and Jiaxing, in Jiangsu Province and Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province will be the first in the project. The cities all have busy passenger services with Shanghai by highway, rail and air and are all less than three hours away from the city by any means of transport.
Some of these cities don’t have an airport or their airports do not offer international flights, so travelers have to commute to Shanghai carrying luggage which any frequent flyer will tell you is the biggest annoyance when flying.
Shanghai Daily reports that under the new scheme, travelers get to the railway station and then will be able to review updated flight information at both Shanghai airports, buy air tickets as well as check in and consign their luggage directly. Hoorah!