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Review: My disappointing visit to the new British Airways lounge and Concorde Bar in Dubai Airport

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This is our review of the new British Airways lounge and Concorde Bar in Dubai International Airport.

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:

review British Airways lounge and Concorde Bar in Dubai Airport

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:

review British Airways lounge and Concorde Bar in Dubai Airport

Here is the cold food offering:

review British Airways lounge and Concorde Bar in Dubai Airport

And here is the bar:

review British Airways lounge and Concorde Bar in Dubai Airport

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.

review British Airways lounge and Concorde Bar in Dubai Airport

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:

review British Airways Concorde Bar in Dubai Airport

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):

review British Airways lounge and Concorde Bar in Dubai Airport

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:

review British Airways Concorde Bar in Dubai Airport

Whilst there were hot plates available:

review British Airways Concorde Bar in Dubai Airport

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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Comments (40)

  • R says:

    I stopped by recently twice, one a day flight same (1:45pm) and the night 1:15am, and the lounge for that night flight is far more crowded than during the day time one. So it only gets worse in terms of space. The night flight is an High-J config, I don’t think there’s even enough seats for Club passengers alone, let along guests and card holders.

  • Jon says:

    Talking of BA lounges, what’s with the LHR T5 arrivals lounge closing at 2pm? I flew in from Haneda last week, in First, landed at 1:15, got to the lounge to find it just about to close. Not impressed :-/

    • John says:

      I heard someone say that it’s a place to wait until your hotel room is ready

      • Kathy says:

        I used the arrivals lounge for the first time this week, because when I flew back from SFO the lounge was already closed when I got there. Given that it takes me a couple of hours to get home from Heathrow (via two trains and the tube) a proper breakfast and a shower after landing made a big difference!

        • Jon says:

          Exactly – a shower before my train journey home would have been good! I’m a bit surprised that BA, at its home base, doesn’t keep the arrivals lounge open from first arrival to last.

      • dps says:

        If you want to see how an Arrivals lounge can be planned and proactively managed to suit pax in a hurry (to work after shower and breakfast) as well as pax too early to check into a hotel, fly Virgin into LHR next time! Lounges before departure and after arrival give an airline an unique opportunity to engage with, inform and shape the pax experience; and Virgin does it superbly.

        • Jon says:

          Agreed – have done it many times. Still one of the best (perhaps *the* best? Definitely at LHR).

    • Shaun says:

      I think it used to close at 1.30 until recently so at least now you now have an extra half hour 🙂

  • Stuart says:

    We visited this lounge shortly after it opened, stayed five minutes and then claustrophobia kicked in, so we left. There isn’t enough space, the food had all but run out and the main terminal is a far more enjoyable environment to waste time before a flight than this lounge.

  • JamesW says:

    OT but at least it’s BA related !

    I have OneWorld Emerald Status through Qatar Platinum, how can I tell if BA are aware of this so give me the correct benefits ?

    Should I be able to prebook seats on a BA flight for example ? I have a number of Club Europe flights coming up and I can’t prebook seats unless I pay £24 each way for the privilege. Nearly £50 ontop of business class prices !!

    • Jon says:

      Go to finnair.com and Manage Booking, using your BA booking reference, and add your OW Emerald FF number. Then go back to BA.com (you may need to log out and back in if you were already logged in to your BAEC account). You should now find you can select seats for free. Why this is necessary beats me, but there we are 😉

  • avioscollector says:

    ” the Concorde Bar sends out the bizarre message that British Airways First Class isn’t really very special”

    However, that is entirely accurate.

    BA First class marginally better than most Business class offerings these days, whilst Club World is a sub-standard product.