Over the Christmas / New Year break, Australian Business Traveller will be revisiting some of our most popular articles of 2017. We’re still around to report on any breaking news during this time, otherwise our regular publishing schedule will resume on Monday January 8, 2018.
Emirates now lets travellers in economy buy their way into the airline's flagship business class lounge at Dubai for just US$100 (A$134) – but is it worth the asking price?
Emirates' business class lounge certainly ticks all the boxes for a weary traveller in transit.
That includes creature comforts such as showers, which will be welcome after the 11-14 hour flight from Australia to Dubai – although given the possibility of queues, we recommend the showers should your first port of call in case you have to make a reservation.
There are also rest nooks with a day bed so you can catch some sleep between flights.
A wrinkle here is that Emirates says your lounge access fee is good for only four hours in the lounge, so you might not want to spend too much of that time snoozing.
We've no idea how Emirates actively enforces this four-hour limit, but the airline claims that if you do stay for more than four hours – even due to "flight disruptions and delays" – you'll be up for an additional US$100 to cover a further four hours.
So what else does that US$100 give you? There's a self-serve buffet with an excellent spread of hot and cold food as well as snacks including Haagen-Dazs ice-cream.
While you'd be able to buy a meal in the sprawling Dubai terminal, there's something to be said about having plenty of choice and being able to graze the selection rather than limit yourself to a single dish off the menu.
If you fancy a drink or two to go with your meal, the lounge's bar is well stocked with beer, wine, spirits and champagne.
The Emirates business class lounge at Dubai's Concourse B goes a step better with a Moët & Chandon champagne bar, which also serves a selection of canapés created to complement each champagne...
... as well as a Costa coffee bar where you can grab a barista-pulled brew...
... or, at the Health Hub, a healthy spread of gourmet sandwiches, wraps, and salads alongside juices and smoothies.
To all that you can add the copious seating in Emirates' massive Dubai business class lounge – which runs the entire length of the terminal – and ample availability of AC sockets for charging up your laptop, tablet or smartphone.
None of these elements is worth US$100 on its lonesome. But roll them all together and as long as you've got three to four hours (or more) between flights, we'd rate this as a steal of a deal compared to sitting around in the terminal's public area.
And given that children aged 2-12 years pay just US$50 (A$67) and while infants under two years get into the lounge free, this is also a solid option if you're travelling on holidays with your family.
As a bonus, the ability to board your flight directly from the lounge rather than lining up at the regular ground-floor departure gate saves time as well as reducing transit hassle.
Economy passengers can also jump straight into Emirates first class lounge for US$200 (A$268) but that's quite an ask compared to a typically low-range economy fare. We suggest that almost any economy class traveller will be more than satisfied with a couple of hours in the business class lounge.
Note that you'll need to be an entry-level or Blue member of Emirates Skywards frequent flyer scheme to buy your way into the business class lounge. You can sign up for Skywards online, and there's no cost – but this shouldn't be something you leave until you've just landed in Dubai.
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