Emirates' business class, first class lounge, Singapore Changi Airport

Review: Emirates' business class, first class lounge, Singapore Changi Airport

Country:
Singapore
City:
Singapore
Airport:
Singapore
Cabin Class:
Business & First
Alliance:
None
Airline:
EK (Emirates)

location:

dining:

work:

overall:

What's Hot

  • Great location with natural light
  • Easy access for Qantas passengers departing from the same terminal
  • Recently refurbished

What's Not

  • Power points aren't abundant

X-Factor

  • Extensive dining options including dim sum to order

Introduction

Following an extensive refurbishment in 2017, the combined Emirates business class and first class lounge at Singapore's Changi Airport caters to passengers jetting to Melbourne, Brisbane and Dubai with Emirates, but also welcomes eligible Qantas passengers bound for Australia or London.

If that's you, you can choose to visit either the Qantas Singapore Lounge – which is so busy in the evenings that passengers are regularly being turned away – or can come here, and relax in peace and quiet.

Here's what Emirates' Singapore lounge has to offer.

Location & Impressions

You'll find Emirates' lounge in the international departures area of Terminal 1 at Changi Airport – just take the escalator upstairs near Gate C1, and look for the familiar entrance:

If your journey begins in Singapore, you'll clear passport control before visiting the lounge and the main security check at your departure gate – or if you're connecting between flights, such as from Melbourne or Brisbane to Dubai via Singapore, you'll be able to walk straight off the plane and into this lounge, before returning to the gate ahead of your onward departure and clearing security again.

Following refurbishment works in 2016-17, the lounge now adopts Emirates' newest 'outstation' design with a more refined and modern look and feel than before, with a variety of seating divided into smaller sections...

... including a TV zone just behind reception...

... more seating with a self-serve beverage counter separate to the main dining area for a quick top-up...

... and of course, the dining room itself:

Access

When travelling on flights operated by Emirates, the following guests have access here:

  • First class and business class passengers
  • Skywards Gold, Platinum and iO cardholders
  • Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman's Lounge members booked on an EK or QF flight number

Although Qantas also operates its own lounge in Singapore, under its partnership with Emirates, the following guests may also visit the Emirates Singapore Lounge when travelling with Qantas on a QF or EK flight number:

  • First class and business class passengers
  • Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman's Lounge members (but not Qantas Club members)
  • Emirates Skywards Gold, Platinum and iO cardholders

This includes flights to Australia (Singapore to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth), and also Qantas' Singapore-London flights, which all depart from this terminal – so particularly before the Roo's Airbus A380 services, this is a great option to keep up your sleeve to avoid the overcrowding in Qantas' own Singapore lounge.

Read: Qantas is turning travellers away from overcrowded Singapore lounge

Emirates' lounge currently opens between 6:40am-10:25am, 12:35pm-3:35pm and 5:40pm-1:40am daily, but from October 28 2018 when the airline's Singapore-Colombo flights cease and flights to Melbourne, Brisbane and Dubai are retimed, opening hours will be adjusted to four hours prior to each Emirates departure.

That puts the new opening hours at approximately 5:35am-1:55pm and 5pm-1:20am daily, making the lounge open for all Qantas departures – although passengers arriving early for QF72 to Perth at 6:40pm would find this lounge available from 5pm, so can visit the Qantas lounge before this time.

Also note, while Emirates allows passengers to purchase lounge access at reception at a range of airports worldwide, this isn't offered in Singapore.

Dining

Let's begin with food and drink – the dining room here is at the far end of this L-shaped space, affording some great views of the airport and plenty of natural light...

... with both standalone tables and booth seating:

You may have spotted a large dome above – that's the chilled buffet with a range of ready-to-take plates such as yellow fin tuna, seasonal fruits and vegetarian sushi...

... continuing with colourful Greek Panzanella salads with king prawns, which nearby staff were dressing to taste for customers, along with crudités...

... fruit juices, and desserts:

Moving across to the hot food counters, it wouldn't be Singapore without chicken and beef satay skewers at the ready...

... with other items available including personal pies, beef sandwiches, roasted lamb racks with vegetables and mint gravy sauce...

... Sichuan beef, chicken shahjani...

... plus Indian-style vegetarian curry, basmati rice and egg fried rice:

With so much to choose from and an onward flight on which lunch would be served after take-off, I opted for a beef sandwich and a few skewers. The beef in the sandwich was nice and tender and the bread wasn't tough to eat – as can sometimes be the case with bread from a heated buffet – and the skewers were also enjoyable with the expected cashew nut sauce:

Beyond the buffet, you can also request dim sum plates to order...

