Reviews

Review: China Eastern business class lounge, Shanghai Pudong T1

Overall Rating

By Chris Chamberlin, May 31 2019
China Eastern business class lounge, Shanghai Pudong T1
Country

China

City

Shanghai

Airport

Shanghai Pudong

Alliance

SkyTeam

Airline

China Eastern

Cabin-class

Business

Notes
The Good
  • Noodle bar allows for a proper dinner on a ground, to maximise sleep on your flight
  • An upgraded lounge for Qantas passengers, versus the previous T2 lounge
The Bad
  • Dated style with an odd layout, placing the buffet in a tight corner
  • WiFi works, but speeds aren't impressive
The Unexpected
  • Escape the crowds by heading upstairs, as many passengers overlook this area
Location
Dining
Work
Overall

Introduction

Whether jetting home from a productive business trip to Shanghai or connecting onwards with China Eastern to a variety of international destinations, there's a good chance you'll spend time here at China Eastern's business class lounge in Shanghai Pudong Airport Terminal 1.

Shared by Qantas passengers too, as well as those from a host of other airlines, here's what awaits for business class flyers jetting through China's financial capital.

Location & Impressions

After passing through outbound passport control at Shanghai Pudong T1, flash your business class boarding pass for access to the red "VIP" security channel over on the far right, as you'll find the entrance to the lounge just beyond:

If you've taken the chance to explore some of the shops in the terminal first, you can instead find the lounge by looking for 'lounge 36' on the overhead signage. Yes, it'd be far clearer if the signs read "China Eastern lounges", but as long as you remember that magic number, you'll be set.

Once inside, you'll emerge into the main lounge space, which generally serves as a dining area and the 'main lounge', generally remaining quite busy...

... but if you look closely over near reception, there's another level to this lounge as well, via this escalator that's tucked behind the wall...

... taking you upstairs to a space that's often considerably quieter.

There's some signage downstairs to remind that the upper level is available, but given you'll only find hot food items downstairs – and these all being tucked over in the far corner of the space – most travellers tend to stay on the ground floor, explaining why that section remains rather busy.

With an onward flight to catch, there's a handy notice posted at the lounge entrance advising how long it takes to reach each gate, with the flight information screens also showing handy reminders like "boarding soon".

With a flight departing from one of those further gates, I left the lounge as soon as I noticed the on-screen message change to "boarding soon", and by the time I approached the gate, boarding was just about to begin.

This business class lounge opens daily from 5:30am until midnight.

Access

The following guests are welcome prior to international flights from Shanghai Pudong T1:

  • Business class passengers of China Eastern, Qantas, Air France, Air Koryo, China Airlines, Delta, KLM, Korean Air, Royal Brunei Airlines and SriLankan Airlines.
  • Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman's Lounge frequent flyers prior to Qantas and China Eastern flights with a QF or MU flight number.
  • Qantas Club members prior to Qantas-operated flights when booked on a Qantas (QF) flight number only (no access when flying China Eastern, or with Qantas on an MU flight number).
  • China Eastern's Eastern Miles Silver, Gold and Platinum members prior to China Eastern and Shanghai Airlines flights, and for Gold and Platinum members, prior to Qantas flights with a QF or MU flight number as well.
  • SkyTeam Elite Plus frequent flyers (including Eastern Miles Gold and Platinum) prior to SkyTeam flights.
  • Other Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers prior to Qantas and SriLankan Airlines flights.

Qantas Platinum members and above can also visit the separate China Eastern first class lounge next door: as can China Eastern first class passengers and selected members of the Eastern Miles scheme prior to eligible flights.

Dining

The main dining area is found on the lounge's ground floor, being a buffet zone towards the far end of that level...

... offering a variety of hot dishes – some vegetarian, such as beans with 'knife burn potatoes'...

... joined by options such as grilled fish...

... rice, meats...

... and fresh salads with dressing on the side.

Continue walking around that buffet space and you'll find refrigerated sandwiches, soups, and a staffed noodle bar:

Given how busy the lounge was, the staff member here prepared the base soup of noodles and broth, and handed the bowls over to each traveller for them to top with meat and vegetables from a nearby counter, which I did, and enjoyed:

Sweet and savoury buns are also served here, with a subtle reminder that 2019 is Year of the Pig in China...

