Review: Dhaka Airport Lounge

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Introduction: Journey To Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, And Kuwait
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Our Kuwait Airways flight from Dhaka to Kuwait City was departing at 8:55AM, and we got to the airport at around 6:45AM. Our driver pulled up to the airport and signaled for us to go through the staff entrance. I wasn’t sure whether we were really supposed to do that, but he insisted, so we did. Sure enough, the officers waved us through.

Security at Dhaka Airport is very high. Probably the highest I’ve seen at any airport. There were guards with machine guns everywhere. First there was a security and passport check to get into the terminal.

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Dhaka Airport check-in hall

Then we tried to find the Kuwait Airways check-in counter, which proved a bit of a challenge. There was a lack of signage indicating which airline used which counters, and on top of that the terminal was crowded. Eventually we found the Kuwait Airways check-in counter, located in row “E.”

We handed the agent at the business class counter our passports, and before she opened them she said “you have a long transit before connecting to New York, are you entering Kuwait, and do you have visas?” Hmmm, that was bizarre. I’m not sure if they specifically looked up our reservation before check-in because we were the only business class passengers, or what. Since I’m sure some people will say this in the comments section, I don’t think we got any “special treatment” or that they flagged our reservation in any way because of my blog — at least if they did, I imagine they would have probably tried harder on the flight. 😉

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Kuwait Airways check-in Dhaka Airport

Within a few minutes we had our boarding passes and lounge invitations, and headed to the immigration checkpoint. There was a separate checkpoint for first and business class passengers, though they didn’t seem to enforce who used the line. Fortunately the wait wasn’t too long. We had just enough time to fill out our departure cards, and within about 10 minutes we were through.

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Dhaka Airport terminal

Security is at the individual gates at Dhaka Airport, so we already found ourselves “airside” after immigration. Once through immigration we turned left, and then the signage towards the executive lounges pointed us right.

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Dhaka Airport terminal

There was a staircase leading up a level, which is where lounges are located.

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Stairs to Dhaka Airport lounge

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Stairs to Dhaka Airport lounge

As much as Dhaka Airport is outdated and could use a renovation, there’s something I like about the funnel-looking beams supporting the building.

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Dhaka Airport terminal

There are several lounges located on this level.

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Dhaka Airport terminal

As Kuwait Airways business class passengers we had access to the Balaka Executive Lounge, located to the very right. The Balaka Executive Lounge is also a Priority Pass lounge, along with the Skylounge. If you’re not flying in a premium cabin, keep in mind that the following cards get you a Priority Pass membership:

Card# Of Guests Who Get Free AccessAuthorized User AccessCost To Add Authorized User
The Platinum Card® from American Express2Yes$175 For Up To 3 People, $175 For Each Additional Person Beyond That
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN2Yes$300 Per Person
Citi Prestige® Card2 Guests Or Immediate Family MembersYes$50 Per Person
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit CardUnlimited GuestsYes$0
Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ CardUnlimited GuestsYes$75 Per Person

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Dhaka Airport business class lounge entrance

Inside the entrance we presented our invitations and were admitted without them even verifying our boarding passes. The lounge was a pretty typical contract lounge for the region. There was one main room with quite a bit of seating. It mostly consisted of individual chairs arranged around coffee tables.

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Dhaka Airport business class lounge seating

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Dhaka Airport business class lounge seating

I couldn’t help but notice the amount of advertising for the InterContinental Dhaka. There’s signage for the hotel outside the lounge, all over the walls of the lounge, etc. I’m not sure if they’re just paying a fee for the advertising or have some connection to the lounge.

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Dhaka Airport business class lounge seating

The lounge also has a second room, which is where the reception desk is located. This one is quite a bit smaller and also darker.

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Dhaka Airport business class lounge seating

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Dhaka Airport business class lounge seating

The buffet was back in the main room, and consisted of a variety of hot and cold options.

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Dhaka Airport business class lounge food

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Dhaka Airport business class lounge buffet

I’ll let the pictures speak mostly for themselves — we had breakfast at the hotel, so didn’t try any of the food.

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Dhaka Airport business class lounge food

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Dhaka Airport business class lounge food

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Dhaka Airport business class lounge food

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Dhaka Airport business class lounge food

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Dhaka Airport business class lounge signage

There was also a selection of soft drinks and bottled water, as well as coffee and juice.

