Qantas business class lounge, Shanghai Pudong Airport

Review: Qantas business class lounge, Shanghai Pudong Airport

Country:
China
City:
Shanghai
Airport:
Shanghai Pudong
Cabin Class:
Business
Alliance:
oneworld
Airline:
QF (Qantas)

location:

dining:

work:

overall:

What's Hot

  • Close to passport control and the Qantas departure gate

What's Not

  • Unable to connect to the wireless Internet without exiting the lounge
  • Limited food and beverage choices
  • A great tarmac view is blocked by opaque glass

X-Factor

  • None

Introduction

While Qantas doesn’t operate its own lounge at Shanghai’s Pudong Airport, business class travellers and frequent flyers on the Red Roo's daily flight to Sydney are instead given access to the No. 69 Shanghai Airport Authority lounge.

Shared with other airlines such as Qatar Airways and China Southern, it’s a far cry from what international jetsetters have come to expect when travelling on business, with many of the basics falling short or absent altogether.

We stopped by before jetting home on QF130 to Sydney – here’s what we thought.

Location & Impressions

Just a short walk beyond security and passport control, the lounge is incredibly easy to find with clear directional signage…

… and if that’s not clear enough, eligible travellers also receive a map when checking-in:

Once inside, it’s rather ordinary and has quite a monotonous layout.

In Qantas’ premium Singapore and Hong Kong lounges, travellers have the option of dining on the ground before maximising their rest in the sky – which encourages heading to the airport in plenty of time to enjoy the lounge.

Here, you’ll find only a basic buffet with a limited alcohol selection, which realistically makes the lounge an ideal place to down a quick drink and catch up on a few emails rather than a true international-grade space that deserves an early arrival.

Access

Without a lounge of its own in Shanghai, the Red Roo sends its business class passengers, Qantas Club members, Qantas Gold and Emirates Skywards Gold frequent flyers plus other Oneworld Sapphire members to the business class section of the No. 69 lounge.

Platinum and Platinum One members plus other Oneworld Emerald flyers can use the adjacent and seemingly identical first class space, while Priority Pass cardholders can use either the business or the first class areas regardless of which airline they’re flying with.

Premium passengers on Aeroflot, Air Macau, Garuda, Hong Kong Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Qatar Airways and China Southern are also sent to the No. 69 lounges.

Dining

Greeting travellers at the buffet are two hot mains – noodles and rice – plus mushrooms and broccoli…

That’s really nothing when compared to the Red Roo’s newer lounges in Asia, which spoil travellers with restaurant dining, cocktail bartenders and table service.

Nonetheless, also adorning the buffet were bananas and cups of noodles…

… chocolates and nibbles…

… and packaged sandwiches, fortunately kept individually sealed and refrigerated:

For a pre-flight nip, the spirit menu is wholly comprised of Russian vodka and Jack Daniel’s whiskey:

You’ll also find one red wine – a Californian Cabernet Sauvignon…

… and one white aside the pastries and oatmeal cups:

Fans of bubbly will find Abbazia Prosecco Spumante Extra-Dry sparkling, yet no champagne flutes from which to drink it…

Traditional wine glasses (such as that pictured) have a greater surface area at the top of the glass compared to a flute, allowing the bubbles to escape considerably more quickly – rendering our glass completely flat within five minutes.

Soft drinks and bottled water are also available.

Work

The space is divided into smaller areas with just two chairs in each section – greatly superior to longer benches with seats for any number of travellers, which can be quite a loud environment in which to work.

While there aren’t any desks to balance your laptop on, the communal tables in between seats are fine for minding your drinks and snacks:

Behind each table you’ll also find one power point tucked away. While the lamps occupy the two-pin plug at the top, there’s a spare plug underneath for phones, laptops and other gadgets:

It’s also an Aussie-style three pin outlet, so we were able to plug in and recharge without an adapter (above).

There’s password-protected wireless Internet available throughout the lounge, although once you’re connected to the access point, you’re presented with the same login screen as the free network available to all travellers throughout the terminal:

In theory, you enter your mobile number, receive a text message with an access code and then use that to finally access the Internet.

Despite being connected to the local mobile network and successfully sending and receiving SMS messages to and from other numbers, we’re still waiting for that SMS to arrive – even after requesting it several times and from three different devices.

Lounge staff are unable to assist with connection issues: if the SMS fails, you'll have to pack up your gear, leave the lounge and trod to an internet assistance desk out in the main terminal with your passport and boarding pass.

That was more trouble than it was worth, so we instead relied on mobile roaming data to stay connected.

Travelling without your own gear? There are two Windows XP desktop computers close to the lounge entrance for general word processing and Internet browsing…

… but as with any public computer, we’d advise against entering passwords or credit card numbers for security reasons.

We fortunately weren’t confronted with the same Internet login system on the desktop computers – having to leave the lounge to arrange access to a fixed desktop computer would be a little too ridiculous.

Relax

There aren’t any boarding calls made in the lounge, so consider setting a reminder on your phone before you kick back.

