Trip Report: Air China PEK Domestic Business Class Lounge and PEK-XIY Economy Class
With a 2 hour 45 minute layover in Beijing, I thought I’d have plenty of time before my connecting flight to Xi’an to relax in the lounge. Turns out, between the fingerprinting at a kiosk, immigration, long train ride to change terminals, buying a domestic SIM card, and security check again, my time in the lounge narrowed quite a bit!
Still, I wanted to make it to the Air China lounge to eat a bit, since it was lunch time and I was getting hungry!
In the domestic terminal, the Air China lounge is reached by taking escalators up a floor.
Thanks to the Lufthansa agent in Frankfurt who inputted my United MileagePlus Gold number into the ticket, the lounge agent in Beijing just had to scan my boarding pass to grant me access.
The interior was basically a warren of these boxy old-fashioned seats, and the lounge was quite crowded. I was lucky to find an empty pair of seats - and as I was getting ready to leave, another passenger asked if he could already stake out my seat.
There were two areas for food. One had refrigerators of canned and bottled drinks, and a big display of maybe three different kinds of instant ramen, and cookies. At first, I thought this was the only food offering. But walking past this area and around a corner was buffet with hot food options.
Here, there were steamer baskets of different buns and dumplings, like a green vegetable bun, chicken dumplings, and a curry ground meat bun. There were also salads, like a cucumber salad and a delicious spicy celery, carrot, and peanut salad (I want to replicate this at home!). Finally, there were pickled veggies and different sauces.
There was also a curious setup with noodle soups. Periodically, an attendant would roll out a cart laden with bowls of soup, and a line would form to pick up a bowl of soup. I think leftover bowls of soup were then placed inside of insulated boxes off to the side.
I had a bowl of pork noodle soup with a shiitake mushroom. The broth was light and clean.
I did have to dine and dash, to board my Air China Boeing 737-800 flight to Xi’an.
This flight departed at 12:15pm and arrived in Xi’an at 2:30pm, which seemed to me prime lunch hour. So I was curious what kind of food would be served.
Each passenger was handed a warm something wrapped in foil, along with a moist towelette.
What was inside the foil? A shaobing 烧饼, with sliced meat inside! Though a big greasy and bready, I thought this was a pretty substantial snack, that was also practical - quick to serve, easy to heat up.
It was incredibly silent on board, like a library! I really appreciated that. We then landed in a hazy Xi’an.
One thing I noticed about this flight, was that the flight attendants were all very friendly, welcoming each passenger aboard, and the passengers in turn were also all very polite and quiet. It was like a library! Overall, it made for a relaxing flight.