Reviews

Review: Qantas business class lounge, Shanghai Pudong Airport

By Chris Chamberlin, February 23 2015
Qantas business class lounge, Shanghai Pudong Airport
Country

China

City

Shanghai

Airport

Shanghai Pudong

Alliance

oneworld

Airline

Qantas

Cabin-class

Business

Notes
The Good
  • Close to passport control and the Qantas departure gate
The Bad
  • Unable to connect to the wireless Internet without exiting the lounge
  • Limited food and beverage choices
  • A great tarmac view is blocked by opaque glass
The Unexpected
  • None
Location
Dining
Work
Overall

Introduction

While Qantas doesn’t operate its own lounge at Shanghai’s Pudong Airport, business class travellers and frequent flyers on the Red Roo's daily flight to Sydney are instead given access to the No. 69 Shanghai Airport Authority lounge.

Shared with other airlines such as Qatar Airways and China Southern, it’s a far cry from what international jetsetters have come to expect when travelling on business, with many of the basics falling short or absent altogether.

We stopped by before jetting home on QF130 to Sydney – here’s what we thought.

Location & Impressions

Just a short walk beyond security and passport control, the lounge is incredibly easy to find with clear directional signage…

… and if that’s not clear enough, eligible travellers also receive a map when checking-in:

Once inside, it’s rather ordinary and has quite a monotonous layout.

In Qantas’ premium Singapore and Hong Kong lounges, travellers have the option of dining on the ground before maximising their rest in the sky – which encourages heading to the airport in plenty of time to enjoy the lounge.

Here, you’ll find only a basic buffet with a limited alcohol selection, which realistically makes the lounge an ideal place to down a quick drink and catch up on a few emails rather than a true international-grade space that deserves an early arrival.

Access

Without a lounge of its own in Shanghai, the Red Roo sends its business class passengers, Qantas Club members, Qantas Gold and Emirates Skywards Gold frequent flyers plus other Oneworld Sapphire members to the business class section of the No. 69 lounge.

Platinum and Platinum One members plus other Oneworld Emerald flyers can use the adjacent and seemingly identical first class space, while Priority Pass cardholders can use either the business or the first class areas regardless of which airline they’re flying with.

Premium passengers on Aeroflot, Air Macau, Garuda, Hong Kong Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Qatar Airways and China Southern are also sent to the No. 69 lounges.

Dining

Greeting travellers at the buffet are two hot mains – noodles and rice – plus mushrooms and broccoli…

That’s really nothing when compared to the Red Roo’s newer lounges in Asia, which spoil travellers with restaurant dining, cocktail bartenders and table service.

Nonetheless, also adorning the buffet were bananas and cups of noodles…

… chocolates and nibbles…

… and packaged sandwiches, fortunately kept individually sealed and refrigerated:

For a pre-flight nip, the spirit menu is wholly comprised of Russian vodka and Jack Daniel’s whiskey:

You’ll also find one red wine – a Californian Cabernet Sauvignon…

… and one white aside the pastries and oatmeal cups:

Fans of bubbly will find Abbazia Prosecco Spumante Extra-Dry sparkling, yet no champagne flutes from which to drink it…

Traditional wine glasses (such as that pictured) have a greater surface area at the top of the glass compared to a flute, allowing the bubbles to escape considerably more quickly – rendering our glass completely flat within five minutes.

Soft drinks and bottled water are also available.

Work

The space is divided into smaller areas with just two chairs in each section – greatly superior to longer benches with seats for any number of travellers, which can be quite a loud environment in which to work.

While there aren’t any desks to balance your laptop on, the communal tables in between seats are fine for minding your drinks and snacks:

Behind each table you’ll also find one power point tucked away. While the lamps occupy the two-pin plug at the top, there’s a spare plug underneath for phones, laptops and other gadgets:

It’s also an Aussie-style three pin outlet, so we were able to plug in and recharge without an adapter (above).

There’s password-protected wireless Internet available throughout the lounge, although once you’re connected to the access point, you’re presented with the same login screen as the free network available to all travellers throughout the terminal:

In theory, you enter your mobile number, receive a text message with an access code and then use that to finally access the Internet.

Despite being connected to the local mobile network and successfully sending and receiving SMS messages to and from other numbers, we’re still waiting for that SMS to arrive – even after requesting it several times and from three different devices.

Lounge staff are unable to assist with connection issues: if the SMS fails, you'll have to pack up your gear, leave the lounge and trod to an internet assistance desk out in the main terminal with your passport and boarding pass.

That was more trouble than it was worth, so we instead relied on mobile roaming data to stay connected.

Travelling without your own gear? There are two Windows XP desktop computers close to the lounge entrance for general word processing and Internet browsing…

… but as with any public computer, we’d advise against entering passwords or credit card numbers for security reasons.

We fortunately weren’t confronted with the same Internet login system on the desktop computers – having to leave the lounge to arrange access to a fixed desktop computer would be a little too ridiculous.

Relax

There aren’t any boarding calls made in the lounge, so consider setting a reminder on your phone before you kick back.

If you’re jetting about with colleagues or in group, there’s an ideal ‘conversation space’ on the left as you enter…

You’ll also find two massage chairs tucked away in the far corner, but these were a little too dirty to tempt when wearing a clean white shirt…

If you're hoping to do a little plane spotting during your visit – or even just take a peek outside – you’ll oddly need to do it standing up.