Further along in the main dining space, you'll find a self-serve beverage counter offering wine, beer, spirits, soft drinks, juices and water...

... along with facilities for making tea and coffee.

With plenty of time to spare until my late-evening China Eastern flight to Brisbane, I prepared a latte, which was acceptable...

... and for those passengers who'd prefer a drink at room temperature rather than something refrigerated, there's a selection of drinks on a shelf nearby.

When I first arrived, it was rather difficult to find a solo seat downstairs, particularly as many tables here provide four seats yet were commonly claimed by just one or two travellers...

... so I ventured upstairs instead, and found another small servery, offering the same non-alcoholic drinks, spirits...

... red wines...

... and white wines as downstairs...

... but with a much more limited range on the food front, centred around snacks rather than substance. Sandwiches were the hero item, but unlike downstairs, these weren't stored in a refrigerated cabinet – and with no assurance as to how long the beef and chicken filling had been sitting out on the bench, it's fair to say that I left them untouched.

Otherwise, the lounge also offers "leisure food", which proved to be dried orange segments, although these weren't to my taste as the orange flavour was lost beneath the product's exterior coating.

After observing fellow frequent flyers, it seems the best approach when you get to the lounge is to head straight to the buffet with your bags in tow, collect a tray, grab your noodles, and take everything upstairs to find a seat.

This avoids staking out a table downstairs or leaving your belongings unattended, and provides the best of both worlds: the lounge's signature dish, and a relatively quiet place in which to enjoy it, with drinks and other snacks still conveniently nearby.

Work

When there's serious work to do, head upstairs and pull up a chair, either at a computer terminal or a working bench for your own laptop...

... or for something a little more casual, set yourself up at the benches lining the dining room wall, if noise isn't a bother.

Otherwise, the upstairs section offers AC and USB power at every seat.

Complimentary WiFi is available throughout the lounge, with downloads averaging 5Mbps and uploads around the 3.5Mbps mark during my most recent visit.

That said, don't be perplexed by the WiFi portal splash screen, which looks to require a Chinese mobile number for access – you can swing by the lounge service desk for the day's password, with no mobile phone (or passport) required.

Relax

If your visit calls for some downtime instead, you can relax... in much the same area, as almost the entire upper level looks like this, with rows and rows of the same seats:

There are also a few daybeds up here, but these remained in use during this visit, with the TV room on the ground level also proving rather popular. Restrooms are available on both levels, with showers on the ground floor.

All things considered, this lounge is far from 'wow' on the design front, particularly when it comes to the sea of beige seats upstairs, but does offer the basic amenities that travellers expect when flying abroad in business class.

For Qantas passengers taking QF130 from Shanghai to Sydney, China Eastern's lounge is also a significant step above the contract space that Qantas was using over in Terminal 2, before shifting its flights here to T1 when the Qantas+China Eastern alliance was expanded.

That said, the layout of China Eastern's business class lounge leaves much to be desired, given many passengers have to wander from one side of the lounge to the other just for a plate of food, or even between levels for something other than a room temperature sandwich.

Also read: China Eastern Airbus A330 business class review, Shanghai-Brisbane

Chris Chamberlin travelled to Shanghai as a guest of China Eastern Airlines.

ChrisCh
ChrisCh

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Snail

Snail

16 Jan 2018

Total posts 5

The China Easterns first class lounge is available for QF platinum members. The crew will direct you to the right rather than to the left for said business lounge. Still rather small selection of food but way less people. Also I believe there are few day beds? available for you to book. I had a rather tight schedule so didn't get a chance to check them out.

davidzuo

davidzuo

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Nov 2016

Total posts 26

Yes, there are a few day beds in secluded compartments.

Traveller14

Traveller14

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 391

Very good that it has PCs. Many lounges now don't.

dimi

dimi

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jul 2012

Total posts 109

One problem however is that both Wifi and PCs offer “the Internet with Chinese Characteristics”, i.e. no access to news websites, Google etc.

