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Emirates is an airline which is very focused on controlling as many aspects of the customer experience as possible, which includes the ground experience. They operate nearly three dozen of their own lounges around the world, even at airports with only once daily service. In the US they have their own lounges in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.
While they also have once daily A380 service out of Dallas, this isn’t an airport out of which they operate their own lounge… well, at least not really.
On Saturday I flew Emirates first class from Dallas to Dubai. I was connecting from Tampa that morning on American, so headed to the American Express Centurion Lounge first, which is one of my favorite lounges in the US.
We hadn’t yet checked in for the Emirates flight, so at around 10AM headed down to the Emirates gate to get boarding passes. Emirates operates out of gate D16 at DFW Airport, which is a very short walk from the Centurion Lounge. One of the Emirates associates quickly issued our boarding passes to Dubai, and invited us to use Emirates’ lounge.
The D Concourse at DFW Airport is by far the nicest terminal in the airport, and has three lounges. There’s the American Admirals club, the American Express Centurion Lounge, and then The Club at DFW.
The Club at DFW is located near gate D22.
As you can see based on the entrance, this lounge serves several airlines — virtually all airlines except American.
The lounge also has the cheesiest signage imaginable. “Who has access to our Airport VIP Lounge? YOU!” And then you can look at yourself in the mirror. Oy!
The lounge has a couple of couches on the ground floor ahead of the elevators that take you up two levels to the lounge.
But there’s something really unique about this lounge. Rather than just being a single contract lounge used by all airlines, the lounge actually houses several lounges within the lounge. In other words, each airline operates their own mini-lounge inside the lounge.
So when you get to the reception desk you present your boarding pass and then are pointed towards the correct lounge.
In this case, the Emirates lounge is located all the way down the hallway to the left.
Immediately across from the entrance to the Emirates lounge was a shower.
Then inside the lounge was a reception desk with another agent who took down our boarding pass information. Interestingly she wasn’t in an Emirates uniform (for what it’s worth, typically all Emirates employees have the “unique” Emirates uniforms, even at outstations).
She offered to give us a tour of the lounge, which we gladly took her up on… though there wasn’t much to see.
Immediately to the right of the entrance was some seating, though there were no windows there.
Then by the entrance are some high-top tables as well as some more traditional lounge chairs.
And then the lounge consists of one long room with four rows of chairs.
On one hand I appreciated the amount of natural light in this part of the lounge, though on the other hand I wish there were a few more partitions or a bit more privacy. If someone was on the phone then everyone could hear the conversation, basically.
Then off the side of the lounge was another small room with some more seating. It’s almost as if it was intended to be a lounge within a lounge within a lounge (perhaps a first class section, in theory), but in practice it didn’t seem to be differentiated in any way.
The lounge also had a small food buffet, which was a bit underwhelming. There were three hot dishes — scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, and beef shawarma.
Then there were some finger sandwiches and veggies.
Then there were three types of cereal — bran, corn flakes, and granola.
Lastly there was some fruit, yogurt, and cake.
To drink there was Arabic coffee, an espresso machine, and a cooler with beer and soft drinks.
In addition to what was available at the buffet, there was a small a la carte menu, with the following choices:
- Mixed berry smoothie
- Yogurt parfait
- Bagel with smoked salmon & cream cheese
- Fruit & cheese plate
Lastly there was a list of over a dozen spirits which could be ordered from a server.
Perhaps the best part of this lounge were the views. The lounge directly overlooks American’s “heavy” gates, so there’s lots of 777 action there. You can also see the runways in the background.
That being said, we didn’t actually stay in the Emirates Lounge, but rather headed back to the Centurion Lounge, given that it is significantly nicer.
Our flight was departing at 12:15PM, and boarding was scheduled for 11:40AM. So at 11:35AM we headed down to our departure gate. Unfortunately the single A380 gate at DFW Airport has an obstructed view, so you can barely make out the whale jet. Perhaps the most amusing part of the gate setup is that there’s a regional jet gate right next to the A380 gate… that’s quite some contrast!
Boarding for Emirates at DFW is a bit of a cattle call, as they line all passengers up at the same time, and then start boarding.
At around 11:45AM they began premium boarding, with a call for first class, business class, and elite members all at once.
Emirates Lounge DFW Airport bottom line
The lounge setup at DFW Airport Terminal D is unique. It seems like there’s not enough real estate available for airlines to operate their own lounges, so instead they used the shared contract lounge.
And that contract lounge setup is interesting as well, because basically each airline operates their own lounge within that shared contract lounge. The decor, furniture, etc., seems to be the same in virtually all the lounges, regardless of airline.
That being said, I was also quite disappointed in the catering, an area of the lounge experience which I assume Emirates does have some control over.
Regardless, the AmEx Centurion Lounge DFW Airport is infinitely better than the Emirates Lounge, given that it has better food, drinks, and even complimentary spa treatments. I can’t imagine returning to the Emirates Lounge.
If you’ve visited the Emirates Lounge DFW Airport, what was your experience like?