If you’re jetting about with colleagues or in group, there’s an ideal ‘conversation space’ on the left as you enter…

You’ll also find two massage chairs tucked away in the far corner, but these were a little too dirty to tempt when wearing a clean white shirt…

If you're hoping to do a little plane spotting during your visit – or even just take a peek outside – you’ll oddly need to do it standing up.

While the lounge is in a great spot for runway views, opaque glass stops you from looking out:

With nothing to look at, no working internet and a limited choice of food and drinks, you could instead grab a little reading material to tide you over before boarding, with several English titles available:

Summary

By domestic Australian standards, we’d consider the lounge to be on the lower side of ‘average’, but at an international level, it’s simply poor.

Wireless Internet access is a basic staple of airline lounges, and in one of Asia’s biggest business and financial hubs it’s something we’d expect to be both available and working.

Unless you unplug the lamp and work in darkness, it’s also not ideal to have one power point shared between two travellers who may both wish to charge their laptop, phone or tablet for the flight ahead.

All things considered, it’s not surprising that Qantas prints “we would like to point out that the lounge is not under Qantas Management control and facilities and standards may vary to Qantas Club lounges” on the lounge invitation.

Rather than leaving your hotel early to spend hours here, try instead for a late check-out and then head to the airport a little later than usual. After a quick drink and snack, you’ll be more than ready to depart.

Heading to China on business? Also read:

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Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

20 comments

  • ADAM ARMSTRONG

    adampies

    23 Feb, 2015 02:41 pm

    If you're a Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald then use the far superior Cathay lounge immediately next door. Nicer environment, more spacious, better food, better drinks, better wifi, plenty of desks with Apple desktops... just generally better. By a mile.

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  • Fonga

    Fonga

    23 Feb, 2015 02:54 pm

    Really wish Qantas could find a way of working the OW relationship with CX  to their mutual benefit. They have so much to gain from leveraging off the Cathay presence throughout China and Asia more broadly. Why team up with lesser Chinese airlines? Hub everything from HK. Jetstar HK is the fly in the soup.

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  • Ryan Stephen

    RaptorNation158

    24 Feb, 2015 01:07 am

    Qantas was intrested in teaming up with Cathay but went with Emirates because CX said they had no interest in Qantas which to be honest is pretty true considering the distance fom HK to Australia, Qantas' location makes it only ideal to work with US, Middle East and European airlines.

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  • crosscourt

    crosscourt

    27 Feb, 2015 03:18 pm

    absolutely, that where you should go. ive seen lounge 69 and have never bothered entering there, gone straight to the CX/KA lounge right next door, in fact you need to pass it to go to 69.

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  • lsal0106

    lsal0106

    23 Feb, 2015 03:05 pm

    How are the MU lounges at PVG? Given the QF/MU JV kicks off this year, I am curious as to if the MU lounges are better or similar to this.

    Maybe as part of the JV, QF could build its own lounge in PVG? After all BKK has a lounge with only one flight per day.

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  • ADAM ARMSTRONG

    adampies

    23 Feb, 2015 06:40 pm

    The MU lounges over in the other terminal (which is where QF will move to shortly) are even worse unfortunately. Dark, crowded, dates, poor food & beverage. Most don't have showers, though they did direct me along the hall to a First lounge with showers once (basically just like the business lounge but with showers).

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  • roby

    roby

    23 Feb, 2015 03:06 pm

    Looks like this is the old Shanghai Airlines lounge. So glad all Star carriers have moved to the new CA lounge. Having said that, QF will move to T1 shortly and use the MU lounge.  

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  • moa999

    moa999

    23 Feb, 2015 03:18 pm

    To be honest there is no point continually comparing it to a Qantas lounge - it is a third party lounge (and to be honest compared to many its quite OK).

    But as ADAM says if you're Qantas Gold or Plat (or equiv oneworld) then across the hall to the better Cathay Lounge (shared Business and First) with its noodle bar.

    Fonga, QF is not teaming up with a lesser Chinese airline here - they are just using the Airport VIP lounge like they do in many ports.. The CX/QF relationship has been bad well before Jetstar HK - reality CX fly into every major Australian port and don't really need QF

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  • UpUpAndAway

    UpUpAndAway

    23 Feb, 2015 03:57 pm

    i'm really lost, when you book in at Qantas Platinum counter they direct you to this lounge and give you a card showing you how to get to "The Qantas Lounge"

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    23 Feb, 2015 04:37 pm

    Several posts here regarding the editorial itself (specifically, the title of the piece) rather than the subject of the editorial have been deleted in line with AusBT's published comment policy to keep everything on-track and on-topic.

    To answer several users at once, the piece is titled 'Qantas business class lounge Shanghai' because that immediately describes the lounge and who it's for from an Australian perspective (and thus ours as well), whereas 'No. 69 Airport Authority Lounge' doesn't, and that distinction is made clear in the opening paragraph.

    As per the comment policy, please direct any further comments regarding the editorial to either myself or to our editor David Flynn (david@ausbt.com.au).

