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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.