... and with plenty of staff around in the dining area, I was able to do this from my seat, and opted for Set A. The items were delicious and authentic, although I would have preferred chopsticks as it's tricky to spike these with a fork without ripping apart the dumpling's exterior:

On the beverage front, a selection of wines join the signature Champagne (Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial NV)...

... with an array of spirits, liqueurs and mixers nearby:

Being Singapore, Tiger beer is naturally available, along with other international brands...

... along with still and sparkling water, various soft drinks, tea, and machine-made espresso coffee, which produced an acceptable latte to help keep me awake after 50+ hours of flying time in the past week.

On the whole, that's an impressive spread for a business class lounge, and having something available fresh to order is a nice touch too, as are the plated meals you can grab from the chilled corner.

While there's no tended cocktail bar, I found staff were readily available near the bar counter, and always offered to make or pour drinks as travellers approached, achieving the same result. Staff passing through the lounge also offered to fetch drinks for seated passengers, so with that level of service, a dedicated bar counter isn't really necessary.

First class passengers here have the same experience as business class travellers and frequent flyers – a different approach to Qantas' Singapore lounge, which keeps Champagne tucked away only for the VIP set – although with Champagne available to everyone here, the 'normal' dining options rather comprehensive and full dine-on-demand available on flights in Emirates first class, a separate dining room isn't really necessary here: but is a great feature of Emirates' dedicated first class lounges in Dubai.

Work

For any last-minute work or emails before you fly, head to the business corner with computing and printing facilities...

... or, plug in and work on your own device, with both international AC and USB power available:

WiFi speeds were workable with downloads of 2.8Mbps and uploads of 2.25Mbps, but that's not particularly speedy if you're wanting to transfer large files such as email attachments or presentations before your flight – in fact, the free WiFi on my Singapore-Brisbane flight was faster, with downloads measuring 3.6Mbps.

Given the only bench space on which to place and work on a laptop is also in the dining area, I'd like to have seen more power points in this space: I didn't spot any, and there were none near my seat. In 2018, even countertop USB ports would have been appreciated.

That said, connecting to the WiFi was easy: iPhone users can open up the iOS Camera app and scan a QR code at reception that automatically programs the WiFI credentials into your device, although signs displaying the network name and access code are also found throughout the lounge to connect in the more traditional way.

Relax

When your pre-flight time is your own, there's plenty of opportunity to relax and unwind, with a variety of comfy seating throughout the space...

... some being near TV screens...

... and others near the windows, with views towards Singapore Changi's Cactus Garden (although that's an emergency exit below: you can't enter the garden from inside the lounge)...

... and further along, towards the tarmac itself. These seats proved popular during my visit, with every window-facing pod occupied by the time the flight was called for boarding:

A selection of reading material is available...

... or, just place yourself near the water feature to enjoy its calming sounds:

All things considered, this lounge generally gets the balance right for the broad range of travellers who have access – that's everyone from Gold-grade frequent flyers booked in economy class to first class passengers swanning their way to Australia or the Middle East in style.

However, business travellers would certainly appreciate faster WiFi and more power points in the dining area: but the tranquillity of this space compared to the bustling Qantas Singapore Lounge is a real winner, and could easily be reason enough to choose this lounge before your next Qantas flight.

Chris Chamberlin travelled to Singapore as a guest of Emirates.

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

14 comments

  • wayne anstey

    john wayne

    24 Oct, 2018 07:59 am

    Always amazes me people still choose the sad Qantas lounges in ports where they can opt for Emirates ones. Neil Perry should be pensioned off.
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  • Sanjay Prakash

    sanj747

    24 Oct, 2018 08:42 am

    Visited the lounge earlier in the year after a disappointing experience at the Qantas lounge. Found the Emirates lounge much nicer and ofcourse less crowded. Should have come in earlier.
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  • -- --

    Bollen

    24 Oct, 2018 10:03 am

    I like the Qantas lounge but you have to get there early. Once the Qantas Lounge gets too busy I head to BA. That also gets busy as time goes on and at that point I move down to the Emirates Lounge for the peace and quiet you mentioned and for a glass of Moët :) Great review as always and exactly the experience I have had.
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  • Teejay Cal

    Theresnormissin

    24 Oct, 2018 10:29 am

    I visited this lounge in June, mid-week before our flight EK355. The lounge was virtually standing room only and absolutely heaving with people. It did not make for a pleasant experience. This was compared to the QF lounge which, whilst busy, was serene by comparison. I was disappointed that I hadn't stayed put in the QF lounge given all the talk over overcrowding. The EK lounge certainly didn't look like the oasis pictured above.
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  • wayne anstey

    john wayne

    24 Oct, 2018 10:37 am

    I think when things become like described by Theresnormissin it is best just to have a meal and a drink in the lounge and then retire to the serenity that is most areas of Changi.
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    24 Oct, 2018 11:26 am

    Hi Theresnormissin, with Emirates rescheduling a lot of its Singapore flights from this coming Sunday, passenger loads should (fingers crossed!) be better-distributed throughout the day rather than concentrated in the evenings (for example, the flight to Melbourne moves from 10:40pm to 1:55pm, and there'll be no more midnight flight from Singapore to Colombo).

