Emirates’ network of over 30 lounges across six continents represents a significant investment by Emirates in consistency around the world. We visited the Sydney lounge to see how Emirates is delivering that consistent customer experience down under.
Emirates lounge access is available to passengers flying Qantas or Emirates, provided the passenger is in business or first class or flying in economy and holding Qantas or Emirates Gold or higher status. As part of Emirates’ partnership with Qantas, our experience is usually that Emirates prefers Qantas passengers to use Qantas lounges. However, there was no suggestion of that when we visited the Sydney lounge on this occasion.
Located on the arrivals level (down a floor) near Gate 58 (so at the far end of the airport), the lounge is opposite transit security. This pier of the airport is used predominately by Star Alliance carriers, and so the lounge is a bit of a hike from emigration and from the Qantas gates (which are numbered in the 30s).
Inside, the lounge follows a standard design language found in Emirates Lounges across the globe, with a sea of tan coloured chairs.
The business centre is particularly functional, with a number of seats – a rarity in a world where airline lounge business centres are fast going out of fashion. The lounge also offers a surprisingly extensive selection of magazines and newspapers, which blows the offerings of other lounges out of the water, even the Silver Kris Lounge in Sydney.
The lounge’s wi-fi password is scattered around on little metal signs set on pieces of furniture such as the coffee table below, although the password hasn’t changed in years.
There is plenty of lounge seating spread throughout the lounge, and yes: there are showers.
There are are ample powerpoints set into floors, walls, freestanding units and even some planter boxes.
It is the food and beverage offering which really what sets Emirates’ offering apart from Qantas’ International Business lounge offering.
There are two self serve bars, each which offer quality wines and a selection of spirits.
… including a selection of real champagne to help yourself to – Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label or Louis Roeder Brut Premier were the options on this visit. This is a massive step up on what you might find in the Qantas International Business lounge, and we find the staff proactive with offering refills. Certainly, we have never had a problem with having to wait for another drink (as you might in the Qantas First lounge located on the other side of the terminal) given that here you can always just pour yourself another.
There are plenty of tables spread out near the buffet for dining. We find the ‘flowers’ set on each of the tables don’t add to the ambiance.
An extensive buffet spread awaits in the dining area (and matches almost exactly the spread served in the Emirates lounge in Melbourne).
The service staff are quick to replace any individual item that is removed… one plate at a time.
A selection of hot dishes line the wall, which for the dinner service include vegetarian cannelloni, lamb cutlets, chicken tikka masala pie and poached salmon, along with sides.
For dessert, there is also an extensive selection. We settled on a chocolate one.
A small Sydney touch can be found in this lounge with the artwork being of famous Sydney skyscrapers. As we’ve said before, if you fell into a deep sleep and woke up in an Emirates lounge outside of their hub in Dubai, you’d be hard pressed to tell which Emirates port you were flying out of.
For those without access to the Qantas First lounge, we suggest that the Emirates lounge is the clear pick for Qantas passengers. Sure, it is a bit of a hike, but the catering really sets it apart from the Qantas international business lounge. We think it is well worth the walk.