Is Shanghai Airlines Part of SkyTeam Alliance? Flight Experience from Tokyo to Shanghai (Feb 2024)

This time, I took a flight with Shanghai Airlines (FM) from Haneda, an airport located in Tokyo, to Shanghai Pudong Airport (PVG). There wasn’t much information available about using SkyTeam’s SkyPriority, so I thought I’d share my experience.

The flight I took was FM896, operated by Shanghai Airlines but ticketed through China Eastern Airlines (MU8634). It seems this flight also has a codeshare with JAL (JL8261).


Check-in at Haneda Airport

Check-in was at Counter K, on the security side (to the right in the photo above).

According to the official website, check-in starts 2.5 hours before departure. However, when I arrived about 3 hours early, there was already a long line. It turns out that even within Shanghai Airlines’ counters, there are different lines depending on your destination.

The long line at the front in the photo was for another flight.

The line at the front was for a different China Eastern Airlines flight. I noticed this by chance when I went to the restroom. Be careful not to line up at the wrong counter, as it could lead to discovering the mistake an hour later.

I also tried web check-in with several versions of China Eastern Airlines, including the US site, but I couldn’t complete the check-in and seat selection process.

Check-in starts 3 hours before departure?

Official information suggested check-in started 2.5 hours before departure, so I aimed to arrive by 14:00 for a 17:10 flight. However, by that time, there was already a long line, and check-in had begun.

Can you check in with SkyPriority on FM flights?

Turns out, just like with China Eastern Airlines, checking in with SkyPriority was possible on FM flights as well.

As with China Eastern Airlines, I was relieved to receive priority check-in, priority baggage tags, lounge access, and more.

However, since this was at Haneda Airport, I couldn’t use the priority security lane (you need to be flying business class for that).

Interestingly, you don’t need to fly frequently to receive this VIP treatment. Simply having a certain credit card can grant you these privileges for at least a year.

In my case, I use the Delta SkyMiles American Express Gold Card, available to residents of Japan.

By joining through the link below and spending a total of 300,000 yen within 3 months, you can receive a total of 16,000 miles! Delta SkyMiles American Express Gold Card

Can you check in with JGC?

This flight also operates as a JAL codeshare. I wondered if it was possible to use JGC for priority check-in if you booked under the JL flight number. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option.

It seems the principle that codeshare flights follow the operating carrier’s rules still applies.

The lounge I used

For this trip, I had access to the JAL Sakura Lounge. There’s also a Delta lounge at Haneda, which had me wondering, but it was an interesting surprise.

I was too shy (or simply didn’t have enough time) to try, but I wonder if being part of the same SkyTeam would have allowed me to sneak into the Delta lounge. It’s something I’m curious about.

Inside the plane

I forgot to take note of the aircraft model, but it might have been a B737? It was a 3-3 configuration. Not being able to see the seat map on SeatGuru beforehand was a first for me, and quite possibly a unique experience.

At first glance, except for one bulkhead seat, it was a full flight.

We departed almost on time, but the fasten seatbelt sign didn’t turn off for a while. It stayed on until about 17:45, and due to turbulence, it was turned back on at 17:51.

The flight attendants, a mix of men and women, wereattentive and helpful. One of the male attendants even turned on a reading light for me before landing. They were diligent during take-off and landing checks, and unlike my experiences with Eastern Airlines, they distributed immigration forms, which left a good impression.

We touched down at 19:09, making for a relatively smooth operation with only about an hour’s delay, which is quite good for a flight to Shanghai, considering my expectations.

In-flight Meal

The in-flight meal options were fish with rice or pork with noodles. I chose the fish, but in hindsight, the pork might have been the better choice as it came with salad and fruit.


I was able to use SkyPriority, and despite some turbulence, the flight was comfortable. This experience might have been a fluke, but I felt that, although Shanghai Airlines’ equipment might be older than China Eastern’s, the overall service and experience seemed more polished (this impression has only strengthened after several more flights with Shanghai Airlines, including domestic flights within China).

I hope everyone else can also enjoy a pleasant flight experience like this.

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