When your lounge is a champagne bar, cigar lounge, spa, and yes, an airport.
Battery anxiety. We’ve all experienced it. But in an age when most frequent fliers carry along a power bank for electronic devices and peace of mind, it is interesting to note that the new charging stations at the Emirates first class and business class lounges,Dubai, are the most in demand. Then again, which harried corporate wouldn’t want to throw his power-hungry phone into safekeeping (each station is designed like a cabinet of 15 or more hotel room safes), and settle down to a flute of bubbly or a Cohiba Siglo V. While the opulent cigar lounge is a big plus in first class, it is the newly-introduced Moet et Chandon Champagne bar in business class that has many happy customers. And note that it’s not just our ‘value for money’ Indians who take them up on their other first class lounge complimentary services (shoe shining and 15 minutes at the Timeless Spa).
The good thing about the Dubai airport is its massive size—what else do you expect when you have a terminal dedicated exclusively to the A380! Also, since the first class lounge runs the entire length of the terminal at Concourse A, you can count on finding a quiet sofa, napping bed, dining table, shower room, nursing station and children’s play area (this one’s sound-proofed so it’s quiet for the rest of us, thank you). Stock up on celebrated first growths at the wine store, Le Clos, or shop within the lounge itself, before serenely boarding your flight through the lounge. A health station with neatly designed drinks, salads, flavoured water and small plates has its dedicated clients, but you are welcome to fill up on curries, stews, poached king prawns and all things extravagant at other stations or a la carte.
At London’s Business Travel Show three years ago, Priority Pass, an independent provider of airport lounge access had forecasted ‘super lounges’ in 2030. While some of the advertised features like virtual work stations and virtual reality fitness areas with simulated environments will take awhile, others like noise cancelling technologies for peaceful lounges and a wide range of food and drink options are already a given at the Emirates lounges. Additionally, from a wellness perspective, the expansive terminal might see you double your ‘steps per day’ quota, too (a ground staff who shows me around says he clocks in over 25,000 steps at the end of his shift). Is there nothing to whine about, you ask. Better wi-fi coverage, perhaps. High use—think 1,800 departures per week from Dubai on Emirates alone—explains why you are automatically signed out after five minutes of inactivity. Try explaining this to someone sending out official mails (read box for more on in-flight digital connectivity). But as someone who perfects the art of logging up more air miles than a pilot reminds me, there’s more to an airline lounge than connectivity. How about when you’ve had such a good time that you remember your powered-up phone in its charging station, only after you’ve boarded your connecting flight? It’s happened before, the ground staff tell me gravely.
Chennai to Dubai, business class
(one way), at Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 approx.
The writer was invited by Emirates