I suggest bringing your own roaming SIM card whenever entering China or transiting through it, because a 6-hour transfer in that lounge can get really boring...

Ryan K

Ryan K

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 291

I used this lounge last year before flying back to Australia on the daily QF Shanghai - Sydney flight. At that time of the evening the lounge was packed and was near impossible to find a seat. The refrigerated beer was at room temperature too, not overly pleasant.

pan129953

pan129953

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

01 Aug 2012

Total posts 7

spacious yes but everything else about this lounge is bad. 2 visits in the last month. food was terrible, staff very abrupt and unfriendly. i will now avoid Shanghai and China Eastern at all costs

pkjames

pkjames

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2017

Total posts 42

if this is a 3 star, qf bin @ syd is 1 star

russell

russell

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 323

If you honestly think this trumps the QF INT lounge at SYD then you have to be seriously joking....

douglasrjohnson

douglasrjohnson

30 Nov 2018

Total posts 3

This is the worst lounge I’ve ever been to, drinks always run out, food/slop gets tipped from a vac-pac plastic bag straight into the Bain Marie’s, which are never hot. I live in shanghai and been here many times, never been any different. I quickly learnt to bring some edible food with me, and pray that the single bottle of gin hasn’t run out and there is some ice for the warm tonic! At least the upstairs section is quiet and comfortable, even though it is pretty ugly.

OzGlobal

OzGlobal

30 May 2018

Total posts 7

I used this lounge a couple of weeks ago on a QF ticketed MU operated MEL-PVG-CDG flight in J with Platinum status. I was told by QF that I would have access to the First Class lounge, but refused by MU at the lounge as they said only flights to Australia are eligible. I used the main business lounge. It is at best 'functional.'

tris06

tris06

China Airlines - Dynasty Flyer

22 Sep 2012

Total posts 68

China lounges are much to be desired. However they are better than before. The best lounge I used in mainland China was the China southern lounge (during meal time) Shenzhen domestic. I heard CA Beijing is quite good. Xian China eastern domestic was okay. Chonqing China southern domestic even though it is bigger than before it is sad.

HALLDA

HALLDA

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Jul 2019

Total posts 2

CA Beijing is only good in comparison to other Chinese lounges. In my opinion it is the best lounge in the country, but it is mid-tier on a global scale.

cooper81

cooper81

BA Gold

01 Apr 2012

Total posts 149

It's something I have never quite understood about most of the Asian carriers (excluding CX here). Some of them offer superb service on board yet they just have the most 'meh' lounges, even at their hubs. As if they don't even really try.

Even 'five star' airlines like ANA and JAL have very mediocre offerings at their hubs. Even the First lounges are no where on par with the likes of QF/ME/Euro airlines. Dare I say it even the US airlines now offer better premium lounges.

Korean and Asiana both have pretty poor offerings. Thai's are an embarrassment at their BKK hub. Even the Cinderella of airlines, SQ offer pretty mediocre lounge facilities IMHO.

CX is the only one that really stands out for me in the lounge department as far as the asian airlines go. The refurbished MH Business Class lounge in KUL isn't awful either but their First class lounge still doesn't quite hit the mark for me though.

Snail

Snail

16 Jan 2018

Total posts 5

I guess it's because they tend to do a lot more duty free shipping before their flights that the lounges are rarely used?

My better half always do some last minute shopping before her flights despite her qf platinum status, whether in Sydney or Shanghai or anywhere else.

HALLDA

HALLDA

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Jul 2019

Total posts 2

My wife (QF Platinum) flew economy class yesterday from MEL-MAD via PVG on China Eastern. She was unable to get a lounge pass for PVG on check-in in MEL, and was refused entry to the lounge (VIP 36) on arrival in PVG. Her return flights are business, so won't have the same issue, but my understanding is that she should have had lounge access at PVG. Am I missing something?

OzGlobal

OzGlobal

30 May 2018

Total posts 7

Yes. See my comment above: it seems MU only recognize your QF OW status on QF codeshares with FROM PVG TO OZ...

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