While the lounge is in a great spot for runway views, opaque glass stops you from looking out:

With nothing to look at, no working internet and a limited choice of food and drinks, you could instead grab a little reading material to tide you over before boarding, with several English titles available:

Summary

By domestic Australian standards, we’d consider the lounge to be on the lower side of ‘average’, but at an international level, it’s simply poor.

Wireless Internet access is a basic staple of airline lounges, and in one of Asia’s biggest business and financial hubs it’s something we’d expect to be both available and working.

Unless you unplug the lamp and work in darkness, it’s also not ideal to have one power point shared between two travellers who may both wish to charge their laptop, phone or tablet for the flight ahead.

All things considered, it’s not surprising that Qantas prints “we would like to point out that the lounge is not under Qantas Management control and facilities and standards may vary to Qantas Club lounges” on the lounge invitation.

Rather than leaving your hotel early to spend hours here, try instead for a late check-out and then head to the airport a little later than usual. After a quick drink and snack, you’ll be more than ready to depart.

Heading to China on business? Also read:

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!

adampies

adampies

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 7

If you're a Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald then use the far superior Cathay lounge immediately next door. Nicer environment, more spacious, better food, better drinks, better wifi, plenty of desks with Apple desktops... just generally better. By a mile.

Fonga

Fonga

12 Feb 2014

Total posts 227

Really wish Qantas could find a way of working the OW relationship with CX  to their mutual benefit. They have so much to gain from leveraging off the Cathay presence throughout China and Asia more broadly. Why team up with lesser Chinese airlines? Hub everything from HK. Jetstar HK is the fly in the soup.

crosscourt

crosscourt

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 347

absolutely, that where you should go. ive seen lounge 69 and have never bothered entering there, gone straight to the CX/KA lounge right next door, in fact you need to pass it to go to 69.

lsal0106

lsal0106

18 Jan 2012

Total posts 15

How are the MU lounges at PVG? Given the QF/MU JV kicks off this year, I am curious as to if the MU lounges are better or similar to this.

Maybe as part of the JV, QF could build its own lounge in PVG? After all BKK has a lounge with only one flight per day.

adampies

adampies

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 7

The MU lounges over in the other terminal (which is where QF will move to shortly) are even worse unfortunately. Dark, crowded, dates, poor food & beverage. Most don't have showers, though they did direct me along the hall to a First lounge with showers once (basically just like the business lounge but with showers).

roby

roby

21 Sep 2011

Total posts 65

Looks like this is the old Shanghai Airlines lounge. So glad all Star carriers have moved to the new CA lounge. Having said that, QF will move to T1 shortly and use the MU lounge.  

moa999

moa999

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1374

To be honest there is no point continually comparing it to a Qantas lounge - it is a third party lounge (and to be honest compared to many its quite OK).

But as ADAM says if you're Qantas Gold or Plat (or equiv oneworld) then across the hall to the better Cathay Lounge (shared Business and First) with its noodle bar.

Fonga, QF is not teaming up with a lesser Chinese airline here - they are just using the Airport VIP lounge like they do in many ports.. The CX/QF relationship has been bad well before Jetstar HK - reality CX fly into every major Australian port and don't really need QF

UpUpAndAway

UpUpAndAway

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 287

i'm really lost, when you book in at Qantas Platinum counter they direct you to this lounge and give you a card showing you how to get to "The Qantas Lounge"

ChrisCh

ChrisCh

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2925

Several posts here regarding the editorial itself (specifically, the title of the piece) rather than the subject of the editorial have been deleted in line with AusBT's published comment policy to keep everything on-track and on-topic.

To answer several users at once, the piece is titled 'Qantas business class lounge Shanghai' because that immediately describes the lounge and who it's for from an Australian perspective (and thus ours as well), whereas 'No. 69 Airport Authority Lounge' doesn't, and that distinction is made clear in the opening paragraph.

As per the comment policy, please direct any further comments regarding the editorial to either myself or to our editor David Flynn ([email protected]).

Fonga

Fonga

12 Feb 2014

Total posts 227

You're right Moa. I recognise the lounge is third party. I meant that it looks like Qantas directs its customers to a lesser product because the relationship with CX seems fractured despite the OW commonalities.

Emirates flies into all Australian ports too. The hub concept out of Dubai works well in that instance. I can't see why the same model couldn't work with HK and CX as a superb hub for China and other parts of Asia. Instead it has built partnerships with two lesser airlines. Perhaps by withdrawing from the Jetstar strategy for HK it might be able to find a better business relationship and then we don't have to be directed towards the No.69 hole-in-the-wall waiting room in one of the most dynamic and cutting edge cities in the world.

UpUpAndAway

UpUpAndAway

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 287

Pudong is an interesting qantas lounge, people I've taken into the lounge smile when you point out there are 4 pot plants dividing the first class section away from the  economy side of the lounge.

isdnman

isdnman

06 May 2013

Total posts 11

I usually just go there for the shower. 

Cathay lounge next door offers better food/drink but no shower.

Cjhay

Cjhay

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 2

The only redeeming feature of this lounge is that it has a smoking room.

180mis

180mis

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 116

Chris, another great review. Having visited the lounge a few months ago (and leaving depressed at how hum-drum boring it was) your photography seems to make the lounge appear nicer than it really is. 

lsal0106

lsal0106

18 Jan 2012

Total posts 15

Given the time that QF departs from PVG, it would be nice if QF used the EK lounge.


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