Introduction: Flying China’s Other 5-Star Airline
Review: Four Points By Sheraton Seattle Airport South
Review: The Club At SEA Seattle Airport
Review: Xiamen Air Business Class 787 Seattle To Shenzhen
Review: St. Regis Shenzhen
Review: Shenzhen Airport Lounge
Review: Xiamen Air First Class 787 Shenzhen To Seattle
I got to Seattle Airport at around 9:45AM, plenty early for my 1:25PM flight to Shenzhen. Seattle Airport has seen so much international expansion lately, to the point that the check-in facility is way too small. I tried to find the Xiamen Air check-in desk, through didn’t see any signs.
I asked one of the employees standing near one of the lines where Xiamen Air’s check-in desk was located. She responded with “huh?” when I said the airline’s name. I figured perhaps the spelling and pronunciation threw her off, so I instead used the cringeworthy pronunciation of “Zhee-amen Air,” which she understood, and then she pointed me to their desk.
Xiamen Air’s check-in counter is located right across from the Air Canada and United counter, and it’s a fairly tight fit. While they had close to a dozen staff at the check-in counter, they informed me that check-in didn’t open until 10AM. So I walked around the terminal for a bit, and returned 10 minutes later to check-in.
The check-in staff were friendly, though barely spoke English. I’m often amazed (impressed?) by many international airlines that find check-in staff that mirror what you’d find at their hub airports. The two ladies who checked me in really struggled with English. Anyway, within about five minutes I was checked in, and invited to use The Club At SEA, which is the contract lounge that Xiamen Air uses for their premium passengers.
Clearing security took a while, especially given that I didn’t have Pre-Check. So it was about 20 minutes until I was through security, even with access to the premium line.
Once through security I turned left and followed the signage towards the “A” concourse, where the lounge is located, and also where my flight was departing from.
The Club At SEA is located across from gate A11, which is at the very end of the concourse, and is quite a walk, despite the moving walkways.
Once you reach the end of the terminal, The Club At SEA is located on the left. The lounge is one level above the main concourse, so you can access it either by stairs or elevator.
There was a special Xiamen Air sign outside the lounge (probably since the airline just started service), though on top of that there was signage indicating that Condor, Delta, Hainan, and EVA Air premium passengers could use the lounge. This lounge is also open to Priority Pass passengers, so can be used by those who have a membership through a premium credit card.
There was also a sign indicating that the lounge is open from 9:30AM until 5:30PM. Those are some limited hours, though it seems like they’re primarily targeted at the airlines operating afternoon flights to Asia and Europe.
Once I got to the top of the staircase, the entrance to the lounge was located to the right.
I presented the associate with my lounge invitation and boarding pass, and was promptly invited in. The lounge is fairly narrow as you enter, though gets wider the further in you go.
The lounge has pretty traditional seating, with rows of seats lined up facing one another. For the front half of the lounge there are just seats on one side, with the buffet and bar on the other side.
There are a few high-top tables in the center of the lounge.
The back half of the lounge consists exclusively of seating. In the back left is a large room with several dozen seats.
Also in the back half of the lounge is a large business center with over a dozen cubicles.
A couple of them had PCs, but the rest just had empty workspaces.
I really appreciate this kind of setup, especially as there were two well placed outlets on each desk. I spent my time in the lounge in one of the cubicles getting caught up on work, and I was the only person in that area for my entire stay. The lounge doesn’t have its own wifi network, given that the airport has free high speed wifi for all passengers.
As far as the food and drink selection goes, the buffet was in the center of the lounge.
The food selection in the lounge consisted almost entirely of packaged snacks. It sort of surprises me when lounges have such a setup nowadays, given how many people tend to take a few (or 10) packaged snacks with them.
Snacks included biscoff, Milano, and Oreo cookies, two types of granola bars, chips, popcorn, pretzels, and more.
Further down the buffet were instant noodles.
Then there was a coffee machine, as well as two types of soup (tomato basil and clam chowder).
There was also a fridge with some packaged cheese, as well as soft drinks. I was happy to see that they had bottled San Pellegrino, which you don’t often see in contract lounges.
There was also an alcohol list on the bar. I believe the drinks were all complimentary, though I also didn’t try to order one.
Boarding was scheduled for 12:40PM, so I headed to the gate at 12:30PM. I was departing from gate A12, located right across from the lounge.
The gate agents all seemed a bit frantic, which I suppose makes since given that it was still the first week of service. Or perhaps it had more to do with Xiamen Air’s president being on the flight. Who knows.
As I waited for boarding to begin I had a look at the Xiamen Air 787. I quite like their paint scheme, which I think can best be described as pleasant — it’s not over-bearing, but also not boring.
Finally at 12:45PM boarding began, starting with first and business class.
The Club At SEA bottom line
The Club At SEA is bland and lacks views. At the same time, the lounge wasn’t very crowded, and I was happy to have a quiet cubicle with easy access to power from which to work. I had considered visiting the Amex Centurion Studio during my visit, which no doubt has a better food selection, nicer decor, and better views, but remembered how consistently overcrowded it is, so I decided to stay here instead.
So while it’s no frills, this lounge was actually rather peaceful, which I can’t say about my other recent visits to the Alaska Board Room or Amex Centurion Studio. So this place gets the basics right, at least…