Pining for some peace and privacy at the airport? Business Traveller finds refuge in five exclusive terminals.
AL MAJLIS TERMINAL, DUBAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Dubai International airport offers VIP services at its Al Majlis Terminal (pictured above), located between the Airport Expo terminal and the Royal Airwing building. Mainly serving premium travellers boarding private jets or chartered flights, the Al Majlis service is also available for passengers flying with commercial airlines to and from Dubai airport.
Arriving and departing passengers can take advantage of the exclusive VIP facility by making reservations (by phone, email or in person at the Al Majlis counter) at least 24 hours before their trip and paying Dhs1,510/£206 (applicable from one to five passengers). Transit passengers can use the same lounge for a fee of AED2,010 (£275).
Guests are greeted at the lounge by a private escort who can attend to all requirements including check-in, immigration and baggage clearance. Because the Al Majlis facility is located away from the hustle and bustle of the main terminal, guests can expect quiet privacy and personalised attention. The lounge offers trademark Arabian hospitality, and facilities include stand-alone check-in and check-out areas, cable TV, showers, wifi and even a small duty-free section. Light refreshments and drinks are served, and the lounge operates a fleet of Mercedes limousines for airport transfers and to transport passengers to and from the aircraft.
Currently, besides the flagship Al Majlis VIP Terminal, the Al Majlis service is also available at the main terminal of Dubai airport. A new Al Majlis lounge is due to open in the upcoming Terminal 3 of the airport. The brand is also expected to get a makeover shortly and prices at the pay-and-use lounge are likely to change.
QATAR AIRWAYS PREMIUM TERMINAL, DOHA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Dedicated to first and business class customers flying Qatar Airways, the Premium Terminal has a dedicated check-in where bellboys take your luggage as you sink into leather sofas. There are inviting water features and flower arrangements throughout the terminal, and as you walk past the duty-free area, which sells luxury products, you are tempted to go up to the terminal’s hotel-like reception on the top floor. The first class and business class lounges, dressed up in beige and burgundy sofas, are separated by a waterfall and have a sky-roof that opens so you can dine under the stars.
There are 300 seats per lounge, and the first class lounge offers a spa, a martini bar and bigger buffets. Both lounges feature internet workstations, a smokers’ area and quiet zones. The terminal includes prayer rooms, a clinic, a business centre with a conference room, and a PlayStation room. All facilities are free except for the spa, where treatments start at QR350 (£48). The first class lounge has five private rooms for layover passengers available on a need basis. First class customers are taken to the aircraft in a BMW.
Qatar Airways will be moving to the new Doha International airport when it opens in 2010, where a similar, but enhanced, premium facility is planned.
LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS TERMINAL, FRANKFURT AIRPORT
Opened in 2004, Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal (FCT) is still the ultimate in elegance and exclusivity. Designed to process just 350 passengers a day, this unobtrusive but beautifully designed facility is only open to first class ticketholders with Lufthansa and Miles and More members who have earned HON Circle status by accumulating over 600,000 miles in two years.
The FCT is a five-minute transfer from Lufthansa’s first-class check-in area at Terminal 1, and has its own car park. On arrival, passengers are whisked through an elegant security area while a personal assistant takes care of their car, luggage and check-in. There is a small duty free shop, and anything not stocked there can be sourced from the outlets in T1.
The lounge itself is very light and bright, with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto the runway and leather chairs in muted shades of brown and cream. Five small offices are fully equipped with phones and sockets, and have glass sliding doors for privacy, and wifi is available throughout the terminal.
An elegant bar is stocked with more than 70 different whiskies, as well as a wide selection of coffees and teas. Mouth-watering catering is provided by Do & Co in the restaurant (open 5.30am-10.30pm), and smokers can be served with both drinks and food in the large, glass-walled Cigar Room, which provides a welcome refuge from Germany’s recent ban.
For the jet-lagged, there are two soundproofed and lockable rooms with beds. Three huge sandstone and marble bathrooms are also available, all with rain showers and one with an outsize bathtub – the latter is so popular that there are often waiting lists for it, and it is also the only place (apart from the first class lounge at Munich airport) where you can pick up a Lufthansa rubber duck.
There are no loudspeakers in the terminal, so passengers are advised by their personal assistant when their plane is ready for boarding, and have the choice of a Mercedes S-Class and a Porsche Cayenne to transport them across the tarmac.
JETQUAY CIP TERMINAL, SINGAPORE CHANGI AIRPORT
The next time you visit Singapore, arrive in style – have your personal concierge greet you at the airbridge and whisk you off in a limousine to the CIP (Commercial Important Persons) Terminal, where you are processed by Immigration in the comfort of a lounge, while your checked bags are being picked up.
A separate driveway and entrance at the 2,000 sqm self-contained terminal ensures CIP guests arrive in total privacy, and avails them of a range of free services and facilities: wifi connectivity, business centre, meeting rooms, food and drinks, Duty Free shopping (from a catalogue or through a guest relations officer), an art gallery (the artworks are for sale), showers, gym, spa, terrace, and even a nap room for the jetlagged. Then, a limousine awaits to take the guest to their hotel.
On departure, travellers can arrive at the CIP Terminal as early as several hours prior to their flight and up to one hour before take-off, and are transferred by buggy when the plane is ready for boarding. Membership is open to all passengers and is available in three types: Gateway Service from S$75 (£27), Quayside Service from S$150 (£54) and Jetside Service from S$1,000 (£363).
SILVERJET TERMINAL, LUTON AIRPORT
Opened in 2007, Silverjet’s Silver Lounge is the only private terminal offered by a commercial airline in the UK. The personal touch is what Silverjet promises with this terminal, and it starts with the option of using your mobile phone to check-in for the flight.
You can call ahead on your way to the airport and give check-in details over the phone to ensure your boarding pass is ready for pick-up as soon as you arrive at the Silver Lounge. There’s also a special mobile-enabled website, which means you can use your phone to check the details of your flight, flight times and contact the airport by text or email.
On arrival at the terminal there is a concierge meet-and-greet baggage drop. Silverjet says that, with only 100 passengers on each of its Boeing 767 planes, it is easier to ensure customers’ luggage is loaded onto the correct aircraft (avoiding the lost-luggage problems suffered at other airports, something on everyone’s mind at the moment).
The Silverjet terminal is 9,000 sq ft and, as well as all the usual refreshments and snacks, the lounge has “The Dunhill Den”, with vintage leather armchairs and sofas and the distinctive fuel tank table. The lounge has dedicated security channels, allowing check-in just 30 minutes before departure (45 minutes for customers with checked luggage).