A review on my visit to the Air China First Class lounge @ PEK.
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This reflects the lounge experience prior to my Suite flight to Singapore. Despite being "average", I don't think there is a better lounge in Beijing unfortunately... This was not my first time at the lounge, and the experience was consistent with what I had before. Good job for being consistent?
With my long layover in Beijing, after arriving off from my Asiana flight from Incheon, I decided to leave airside and wander around the airport a bit.
I can't help but say that I love the design of Beijing Capital International Airport. It gives a bright and spacious feel to it with the tall ceiling and the abundance of windows. I'd rate it as one of the most stunning airports (architecturally) in the world.
After a stay at Starbucks (grinding trip reports haha) and a meal in one of the restaurants, check in was opened for my flight, so I got my boarding pass to Singapore and proceeded back through immigration.
After taking the train to T3E where all the international departures were, I was faced with border control. The lines were a pain in Beijing, given the large number of people traveling internationally everyday. Therefore, it took me a solid 40 minutes to get pass border control and security check.
PEK has no clear signages of the location of the lounges, which can be a bit frustrating at times. However, having been to the lounge before, I quickly navigated myself to the entrance of Air China's International First Class Lounge.
As an international first class lounge, surprisingly, it is accessible with Priority Pass. Very uncommon for a flagship first class lounge at an airline's base airport to say the very least.
I arrived at the lounge at 1 PM, plenty early for my scheduled 4:40 pm to Singapore. A nice agent checked me into the lounge quickly, and informed me that there would not be boarding announcement for my flight on SQ, which was totally fine by me.
Immediately after entrance there was a special seating area bounded by a circular structure that radiates a traditional Chinese feel to it. The lounge had many Chinese elements incorporated into its design, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Walking in further there were more seating areas. The lounge was rather empty when I accessed it.
Despite looking pretty old, the lounge - perhaps aided by PEK's design - had a very open and ambient feel to it. There were a total of 2 long corridors. Food (snack) stations were spread out all across the lounge, which seemed rather unconventional.
The food was rather basic. The main hot-option buffet looks like this, with a noodle station on the side that offers "freshly" made noodles. Overall, the food offered did not look appetizing to be honest.
Anyways, I grabbed a bowl of beef noodles and some dim sum (which did not taste good). Having booked the cook on SQ, I took the food just for the sake of the review (but I did finish it haha). The noodles were a bit soggy, and the shrimp paste in Har Gow tasted exactly like flour... I guess that is that...No comment.
However, on the plus side, the view was rather nice and open. But again, there is that smoggy weather that surrounds Beijing...
One great feature of the lounge was its nap rooms. There were a total of 8 of them, however some didn't offer a bed (only a sofa) - so be sure to look.
I took a good 3 hour nap before boarding was called. The bed was on the comfortable side, more than enough for an airport bed I would say. However, there was no lock on the door, so privacy was not guaranteed and people might peek in at times.
Overall, an uneventful stay at an average lounge. I would say it is rather subpar for an international flagship (first class) lounge of a national carrier at its home base. Air China could certainly do better. In my opinion, it is adequate/nice for a business class lounge, but too basic for a First Class lounge.
Space - 7/10
Open space, but looked rather old and outdated.
Facilities - 6.5/10
Nap rooms are a plus, but lack of available shower suites and other facilities are subpar for a lounge like this
Food - 4/10
Rather inedible - soggy taste and unappetizing presentation. CA needs to up its game...
Staff - 8/10
Staff was friendly - a norm as you would almost always find with premium services attendants in China.