Sometimes an ordinary lounge visit becomes a little bit extraordinary thanks to unexpectedly excellent service…even if such service is part of concerted scheme to deceive.
I already wrote about what happened here. It was simply an amazing experience in the Chinese culture phenomenon known as saving face. Truly, I was absolutely flattered that someone at China Eastern cared enough about me (perhaps only because I was with Ben) to roll out the red carpet in a very big way.
From the duty manager who met us and addressed me by name at passport control to the personalized service in the lounge…what a morning.
Check out the lounge pictures below, note the food choices, but please note that you should not expect similar treatment. It’s just not going to happen.
True, if China Eastern offered every business class passenger such excellent VIP treatment, it would be a compelling reason to fly China Eastern. But even our VIP treatment showed some rough edges.
We arrived at the “VIP Lounge” (reportedly reserved for first class passengers) near Gate 20 and began taking pictures, as we always do in preparing a lounge review. Unfortunately for China Eastern, no one had bothered to clear away trash from the tables. It looked liked this–
And when the duty manager saw we were taking pictures, a look of fear spread across his face. He ordered the lounge attendants to clean and boy did they clean…it was like a deep spring cleaning. By the time they were finished, the lounge had transformed, but it was easy to see what was going on.
The Lounge Itself
The lounge itself was small, rectangular in shape, and contained enough seats for about 25 people.
A buffet area contained a fair assortment of food and drinks, including a self-serve bar.
One of the lounge attendants appeared with an iPad-like tablet and offered a choice of two hot dishes. She returned 10 minuets later with the food and I am so glad I ordered it — it very delicious (and far better than the food we would have onboard the next flight). The duty manager beamed when we expressed satisfaction in the meal and explained it was a local Shanghai dish.
The lounge also contained restrooms and shower stalls–
I repeat that you should not expect similar service. Furthermore, China Eastern has opened a central lounge that will eventually replace the smaller gate lounges still in use. Check out a review of the new first class lounge from Points from the Pacific.
Ben’s take — Review: China Eastern Lounge Shanghai Airport