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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Travelers can wait in comfort at airport

By Xin Dingding (China Daily)

09:05, February 22, 2012

BEIJING - Imagine you have already passed through airport security only to find your flight will be delayed for several hours. At most airports, there are few options: waiting in a chair near the gate, or wandering through nearby shops.

Su Yanping found himself in this situation recently when his flight from Beijing to Ulan Bator, capital of Mongolia, was eight hours late because of bad weather.

"Waiting in the noisy hall is not so comfortable. But to rest at a hotel outside the airport terminal, we have to go through the security procedures all over again, which would be exhausting," he said.

But in the international departure area at the Beijing International Capital Airport's Terminal 3 and a few other international terminals overseas, travelers like Su have another choice: an hourly hotel right in the departure area.

Unlike regular hotel rooms, the smallest room for rent at the T3 Hourly Hotel is only 5 square meters.

It is just enough space for a 1.1-meter-wide by 1.8-meter-long bed, a desk and Internet access, and a flat-screen TV on one end of the bed. There is no toilet or shower in the room, only a wash basin.

For short stays, the room costs 120 yuan ($19) an hour. There are also bigger, two-bed rooms without shower and toilet, and more standard hotel rooms rented hourly.

Pei Zhijun, general manager of the Capital Airport Hotel, which operates the T3 Hourly Hotel, said that the establishment - the only of its kind on the Chinese mainland - has received 93,000 people since its opening right before the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Last year, it received 40,000 passengers, compared with nearly 8,000 in 2008, Pei said.

Aside from passengers facing delays, people changing planes at the terminal are also frequent guests, accounting for up to 80 percent of all customers, he said.

Liu Zhaolong, a consultant to China Civil Airports Association, said that as mainland airports handle more transit passengers than before, the need for hourly hotels is increasing in busy airports.

"More importantly, it is a facility that will help airports get a better satisfaction rate from passengers," he said.

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