Alaska #3471 Orange County (SNA) to San Francisco (SFO) First Class and Emirates Lounge
Emirates #226 San Francisco (SFO) to Dubai (DXB) First Class
Emirates First Class Lounges
Emirates #352 Dubai (DXB) to Singapore (SIN) First Class
Crown Plaza Singapore Airport and Airport Terminal and Lounge
Singapore #223 Singapore (SIN) to Perth (PER) Business Class
Doubletree Perth Northbridge
Qantas #776 Perth (PER) to Melbourne (MEL) Business Class
Qantas First Class Lounge Melbourne
Qantas #93 Melbourne (MEL) to Los Angeles (LAX)
Emirates First Class Lounges at DXB Terminal 3 A and C
First class passengers were allowed to disembark before others and we exited through the upper deck jet bridge. It was a long walk down the glass tube to the terminal and I got a good view of the plane that flew us for those 16 hours. The international arrivals area is down one level and then a long walk to the center of the terminal where you go left to enter Dubai or right to rescreen through security for an international connection. There was a first class queue which helped as there were a number of flights that arrived at the same time. After that check, you are able to head upstairs to the terminal levels. The interesting part of the Emirates lounges at the A gates in Terminal 3 is that it isn’t so much a traditional lounge but rather a whole floor. The first level is for economy, first class has the second level, and business class the third. We’re talking about a lounge that takes you 12 minutes to walk across, or about half of a mile.
The scale of the place is excessive to say the least but it fits with the whole Emirates ethos. Essentially each half of the level is a mirror of the other. There are areas dedicated for sit-down full service dining, buffet dining, business center, quiet/napping lounge, kids lounge, e-gaming lounge, cigar lounge, bar areas, duty free shops, a café area, and other random seating nooks throughout. When I first arrived in the lounge and was welcomed in, I only saw three other passengers in the entire floor. Contrast that with probably 20 staff working in the lounge. All of them were there to service you with whatever you needed, and it is all included. I really enjoyed the aesthetics of the lounge, more so than the décor of the first class cabin on the A380. I especially liked the glass bulbs that were part of the ceiling lighting at each end of the lounge.
I was starting to get hungry so I ventured over to the dining area for dinner. I took a quick glance at the buffet options but decided on a sit-down dinner and I definitely wanted to take advantage of the offerings. You can order as much as you want off the menu, in any order, and it is all free.
I ordered the Italian buratta to start. The cheese was fresh and creamy and paired well with the acidity of the tomatoes and the fruit notes of the olive oil.
The next course was the pumpkin soup which came out with the bits of pumpkin and seeds in the bowl and the broth of the soup poured table-side. The consistency was lighter than I expected but I enjoyed it very much.
While my protein on the flight from San Francisco was hard and tasteless, the steak I ordered at the restaurant was tender and juicy. I ordered mashed potatoes to accompany it along with the béarnaise sauce. The sauce was disappoint and very chunky. The potatoes were good although the texture felt like they mixed in polenta or cauliflower into it.
I couldn’t pass up dessert. I’m also a sucker for meringues so I had to try the pavlova. It was much more of a deconstructed dessert than I was expecting but it was the best part of the meal. The sweetness of the meringue was cut but the tart, creamy mango sorbet, and the base of crumbled graham crackers added a bit of texture and spice.
I still had several hours to wait for my connecting flight to Singapore so after dinner I walked around the whole lounge to stretch my legs and then sat down in more of the bar area to relax. I could’ve ordered any food form the dining menu I just had along with anything from the bar or other drinks available. The bar area also had some self-serve food option in a case with sushi and another with little Middle Eastern dessert bites, and of course dates. I had a few old fashioneds while lounging and eventually walked over to build myself a snack plate of cheeses and breads from another part of the lounge.
As my flight wasn’t departing for many hours, I didn’t know which gate I would be departing out of. Emirates occupies the whole of Terminal 3, but there are three gates zones as a part of that – A, B, and C. They only post gates about 3 or 4 hours before the flight departs. When that time came, my gate was going to be in the C section rather than the A area where I was. I assumed that the lounge would be similar over there so I grabbed my backpack and carryon and headed over to the gates (I reached the total of seeing 24 other passengers the whole time I was there). I should’ve stayed where I was until I needed to board. Getting to the C gates requires going down multiple levels to catch a train to the B gates and then from there you walk another 10 to 15 minutes to reach the C gates. I was disappointed when I got there as it was just like any other airport terminal, and the lounge was just a large room similar to any other airline lounge. It was about the same size as the Emirates lounge at SFO.
One of the added benefits of the lounge in the A gates is that you are able to board from the lounge. Each gate has a gate desk and elevator in the lounge so you walk over, get scanned, and take the elevator down to the jet bridge and walk on. It is nearly as exclusive as Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal service where they drive you from the terminal directly to the plane then up an elevator to board. Despite the excess of the Emirates lounge, the all-around service and feel of the Lufthansa’s FCT remains my favorite. But, here in the C gates, you actually have to leave the lounge and go into the crowds of everyone in the terminal to board. How barbaric! This lounge did have a buffet area and sit-down service restaurant so a couple hours before boarding I went for breakfast. I started with the yogurt and homemade granola and then had a local egg dish, both of which were tasty.
No boarding announcements were made within the lounge so I left about 40 minutes before departure to my gate across the terminal. I arrived and we were told of a 20 minute delay due to late arrival of the inbound aircraft. I could’ve walked back to the lounge but opted just to wait there in the gate area. Finally, boarding started and I was on through the first and business class line walking towards the upper deck of an A380 again.
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