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China Southern Los Angeles Airport First Class Check-In
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China Southern Lounge Guangzhou Airport
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I arrived at Guangzhou Airport at around 6:45AM, with plenty of time to spare before my 9:30AM flight to Tokyo Narita. The drive to the airport had to be one of the most terrifying taxi drives of my life, as the driver would take a nap at every traffic light, and once we got on the highway I saw his eyes constantly closing and then opening again. Since he didn’t speak any English and I don’t speak any Chinese, I wasn’t sure what to do about it. Fortunately I made it there safely in the end…
The Guangzhou Airport check-in hall is beautiful, with high ceilings and a bright interior.
I quickly found China Southern’s first and business class check-in area, which is located in a separate room. There was an agent at the door that asked “first or business class?” Once I confirmed I was in first class he motioned for me to go sit down at a desk with an agent at it.
The agent checking me in was efficient and printed my boarding pass within a minute. She didn’t provide any further instructions as to where I should go and there was no escort service, though I was easily able to follow the signage to the departures area.
First I got in the security queue. I was surprised to see that they actually had a first class security queue. Unfortunately there was no one monitoring who used it, so it was filled with just as many passengers as the other queues, and all the passengers around me had economy class boarding passes.
After security I queued for immigration. I didn’t realize I had to fill out a departure form (I figured they would advise me of that at check-in, but that wasn’t the case). I only realized I needed to fill it out once it was my turn, so I had to get out of the queue, fill it out, and then get back in line. By around 7:30AM I found myself airside.
The airport was quite nice with plenty of high end shopping immediately past immigration.
The China Southern Lounge was located at the end of the first corridor past immigration. I found the entrance a bit weird since it was small and hidden behind a billboard. After the agent looked at my boarding pass she directed me towards the reception desk.
At the reception desk my documents were once again verified, and I was handed a slip with the wifi password. I asked if there was a special first class lounge or if it was a shared lounge with business class, though I couldn’t figure out a way to communicate that to the agent, as my question was met with a blank stare. I guess China Southern doesn’t have a dedicated first class lounge?
On the first floor the lounge was a large buffet and dining area with plenty of seating.
Then there was a staircase to the upper level, where there was more “lounge style” seating.
There were a variety of seating types upstairs, and I actually found the lounge to be reasonably nice for a business class lounge. There were plenty of lounge chairs, day beds, massage chairs, etc.
Then there was a small table indicating that there was a tea ceremony daily from 10AM till 11AM and from 6PM till 7PM. I’m not sure how exactly that works…
The lounge also had a few small rooms with chairs and doors.
And also a fairly nice business center with a handful of cubicles that actually looked pretty practical.
There was a buffet on the second floor which looked okay. On one hand the buffet was actually somewhat large, but at the same time there was no continuity to it. I’m not sure if that makes any sense or how to describe it, but the buffet items all just seemed incredibly random and like they didn’t go well together.
Anyway, I eventually decided to sit on the lower level to have breakfast, though that proved a challenge. The main issue with the lounge is that it was freezing. For that matter it wasn’t the lounge, but rather the airport as a whole. It’s clear they didn’t have heat, and at the time it was 45 degrees outside and probably not much warmer inside.
After observing a handful of people in the lounge rubbing their hands together and blowing warm air at them, I took it a step further and decided to put on gloves in the lounge. Why not?
The food spread was equally random downstairs.
For me the biggest disappointment of the lounge was the wifi speed — it was virtually unusable.
The strangest part of the lounge experience had to be that there was a lady in a uniform continuously walking around the lounge taking notes. She’d stand by my table, glance over, take some notes on a little post-it style pad, continue to the next table, etc. It was odd enough to begin with, but she made the same round just about every 15 minutes, so I got multiple visits.
At around 8:45AM I decided to leave the lounge and head to my departure gate, A106. It was roughly a five minute walk from the lounge, and I quite enjoyed looking at some airlines that I don’t otherwise see much of…
…like a China Southern 787, which is the only 787 equipped with a first class cabin.
Gate A106 was at the far end of the terminal, and the gate area seemed oddly empty for an A330, as there weren’t more than a few dozen passengers in the gate area.
At roughly 9AM boarding began, starting with the first class cabin.
So yeah, not a great lounge, but more than anything else I wish they’d install heat in the airport…