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  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    23 Feb, 2015 07:45 pm

    As shortcuts go, making comments after only having read an article's title, seems the direct most route to inserting foot in mouth. There is only so much you can put in such a space constrained space - and I imagine it was prefaced Qantas as otherwise lots of people wouldn't think it had any relevance to them (given the bulk of people here fly Qantas at least intermittently).

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  • eminere

    eminere

    23 Feb, 2015 08:02 pm

    So you've deleted dissenting posts that are objective and as far as I can tell in line with policy, just because they don't agree with your choice of title? Way to go about silencing discussion on a relevant issue.  I suppose anyone flying ex-PVG on QF should just look out for a QF-branded lounge based on the title of this review, and be stymied when all they can find is a third party contract lounge. 

    I hope David is happy with this brand of censorship. Chris has certainly lost me as a reader and poster. 

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    23 Feb, 2015 08:25 pm

    Eminere – you're welcome to stay as both, and you're also welcome to disagree with another person's point-of-view – including that of AusBT journalists and editors and to share your opinion.

    The issue, however, is that regardless of objectivity, our commenting policy requires users to discuss the topic at hand – in this case, the particular lounge being reviewed – rather than offering editorial criticism, even if that criticism is constructive as it was in your case.

    As per the commenting policy: "If you want to make suggestions or offer constructive criticism, send an email to the editor (david@ausbt.com.au) – but (comments) will be edited or deleted as we see fit and at our discretion, in the interest of keeping things on topic and on track."

    We don't like deleting or editing comments, however when threads begin to go off-topic discussing "the way an AusBT article has been written or presented" (also in the policy) rather than the subject of the article (the lounge itself, in this case), we need to get the conversation back on track for the benefit of all readers.

    I also responded to your post in my deletion message to explain our reasoning for the headline, and gave you the opportunity to contact me or even our editor directly if our reasoning did not fully address your concerns.

    For the record, while a number of airlines do use that lounge, Qantas is the only airline on that list that actually flies non-stop to Australia from Shanghai – and as an Australian publication for primarily Australian readers, the Aussie angle is the most relevant here.

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  • David Flynn

    David

    24 Feb, 2015 12:52 pm

    Eminere: AusBT is here to serve business travellers and frequent flyers with information that's useful and relevant.

    People who are flying to/from Shanghai with Qantas and are wondering about airport lounges are going to visit Google and type in "Qantas lounge Shanghai" and variants of that (eg "airport lounge", "Shanghai Pudong", "does Qantas have a business class lounge at Shanghai Airport?" and so on).

    Our choice of title reflects this, because we know those are the words people will be using to find out about the lounge – to see if there is one, to see photos, to learn of its facilities and read a review and determine if they should just spend their time in the terminal instead.

    So, the title of the article is geared to maximum usability by our target audience.

    There are also character limits in the length of a title, as picked up and displayed by Google - we could make a much longer and more detailed title but it'd go beyond those limits, so nothing to gain by that.

    This article makes it clear in the very first par that it's not a Qantas-operated lounge per se, but for intent of the title and reader it's the lounge used by Qantas business class passengers.

    Hence: "Lounge Review: Qantas business class lounge, Shanghai Pudong Airport"

    PS I'm quite happy with Chris' application of AusBT's comment policy.

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  • Fonga

    Fonga

    23 Feb, 2015 08:06 pm

    You're right Moa. I recognise the lounge is third party. I meant that it looks like Qantas directs its customers to a lesser product because the relationship with CX seems fractured despite the OW commonalities.

    Emirates flies into all Australian ports too. The hub concept out of Dubai works well in that instance. I can't see why the same model couldn't work with HK and CX as a superb hub for China and other parts of Asia. Instead it has built partnerships with two lesser airlines. Perhaps by withdrawing from the Jetstar strategy for HK it might be able to find a better business relationship and then we don't have to be directed towards the No.69 hole-in-the-wall waiting room in one of the most dynamic and cutting edge cities in the world.

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  • UpUpAndAway

    UpUpAndAway

    23 Feb, 2015 03:53 pm

    Pudong is an interesting qantas lounge, people I've taken into the lounge smile when you point out there are 4 pot plants dividing the first class section away from the  economy side of the lounge.

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  • isdnman

    isdnman

    23 Feb, 2015 03:54 pm

    I usually just go there for the shower. 

    Cathay lounge next door offers better food/drink but no shower.

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  • Cjhay

    Cjhay

    23 Feb, 2015 05:49 pm

    The only redeeming feature of this lounge is that it has a smoking room.

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  • 180mis

    180mis

    23 Feb, 2015 08:18 pm

    Chris, another great review. Having visited the lounge a few months ago (and leaving depressed at how hum-drum boring it was) your photography seems to make the lounge appear nicer than it really is. 

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  • lsal0106

    lsal0106

    23 Feb, 2015 11:56 pm

    Given the time that QF departs from PVG, it would be nice if QF used the EK lounge.

    No member give thanks

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17 Jul, 2019 05:06 am

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