Nutmeg Avios

My disappointing visit to the new BA lounge and Concorde Bar in Dubai

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:

Dubai Concourse D

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:

BA lounge Dubai 1

Here is the cold food offering:

BA lounge Dubai 2

And here is the bar:

BA lounge Dubai 3

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.

Concorde Bar Dubai

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:

Concorde Bar seats

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):

Concorde Bar drinks Dubai

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:

Concorde Bar Dubai food

Whilst there were hot plates available:

Concorde Bar Dubai hot food

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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  1. Derek says:

    Another example of BA’s down market trajectory. I wish they priced their tickets to match.

    • Sunil says:

      Very odd regarding the Concorde Bar. I have travelled through Singapore on a couple of occasions since the Concorde Bar opened and have been impressed – food selection wasn’t any different from what was in main lounge (but it was all available in the Concorde Bar as well) but the drinks selection was far superior – Johnnie Blue, Hennessey XO and other top end premium spirits. From memory there was also a selection of superior champagne. Odd that they have taken a different approach in Dubai.

      • Wendy says:

        We have just arrived back from Singapore and I was massively underwhelmed by the Concorde Bar .It was small, uninviting and a bit pretentious to have a code on the door to allow access there were loads of Tvs but no sound ,,,,Whats thAT ALL ABOUT ?? Ive been in many lounges around the world and if this is BA attempt with First Class …then I might resort to returning to my Priority Pass Lounges ……..which is just next door to the BA lounges and is more than adequate …best Laska I have ever had .!!!

  2. Haven’t yet tried the new BA lounge in Dubai’s new concourse as it had always been closed when I have flown through. In contrast, Virgin use a dedicated area of the Marhaba lounge that you are escorted to upon entry and offer attentive seat side service by staff in Virgin uniforms which I thought was a nice touch given they have no dedicated lounge. Champagne served, though technically it’s offered as one ‘welcome’ drink, but this rule only seemed to apply to one member of staff, others were keen to offer me a top-up.

    In the new T1 concourse, One World Emerald doesn’t get you into Qatar’s new dedicated ‘Premium’ lounge unless you are in First for the short hop to Doha, instead you are referred to the Dubai International Hotel First Class Lounge which is spacious and has good hot food options and a good bar. Ironically, it’s much, much better than the “First Class” offering in Doha which is cramped and overflowing and truly laughable compared to the vast Al Mourjan Business Lounge.

  3. Steve says:

    There was hot food in the concorde bar when I passed through. Not a big selection, and the same as the main room.

    Concourse D was good for me, but my wife didn’t like the fact that there was no premium shopping at all there, just regular duty free etc.

    One thing of note is this from Rob’s article “Give BA a duff lounge and you are more likely to fly Emirates next time ….”

    During taxiing, our Captain came on more than once to apologise for the length of the time it was taking to get into the air – the second time actually to say he didn’t understand why so many planes were given priority and jumping the queue in front of us. Presumably Emirates flights…. but he didn’t go as far to suggest that.

  4. MadMike says:

    “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.”
    The same is true of the treatment of BA First Class passengers at Gatwick at the moment. The plain (but sad) truth is that BA First ISN’T very special and if you are willing to pay for special treatment, then you will do much better with other airlines if they fly the same routes.

    • The real test at Gatwick is what the F lounge is like post January 2017.

      • Oyster says:

        Surely the real test is now AND from 2017? Unless F fares are discounted from LGW until the new lounge is open.

    • scallder says:

      Surely even business to some extent with the lounges. Mother in law is flying to Rome next week and as I booked it all got the pre-flight email. Included a bit with the option to upgrade to Club Europe, of which the first selling point was “Start your journey in the calm of our relaxing lounges, away from the hubbub of the airport.”

      Umm, slightly false advertising there given recent reports of the No 1 lounge they’re using…??

      • Susan says:

        For months they were advertising the same for the departure from Rome – except the Rome lounge was closed due to the FCO fire last spring (it has very recently reopened but is nothing special).

  5. Greenpen says:

    You have to pop to the J lounge in SFO if you want soup too!

  6. “Politics always plays a part”. There’s positive discrimination, then there’s Emirati discrimination – take a look at what happened to the Canadians when Emirates didn’t get its own way when it wanted to expand into that country. This is just an observation, not a slur in any way.

  7. Very O/T but is anyone else having trouble using the Manage My Booking feature on I can log-on to my account ok, but when I scroll down and click on the MMB feature the next screen just freezes. I’ve even tried it through the menu bar at the top in order to feed in my specific booking reference and it still falls over on the next screen. I’ve tried different browsers too. Is anyone else aware of this problem, or is it just me? 🙂

    • Not had hat problem with MMB, but I did with looking at my BAEC transactions: just froze on the “Please wait” screen – in various browsers.

      Thought it might be because of my using the two week discretionary period to retain silver and BA needing to do a manual adjustment but it might just be the IT.

    • harry says:

      not today but on Saturday MMB was very useless indeed – frozen for many minutes

      in the end I opened 3 different browsers to check in & one of them eventually did the business

    • Shaun says:

      …and I can’t get the Avios calculator to work – it won’t load the destinations or departure points…….

      • Genghis says:

        I’ve just this minute used it myself and seems to be operating fine on Chrome

  8. BrianDT says:

    I just don’t understand the continual references to Dubai as a tourist destination. I’ve been there a couple of times over the years but there are thousands of other interesting places to visit around the world, without all the glitz .And most of them available with Avios.

    • Get some kids!

      • Bingo says:

        Should one’s kids really determine ALL our holidays? Isn’t it good to broaden their horizons beyond Dubai???

        • Get a 4-year old 🙂

          To be fair, he has also been in Singapore, various parts of Germany, Venice and a weeks skiing in the last 9 months. The little lad isn’t doing too badly.

        • My wife and I just came back from a weeks break in Dubai with our 15 month old and absolutely loved it. Weather was great, hotels Jumeriah Emirates Tower and Hilton the Walk were both excellent. Plenty to do, went to Wild Wadi (free) and Zero Gravity Pool/Beach lounge (again free) which we really enjoyed. Will definitely return so thanks for the recommendation Raffles especially if we can get the first class on Etihad A380 again 🙂

        • How was the beach lounge? Never been down there. Seemed a bit of a ‘come down’ from letting you use Jumeirah Beach / Madinat.

          PS. You forgot to mention that it rained all day on Saturday!

        • Tell that to our 2 kids who are currently relaxing at Rangali Island, whilst they don’t mind it here, they much prefer Dubai, the water parks and the Dubai heat 😉
          However we may return to Rangali in October next year when it’s a bit cooler 🙂

        • harry says:
    • harry says:

      Raffles says get some kids but we have 3 & I would never take them to Dubai shole just to get some out of season sun by poolside – er, that’s it

      Far better choices, ISTR Raffles you have relatives out there to swing it?

      Easter – we’ve still got 25C today in cultured Europe.

      No point going somewhere with zero culture, regardless of weather & 5* hotels

  9. 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.

  10. 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 :-/

    • 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!

        • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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 🙂

  11. 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.

  12. 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 !!

    • Go to and Manage Booking, using your BA booking reference, and add your OW Emerald FF number. Then go back to (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 😉

  13. 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.