Washington’s Dulles International Airport (IDA) is one of three airports serving the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. Baltimore-Washington International Airport actually has higher passenger numbers, but Dulles delivers 90 percent of the international flights to the area. Concourses C and D are for United Airlines flights within the airport, while other airlines share Concourses A and B. We review the best airport lounge if you are flying in First or Business Class or have a Priority Pass or relevant credit card.
Airlines that fly out of Washington Dulles include:
- Aer Lingus
- Air China
- Air India
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Delta Airlines
- Ethiopian Airlines
- Etihad Airways
- Porter Airlines
- South African Airlines
- Air France
- American Airlines
- Brussels Airlines
- Copa Airlines
- Korean Air
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Air Maroc
- Saudia Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Air Canada
- Alaska Airlines
- ANA All Nippon Airlines
- Austrian Airlines
- Frontier Airlines
- Sun Country Airlines
- TAP Air Portugal
- Turkish Airlines
- United Airlines
We have already reviewed the best executive or club lounges in Washington DC. Wherever you decide to stay, in Washington DC or elsewhere, book via our luxury travel concierge. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts, and free perks at hotels, including the Four Seasons, Hyatt, Ritz Carlton, Marriott, InterContinental, and more.
Typically, our free benefits at luxury hotels include:
- Room upgrade to next category
- Complimentary breakfast for two per bedroom
- Complimentary Welcome Gift
- $100 USD equivalent Hotel experiential credit per room per stay
- Early check-in / Late check-out, subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
Free Airport Lounge Access
If you have not paid for Business Class or First Class, you can access airport lounges for free if you have an unlimited Priority Pass or an Amex Platinum card. To get extra bonus referral points and advice on the Platinum American Express and other free lounge access credit cards, have a read of our best credit cards for luxury travel.
1. Lufthansa Senator Lounge And Business, Concourse B
The Lufthansa Senator Lounge can be found between the British Airways and Air France- KLM lounges and is one of the best airport lounges in Concourse A and B. In fact, we think it is the best lounge at Washington Dulles Airport. It can be found between gates B49 and B51 and is perfectly positioned right by the gate if you are leaving on Lufthansa.
Lufthansa’s Senator and Business Lounge can be accessed by First and Business Class flyers as well as Star Alliance Gold members. This means that Star Alliance Gold members can access this lounge when flying a Star Alliance airline, even when traveling domestically. So a United Star Alliance Gold member traveling domestically gets access to the Lufthansa Senator Lounge, but not the United Club.
First Class passengers get special access to a partitioned private section called the Senator Lounge within the main business lounge with an upgraded menu and drink options. The two sections of the lounge are very similar in design, so it is mainly the better food and drink and the fact that this part of the lounge is less busy that First Class passengers benefit from. First Class passengers also get escorted directly onto the plane.
Within the First Class Senator section, there are some high tables and stools facing outwards by the windows and offering great views of the planes. Behind these are some armchairs also facing outwards. The color scheme throughout the lounge is greys and navy on a tiled floor, which makes some parts of the lounge feel like a gate rather than an exclusive lounge. Drinks are all the usual spirits, red and white wine, beer, soft drinks, and coffee options all bought to you by a server, plus you get Tattinger Champagne.
In the business side of the lounge, there are similar high tables and stools as well as more comfortable armchairs, a buffet, and a complimentary bar with a bar person serving alcoholic beverages. There is a good selection of spirits, wines, beer, and Monopole Heidsieck Blue Top Champagne. The food in this lounge is also decent compared to your average US lounge.
There is an area for snacks with nuts, gummy bears, cookies, brownies, cakes, and so forth. There are freshly made sandwiches which have contents like cheese salad and then there’s a really nice salad area with bowls of lettuce, tomato and more. You can make use of these to create your own salad. There are also hot dishes, including tomato soup and rolls plus rice, pasta, beef, and fish dishes. In addition to the above, there’s a coffee machine, a business center, and showers within the business side of this lounge.
While the design of this lounge is not inspiring, the food on offer is some of the best in Washington Dulles Airport.
