Before long we’re parked at the gate and climbing down the stairs from the upper deck.
Our situation is as follows. We bought a business class Hainan flight PEK-HAK-SYD. Hainan cancelled our original departing flight and substituted a noon flight that we might miss in the worst of circumstances.
We pressed Hainan and they signed our PEK-HAK leg over to China Southern, a partner. This leaves us with an awkward eight-hour layover, and plenty of time to pick up boarding passes.
We first take the People Mover, an automated subway that reminds us of Florida airports.
After a couple of wrong turns, we end up in the right immigration line and are through in 10-15 minutes.
We wend our way outside and catch the free airport shuttle bus from Terminal 3 to Terminal 2. Good grief! It’s a 10-15 minute ride.
We disembark at the distinctly more dismal domestic terminal and eventually find our way to the China Southern business check-in area.
This is where things could have gone south, but the diligent young woman finds our reservation and issues us boarding passes.
We then proceed to the domestic security line and undergo the most, ah, thorough search ever (although even FRA screeners were inside our pants).
It takes us several minutes to replace everything in Brian’s small bag that had been strewn around - headphones, electric toothbrush, cables, etc.
We then trudge onward to find the correct Number 1 China Southern Lounge. That’s another 10-15 minute stroll, and we’re eventually inside.
It’s not the worst Chinese airport lounge we’ve visited, but nobody would confuse it with a Singapore Silver Kris Lounge, for example.
So far, so good.