Hurray at last, you don't have to go down to San Francisco and then fly by Seattle. The best routings now to Shanghai are:
# United to ANA. This leaves 1PM and arrives in Shanghai via Narita at 9PM. There is a long layover in Narita
# Air Canada. Go up to Vancouver and then over to Shanghai nonstop. It is an old 767 and the business class seats aren't super comfy, but it is short. You have to take a 9AM shuttle to catch the 11AM. Also if you get the cool Nexus card, then crossing through is really fast.
# Hainan to Beijinghttp://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2007-08/12/content_6022794.htm starts in June with a flight that uses an A330. It is a chinese airline, so I'd expect the service to be OK, but the plane to be amazing. http://www.luchtzak.be/forums/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=44446. They use the kinda layback seats that are 180 degrees, but you sleep slanted like ANA and Qantas has in business class. It leaves 2PM and arrives in Beijing 4PM. So you then have to fly to Shanghai. I'd bet it is a little faster net, net, and you'd get to Shanghai at say 8PM.
# Northwest to Beijing. This begins March 2009. http://seattle.bizjournals.com/seattle/stories/2008/05/05/daily28.html so is something to keep in mind. Of course Northwest planes are super old. But you become instant MVP Gold on this given the distance 🙂