The Emirates Business Lounge at Dubai International Airport Terminal 3 is an apt demonstration of the popularity of executive travel in the Middle East.
I admit, my idea of business class is probably a little old-fashioned. I've previously visited lounges in Europe, usually stuffy small places peopled by a few gentlemen of a certain age reading the Financial Times and eating sandwiches. This is nothing like those.
For one thing it is huge. Climb the escalator past the scores of Duty Free shoppers and you are greeted by pretty much an entire floor of business-class facilities.
It is easy to get lost in this massive expanse. I counted at least four large and very well-stocked buffets providing hot and cold meals and snacks, complimentary drinks and a children’s food corner.
Who knew that so many children flew business class that they needed their own separate buffet, not to mention a children’s play area?
Emirates also offers two business centres stocked with computers for guests to use as well as showers, semi lie-flat couches to recline on if your stay is overnight, magazine racks, shoeshine services, a quiet area and a so-called "E zone" of videogames.
Unlike the lounges I’ve visited in the past, this traveller’s haven is teeming with dozens of people. It rather makes you wonder if anyone is travelling economy class any more.
I visited early in the morning to find the lounge so busy I struggled to find a vacant table.
The sheer numbers, as well as the long narrow design, meant there was always someone bustling past your table to get either in or out, so don’t bank on having a relaxing experience.
However, while rookie business travellers tend to gravitate to the seats and tables close to the main reception or the main restaurant, the seats located at the far end of the lounge are quieter and more out of the way. That’s the perfect spot to catch up on emails and have some downtime before you board the plane.
q&a plenty to do while you wait
Who can get into Emirates’ business class lounge?
Business class passengers. The lounge also allows access to economy passengers who are Silver, Gold and Platinum members of Emirates Skywards frequent flyer programme.
What’s the service like?
Being Emirates, the lounge has dozens of efficient staff who whip dirty glasses and plates away from your table with unimaginable speed.
Is it easy to work in the lounge?
Not in the main lounge area. The place is constantly bustling with people walking past, not to mention waiting staff and there is a constant stream of boarding announcements which make it hard to think or chat on the phone. However, the lounge does offer quiet areas and business areas which are less frantic.
What’s the Wi-Fi connection like?
I encountered problems connecting to the network. However, friendly staff were prepared to spend more than 10 minutes fiddling with my computer settings to connect me.
Is there anything else to keep me entertained if my flight gets delayed?
There are several extra services and additional rooms away from the main lounge. In fact, because of the maze of rooms, staff have put up complicated signs telling you where services can be found. These include shoeshine facilities, large, well-stocked racks of newspapers and magazines which include the Financial Times and The New York Times, and a spa. Cigar aficionados will also enjoy the cigar bar with big leather Chesterfield sofas.
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