Review: Haikou Airport HNA First Class Lounge

My father and I arrived at Haikou Airport’s international terminal after spending fifteen minutes trying to explain to our taxi driver that Cathay Dragon was an airline from Hong Kong and there was a separate terminal for Hong Kong departures.

IMG_9456Cathay Dragon Haikou Airport Business Class/Marco Polo Check-In 

There was no one in the priority line and we checked in quickly. The slightly cold agent also informed us of our upgrade to Business Class due to overbooking in Economy. We were then sent on our way through Haikou Airport’s confusing airport security process.

Haikou Airport starts you and your bags with a superficial bag and x-ray check. Then, you’re sent through Immigration, after which you enter a long snaking line for a document check and a second, more thorough security scan, where I was barked at by three security officers in rapid-fire Chinese, and got my bag rescanned through the x-ray scanner while open.

We followed the signs for the First Class lounge, which is up a level from the main terminal. The lounge is next to the Deer Jet Lounge, which is the HNA group’s private jet charter company. We were admitted by the friendly lounge agent who was dressed in a Hainan Airlines-style uniform.

IMG_9461Haikou Airport HNA First Class Lounge 

The lounge is… modern? I don’t quite know how to describe the lounge except that the interior designer ran out of time, effort and energy when designing the space. There are two separate seating areas. The first seating area is quite small, with a selection of hideous armchairs and couches.

IMG_9462Haikou Airport HNA First Class Lounge

The second seating area is much larger and contains some more armchairs, as well as some worn out loungers that looked as if they were fished out of a thrift store.

IMG_9463Haikou Airport HNA First Class Lounge 

Of course, as part of the commitment to creating a comfortable environment, you’ll find a selection of plants thoughtfully placed on top of the air conditioner which looked pretty fake.

IMG_9464Haikou Airport HNA First Class Lounge Plants

Overall, I thought the decor was very uncomfortable. While I appreciate that whoever designed this lounge went for a theme other than “Grandmother’s Home” as you see in lounges all around mainland China. Unfortunately, the overuse of beige and the fuzzy material that they put on the carpets and the furniture is truly visually unappealing.

Between the two seating areas, there’s a small buffet area with a coffee machine, a selection of tea leaves and four cartons of warm juice. They even had Hainan Airlines coconut juice (yes, that’s a thing…).

IMG_9460Haikou HNA First Class Lounge Buffet 

On the other side of the buffet, there’s a selection of junk food, stale buns and saran wrapped sandwiches.

IMG_9459Haikou Airport HNA First Class Lounge Buffet 

For those wanting something more substantial, there are three hot dishes that looked absolutely disgusting, as well as a selection of warm sodas, cup noodles and bottled water directly underneath the hotplates.

IMG_9458Haikou Airport HNA First Class Lounge Buffet 

To say that I was impressed with the dining options in the lounge would have truly been an understatement.

In all seriousness, while this is much better than what you’d usually get at a domestic Chinese airport, I was still underwhelmed by the food on offer. How hard is it to try and offer food that’s somewhat appealing and fresh?

Eventually, boarding was called and we headed to our bus gate.

IMG_9465Cathay Dragon Haikou Airport Departure Bus Gate 

Bottom Line: Haikou Airport HNA Lounge

While certainly not the worst lounge in mainland China that I’ve been in, this one doesn’t exactly score high marks either. From the poorly thought out and trashy decor to the dismal food options, I wasn’t impressed about any part of the lounge experience. While I appreciate that the lounge operators actually tried to make it better than your average mainland Chinese lounge, the lounge still kinda sucked.

Any thoughts?

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