With a five hour layover in Beijing, I had loads of time to check out the Star Alliance partner lounge. With limited amenities and the loudest PA system in China, this turned into one long layover. This is my Air China business class lounge review.
The Air China business class lounge at Beijing’s PEK airport is an open-air lounge located above the departure gates in the international terminal three. After a lengthy and confusing time navigating the immigration and security ques (even though just connecting through) we made our way to the lounge to try and shake off the last 48-hours of limited sleep.
Food and Drink
Although in no mood for a drink or food, I checked out the offerings out of boredom. There is one small snack bar with self-serve Tsingtao beer in cans. This pairs well with the massive bowl of wasabi peas.
With a month of watery beer from my time bouncing around Asia, I went to the bar for a gin and tonic. There I found what may or may not have been a self-serve bar. It looked like someone should be serving you and there happened to be someone in the area cleaning up. When I asked for a drink he awkwardly took my order and obliged. Either way, it is a small bar offering and has a sign posted out front to warn you about consumption.
Wandering over to the buffet, I didn’t fare much better. The spread resembled a bad small-town USA Chinese restaurant. The only appealing offering was the dim sum. There is also a small kitchen serving up noodle soup although I did not try. It was nice to see as I enjoyed this feature at ANA’s business class lounge in Tokyo.
Speaking of lack of sleep, I had read a review on onemileatatime.com that the Air China business class lounge in Beijing has napping pods. In his post, he comically noted that one room was closed for disinfection (gross) and another had its door off its hinges. With sleepy eyes, I hoped these pods were in better shape for my visit. Not so much.
I wandered over to the napping pods and, to my surprise, found several. They were, however, all in use or closed for maintenance. Nuts.
With a comfy nap out of the question, I turned to catching up on emails and blog posts. Upon entering the Air China business class lounge there is an archaic machine printing out Internet access passwords. I retrieved a coupon, logged on, and waited…and waited.
Frustrated with the slowness, I realized that I was, after all, in China. The great firewall is a thing which means no Facebook or Instagram. At the PEK Air China business class lounge, it also means painfully slow connections.
A minor annoyance, but an annoyance none the less.Compare prices on Air China Business Class flights with Skyscanner!
Frustrated with the Internet access I tried to nap in one of the worn-out lounger chairs. Just as I dozed off a flight change announcement blared over the speaker. It felt like an air horn went off…except in Chinese if that makes any sense. This continued every five minutes or so. Once again, no naptime for this guy.
Given what I had previously read about the PEK Air China business class lounge plus the experience I had on board, my expectations were very low. In reality, I wasn’t far off. So that said, I would avoid any long layover in PEK in the future. Given the confusion around the strict security checks and the lack of reliable Internet, I would actually avoid connecting in PEK altogether when possible.
Air China Business Class Lounge Good to Know
Includes: Food, drink, poor wifi, and broken napping pods.
Don’t Miss: Your flight. Don’t worry, the blaring PA announcements will to this.
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