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My review of the Emirates First Class lounge (Concourse B) at Dubai International Airport

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The article you really want to see – my review of Emirates First Class in the new private suites on the Boeing 777-300ER fleet – is on the way in a couple of days.

Before that, however, I need to run through my disappointing visit to the Emirates First Class lounge in Concourse B, which is the older part of Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3.

Emirates – website here – has an interesting approach to lounges at its home airport.  In both Concourse B and the new A380-dedicated Concourse A, it follows the same pattern.  The ground floor – one long, narrow space with gates on either side – is for shoppers and Economy passengers.  The upper floors, which are basically a wide balcony looking down onto the main concourse, are for premium passengers.

In the new concourse, Business Class and First Class have totally separate floors.  I reviewed that here.

In the older Concourse B, there is only one balcony level and it is split in two.  Half is for Business Class and half is for First Class.

You might be able to see the problem here already.  When your lounge is basically a mini-terminal in its own right, it doesn’t feel like a lounge.  It feels like being in a quiet airport terminal.

It is hard to put the difference into words.  Here’s an example – in most airport lounges, and certainly a First Class lounge, I wouldn’t think twice about leaving all my personal possessions on a table whilst I went off in search of refreshments or the loo.  In the Emirates First Class Lounge, you don’t do that.  Because it feels like a quiet airport instead of a lounge, and is so big, you react differently.

Getting to the Emirates First Class Lounge

Let’s go back a couple of hours.  Until 1st March, you can still book an Emirates chauffeur car on a redemption ticket.  My driver picked me up from the Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights, reviewed here, at 6.30am for the short drive to the airport.

Business and First Class passengers use a totally separate entrance at Dubai International.  You don’t mix with Economy passengers until you are on the concourse.  Dubai International is so big, however, that the Business and First Class check-in area is bigger than most UK regional airports:

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Airport review

I didn’t need to get the train to the new concourse so was quickly walking past the shops to the escalators which took me up to the lounge complex.

Where you really can’t go wrong here is reading material.  Take a look at this:

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Airport review

Quite a few English newspapers are printed in Dubai so even though it was only 3.30am UK time I could still get the current editions.

I hadn’t eaten in the hotel so decided to head to the restaurant.  This was a curious mix of buffet and a la carte dining.  The menu was extensive, with all of the cooked and fresh breakfast options you’d expect, but my eggs benedict suffered from being on a crispy biscuit.  I also had a fruit platter.

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Airport review

This is the restaurant at 7.30am – it wasn’t hugely inspiring:

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Airport review

I was on Concourse B because I was on a Boeing 777 instead of an A380, although some A380 flights also seem to use Concourse B.  One downside of not being on an A380 was that we couldn’t board directly from the lounge level – the 777 isn’t high enough – so I had to take the escalator back down to the concourse.

There are other food stations, including specific Mediterranean and Japanese ones, as you walk around the space.  Here are a few random shots:

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Airport review


Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Airport review


Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Airport review

It was about as exciting as it looked.  There is a small kids zone, but your kids need to be able to play video games:

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Airport review

Even the champagne bar could only offer Moet & Chandon, which is a bit odd given that Emirates serves Dom Perignon on board.

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Airport review

Whilst I was having a glass of champagne, someone came up and offered to shine my shoes for me.  I thought he would do it whilst I sat there, potentially whilst wearing them, but he disappeared with them and returned 10 minutes later.  He did a good job though …..

The First Class lounge has a Timeless Spa.  Whilst I didn’t go in, I was entitled to a free 15 minute treatment – a back massage, leg and feet relaxation therapy, head massage, Thai body stretch or hand massage.

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Airport review

A lot of other treatments, including hair cuts and beard trimming, were available for around £30.  I think there is an identical spa, without the free treatments, in the Business Class side of the lounge.

Emirates First Class Lounge conclusion

I like Emirates a lot, but the lounges don’t do it for me.  Even the one at Heathrow has the feel of a Holiday Inn, with no dedicated First Class area, and is only redeemed by direct ‘lounge to plane’ boarding.

The First Class lounge in Concourse B just doesn’t cut it.  With such a huge space, I’m not even sure there is much Emirates can do about it.  With so many First Class passengers passing through, and one enormous open plan space, you are never going to feel cossetted.

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Airport review

Things were about to improve, however, as I boarded my plane to, erm, London Stansted ……

If you want a taster, Emirates has a section on its website dedicated to its new Boeing 777 First Class Suite which you can find here.

Earning Flying Blue miles from credit cards

How to earn Emirates Skywards miles from UK credit cards (June 2021)

Emirates Skywards does not have a UK credit card.  However, you can earn Emirates Skywards miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cardsThese are:

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Emirates Skywards miles which is an attractive rate.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Emirates Skywards mile. The Gold card earns double points (2 per £1) on all flights you charge to it.

Comments (46)

  • John says:

    Can Skywards top tier passengers in economy use this lounge?

    A few years ago I got into the F lounge (concourse A I believe) using my BA Gold on a QF £280 LHR-DXB return in Y…. had similar thoughts, the shower facilities were disappointing but the food was better.

    • Mark says:

      Platinum members use the first lounge regardless of travel class. Gold and silver get into the business lounge.

