Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport
August 14, 2016
After a long flight from JFK, I arrived in CAN at about 5 am and wandered over to the China Southern First Class Lounge, which is located shortly after immigration.
The airport feels very shut down in the early hours of the morning – I wasn’t entirely sure the lounge would be open, but I found the brightly lit up sign shortly after I got off an escalator, past immigration.
Once inside, I approached the check in counter, where I noticed arrows that separated the First/Business Class lounge from the SkyTeam lounge.
The associate scanned our tickets and pointed me in the direction of the First Class lounge. She let me know that breakfast would be served starting 7am and gave me the password to the wifi. Before I entered the lounge, I asked if I could keep my luggage in the luggage storage area since I didn’t feel like lugging my carry on up the stairs. She pointed to the storage closet, which was empty at this point (and didn’t seem particularly well-guarded, with the exception of a red velvet rope). I left my bag inside and she waved me through without offering me a luggage tag or the like.
Upon entering the lounge, I walked by the dining area, where there were numerous tables and chairs – all empty at 5 am of course. There was some fruit and cereal available in the self-serve area, as well as plenty of sodas, beer and wine. I walked up the stairs to see if I could find somewhere more comfortable to spend the next three hours.
The second floor offered more comfortable areas to rest, and was split into two main sections. The first section housed two lines of chairs, plus an area with three desktop computers, each set up in its own space offering some privacy.
The second section had another self-serve snack area, couches, and lounge chairs with a view of the tarmac.
The snack area was smaller than the one downstairs, but this one had some sandwiches and sweets in a small refrigerator in addition to fruit, cereal and hot and cold drinks
Behind the food was the restrooms, a shower rooms, and – much to my surprise – a nap room. The shower and nap rooms each had signs directing interested users to inquire with lounge personnel regarding using the facilities, but since no one was around, both were unlocked.
The shower room looked clean and well-maintained. I was tempted to take a shower, but decided against it at the last minute. The nap rooms, located closer to the snack area, looked much more comfortable than I’d expected (though warning – my expectations were abysmally low). The room looked clean at first glance, though a little rough as though it was tidied up by the last person that slept in here. If I was exhausted enough, it wouldn’t be a bad place to take a nap (though I would admittedly consider checking into an airport hotel before using this). Even so, it’s nice that they have the facility available for those who might want to use it.
I grabbed myself a snack and ended up sitting on the lounge chairs to pass the time. They were surprisingly comfortable.
The air conditioner wasn’t turned on until about 6 am, and I broke out in a sweat just walking around (this hopefully speaks more to the temperature and less to the result of skipping the gym in the last few weeks). Once the air was turned on, I decided to get up and do some more exploring.
As I got up, I noticed a small, dark nook. As I walked closer I realized it was three TVs connected to Sony Playstations. Though I had no use for this, I’m sure there’s someone out there who finds use for this.
I decided to walk downstairs and explore the SkyTeam section, which is located on the right side of the lounge.
Unlike the First Class section of the lounge, the SkyTeam section seemed to be filled with primarily dining tables – there was plenty of seats to sit, but not quite as much space to lay out and get comfortable.
I did find a separate business center section, with three desktop computers set up.
The SkyTeam section was clearly more bare bones than the First Class lounge, which offered more space and amenities. However, I imagine that a SkyTeam elite traveling on a coach ticket would still appreciate the free wifi, snacks, and seating area in a space secluded from the noisy airport.
Though the China Southern First Class lounge doesn’t offer truly unique or extravagant amenities like those offerred at other airlines, it does offer a large, restful space where one could kick back and pass the time between flights over a glass of wine. The lounge does seem to align with the China Southern brand as a whole based on my JFK-CAN flight – a no-frills experience, but given the price point, just about what you’d expect.