The Emirates Lounge at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport brings many features that travellers appreciate. The space is luxurious but subdued – premium but not over the top. Drawing upon the airline’s freshest design palette, the lounge is a welcoming pre-flight haven: and one stocked with Champagne and first-rate buffet fare.
Here’s what to expect when travelling with Emirates from Melbourne to Dubai or Singapore – or perhaps even before flying Qantas to Auckland.
Lounge location, layout and seating
Emirates’ Melbourne lounge sits after security in Terminal 2. It’s one level above the main airport concourse – you’ll find the escalators near gate 10. If you haven’t flown Emirates out of Melbourne for a fair while, note that the lounge is no longer opposite Melbourne’s Qantas International First Lounge. This is instead a newer space, closer to The House.
The airline’s newer digs enjoy an enviable corner location, allowing plenty of natural light to flow into the space. The seating footprint largely follows a square shape. This maximises the window views for guests throughout the space. Placing amenities such as the kitchen and restrooms in the ‘centre’ of the square helps to achieve this.
Design-wise, Emirates’ Melbourne lounge follows the carrier’s more modern outstation lounge design. It’s a significant step above Emirates’ Sydney lounge, which retains the airline’s previous generation look and feel.
Emirates’ Melbourne lounge tailors its opening hours to suit the airline’s flight departures. This currently sees it opening between 12:25 am and 5:45 am. This caters for the 3:25 am EK405 service to Singapore and Dubai, and the 6:15 am EK409 flight direct to Dubai. (Evidently, Melbourne Airport has no curfew). The lounge reopens between 6:30 pm and 10 pm each day to serve eligible passengers on EK407 to Dubai.
Food and beverage in the Emirates Lounge, Melbourne
Emirates’ Melbourne lounge is something of a catch-all. That’s because it serves both Business Class and First Class passengers, as well as Gold and Platinum frequent flyers. There’s no differentiation of service for those at those upper rungs. So instead, the lounge is designed more along the lines of ‘Business plus’, rather than ‘First Class’. Whether that’s a good thing or a detractor really depends on your status or seat number. Here’s what I mean.
Rather than à la carte dining – a staple of Emirates’ First Class lounges – everything here is self-serve. The airline’s signature dome counter offers chilled items that are ready to grab and go or that can be plated up easily. Help yourself to cheese and accompaniments, seafood, crudités, fruit, salads and desserts.
A separate counter lines the wall, and it’s where you’ll find all of the hot food. This is where the lounge’s ‘Business plus’ vibe is most noticeable. Rather than just a few hot dishes, you can take your pick from a much wider selection. Whether you’re in the mood for fish, chicken, lamb, beef or vegetation options, you’re set.
The beverage selections are also a little more premium than in Melbourne’s other international Business Class lounges. For one thing, there’s Champagne – and a choice at that. Sip Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label or Moët & Chandon Brut NV. (Veuve is always my pick of the two). There’s no bartender, but you’re free to mix other drinks from a wide selection of spirits.
Beer, wine and non-alcoholic alternatives are readily available. As for coffee, it’s from a push-button machine. This is where Emirates could make the biggest improvement, especially for passengers up bright and early for the 6:15 am flight to Dubai.
The Emirates Lounge offers a few other key features in Melbourne. One is its calming waterfall, positioned near the dining zone. Compared to the hustle and bustle of the concourse below, the relaxing trickles of water make for a much more soothing pre-flight de-stress.
If you’re getting some final work done before you jet off, head to the business centre in the corner. There are computers here if you need them – although I can’t say I ever see them in use. These days, people generally travel with their own tech, and for that, the lounge’s Wi-Fi is up to the task.
There’s also a prayer room: an appropriate feature for a Middle Eastern carrier. Especially as the lounge’s opening hours currently align with the local Islamic prayer times for Fajr and Maghrib.
Other features rounding out the lounge include flight information screens, restrooms and showers.
Accessing the Emirates Lounge, Melbourne
Emirates’ Melbourne lounge primarily serves eligible travellers on the airline’s own flights. But subject to flight timings and opening hours, it may also be possible to visit the lounge before selected Qantas flights. At present, the stars only align for passengers on QF155 to Auckland, which departs at 11:45 pm. And even then, the lounge closes at 10 pm, so it’s not ideal.
Assuming the lounge is open though, here’s who makes the cut when flying from Melbourne.
- By class of travel:
- Emirates First Class (+1 guest).
- Emirates Business Class, including reward tickets, but excluding passengers booked on paid Business Class Special fares.
- Qantas Business Class, excluding to destinations in North America, South America or South Africa.
- Courtesy of elite status:
- Invitation-only Emirates iO cardholders (+ guests), regardless of airline or flight number.
- Emirates Skywards Platinum (+1 adult guest and +2 children), departing on Emirates. Access is also available prior to eligible Qantas flights (those not bound for the Americas or South Africa) during opening hours.
- Emirates Skywards Gold (+1 adult or child guest), departing on Emirates. Again, entry when flying on Qantas is also possible, when the destination isn’t one of those excluded and the lounge is open.
- Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge (+1 guest), with an onward flight operated by Qantas or Emirates and booked on a QF or EK flight number. This again excludes Qantas flights to those destinations above.
Alternatively, paid access is possible when flying with Emirates. Prices are based in USD, with the current rate being equal to US$170.50, including tax (roughly AU$254) per person. Skywards Blue and Silver members get a discount, paying US$137.50 (~AU$205) per person.
For Business Class travellers and Gold frequent flyers, Emirates’ Melbourne lounge is a rock-solid pre-flight retreat. Of course, there’s a premium buffet to enjoy, a choice of Champagne and sweeping airport views. But the design of the lounge is also one that, in my book, ranks Melbourne towards the top of the airline’s long list of outstation airport lounges.
Those nestled in First Class or with Platinum status might find the airport’s Qantas International First Lounge a tad more appealing. At least, when flying on EK407, which aligns with the opening hours of that First Lounge. A common strategy for EK407 is to relax in the Qantas International First Lounge until closer to boarding, and then wander over to the Emirates Lounge to await the boarding call.
As far as Business Class lounges go, though, Emirates presents a solid and premium offering in Melbourne. Barista-made coffee and bartender service would elevate the lounge even further, if these were to make an appearance.
Also read: Emirates eyes all-new Sydney Airport lounge
Photography by Chris Chamberlin and Antonia Strakosch, who travelled at Point Hacks’ expense.
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