Emirates plans first class Champagne Lounge at Dubai Airport

Emirates' first class lounge in Dubai is set for another upgrade: this time, with a new Champagne bar serving vintage drops.

By Chris Chamberlin, September 18 2019

Building on the success of Emirates’ business class Moët & Chandon Champagne Lounge in Dubai, the airline is planning a separate, upgraded Champagne Lounge for first class passengers and Platinum frequent flyers of Skywards and Qantas.

Earmarked as part of an upcoming expansion of the Emirates first class lounge at Dubai Airport’s Concourse B, the new facility would be a step above what’s currently available in the business class lounge, to match the loftier heights of first class.

Emirates’ business class Moët & Chandon Champagne Lounge in Dubai
Emirates’ business class Moët & Chandon Champagne Lounge in Dubai

Speaking with Executive Traveller in Dubai, Don Surendra, Emirates’ Manager Product Development (Airport Services), affirms that “the first class Champagne offering is going to be much more bespoke.”

“It's going to be vintage. It’s also going to be much more personalised, because we have only 1,200 people a day (come through the first class lounge), whereas business class has almost 12,000, so we can really create something.”

Of course, the current Moët & Chandon business class Champagne Lounge routinely features one vintage drop and three non-vintages, but there’s room to expand that with a full vintage line-up in the first class space: and which won’t necessarily be Moët, either.

Emirates’ business class Moët & Chandon Champagne in Dubai
Emirates’ business class Moët & Chandon Champagne in Dubai

“At this time, our partnership is with Moët, but having said that, none of our contracts are exclusive,” Surendra continues.

When asked if the lounge might instead focus on brands like Veuve Clicquot or Dom Pérignon, Surendra adds, “if we feel that’s would what we would do, that's a bridge that we'll cross at that time – but currently the partnership is with Moët, and they're absolutely committed to what we do.”

In any case, it’ll be a move welcomed by Emirates’ first class passengers and both Platinum and above-Platinum members of Emirates Skywards and Qantas Frequent Flyer, who have access to the airline’s first class lounges in Dubai, but who must currently ‘downgrade’ themselves to the business class lounge to take advantage of the existing Champagne bar.

“The work is still ongoing – still a little way off – but it was always on the cards that once we do the business class Champagne Lounge, trial it, and know for a fact that people love it – which is the case – we’ll do the same for first class as well,” Surendra elaborates.

Drawing inspiration from the current business class Champagne Lounge

Although tucked away in the far corner of Emirates’ Concourse B business class lounge, today’s Champagne bar serves as a starting point for many travellers, who enjoy a glass of bubbly upon arrival – especially when that’s different to the ‘normal’ lounge Champagne, with canapés to match.

Champagne with matching canapés at Emirates’ business class Champagne Lounge in Dubai
Champagne with matching canapés at Emirates’ business class Champagne Lounge in Dubai

As such, the area isn’t designed for passengers to stay for long periods, and positioning it away from the lounge’s main dining zones helps to keep more seats available for other guests to come in and try the Champagne: a concept Emirates is also expected to apply when designing the first class Champagne Lounge.

“The current understanding is that customers would come there, have a glass of Champagne, try something that they haven't, look at the food pairing, and say, “wow, I didn't realise, this completely changed my palate”, and then go into the restaurant to have a meal,” Surendra continues.

However, there’s still room to improve the existing business class Champagne Lounge, particularly to make it more visible, noticeable and convenient, given passengers currently have to wander the length of the lounge to find it – and when departing, walk all the way back to the front to exit, even if their gate is right near the Champagne bar.

“Right now, there’s a location towards the end of Moët which is currently a cafe run by another retailer, and they're not fully utilising it, so that space has been committed to us. We'll create an additional pathway through, because it means you could exit and go straight into the Concourse.”

Currently, you can't easily exit the lounge from the 'Champagne area'
Currently, you can't easily exit the lounge from the 'Champagne area'

“Even so, I don't think any other airline has this. Moët were after us for a long time to build it, but we took our time to think it through,” Surendra sums up.

Also read: Visiting Emirates' Moët & Chandon Champagne bar

Chris Chamberlin travelled to Dubai as a guest of Emirates.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

BevanMcBevan

BevanMcBevan

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Mar 2013

Total posts 136

Many Thanks, Chris, looking forward to it. Ahh, it's a first-world problem but, anything other than Moet, please.

The access for 'Platinum' is always a curly one. If you are flying EK metal EK Bus and you're a QF Plat - no entry. If you're flying EK metal on a QF ticket, any class, and are a QF Plat - you're home and hosed. I could be wrong, but that is my lay of the land. Cheers!

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2951

Emirates first class lounge access in Dubai is open to Qantas Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman's Lounge members when their next onward flight is operated by Emirates and is booked under an EK or QF flight number.

BevanMcBevan

BevanMcBevan

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Mar 2013

Total posts 136

Many Thanks there, Chris

fonseca

fonseca

06 Jul 2016

Total posts 3

Experiencing the current Business Class champagne bar is definitely one of the benefits of doing DXB lounge due diligence - only in Concourse B, only in the Business Class lounge, have to work a bit to find it. The refreshing beverage selection is complemented by a range of interesting amuse bouche-style finger food that is well differentiated from that available elsewhere in the lounge. Well worth navigating the moderately confusing terminal signage if you have a long enough layover, even if you aren't arriving in or leaving from Concourse B.

lafleche

lafleche

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Jun 2016

Total posts 31

Hi Chris, did you get a feeling for what "still a little way off" actually means? Weeks? Months? a year? Just curious...Regardless, would be nice to see them expand to other champagne houses. And yes i concur, a first world problem, but there are so many outstanding champagne houses to choose from!

Phil Young

Phil Young

Qantas

22 Oct 2012

Total posts 263

As Chris said in the article, Emirates are "planning" such a lounge. And of course that can mean anything. It can mean that the architect is currently working on plans for the fitout, or it can mean that management are floating the concept in the media such as Executive Traveller to see what the response is. It may not even happen.

But I have to report, with a little regret and embarrassment that these super expensive champagnes are wasted on me. I mean the bottles that cost over $300 a bottle. I would never buy such a bottle, and my taste buds don't discern much difference between a $350 vintage bottle and a $70 non-vintage by the same winery.

gsx

gsx

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Aug 2015

Total posts 22

There is nothing stopping them offering vintage champagne in their first lounges now if the really need too

Should not have to have a special bar to provide it to their customers

andyf

andyf

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2014

Total posts 122

Dom Perignon is a Moet brand ... so that perhaps makes the most sense in terms of extending their partnership? Interestingly (to me at least, since I just looked it up), LVMH which owns Moet also owns Krug, Mercier, Ruinart, and Veuve. So lots of options just within the one partner.


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