2. Etihad Airways Lounge, Concourse A
The Etihad Airways Lounge is situated in Concourse A by gate A14. First Class and Business Class passengers flying with Etihad Airways and Royal Air Maroc can access this lounge, as can Etihad Gold members. Etihad has three US lounges, with one of the best airport lounges in Los Angeles and one of the best airport lounges New York.
I love the design of this lounge. It has huge floor-to-ceiling windows to one side and a sweeping staircase in the middle. The decor is creams, pastel blues, and browns. There are many armchairs by the windows and further back, although the chairs lack charging stations. Upstairs there are more seats, and it is quieter. There is cafe-style seating by the buffet and a bar with 4 orange bar stools where you will be served a huge range of spirits and an espresso machine.
There’s also a business center and a play area, really lovely bathrooms and shower facilities with White Company toiletries, and a prayer room.
The buffet area has a coffee machine offering coffee, tea, and Arabic coffee (although you can order better coffee at the bar). Food-wise, there is cut fruit, an array of good cheese, hummus, cheese, salad, and desserts in glasses. There are three hot plates with six hot options; burgers and veggies, chicken slices and roasted potatoes and veggies, and chicken curry and rice. There is also Louis Roederer champagne wine and canned soft drinks.
3. Air France KLM lounge, Concourse A
The recently renovated Air France – KLM lounge is located in Concourse A. This Air France KLM Lounge can be accessed by Business Class and First Class passengers with a same-day boarding pass for an Air France or KLM international flight and Korean Air and Aeroflot international flights. Economy passengers can buy a same-day pass. This lounge is also free at certain times if you have a Priority Pass.
The look inside this lounge is smart with double-height floor-to-ceiling windows to one side, and everything has a rounded theme with a rounded buffet area and lighting features.
This lounge is actually better than the British Airways Galleries Lounge at Washington Dulles. Even if you have free access to the BA lounge, you might want to consider accessing this lounge instead.
The food, in particular, is significantly better than the food in the BA lounge, which offers snacks rather than a full meal. By contrast, the Air France KLM lounge has a variety of food, including the standard snack bowls of crisps and nuts, plus sandwiches, pizza, soup, cheeses, fruits, salad, and veggies. There are also some cups of cut fruit, including kiwi and strawberries, and some pre-prepared fresh sandwiches that taste good.
You can order alcoholic drinks at a manned bar, and Champagne is available. There is also a shower and a printer in this lounge.
The BA lounge reportedly has better internet speed and a business center, so if these are more important to you than food, the BA lounge isn’t a bad choice.
4. Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, Concourse B
The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is open to Upper-Class passengers and Flying Club Gold members. Priority Pass members can also access this lounge but only at certain times. You cannot get into this lounge with your Priority Pass during the hours that Virgin is operating.
This lounge is light and bright with funky wall designs and great views. There is a feature spiral staircase that makes the room look more interesting. It has a very small and uninteresting space at the top of the stairs.
The lounge has an excellent dining offering during the times when Virgin passengers can use the lounge and reduced food and drink offerings at other times.
If you visit the lounge as a Virgin passenger, you will enjoy waiter-service dining with wonderful food. Mains and desserts include:
- Sesame crusted tuna
- Chicken tikka masala
- Clubhouse burger
- Portobello mushroom burger
- Mac and cheese
- Vegetable curry
- Fruit salad
- Dark chocolate brownie
There’s also a signature cocktail menu at prime times. The bad news is that the lounge amenities are nowhere near as good during the Priority Pass hours.
The Priority Pass breakfast buffet features cold cereal, oatmeal, fresh fruit, yogurt, croissants, bagels, and egg sandwiches made to order. Drinks are still decent and include coffee (out of a jug, not barista), tea, orange juice, beer, water, and ginger ale.
Later in the day, once the Virgin flight disappears, the excellent buffet and the a la carte menu disappear and are replaced with a less exciting buffet.
If you want to use your Priority Pass to access this lounge, it’s worth noting that the food and the coffee during the Priority Pass hours aren’t great, and there are no showers in this lounge. Some would describe the decor as gaudy and overly bright.