    Looking at the new schedules though, I'd expect the lounge to be busier from around 10pm to midnight, by which time, almost all Qantas flights will have departed, except for QF1 which boards a little after 11pm.

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  • Teejay Cal

    Theresnormissin

    24 Oct, 2018 12:15 pm

    On reflection I can see how my last line could be construed as being critical in relation to the accuracy of the review. That certainly was not my intent so I apologise for that. I was attempting to imply I would have loved the lounge to be closer to your photos in terms of number of PAX ad general ambience after a hectic day in singapore. The food and drink, as always, was consistent with the EK outstation lounge experience.
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    24 Oct, 2018 01:41 pm

    Oh, no need to apologise, I didn't view it as a criticism at all (and to be fair, my visit was from about 12pm-3pm on a weekday before a flight to Brisbane, not in the evening at the time you described) - was just replying to your comment to flag that the lounge's peak hours are changing and that as a result, it might be more peaceful next time you visit.
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  • Dr Al

    Dr Al

    24 Oct, 2018 11:03 am

    Chris, great review, now the kangaroo route has reopened I’ll defo be going through SIN instead of DXB, as a single business traveler I’ll definitely be using the Emirates lounge, for all of the points you have raised in your review, but I often travel with family and not always in J so for others in the same boat who use the lounge on Status when traveling down the back it’s probably worth mentioning that the “additional guest” rules differ between the lounges, with qantas not including children in the additional guest count, but BA and Emirates counting children as the plus one guest. Cheers.
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    24 Oct, 2018 11:16 am

    Hi Dr Al, thanks for your comment and feedback.

    We don't normally include information on 'guesting' privileges in reviews because the list of who can (and can't) get into each individual lounge based on which flight they're taking can be complex as it is, and we like to keep things as simple and easy-to-read as possible.

    We figure that if a traveller is savvy enough to venture to a particular lounge based on having a certain frequent flyer card, they'll already know how many guests they're allowed to bring, or will know where to find this information on an airline's website: and as you correctly point out, different airlines (and lounges) apply different rules.
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  • Davedownunder

    Davedownunder

    9 Nov, 2018 01:55 pm

    You might want to mention that despite having a QF flight number booking on a Jetstar flight, will exclude Gold or Platinum from accessing either BA or Emirates lounges.

    I find this odd given flying QF economy and Platinum status I can enter either lounge. Unfortunately QF only has a Jetstar code share flight SIN/HKT. After reading your article on Malaysia First Lounge changed to business all the way from Phuket to Australia with Malaysian and enjoyed the First class lounge in KL.


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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    9 Nov, 2018 02:15 pm

    Hi Davedownunder, thanks for your suggestion: we generally don't go into who can't access a lounge in the access section of reviews (unless it's an unusual exception, or the rules have recently changed), and in this review, we make it clear that the lounge is open to eligible passengers "on flights operated by Emirates" and "when travelling with Qantas on a QF or EK flight number".
     
    Access to Emirates (and BA) lounges has never been 'a thing' for Qantas Frequent Flyers booked with Jetstar, so for these reasons, it's not relevant in a review like this.
     
    Of course, Qantas Gold and Platinum members flying Jetstar from Singapore can visit the Qantas Singapore Lounge during opening hours (or may be redirected to the SATS Lounge next door when capacity is an issue).
     
    Great to hear you enjoyed Malaysia Airlines' new first class lounge in KL, however!
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  • 346

    346

    24 Oct, 2018 11:14 am

    I like this lounge and have visited on many occasions.
    I guess the only other "whats not" I'd add is: No separate First section.
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  • Justin Flynn

    JF

    4 Jan, 2019 05:41 pm

    Thanks for the review Chris.
    What are the shower facilities like here?
    I'm travelling to London and have the option of the Qantas or emirates lounge and will be in transit for 5 hours.
    I've heard mixed reports about the showers in the QF lounge.
    any info would be greatly appreciated.
    No member give thanks

Guest

20 May, 2019 08:53 am

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