Review: Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles

Filed Under: Lufthansa

I arrived at Washington Dulles Airport at around 3PM, and proceeded to the Lufthansa check-in counter. Lufthansa’s first class check-in counter is located on the opposite side of the other check-in counters, closer to security.

Lufthansa Washington Dulles Airport check-in

There was no queue at first class check-in, and within about a minute I had a boarding pass issued for my flight to Frankfurt and connection to Amsterdam.

Lufthansa Washington Dulles Airport check-in

I proceeded towards security and then took the train to the B Concourse, which is by far the most impressive concourse at Washington Dulles Airport. If only the rest of the airport were as nice…

Escalators to Terminal B Washington Dulles Airport

The Lufthansa Lounge is located immediately to the right of the escalators, between gates B49 and B51. It’s open daily from 8:20AM till 9:45PM, given that many airlines share the lounge with Lufthansa nowadays.

Terminal B Washington Dulles Airport

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport

The lounge has a large entryway, with the Senator Lounge located to the side of the reception desk, and the Business Lounge located on the lower level. For those of you not familiar with the difference between a Senator Lounge and Business Lounge, the Senator Lounge is available to first class and Star Alliance Gold passengers, while the Business Lounge is available to business class passengers. The difference between lounges typically isn’t huge, but rather it’s just a way to distribute passengers. Of course, if you’d otherwise have no access to either one, a credit card with lounge access is a great back-up plan with some other options at Dulles.

One of the things that makes this lounge so popular is that all Star Alliance Gold members get access to the lounge when flying a Star Alliance airline, even when traveling domestically. So a United Star Alliance Gold member traveling domestically would get access to the Lufthansa Senator Lounge, but wouldn’t get access to the United Club, for example.

One thing that they’ve added to the lounge in recent years is a first class section. Once I presented my boarding pass the agent escorted me into the Senator Lounge and to the first class section. She explained that I would be escorted onto the plane once the flight was ready for boarding.

The partitioned off first class section is kind of comical, and you can’t help but feel a bit sheepish there, given how exposed it is.

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport First Class Section

It’s not actually any different than the rest of the lounge — it used to just be part of the standard Senator Lounge — though I guess the main benefit is that it’s quieter. There’s some counter-top seating overlooking the tarmac, some lounge chairs, and then in the corner a dining area.

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport First Class Section

Austrian 767 Washington Dulles Airport

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport First Class Section

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport First Class Section

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport First Class Section

They do have a special menu for first class passengers. It’s not “real” food, but they have premium drinks and food available. Every so often a server also comes by to see if you want anything, which I haven’t otherwise found to be the case in the Senator Lounge.

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport First Class Section Menu

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport First Class Section Menu

In terms of the rest of the Senator Lounge, there’s some counter-top seating near the buffet, and they also have a bar located behind that. I believe Virginia liquor laws dictate that they can’t have a self serve bar, so there’s a server pouring alcoholic beverages.

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport

The alcohol selection was pretty decent.

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport

Since I was there the day of the World Cup semifinals, they had some Brazil themed drinks.

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport

The champagne on offer was Monopole Heidsieck Blue Top Brut, which was perfectly drinkable.

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport Champagne

Then behind the buffet and counter-top area was a large area with more traditional lounge seating.

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport

In terms of the food spread, it was quite good compared to what you’d get at most lounges in the US.

They had lots of snacks (trail mix, nuts, gummy bears, etc.) and sweets on display (cookies, brownies, panna cotta, etc.).

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport Food Spread

Then they had several types of finger sandwiches, cheese, and salad with several types of accompaniments.

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport Food Spread

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport Food Spread

Then there was a tomato basil soup.

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport Food Spread

And then several hot dishes, including pasta, fish, beef, etc.

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport Food Spread

There was also a cappuccino machine and a soda fountain.

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport Cappuccino Machine

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport Soda Fountain

I hadn’t eaten since breakfast so had a snack (without trying to totally spoil my appetite for the flight).

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport Snack

The Senator Lounge’s bathroom was nice enough, though doesn’t have showers, unfortunately. The Business Lounge does have showers, however.

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport Bathroom

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Airport Bathroom

My flight was schedule for 6:10PM, and around 30 minutes before that an agent came by to fetch me and tell me the flight was ready for boarding. There’s a door leading directly from the first class section of the lounge to gate B47, where my plane was departing from.

Lufthansa 747-8 Washington Dulles Airport

At the door the agent introduced me to the crew, and as you’d expect spirits were high, as Germany was about to advance to the finals of the World Cup. I talked more about the general spirit in the lounge and aboard in my previous post about the flight.

