Hongqiao airport lounge reopens to all travelers

Yang Jian
With air travel picking up again, the remodeled lounge is now accessible to all passengers at a discounted rate as part of the city's Double Five Shopping Festival.
Yang Jian
Hongqiao airport lounge reopens to all travelers
Ti Gong

The V1 Lounge operated by the Shanghai Airport Authority at the Hongqiao airport reopens on Monday after a yearlong renovation.

Travelers without airline memberships can also get access to a newly unveiled VIP lounge at the Hongqiao airport from Monday.

The V1 Lounge operated by the Shanghai Airport Authority reopened on Monday at the T2 terminal after a yearlong renovation. The space has been expanded to over 1,000 square meters and can serve 230 travelers simultaneously.

The reopened lounge is accessible to all passengers at a discounted price as part of the city's Double Five Shopping Festival, which aims to boost consumption after the novel coronavirus epidemic.

Normally, only first class, business class or airlines membership card holders are allowed to enter airline lounges. Previously, the lounge run by the airport only opened to the membership of cooperative carriers or banks.

"It is the first time that the V1 Lounge opens to all travelers without threshold," said Cao Liang, general manager of the Shanghai Airport VIP Service Co.

Admission costs 99 yuan (US$13.87) during the city's shopping festival, which includes the buffet operated by local Michelin-starred Jardin de Jade restaurant, snacks and fast access to boarding gates. The early admission before 7am costs 66 yuan and passengers can buy a limited number of discounted admission costing 9.9 yuan.

As part of the city's livestreaming week launched over the weekend, local television host Li Qiang held a livestream webcast to introduce the services and food at the new lounge on Sunday night. It attracted over 30,000 online viewers and the 9.9-yuan discounted tickets were sold out within a minute.

"The promotions aim to restore business at the Hongqiao airport which has had a rapid rebound of travelers as the city is well on track to contain the COVID-19 pandemic," said Cao.

Hongqiao airport lounge reopens to all travelers
Ti Gong

The buffet at the V1 lounge is operated by local Michelin-starred Jardin de Jade restaurant.

During the darkest period after the COVID-19 outbreak, one lounge at the Hongqiao airport only received three customers a day, Cao said.

As the pandemic wanes in China, the Hongqiao airport now handles over 60,000 passengers daily, about 60 percent of the usual volume. The travelers' volume at the Pudong airport is also rebounding, according to the airport authority.

"More travelers prefer to dine and rest at the VIP lounge nowadays which has a smaller gathering of people," he added.

In the long run, the lounge plans to offer more bespoke services, such as free transport and pickup at the airport as well as delivery service from duty free shops to the lounges, Cao said.

The V1 Lounge initially opened in March 2010 to become the first lounge operated by the airport. It receives 1,200 daily travelers on average and has served over 3.9 million customers since its opening. The airport authority launched major renovations last year.

Traditional local breakfast food such as cifangao (fried rice cake), scallion pancake and small wontons are served in the morning.

The airport authority now operates VIP lounges covering a total of 30,000 square meters at the Hongqiao and Pudong airports.

Hongqiao airport lounge reopens to all travelers
Ti Gong

The dining section at the V1 Lounge at the Hongqiao airport.

Hongqiao airport lounge reopens to all travelers
Ti Gong

The V1 Lounge at the T2 terminal at the Hongqiao airport.

Hongqiao airport lounge reopens to all travelers
Ti Gong

The V1 Lounge at the T2 terminal at the Hongqiao airport.

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