Tried & Tested

Lounge review: Air China International Business Lounge, Beijing

29 Nov 2018 by Craig Bright
Air China Business Class Lounge (PEK)

Background

Beijing Capital Airport has three terminal buildings overall, however Air China’s operations are largely limited to just Terminal 3. In total, China’s national carrier has eight different lounges what is easily the country’s busiest airport, with different facilities available for domestic, international and transit passengers – along with three VIP lounges. At Beijing airport, international first and business class passengers are afforded separate lounges, though they are each located close to one another.

Where is it?

On the second floor at the far end of Beijing Capital Airport’s international Terminal 3 building, towards Gates E13 to E18. You’ll need to take a lift or the escalator to get up to the second floor, though generally signage is good at the airport and the lounge is easy to find.

Who can access?

Passengers flying in business class on board Air China flights to international destinations as well as Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Phoenix Miles Gold-tier members and above can also enter with one guest, providing the guest is departing on a Star Alliance member-operated flight on the same day, and Star Alliance Gold members and above can also enter the lounge.

Air China Business Class Lounge (PEK)

What’s it like?

Busy. Despite its size and large number of seats, when I arrived at the lounge just after 4pm the place was heaving and while there wasn’t a queue to get in, there were practically no seats available. After making a few rounds trying to scope out a four-person space, my other travel companions and I decided to simply split up and attempt to claim a rogue empty seat in already occupied areas.

Just before going in, I was accosted by one of the lounge “dragons” guarding the entrance, who stood up and loudly exclaimed “no photos!” when I tried to take a picture of just the entrance desk. My interactions with the lounge staff never really progressed to a more cordial level after that.

The design of the lounge is certainly unique. The entire space is a long, quadrilateral shape with seating largely located to the edges, though there is a big, round gazebo-esque structure in the middle with a few more seats within (though they seemed largely similar to what was available elsewhere). Generally these are one-size-fits-all – armchairs with small tables – though there are few stools located at the bar.

International power sockets are located by most tables, though there is only one for each table of about two to four people, meaning you may need to stake your claim to it early or fight to secure one.

Air China Business Class Lounge (PEK)

At the far end of the lounge is the food and beverage. The bar is self-serve, but there was a reasonable selection of different spirits available. There are also a few refrigerators located around the lounge with canned soft drinks and beer. Food options, meanwhile, were presented as a buffet with dim sum on one side and cooked dishes on the other.

The quality was nothing to write home about, though I’ve certainly had worse in an airline lounge. One of the big problems I found were that the plates were rather small, meaning you had to pile up a bunch of food onto a single small plate if you wanted to avoid having to make multiple trips across the lounge.

Air China Business Class Lounge (PEK)

Just prior to the dining area is the washrooms and shower room, though this was occupied.

Back towards the reception desk you’ll find a TV area, with a small business centre as well as a massage and sleeping area just beyond at the end of the lounge.

Verdict

An adequate business class lounge in most regards, though certainly not one that will leave a lasting memory. Its biggest issue is that it’s simply too crowded, meaning you’ll simply have to make do with what you can get – not exactly how you want to feel as a premium customer.

Fast facts

Opening hours 0330-0230
Location International Departure Waiting Area, 2nd floor, Terminal 3, Beijing Capital Airport

Loading comments...
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below
Polls