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Dhaka Airport business class lounge drinks

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Dhaka Airport business class lounge drinks

The bathrooms were located towards the back of the lounge, and were surprisingly decent. I know some people find my photographing of lounge bathrooms to be odd, but this is an area where there’s a huge variance in quality among different contract lounges, and I try to be thorough. 😉

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Dhaka Airport business class lounge hallway to bathrooms

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Dhaka Airport business class lounge bathroom entrance

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Dhaka Airport business class lounge bathroom

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Dhaka Airport business class lounge toilet

We spent a bit of time in the lounge on our laptops. The wifi worked, though was on the slow side for sure. On the plus side the lounge was pretty empty and quiet.

Our flight was scheduled to board from gate 1 at 7:55AM (that’s a full hour before departure), so we decided to leave the lounge at around 7:40AM. Gate 1 was located at the far left of the terminal, about a five minute walk from the lounge.

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Dhaka Airport terminal

I enjoyed the planes we saw enroute to our gate, including a Qatar Airways A330, Biman Bangladesh 777, and Saudia 777.

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Qatar Airways A330 Dhaka Airport

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Biman Bangladesh 777 Dhaka Airport

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Saudia 777 Dhaka Airport

Security at Dhaka Airport is at the individual gates, and there was virtually no line at our gate — I guess most other passengers had already cleared.

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Dhaka Airport terminal

I was super excited to fly Kuwait Airways, especially since our flight was operated by one of their new A330s.

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Kuwait Airways A330 Dhaka Airport

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Kuwait Airways A330 Dhaka Airport

Security at the gate was thorough. First there was the typical x-ray and metal detector, and then on top of that each passenger had their entire bag searched, and received a full pat-down. I’m all for thorough security, and this seemed like it had substance, rather than just being for show.

At that point we found ourselves in the gate area, where we no doubt stood out like sore thumbs. I’m pretty sure every single other person on the plane was male and from Bangladesh, largely probably going to work in the Gulf.

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Departure gate Dhaka Airport

Boarding was called at 8:05AM, starting with business class.

Dhaka Airport Lounge bottom line

While not the most modern or impressive airport, I found Dhaka Airport to be pleasant. Lines at immigration weren’t long, and I appreciate that security is at individual gates, and also thorough. The lounge itself was fine, though we were only there briefly.

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Comments

  1. The reason for all the InterContinental ads, are because the lounge is managed by the hotel (if I’m not wrong).
    The lounge used to be managed by Ruposhi Bangla, a hotel which was previously the Sheraton Dhaka, which was previously the InterContinental Dhaka. And now its Intercontinental again. So, I’m guessing the lounge is also managed by them now.

    You should’ve gone to the Skylounge. It is catered by Westin, and managed by a major bank in the country.

  2. Ben…Thanks for covering this. It feels great to see Dhaka airport after such a long time.

    I heard there are other lounges now which are way better than the one you went. As Z mentioned, Sheraton, a former Starwood property currently owned by Marriott used to manage that lounge. Since Sheraton left the country, quality of the service declined. Irony is, even I was having trouble to see these pictures and I used to live 5 miles away from the Dhaka airport about a decade ago.

  3. I flew Etihad Business last Feb from DAC. Etihad partners with SkyLounge, so I visited there. I haven’t been to Balaka lounge, but from your pictures, looks like SkyLounge would be a better option. If you’re a Priority Pass member and don’t have much time to explore both lounges, SkyLounge is recommended definitely.

  4. When it comes to taking photos of bathrooms in lounges, can you also note if they have a diaper changing table in them? I’ve been surprised that even prominent lounges like the LH Senator Lounge in FRA didn’t have one, at least in the men’s room. None of the men seemed to mind me changing my 2 year old on the counter though, nor did she mind.

  5. Agree with other comments, when in Dhaka in January I was able to explore the SkyLounge in addition to the lounge shown here in this review (then called the the Ruposhi Bangla Hotel lounge). The food quality in both was about the same, but the SkyLounge was a much more inviting and impressive space, with nice lighting, high ceilings and comfortable chairs. They also had a bar, which was closed at the time when I was there.

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