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles Bottom Line

For a lounge in the US, the Lufthansa Senator Lounge is really solid, in my opinion. The food spread is good, employees generally friendly, and the lounge is conveniently located next to the departure gate. That being said, the lounge is busier than ever, as there are all kinds of other airlines using the lounge as well. Fortunately that didn’t really add to the crowding in the first class section. 😉

  1. If you check out the British Airways Galleries Lounge, they have self serve liquor. The airport itself is located in Virginia, and they can have self serve bottles.

  2. What happened to the Champagne Lucky? The picture does not look like Taittinger as per the menu to me!

  3. @Lucky – if one is *G and in UA C or F (transit international to domestic or vv) can one ask to use the shower in the Business Lounge?

  4. Dulles is in Virginia–not DC–but I think you’re right about state law prohibiting self-serve (among many other silly rules).

  5. Did you check out their Business Class lounge downstairs? it’s a pretty sad effort; a huge step down from the Senator Lounge.

  6. Thanks for the insight, Lucky. What’s the best way to figure out the access to each lounge at the airport, instead of looking into each of their website? I wouldn’t know if this lounge would allow Star Alliance Gold members travelling domestically to enter.

  7. Makes sense to rope off a First section. Those tables is usually where I sit. I guess this separates the F passengers from the UA Gold riff raff that go into the lounge. It is clearly better than the UA Global First lounge (which UA won’t let LH F passengers in).

  8. Was going through Dulles last month. In my opinion, I liked United First Lounge better. It is not too far, only a short train ride. Self serve full bar over at UA. UA First is more like a gentlemans club rather than light and airy feel of the Senator Lounge.

  9. @Dani – I’m a UA 1K (Star Gold) and I’ve used this LH Senator lounge many times on a UA domestic to domestic connection and never had any issues entering. It’s a bit of a hike from the UA gates though; more convenient if you’re traveling to or from the United Express gates in concourse A (10 minute or so walk). As for figuring out lounge access, there’s a good free app available for iPhone (not sure about other platforms) called LoungeBuddy where you enter all your elite status and paid lounge card information and it will tell you which lounges you can access at which airports.

  10. Wife and I were there last month. Very nice food and drink selection. Also the staff was excellent, keeping the place clean and serving drinks – very helpful.

  11. Wow… since the last time I was there they have even given the corner bench seating over to the first class section. This lounge can be mobbed in the evenings before the international flights depart. Even before they gave that corner bench seating to the first class section, many people had to stand. After the flights departed, we were the only ones in the lounge! (a good place to spend time on a long delay in IAD!).

  12. @ john galbraith — Good point. I was getting champagne from the Senator Lounge bar, so maybe I should have asked for the first class selection.

  13. @Rami: It is a general star Alliance rule to always give lounge access to all *Gold passengers flying on any star alliance flight. United clubs have a specific exception in their rules to exclude domestic passengers from their own clubs. But the Lufthansa lounges choose to follow the regular *A rules and provide to all *Gold passengers on any *alliance flight.

  14. Indeed, the Senator Lounge can get quite crowded in the late afternoon, and I think it is well advised to provide a designated first class section to ensure that F pax can, at a minimum, get a seat.

    As for the comparison between the Senator Lounge and the UA Global First lounge, I have gone through the Global First Lounge only on the late bank of flights (10 pm or so) which serve FRA, LHR, and Middle East and SA destinations. The lounge by then is a colossal disappointment. I have never seen them make any effort to update the offerings from the earlier group of flights to the point that hummus is caked on the bowl from which it is served, the “sushi” is dried out, and the warming tray which claims to have spanakopita has shards of phyllo dough leftover. The whole experience has made me feel like a second class citizen in first class.

  15. Love this lounge. Earlier this year, the 4hr+ wait for a severely delayed SN flight was rather pleasant here. As the crowds died down and those needy LH-First passengers departed (ha), the bartender mixed up some fun concoctions, followed by a mini whiskey tasting session while the staff brought out freshly made pretzel-bread mini-sandwiches. The party lasted until almost 1 AM when we finally crawled on board and slept all the way to BRU.

  16. One thing to mention about this lounge is the awful internet access. I was there maybe a little over a year ago and it routed all traffic through Germany, which may or may not have contributed to the slowness. There also limited to no cell reception in the business lounge on amusingly enough, T-Mobile, so tethering is not an option either.

  17. Business Class Lounge has a cold atmoshere
    Food was miserable, only Staff was very friendly
    we left and Took a meal in the corridor

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