01. Introduction: San Diego to Seoul on United, Air China, and Asiana
02. United Airlines economy class San Diego to San Francisco
03. United Global First Lounge San Francisco
04. United Airlines Global First San Francisco to Beijing
05. Air China First Class Lounge Beijing
06. Asiana Airlines business class Beijing to Seoul
07. Hyatt Regency Incheon
08. Three days in Seoul
09. The Plaza Hotel Seoul
10. Air China business class Seoul to Beijing
11. Air China business class Beijing to Los Angeles
12. United Express (Skywest) economy class Los Angeles to San Diego
My layover in Beijing (terminal 3) was scheduled for two hours, and knowing that I had to go through the international transfer procedure before my Asiana flight to Seoul, I didn’t think there would be any time for a lounge visit. Heck – I was so confident that there wouldn’t be enough time that I didn’t even do any research beforehand to find out where the lounges are located. I figured it would be non-stop action all the way up to the boarding time to my connecting flight. Yeah, I tend to expect the worst wherever I go!
Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised when I found myself through the security checkpoint and into the main terminal within 30 minutes. Woo hoo! The whole process wasn’t so bad, and the best part about it was that now I knew exactly what to expect on my return flight a few days later. I was completely content to just wander the terminal for the remaining 1:30, stretching my legs and checking out the shops.
But as I was walking along, I passed the entrance for the Air China First Class Lounge and thought about going in. “Nah, I’m not in the mood” I thought, and kept walking. But then I started to think about how thirsty I was, and I didn’t have any Chinese currency on me to buy anything, so I thought that I might as well get a free bottle of water and juice or something in the lounge. I turned right back around and headed that way.
The airline lounges in terminal 3 are located on the second level, so you’ll need to take stairs or an escalator to get there. There is also an elevator nearby if you need it.
The woman who checked me in was confused about my boarding pass (which was issued way back in San Diego without any mention of “premium” or “elite” written anywhere on it). A quick phone call to god knows who confirmed my access, and I was of my way inside.
The lounge itself was open and bright, with very Chinese-style decor and plenty of seating options. Nearby the entrance was a snack bar with a variety of beverages and cookies/crackers available, and I initially thought that was the extent of the food options in this lounge. All I was looking for was some water and juice anyway, so I didn’t mind the thin selection. However, it wasn’t until I walked around to the back side of the lounge that I realized that there was a fairly large self-serve food section with hot menu items such as dumplings and soup. Too bad I wasn’t really hungry because all of this looked very good!
I end ended up staying for about 30 minutes while I finished my drinks, then decided that I needed to stretch my legs a bit and walk around in the terminal.