PVG: Shanghai Air China Star Alliance Lounge
You find the Air China Shanghai lounge directly after security, up the lift (or escalator) by gate 77 (hence another name, the Changhai Lounge 77 and at the top there is a long reception desk. The lounge has two sides: Business Class is all around and behind you when you are at the desk, while First Class is a small area to the right of the desk. In truth, there is little to tell the difference between them, although there are better spirits on the First Side. Airlines like Air New Zealand provide vouchers for the First Side, for Business passengers, but all Star Golds are firmly on the left. You can however get to the First side at busy times by just going through the shower area, and past the First Class only sign.
The lounge design is the classic 'on a balcony within the vast bulk of the airport' design: as such it is open to the terminal and that makes it noisy: in particular, you can hear all the boarding announcements. The good part is that you can at least look over the balcony and see if your plane has started boarding.
The lounge itself looks nice but it is rammed with passengers in the early afternoon, and it also has a reputation for quite poor food, and a very basic bar.
At the back of the lounge there is a sleeping area: there is slumber seating in recliners with dark rooms. The lounge has recently added dozens of TVs to the lounge: there is one pretty much in each 'box of 4 chairs' on the inner side - but the volume is turned down, so it's quite quiet - however the boarding announcements boom around the terminal and wake you up: mind you this isn't such a bad idea.
There is a small snooze area within the lounge, where you can have a nap. Alas, it shows some of the worse design of any lounge anywhere in the world. The snooze areas are in small high walled boxes - which you may think are great. However they are placed in the lightest, brightest part of the lounge, right on the edge of the balcony, where there is all the noise of the airport below you. Even worse, they are right beside the dining area - which is on a slightly higher level - so you end up with noisy slurming diners looking down on you. And then the snooze chairs are some of the most uncomfortable lumpy leather things you'll ever find. It is a really bad place to get some sleep.
In short, the Air China Shanghai lounge has a great ambience overall, and plenty of seating with a view of planes over gates. The New terminal - built in 2008 - is certainly a radical improvement on the old one. All that is missing is decent food and a bar.
Incidentally, there used to be a Shanghai Singapore Airlines Silver Kris lounge. Alas, they built it in the wrong terminal, and it was one of the shortest lived lounges in history, as within a couple of years of it opening, the new Shanghai lounge had sadly taken it's place. Shame really, as it had good food and decent wine.
FoodThere are two food station on either side of the two sides of the lounge. Hot food is on the left, salad is on the right. The hot food isn't all that much to write home about, with BBQ Pork hot noodles, and noodle broth. On the cold side there are sandwiches, a little faux sushi, and a salad bar.
Incidentally, tucked away beside the entrance there is also a hot noodle station. It is very well hidden, and only open from 3pm onwards: just ring the bell beside the hatch, and you will be asked (in Chinese) what you want. They have a small printed menu they will hand you - but it is in Chinese too.
BarThe bar in the Air China Shanghai lounge really isn't very good.
Beside the food areas there are fridges with cans of Tsing-tao beer and two bottles of wine (Chinese 'Imperial Court' wine too!), plus a very poor liquor selection, with no spirits of any kind.
However, if you hunt out the small fridge right at the end of the 'cold' food side, on the bottom level of the fridge is a shelf called 'overseas beer'. Here there are cans of Bud, Carlsber, Heiniken, and Ashai.
BathroomsThere are full bathrooms in the lounge, with japanese style toilets that have buttons. There are also two showers, although they seem to be out of order for large parts of the year.
The shower area is access able from both the First and Business Class sides: you can walk directly from one to the other.
Business FacilitiesThe Air China Shanghai lounge promotes itself as having a full business centre. And it does, with 20 computers in small work cubicals. In reality though many of these PCs are broken, or don't connect to the internet. Even worse, most of the computers are badly infected with viruses. Do not do any confidential work on these: indeed, don't log onto even hotmail in the lounge, or your account will be stolen.
There is a relatively poor wireless network with slow speeds and not much of a signal.
If you are after newspapers, you'll pretty much be out of luck. However, there is a small magazine rack, if all you want are magazines to sell you very expensive things you never knew you wanted.
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