I have discovered the Ahlan First Class Lounge.
Recently, I made yet another trip from Dubai to Mumbai. I was travelling the newly launched Dreamliner flight from Air India in business class. I will come up with a full review of the flight soon. For this post, it suffices that Air India offers Marhaba Lounge access to its business class passengers. Marhaba Lounge can also be accessed by Priority Mass, Visa Infinite, LoungeKey, Mastercard elite members. Therefore, it is always crowded and often it is difficult to find an empty table.
When I travel through Concourse D, I prefer to sit at one of the umpteen restaurants next to the lounge – McDonalds, KFC, Taqado etc. The prices are not inflated and the experience is significantly better.
As mentioned above, Ahlan First Class Lounge is located on Concourse D of Terminal 1 at DXB Airport. Once you enter Concourse D from the train, you would see there are several restaurants and lounges (including Marhaba) on the mezzanine floor. Ahlan lounge is located next to Dubai International Hotel and very close to an Irish pub. It is directly opposite to the Marhaba Lounge.
Ahlan First Class Lounge – as the name suggests – is open to first class travelers flying on Air France, Oman Air, Royal Jordanian, Singapore Airlines and Kuwait Airlines. The exceptions are Air India, British Airways and Swiss among others. To clarify, Emirates does not have flights operating from Concourse D and has its dedicated lounges both for business and first-class passengers in Terminal 3.
You can also book this lounge through LoungeBuddy from $39 using this link. The receptionist had told me a rate of AED 89 which is a bit lower than $39.
Now for the fun part. If you have a Diners Club Credit Card, there is complementary entry to the lounge. I was told that supplementary members can also get a free entry. While Diners credit cards are rare, I happened to have one since forever. The lounge looked empty from outside, so I barged in 🙂
The lounge is twice the size of Marhaba Lounge and has giant TV screens. You walk by the reception and you have to cross this huge passage.
There is plenty of seating – both public (tables of 2 and 4) and in a more private setting. There was a massage chair as well. The lounge had only one more guest so I could take plenty of pictures.
Food & Beverages
It was 2AM when I checked in and there was no buffet spread. Instead, there was an open kitchen and a menu. You could place your order directly to chef or an attendant. The food was multi-cuisine and had sufficient variety. There were quite a few vegetarian options as well.
In addition, there were several Middle Eastern sweets, juices, yoghurt etc. I was not too hungry to order anything from the kitchen but I helped myself to a few sweets.
I was told that the breakfast buffet will start from 4AM. In preparation for breakfast, there were 5 tiny cans of jams and marmalade placed on each table. It made me feel that the breakfast would be really sumptuous. Unfortunately, I neither had the appetite nor the time to sample it.
There was also a well-stocked bar with bar chairs and a wine cellar.
In the chaos of DXB Terminal 1, Ahlan First Class Lounge gave me an unreal feeling. Plenty of seats, courteous and attentive staff and a very appealing menu. My respect for my Diners Credit Card went up by a couple of notches. And now, I have a default lounge for Terminal 1 Concourse D.