Priority Pass membership is the largest independent airport lounge network in the world. It is also one of the most accessible ways where you can get travel perks for free if you have certain bank relationships and/or credit cards. That being said, most Priority Pass lounges (for a lack of better word) suck. (ex. KAL lounge @ LAX)
Hence one day in PEK (Beijing International Airport), I was so surprised when I opened my Priority Pass app and saw the following lounge available on my phone.
It felt like a travel spiritual awakening… like a holistic yoga session on top of the Great Wall.
Priority Pass offers a First Class lounge?! This, I have to see with my own eyes.
In Terminal 3E at Beijing International Airport, there are plenty of signage that directs you to various airport lounges. I had to do a double-take in looking at the sign because it made me in disbelief again…
Really? I’m suppose to turn left to Air China First Class Lounge? Not go straight? A Priority Pass membership makes us above Business Class?!
With our head held high, we turn left & stroll about a minute or two to arrive at the escalator that takes us up to the main entrance. After a scan of our Priority Pass card, we enter Air China’s First Class Lounge.
First impressions? This place is massive.
Ridiculous high ceilings and insane square footage. I feel like you can put a hundred people in here and the place will still feel empty.
Along the walls, there are some simple but tasteful oriental decorations to bring some nice flavors to the lounge.
With not much time til we board our flight, we head straight to their hot foods offerings. Since it’s in Beijing, they serve several classic Chinese dishes like spicy pork wontons and dumplings.
We decide to sit by the windows to do a little plane watching while we eat our food. It’s funny to see Air China’s competitors right near the lounge windows. Hmm, Japan Airlines via OneWorld alliance….. now those planes have a beautiful First Class cabin.
The food is considered quite basic considering it’s a First Class lounge, but delicious nonetheless.
If you wish, there are assorted pastries and teas for refreshments. While it’s not as classy as our friend’s BlackSwan Beijing Afternoon Tea, it’s certainly acceptable especially for a Priority Pass Lounge 😛
Overall, Air China’s First Class is an outstanding Priority Pass lounge. Even though it lacks the luxury that a ultra-premium lounge should have, it still does its job in where it provides you with personal space and delicious (Chinese) foods.
If you judge this place on the level of Qantas, Cathay, Etihad, Singapore, and Thai (etc.) First Class standards, you’ll be left extremely disappointed. But if you come in knowing this is just a Priority Pass level lounge…. you’ll be blown away.
So with proper expectations, you’ll have an amazing time here at Air China’s First Class.