There’s no denying that the Gulf carriers are under financial pressure, and are trying to find ways to generate additional revenue. It looks like the latest move in that effort involves lounge access in Dubai. Emirates is now selling access to both their business class and first class lounges at Dubai Airport.
If you’re an Emirates Skywards Blue member, you can now pay to access Emirates lounges at Dubai International airport regardless of your class of travel, and so can your family and friends who are travelling on the same Emirates flight.
If you’re a Silver or Gold member who already enjoys complimentary access, you can invite guests who are travelling on the same flight to join you for an additional charge – even if they’re travelling in Economy Class. And to make your journey extra special, you can purchase an upgrade to the First Class Lounge in Dubai.
If you’re a Platinum member, you can now pay to invite even more guests to join you in any of our eligible lounges in Dubai.
- If you’re a non-status Skywards Blue member you can pay $100 to access the business class lounge or $200 to access the first class lounge when flying economy
- If you’re a Silver or Gold member, you can invite guests to join you in the business class lounge for $100, or if you have access to the business class lounge anyway, you can pay an additional $100 to access the first class lounge
This is certainly on the high end when it comes to lounge pricing, so I actually view this as a positive move. Emirates’ lounges in Dubai are the furthest thing from crowded (at least in the “A” concourse), so they might as well generate some additional revenue from them. Furthermore, this is good news if you’re traveling with friends or family but can’t guest them into a lounge, since there’s now an option to pay to do so. It sucks when you’re traveling with two people but can only guest one person into a lounge, an then just end up skipping the lounge altogether.
I think the pricing is high enough so that we won’t see too many people taking advantage of this deal as well.
Whether or not it’s worth buying lounge access (or upgrading your lounge access) really depends on what you’re looking for. I’ve reviewed both the Emirates “A” Concourse First Class Lounge and Emirates “B” Concourse First Class Lounge, so see those posts for context on what you can expect.
I also recently visited the business class lounge for the first time, and frankly didn’t find there to be that much of a difference between that and the first class lounge, aside from the lack of a la carte dining.
Some people will view this as Emirates trying to crowd their lounges, though personally I don’t think we’ll see many people take advantage of this offer. I appreciate the added flexibility this affords, as the pricing is high enough so that it won’t crowd lounges, but low enough that some people will find this worthwhile.
$100 for access to a business class lounge is definitely on the high side (especially since they’re limiting stays to four hours, at least on paper), and I’m not sure the $100 fee to upgrade from the business class lounge to the first class lounge is worth it. But some will find value in this, no doubt.
What do you make of Emirates’ new paid lounge access options?