After the sudden demise of the Plaza Premium Lounge at Delhi Terminal 3, all eyes were on Encalm Hospitality, which is the only contracted party due to launch new lounges in Delhi Airport. Encalm opened the International Lounge at Delhi T3 for non-airline customers in December 2022, which we have already reviewed.
While Encalm will launch the Delhi Terminal 3 Domestic Lounge with its design in the coming weeks (the current estimate is February 2023), for the time being, they have acquired the space earlier used by Plaza Premium Lounge Delhi T3 Domestic and reopened it under their own management.
About a week back (on January 5, 2023), Encalm taped up all instances of Plaza Premium at the erstwhile Plaza Premium Lounge Delhi Domestic T3 and reopened it. Here are some pictures of the external facade, with any mentions of Plaza Premium being taken away.
Delhi Airport Terminal 3 Domestic Location
The Delhi Airport Terminal 3 Lounge is on the mezzanine floor of the Delhi T3 Terminal, in the same space occupied by the earlier Plaza Premium Lounge (adjacent to the Air India Lounge Domestic T3). As was usual with the erstwhile lounge, the lounge was backed up for access with long queues, even without a formal announcement of the lounge opening. And a queue was present on both consecutive days I visited, albeit at different hours.
Delhi Airport Terminal 3 Domestic Access
The Delhi Airport Lounge at Terminal 3 Domestic is specifically for credit card/debit card access and will not cater to airline-invited passengers for the time being. Airlines will get an invitation when Encalm’s lounge design is ready to be rolled out. At the moment, the lounge is signing up for contracts with various banks, and a part of the queue is because no one knows what will work and what won’t. But one thing can be safely said, if your bank is routing their lounge access through Dreamfolks, the lounge is open for you. That means the following banks will work:
- Axis Bank
- HDFC Bank
- IndusInd Bank
- IDFC Bank
- ICICI Bank
- Kotak Mahindra Bank
- SBI Card
- American Express (effective January 10, 2023)
- Other MasterCard-eligible cards (issued in India)
For the moment, there is no contract with Priority Pass, so don’t expect to be able to swipe your Priority Pass to be able to enter the lounge.
Also, Lounge access is iffy right now. For instance, I headed to the lounge two days in a row (not planned, just by sheer chance!). On the first day, they could not let me in through Axis Bank’s Magnus Credit Card, so I had to pull out my HDFC Bank Diners Club Credit Card for them. On the second day, Magnus worked without any issues.
There are plans to put up self-service machines in the coming days, where you will be able to validate your lounge entry and have to deposit the slip with the reception before entering the lounge. The infrastructure for this is being set up as of now.
Delhi Airport Domestic Lounge, Terminal 3, Facilities
The current operational lounge has the same furniture and look and feel as the erstwhile Plaza Premium Lounge. Regardless, here are some pictures. The facade of the lounge is easy to identify. Notice the new shiny black strips to cover what could have been the earlier signage of Plaza Premium around here.
Anyhow, on the inside, the newer section, which used to be given to Priority Pass/ Airline invitees, is currently closed to the public. It is being used as a VIP lounge of some sort per others who have travelled through DEL recently.
Inside the main lounge area, on the left, as you enter, are a lot of solo couches, joined together in typical Plaza Premium organisation style, with power points in between.
Going further from there, there is an island intended to be used for solo travellers to get their laptops plugged in and get work done before it’s time to board. But as you can see, it was being used as a dining spot by everyone.
There are a lot more couches adjacent to this big community table.
There is a bar counter but no license to serve liquor. Hence, the lounge bar only serves soft drinks and tetra-pack juices.
If you go straight rather than left, you will have the entire dining area marked out. There are dining tables and chairs and a big community table.
I visited the lounge twice, as I mentioned earlier. One time, it was early morning, and breakfast was being served. Here is what was on offer on the breakfast buffet on the day I visited: Chole Kulche, Pohe, Idli Sambar, Chicken Sausages, Hard boiled eggs, and cereal, apart from a live station able to serve you eggs to order.
On the next day, I visited when lunch was being served. On that day, a more extensive offering included salads, soup, Indian curries (vegetarian and non-vegetarian) and white rice. Apart from that, there was a live station offering Pav Bhaji and a counter where you could make your own chaat.
There were also desserts being served in the afternoon.
The coffee machine had seen better days and spewed out a cappuccino that was neither hot nor cold.
And much like the international pier, there is a live chai counter, but the quality of tea here was horrible compared to the international pier.
As the only lounge at Delhi T3 Domestic that is secularly accessible right now, the lounge was bustling. But, this is not the actual Encalm product, I hope, and I seriously wish they work on going above the Plaza Premium Lounge standards rather than match those standards. Also, while the meals were pretty good, the hot beverages needed to go from unacceptable to good quickly.
The Delhi Airport Lounge at Delhi Terminal 3 Domestic is the only lounge, apart from the Air India Lounge and The Centurion Lounge, operational at the Delhi Airport. Access is granted purely via bank credit and debit cards here. The Lounge is divided into a lounging area, bar and restaurant. The food served here is Indian, and you should expect to see a crowd at the lounge.
Have you been to the Delhi Terminal 3 Domestic Lounge? What has been your experience at the lounge?
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