Spanning the entire length of Dubai Airport's Concourse A is the Emirates first class lounge – quite literally stretching for as far as the eye can see, and situated above the hustle and bustle of the terminal proper. Inside the lounge, you'll find everything from a restaurant and day spa through to a business centre, cigar bar, quiet rooms, a zone just for kids and of course, shower facilities.
Here's what we thought during a recent visit to Dubai.
Location & Impressions
The fist thing we notice on entering is just how spacious the lounge feels – walkways are wide, seats are far apart, and there's even a private duty-free store within the lounge for any last-minute luxury purchases. It's so large, in fact, that maps are provided to help first-time visitors navigate their way around: When it's time to board, you can also swan your way straight from the lounge onto the A380's upper deck without setting foot in the main terminal if your flight departs from Concourse A: Just be sure to set a reminder on your smartphone or keep a close eye on the time, as boarding announcements aren't made in this lounge.
- First class passengers of Emirates and Qantas
- Emirates Skywards Platinum frequent flyers travelling with Emirates or Qantas
- Qantas Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers when travelling with Qantas or Emirates on a QF or EK flight number
- Other Oneworld Emerald members booked on Qantas flights QF1/2 and QF9/10 only. No access before any Emirates-operated flights, other Oneworld flights or before a Qantas-operated flight when booked on the Emirates EK flight number.
Also keep in mind that while your Emirates boarding pass will show an invitation to the lounge nearest your departure gate (such as in Concourses B and C), you can still visit the newer – and frankly, much nicer – Concourse A lounges if you've arrived early for your flight or have a longer transit.
For example, we were booked on EK434 to Brisbane from Concourse B, but followed the signs to Concourse A after clearing security and passport control to make use of Emirates' flagship first class lounge, and returned to Concourse B in ample time to board.
Much as in the Qantas First Lounges that Emirates passengers can use in Australia, the Gulf airline offers its own a la carte dining facilities in Dubai, complete with full table service. Our morning visit saw the breakfast menu available... ... which began with a delicious berry fruit smoothie, warmed croissants and espresso coffee: As first class passengers can do in the air, you can order dishes here 'as is' or can customise them to your liking.
Today was no exception, where we ordered a fresh omelette with our preferred fillings, the 'Marmite soldiers' from a different dish and then a side of chicken sausages with a cherry tomato on top: Everything was tasty and cooked perfectly, and while there certainly 'fancier' options on the menu, sometimes you just feel like something 'homely' when you're on the road, which this lounge delivered.
For guests who are merely peckish or have limited time, a number of 'grab and go' items are also available including salad rolls, meats and yoghurts... ... joined by an impressive selection of spirits... ... and also wines, with the signature drop being Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial (A$55/bottle from Qantas epiQure): While it's not the Dom Pérignon you'll get on taking your seat in first class, non-vintage Champagnes are the norm for first class lounges – particularly those shared with frequent flyers travelling in economy.
For work that just can't wait, make use of the dedicated business centre – offering computer terminals for those travelling without their own tech... ... plus a number of meeting rooms... ... providing for both privacy and productivity: For something more casual, you'll find group seats scattered throughout the lounge and with power outlets near the lamps... ... or if you forgot to pack your charger, use Emirates' own charging station and securely lock your phone or tablet away while it's being refuelled: There's also free WiFi throughout the lounge, which delivered download speeds averaging 1.5mbps during our visit. That's more than adequate for basic tasks such as email and web browsing but without being 'lightning fast'.
Aside from the serenity of having no boarding calls to constantly interrupt your train of thought, the lounge also squeezes in a Timeless Spa day spa, with a selection of free 25-minute treatments for first class passengers and Platinum frequent flyers.
Among them, a de-stress back massage and a 'reflex therapy' leg and foot treatment... ... or indulge in a manicure, a hair trim and shape or a professional blow dry in the beauty salon. There are also separate 'quiet rooms' within the lounge, which you can use to nap when you've got the time... ... or to just read the day's news or a good book in peace: We're told that Emirates doesn't formally offer a 'wake up' service in time for your flight, but that passengers are requested to keep their boarding passes visible for staff to check when passing by as a just-in-case.
Further, there's a walled-in cigar bar for travellers so inclined... ... and a separate – and very colourful – room for young children: With everything you could reasonably ask for as a first class passenger, and then some, Emirates' terminal-sized Concourse A lounge in Dubai easily deserves all five stars.
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Chris Chamberlin was travelling as a guest of Emirates.
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