    • Rolfy says:

      We did the same on a Y ticket with Qantas when they stopped in Dubai. We were turned away from the Business / First dedicated check-in area with a BA Gold card.

      We then went to the economy area but the Qantas desk wasn’t staffed and the Emirates desk said they couldn’t check us in. We had printed off our boarding passes but they wouldn’t scan. The Qantas app didn’t support mobile boarding passes on this route, so we had to wait until someone from Qantas showed up at the desk a couple of hours before the flight.

  • MDA says:

    Interested to read your review about your stansted experience via Emirates

    • Rob says:

      It was only into Stansted which was ok! They even have a premium passport control line for the e-gates for Emirates J/F pax.

  • Andrew says:

    OT (no bits but lounge-related). Shock! Lounge catering in Galleries Club (LHR) today much improved – bacon rolls now the size of the CE rolls and the egg/cheese rolls are gone but enhanced with baked beans, frittata, tomatoes, mountains of fresh fruit, granola and a wider juice selection. Overall a step up.

    • Blenz101 says:

      Here as well, much improved and the hash browns are hot, fresh and delicious inside the bacon rolls.

      • Andrew says:

        Ah sorry I missed you – agree on the hash brown inside a bacon roll trick. Red or brown sauce?!

    • Lady London says:

      Really? Did Baxter Storey’s contract run out, or did British Airways finally put a tiny bit of money into food quality?

      • Rob says:

        There was talk of lounge management being handed over to Accor, Plaza Premium or another group who know what they’re doing …. not sure if there is truth to this. BA would be making a big song and dance, stressing their £4.5 billion investment, if anything big had happened.

        • Andrew says:

          Not sure if this helps but the staff uniform hadn’t changed which implies no change in contractor…

  • TB says:

    Got emirates first class 777 booked for Saturday from Heathrow. 1A. Only ever done A380 first class so be nice to try! I will be swapping onto the Stansted 777 if I can, as the new first class looks absolutely mega and is much nicer than the 380/777 older first Suite…. look forward to the review ✈️
    Did you miss the bar and shower at all? That’s why I’ve always done A380 but the new first 777 seat probably kept you busy enough with all the new gadgets 🙂

    • Rob says:

      Never a big user of the bar. Oddly we used it most when our kids were little because they could sit in the bar on the banquettes and they seemed to find it more relaxing than their proper seat.

      • TB says:

        True – had the kids with me at Christmas and your right, it does keep them busy with walking back to it and spending time there. Crew are brillIant too. The newly fitted bar on A380 worked even better than the old set up as 4 of you can sit around a full sized table, play games, eat snacks and having some good social time.

  • Lux says:

    Rob – I’m only familiar with the business lounges at Dubai but consider the dining and drinks options well above most other offerings (helllo BA). But you’re right, it’s not eg the Sydney QF lounge.

    Just to mention that all decks require using the lift to board, even on the A380 economy is two levels down, business and first own level. It is a BIG airport.

    • TB says:

      First class doesn’t – you walk straight from the first lounge to your own boarding gate, which can literally be 15 seconds depending on where your sitting in the lounge. This is the same level as the lounge and once through the gate for First class, you walk down and along the air bridge straight into the upper level.

    • Rob says:

      That’s true. You take the lift down from the F lounge to the jetty. Have done this a few times.

  • Mark says:

    I guess we all have different lounge preferences but I find the Emirates F lounge way superior to most F lounges including the CCR (certainly for food although seems you were just unlucky with the eggs) and I like the fact that it is spacious and has different nooks and crannies. B gates terminal only have 4 gates accessible from the lounge level; it’s nothing to do with being on A380 or 777. Looking forward to your on board experience.

    • Matt says:

      I certainly appreciated the F lounge when I had a brief visit there last year, but CCR feels way more special IMO. Lounges should feel exclusive like a private members club which is very hard to achieve when you’re using an entire terminal floor!

  • Scott says:

    It’s worth saying the Emirates spa experience is far above what BA offer at LHR and JFK. Great availability, and the treatments are very high quality. It’s better than what CX offer at The Pier in HKG too. Treatments aren’t as good as QF First in SYD or MEL but availability is a lot better.

    • TB says:

      Agree – Concorde lounge elemis spa treatements are really short. Not even 10mins. 15mins with Emirates is about right for a freebie

      • Anna says:

        I think it depends on how busy they are. The last spa treatment I managed to get (in a rather quiet T5 B), a facial while sitting in a massage chair, was given the full 15 minutes and was a lovely start to a long haul flight.

  • Shoestring says:

    Good to see they have plenty of the Daily Mail. A good read.

    • Rob says:

      The Mail is printed in Dubai, that’s why it is there.

      • Lumma says:

        A newspaper for “ex-pats” moaning about “immigrants”

        • Will says:

          Not that I’m a particular advocate of the DM but any expat living in the UAE under illusion that they’ll ever be granted citizenship there need only see the laugh on a government officials face when they ask for it to understand they are temporarily residing there until such time that the UAE no longer has a use for them.

        • marcw says:

          Best comment… I find it funny when they call themselves ex-pats,,, but everyone else immigrants.

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