Air China First Class Lounge Review
I checked out of the JW Marriott Beijing at around 11am and got a taxi to the airport, which took about 45 minutes. I had heard stories of immigration and security taking a long time, with no fast track lanes for premium cabin passengers. Check-in was quick, and I was through passport control and security in about an hour. From there I headed to the Air China first class lounge, which was even more pathetic than what I was expecting.
You can read the review of my First Class Air China flight to Los Angeles here.
Generally speaking, airlines have their best lounges in their home airports, such as the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, or the ANA First Class Lounge in Tokyo, but apparently Air China doesn’t put much stock in ground experiences. To say this lounge was bad would be an understatement. First of all, it was absolutely freezing. The lounge is open-air with the rest of the terminal, and while it provides nice views of the stunning architecture, apparently they don’t heat the terminal well in the winter.
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At least there was some decent plane spotting!
Secondly, this is also a Priority Pass lounge, which I found quite strange for a flagship first class lounge. As far as I know, this is the only first class airline lounge that offers access through Priority Pass, and needless to say, it took away from the ‘exclusivity’ a bit.
Seating was plentiful, though not especially private. There was a group of private rooms at the far end of the lounge, though all were in use while I was there.
I’ve been to some fairly mediocre lounges, and am not always impressed by the food and beverage selection. However, this lounge absolutely takes the prize for worst food/beverage selection I’ve ever seen. There was a small buffet of warm items, though everything looked disgusting, and I was almost sure the ‘eggs’ had been sitting out for days. The beverage options were almost as bad, with two varieties of Chinese beer, a few types of soft drinks, and the fan favourite ‘Great Wall’ wine (hint: don’t drink it). There was also a small choice of spirits, though I didn’t notice any ice, so unless you like warm drinks….
The Wifi required a passport scan, which spat out an access code to connect. Unfortunately the Wifi simply didn’t work, which was the biggest disappointment since I have a couple hours to waste and wasn’t able to get much work done.
I decided to head to the gate about 30 minutes prior to scheduled boarding, and it’s a good thing I did. There were no announcements in the lounge, so prior to leaving I checked with the front desk agent that nothing had changed, to which she smiled, which I took as a yes. I made my way to gate E50 or so only to find a deserted gate area. Great. Beijing Airport doesn’t have the best signage and there were no information desks to be found, so I made my way back to the lounge only to find out we were now departing from gate E10. Cool! By the time I ran to the gate boarding was almost complete! I still managed to get a shot of the beautiful Boeing 777 taking me to LAX.
Now check out my detailed review of my First Class Air China flight to Los Angeles!…