After a very brief and brutally cold two days in Beijing, it was time to head home (well, at least to Japan for one night). My flight from Beijing to Tokyo wasn’t scheduled to depart until later in the afternoon, so it gave me plenty of opportunity to take things slow and be super lazy that morning. It’s not very often that I can be slow and sloth-like while traveling, so I was really enjoying the idea of having gobs of time before my flight this afternoon. Once I made sure that I had my Priority Pass card in hand (just to be sure I’d have access to a decent lounge), I was on my way!
- Access to over 1300 airport lounges around the world, regardless of airline flown or class of ticket.
- Complimentary snacks, drinks, and meals.
- Digital entry for instant access through the dedicated Priority Pass app.
I arrived at the airport nearly 4 hours early, primarily since I wanted to have some time to look around, spend some time in the lounge, and have a really nice lunch somewhere. Little did I know that the Japan Airlines check-in counter didn’t open until 2 1/2 hours before the scheduled departure time to Tokyo. I found out the hard way of course, standing there at an empty ticket counter with an hour and a half to go before I could check in. Oops.
It wouldn’t have been so bad if there was actually something to do in the main ticketing hall, but there really wasn’t. There are only a few small cafés and souvenir shops sprinkled about, so I could really do was walk the ticketing hall back-and-forth about 20 times as slowly as I could trying to kill as much time as possible. Going outside for a walk was simply out of the question. It was cold out there, and I had more than my fair share of cold weather on this trip. My still-frozen hands and face couldn’t take anymore of it.
It goes without saying that I was the very first one in line to check in once the ticket counter opened, and from there it was a easy dash through security and passport control. I found myself airside inside the main terminal in less than 15 minutes, which was about 45 less than I was expecting. I still had plenty of time to waste before my flight to Tokyo, but I was hungry and I did want to check out the lounge, so killing two birds with one stone seemed like the right idea.
All Japan Airlines business class customers (and Priority Pass members) such as myself have complementary access to the BGS Premier first and business class lounge. Sure, it was a bit troubling that I had never heard of a BGS Premier Lounge in my life before this, but it was the only lounge I had access to today so I wasn’t going to complain about it. Let’s go check it out!
I realized right away that this lounge was definitely on the lower-end side of the spectrum, very similar in quality to the Grand Lounge Elite at Mexico City Airport I visited last September. Yeah, this was clean and fairly nice looking, but the quality of the furniture and general layout seemed low budget and nowhere near on the same level as something that you would see in a OneWorld or Star Alliance lounge in a major airport such as this.
The highlight of the BGS Premier Lounge, by far, is the food. It was not the best lounge food that I’ve ever had, but there was a lot of it and it was very hot and fresh. It definitely satisfied my craving for lunch, and I certainly didn’t leave the place feeling hungry.
In conclusion, I can honestly say that while this was a decent place to grab a quick bite to eat and relax for a bit, it’s probably not worth visiting if you have access to any other lounges in this airport. The staff was friendly and the atmosphere very quiet, but it just seemed very old and crusty like it hadn’t been updated in a very long time.
The best way to describe it would be like visiting your grandparents house. Grandma and grandpa have a comfortable place full of friendly people and good food, but staying on the cutting edge of style and design hasn’t been a priority for them for at least 30 years. That kind of thing is perfectly OK for grandma and grandpa, but not so much when it comes to a business class lounge at a world class airport such as PEK.