Review: Air China Domestic Business Lounge, Shanghai Pudong, China

The Air China Domestic Business Lounge in the Shanghai Pudong airport was highlighted by the ability to try the Great Wall of China Wine; another unique aspect to our trip to the Republic of China.

This post is one chapter in our Around the World in Star Alliance First Class via China, Thailand and Spain. This trip was booked using Air Canada Aeroplan miles. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: Air China Domestic Business Lounge, Shanghai Pu Dong, China

Booking and Getting there:

Since MsWT73 had never seen the Great Wall of China, I had planned for us to take a side trip to Beijing, outside of our reward ticket (a paid nested trip inside our reward ticket). I had wanted to take the trains between Shanghai and Beijing, so we could experience the longest bridge in the world that was part of the high speed train, but I had found that the train reservation system to be overly complicated. I learned that tickets had to be purchased at the train station, at the English Counter, or through your hotel. We were on a tight timeline and I didn’t want to bother attempting to purchase tickets while I was on the ground in Shanghai so I decided on the Air Travel option. 

I booked an Air China airfare via their website (Canada edition) and experienced the same challenge that many others have had in finding discounted fares. In the end, I was unable to find any discounted fares (later learning about c-trip and their internet booking service) and I settled on tickets for two in “Y” fare economy- the only fare available online. Even the Chinese version of the website wasn’t offering me any relief!! The tickets were $418 USD each round trip, taxes in for a 1036 mile journey each way. 

Accessing the Lounge:

On arrival at Shanghai Pu Dong International Airport, we made our way over to the Domestic Departures at the far left side of the Terminal. Aisle number one was reserved for Top Tier customers. There were greater frequencies from the Shanghai Hongqiao airport (6 flights a day versus 2 flights a day) but I was keen on trying out the Air China Lounges and the proof that a lounge even existed at Hongqiao was minimal at best. 

Directory of Domestic Carriers at Shanghai PuDong, China

The check in was deserted, but the red carpet was out, in the theme of the Chinese Royal Treatment for Star Alliance Gold travelers. We were able to use the business class check in and access the business class lounge thanks to Aeroplan Elite Star Alliance Gold status, regardless of class of service of travel.

During our check in at the priority counter, and even flying in economy with a Star Gold card, we were given a voucher for a golf cart ride to the gate. I was a little amused at this, until when we were zipping through the concourse of PVG, that I realized how far the gate actually was from the security screening checkpoint. The lounge itself is located near Gate 90, which is at the far end of one of the fingers of the terminal. It would have been at least a 15 minute walk across 6 flat moving escalators. Indeed, it was not a place where people were hanging around. 

Our driver put his hat back on as soon as he realized I was starting to take pictures. 


 Indeed, that sign does read gate number 98. Where we were headed at the very end of the terminal. 

We were led off from the golf cart and found our way upstairs to the open air lounge, which occupied the upper part of the floor.

The Air China Business Lounge occupies the upstairs portion of the concourse
Escalators provide easy access without the need for an crowded elevator

Inside the Air China Shanghai Pudong Domestic Lounge:

With an Aeroplan Elite Star Gold card in hand, we set out to try the Air China Shanghai Domestic Lounge. I had previously read a lot of negative comments about the lounges in China, but really it was a pleasant way to spend a hour before a flight. 

Air China Business Domestic Lounge Entry
Air China Business Class Domestic Lounge
Air China Business Domestic Lounge

Overall the lounge is nice and spacious with lots of personal space in a country that doesn’t typically have a lot of it. The seating was comfortable and the lounge itself was not crowded or heavily used.

The wifi worked well and connection was easy. Not surprisingly, Facebook is still off limits for posting within China. As a result, there was no social media updates while we were in country.

In terms of food offerings, there were there were pork buns, congee, crackers and assorted cookies. The food was not a high point of the lounge itself, but could serve in a pinch or for a very light snack.

MrsWT73 relaxing after a hard morning of transit

The view while seated in the lounge was pleasant as well. We’d find this open air concept to be a trend with our Chinese Lounge visits. 

Terminal Views from the Air China Lounge

I did try the Great Wall of China Chardonnay; China’s contribution to house label table wine. There is nothing like being able to try the home countries wine product. It was okay, but nothing that was going to make Wine Spectator anytime soon. 

The Great Wall of China Chardonnay


The Air China Business Lounge at Gate 90 Shanghai PuDong Domestic Airport isn’t among the world’s best business lounges. What it did provide was a comfortable and spacious place to rest before a flight, along with a free golf cart ride that allowed you to arrive in style. The food and beverage wasn’t too spectacular so plan to arrive fully fed.

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