Emirates offering paid First Class Lounge Access in Dubai

This just in. The attempt to monetize it’s offerings has reached a new high at Emirates. Earlier on, Emirates started, sort of in a small way, nickel and diming economy class customers, making them pay for seat assignments, amongst other things. Recently, Emirates also stopped serving refresher towels and seafood meals in all economy flights. Some of these are cost-cutting measures, others are revenue generating measures, but they all point in the same direction of Emirates trying to make a more balanced P&L out of each customer.

Cue to the second part of this act, where on ground facilities will now be monetized. Emirates has just put out an offer where non-status, non-premium cabin travellers will be able to access the Emirates Lounge in Dubai on payment of a fee.


Here is the description on the Emirates website. I describe below how it works.

  • If you are an Emirates Skywards Blue tier member, you can pay to get access to the Emirates Lounges, and also bring along friends and family if you please. You would be paying USD 100 for access to the Business Class lounge per person, or USD 200 for access to the First Class Lounge.
  • Silver and Gold members of the Skywards program will get the option to bring friends/family along into the Business Class lounge at USD 100 per head.
  • If a Silver or Gold member wants to get access to the First Class Lounge (usually allowed into the Business Class lounge), they will be able to do so as well, by buying up (paying USD 100).

It seems if you don’t have an Emirates Skywards membership, you won’t be allowed in. You do need to be flying Emirates to be able to benefit from this new offering. The only exception is a Qantas flight, being operated with an Emirates codeshare. The lounge access on paper is valid for 4 hours, but given the vastness of some of the Emirates lounges, you could hide behind a chair and be missed when the Lounge dragon comes to waive you out Winking smile


I’m sure this move is not going to have people queue up outside the Emirates Lounges. The pricing is rich, and it would perhaps only make sense to those who are perhaps already heading into the First or Business Class Lounges but can now bring friends/family along rather than going alone or skipping the lounge altogether.

Would you use this new offering from Emirates as an economy traveller with no status? I’m curious to know.

About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. It really depends on what the use-case is. $100 isn’t worth it if only limited to the food and drink.

    On the other hand, the Emirates DXB lounge has extremely comfortable recliners – so if somebody desperately wants to catch some shut-eye for say, around 6 hours or so, then the $100 is well worth the price of admission.

    The bottomline – As an economy passenger, I would pay $100 for lounge access is my layover is 6 hour+.

    But non-status frequent flyers should just get the highest tier of priority pass, which is well worth the annual $400 fee.

  2. It’s already common for airlines to sell lounge access (AA/UA etc in US and I believe Quanta in QU).

    These airlines don’t sell FC lunge access but they don’t have many FC lounges anyway. Even the few FC lounges (as they call them) aren’t worth a mention.

  3. Yes I would pay to use this. We had a 6 hours layover in October on our way back from Singapore so were exceptionally tired. We had intended to use the Malhabra lounge but it was full, dirty and wouldn’t have been worth the money so ended up on uncomfortable seats in a bar. We scoured the whole airport and there were only a very limited number of reasonable comfortable seats

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