We flew back from Dubai on Monday on British Airways. And, as of last month, all British Airways flights depart from the new Concourse D.
The great news is that this is a bright and airy new terminal building. As it is connected by train to the check in area, you no longer have the long walks (and occasionally buggy rides, so long were the distances) that the old terminal required.
It feels more like a hotel lobby if you take a look at the way the seating is arranged:
It certainly bears no relation to the traditional rows of seats all bolted together! It is the first time I have seen a terminal laid out like this and it was impressive.
Take the escalator up a level and you come to a bank of airline lounges. The good news is that the new British Airways facility is immediately at the top. The second bit of good news is that BA has spent a lot of money on the fit out of the space.
The bad news is that there simply isn’t a lot of space there. If anything, it is a smaller lounge than the previous one. I took these photos as soon as we arrived – it got a lot busier later.
Politics always plays a part, of course. It is possible that this is the space that the airport gave to BA and that no discussion was possible. Give BA a duff lounge and you are more likely to fly Emirates next time ….
This is a communal seating area off to the side:
Here is the cold food offering:
And here is the bar:
There is also an area of seating by the windows – you can see it in the bar picture above – but I couldn’t photograph that easily because of the people who were there.
Small space or not, there is no excuse for what has been done with the Concorde Bar. This is a private room exclusively for ticketed First Class passengers only. It is, unfortunately, a mess.
This is the whole of the bar – out of shot to the right are two small tables, each seating two, and well as another three of the blue chairs you can see:
For a start, there is only one thing available which is not in the main lounge – Taittinger champagne. The main area has some prosecco so you aren’t gaining much.
This is the ‘premium’ drinks selection – which is about as premium as your average Pizza Hut drinks list (Johnnie Walker Black is about £23 a bottle in a UK supermarket and probably no more than £15 in a Middle East duty free):
There is NO additional food. In fact, there is less food – I was told if I wanted soup, the only hot item, I needed to go outside. This is the cold selection:
Whilst there were hot plates available:
no hot food arrived between 11.30am and 1pm when we were there.
It is also a very dark room, not helped by the blue mood lighting. As soon as you step out of the lounge you are hit by how bright the main room is by comparison.
One passenger had the right idea, sitting in the main area but just popping in every 20 minutes for another glass of champagne.
The good news is that it wouldn’t take much of an effort to get some decent hot food in there and to improve the drinks selection. At the moment, the Concorde Bar sends out the bizarre message that British Airways First Class isn’t really very special – and, true or not, that isn’t the message you want to give.
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