Introduction: A Weekend In Mongolia
Review: Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Los Angeles Airport
Review: United Global First Lounge San Francisco Airport
Review: Air China First Class 747-8 San Francisco To Beijing
Review: Hilton Beijing Airport
Review: Air China First Class Lounge Beijing Airport
Review: Air China Business Class 737 Beijing To Ulaanbaatar
Review: Holiday Inn Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Review: Ulaanbaatar Airport Lounge
Review: MIAT Mongolian Business Class 767 Ulaanbaatar To Frankfurt
Review: United Business Class 777-200 Frankfurt To Houston
Review: United Club Houston Airport
Review: United First Class 737 Houston To Los Angeles
My flight from Ulaanbaatar to Frankfurt was departing at 10AM, so I got to the airport plenty early, at around 6:15AM. Ulaanbaatar Airport is quite small, and there’s only a single terminal.
Upon entering the terminal, domestic check-in was to the right, while international check-in was to the left.
Even though the airport is MIAT Mongolian’s hub, they have separate check-in counters for each individual flight. Unfortunately the Frankfurt check-in counter wasn’t open yet. I went up to the business class counter for the flight to Tokyo, and upon explaining to the associate that I didn’t have any checked bags, she let me check in without issue.
To the right of the check-in counters was a sign to the “Airport Business Lounge,” though this seemed to be some different landside business class lounge, and not the main one that’s used by most airlines.
With my boarding pass in hand, I headed to the security checkpoint, which was a painless process that just took a couple of minutes.
Things got a little tricky when I got to immigration. The officer looked at my passport, leafed through it several times, called over someone else, and then told me to step aside. I figured they found something about my passport suspicious (it wouldn’t be the first time), though as it turned out, they claimed it was just “too early” for me to go through immigration for the Frankfurt flight.
I explained that I just wanted to use the lounge if possible, and that was past immigration. Another immigration officer checked with someone else, and then about 10 minutes later I was allowed to pass through immigration.
The departures hall had plenty of seating, though otherwise wasn’t terribly exciting.
Rather than your typical airport Gucci duty free shop, there was a cute book shop.
I followed the signage towards the business class lounge, which led me towards an escalator going up a level.
Much to my surprise, the second floor had more to offer than the first floor. There was plenty of shopping, a nice enough food court, some cool Mongolian displays, and even some day beds for relaxing.
There was also great plane spotting from the second floor. MIAT Mongolian has two 767s in their fleet. The one without winglets is used for their shorthaul flights, and features a regional product.
Meanwhile the one with winglets is used for the Frankfurt flight (which is their only longhaul service, and it’s only seasonal).
The lounge was located at the top of the escalator and to the right. As you can see, this isn’t a MIAT Mongolian branded lounge, but rather is a shared lounge used by all (or at least most) of the international airlines at the airport.
Fun fact — you might see the Turkish Airlines sign in the picture below. No, they don’t operate a nonstop flight from Istanbul to Ulaanbaatar, but rather operate it via Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Talk about a fun fifth freedom flight!
Once inside the lounge, one of the attendants took my boarding pass and made a copy of it, and then invited me in. For what it’s worth, this is also a Priority Pass lounge, should you prefer to access it that way.
The lounge was… very basic. It consisted of a single room with a few dozen chairs. As a matter of fact, I think the below pictures tell you just about all there is to know.
On one of the walls was an awkwardly placed TV, though fortunately it was on mute.
The lounge’s decor was… unique. In addition to the interesting choice in furniture color, there was an eclectic mix of plants along the windows, which almost felt like someone’s personal collection.
The food & drinks were back near the entrance, under a rather modern-looking circular display.
The food selection was modest, and included cookies, muesli, pretzels, peanuts, chips, muffins, cake, packaged sandwiches, hardboiled eggs, and apparently miso soup on request.
In terms of self serve drinks, there was juice, soft drinks, beer, and bottled water.
Behind the counter was a small selection of liquor, as well as a coffee machine.
There were two attendants working the lounge. They weren’t especially friendly or proactive in providing service, but I guess I wasn’t expecting that either. I ordered a coffee and also grabbed a snack, given that I didn’t have breakfast in the hotel. The coffee was quite good.
The lounge had wifi which was usable but not fast. The lounge didn’t have its own bathrooms, but rather you had to use the public bathrooms right next to the lounge.
When I first arrived the lounge was pretty full, as there were flights shortly departing for Tokyo and Seoul. However, it then emptied out, before it filled up again a bit at around 8:30AM with the Frankfurt-bound fanny pack crowd (I’m not trying to stereotype, but I counted four fanny packs in the lounge).
Boarding was scheduled to start at 9:30AM, so I headed down to the gate at around 9:15AM.
Best I could tell, the international terminal has a single main “gate” that the flights board through. Really it’s just a door, and then you walk down the hall towards your plane, and then your boarding pass is scanned at the door to the jet bridge. Sure enough, boarding started at 9:30AM sharp, starting with business class.
Ulaanbaatar Airport departure gate
Ulaanbaatar Airport Lounge bottom line
Not surprisingly, the shared Ulaanbaatar Airport lounge is basic. It’s comfortable enough, the wifi works, and they make a decent coffee, but don’t arrive early to spend any time here. Fortunately the airport as such is easy to use otherwise, so there should be no issues only arriving 90 minutes before departure, or so.