Don’t assume you can get in with your Priority Pass and stay when the Virgin passengers arrive, and the food and drink offering is better. Once it hits the time for the Virgin passengers to use the lounge, Priority Pass members are asked to leave. Yes, you will be chucked out.
5. Turkish Airlines Lounge, Concourse B
The Turkish Airlines lounge is a smaller airport lounge divided into seating, work, and dining areas. Turkish Airlines’ Business Class passengers can use this lounge along with premium travelers on other Star Alliance carriers. This lounge is open from 6:00 am – 11:00 pm daily. Unlike some other Priority Pass lounges at IAD, this lounge is open to Priority Pass customers for the whole duration of the day.
The look of the lounge is stylish with a hint of Turkey, and there’s a bowl of complimentary Turkish delight at the entrance, which you will love (or hate depending on your tastes). The buffet offers good food with cold items, two hot soups; tomato and lentil, fresh bread, and hot spinach and cheese pastries. Under the counter are two refrigerators with canned sodas and bottled waters. There are also complimentary alcoholic drinks and snacks in jars, including cookies and nuts, which you can help yourself to.
The seating in the lounge is reportedly a little worn, but on the bright side, there are floor-to-ceiling windows on one side of this lounge which is great for watching the planes. There’s also a prayer room, bathrooms, and a shower.
6. British Airways Galleries Lounge and the First Lounge, Concourse B
The British Airways Galleries Lounge and the First Lounge are both within the same lounge area with the First Class section partitioned off, much like the design of the Lufthansa lounge outlined above in terms of the separation. However, this lounge has a rather odd design that resembles one long, narrow corridor.
Galleries Lounge is also a Priority Pass lounge but is only open to Priority Pass cardholders at certain times. If you visit this lounge before an American Airlines flight, it’s worth knowing that AA’s gates are just a short walk away. The British Airways gates are also nearby.
First-class diners have access to the Concorde Dining Room, which has the best menu in the lounge. In the business lounge, a buffet features small but tasty sandwiches, fruit and cheese, salad, and soup. There are also snacks like crisps, biscuits, fruit, and yogurt. Fully stocked fridges containing soft drinks and beer are opposite the food. Spirits can be ordered from the bartender. An espresso machine is good for making drinks, and there is a small business center with workstations.
If you have Concorde dining, this lounge is very good. If you don’t, it is a rather odd BA lounge and not one of the best.
7. United Club Near Gate C7
United Airlines has four United Clubs at Dulles International. The United Clubs are exclusive to Concourses C and D. Three are found in Concourse C, at Gates C4, C7, and C17. The fourth is found in Concourse D, near Gate D8. These United Lounges are available for departing or connecting United Business Class passengers and those departing long haul on any Star Alliance airline in Business or First Class. United Club members and Star Alliance Gold members with boarding passes for same-day travel can also access these lounges.
The United Club near Gate C7 is the best United Club at Washington Dulles if you want to watch the planes. This lounge has some limited views of the tarmac and is not on ground level like C17 and D8, which means there is a better vista of the planes because it is at the gate level.
The buffet offers breakfast and snacks and then soups and salads later in the day. The food is sufficient for a substantial snack but not for a full meal. Soft drinks, house wines, and some spirits are complimentary, while premium drinks are charged for.
Wi-Fi and a printer are available in this airport lounge, but there are no showers in this lounge. It is a fairly crowded lounge, so if you aren’t bothered about watching the planes, you might want to try the larger lounge at gate C17.
8. United Club Near Gate C17
The United Club at Gate C17 is the best United Club at Washington Dulles if you aren’t bothered about watching planes as it has almost no natural light. C17 is at ground level and is the largest United Club with newer furniture than the other lounges at Washington Dulles. This makes this particular lounge look much nicer than the other United Clubs. It is a smart lounge with workstations, plenty of power outlets, free house alcoholic and soft drinks, and a decent cold buffet that serves a good range of salads, cold cuts, snacks, and soup as the only hot dish. This lounge isn’t great, but the fact that it is larger and newer makes it a good choice.
9. United Club near Gate D8
The United Club at Gate D8 is on the ground floor, and if you are choosing between United lounges, C17 and C7 are better airport lounge choices. However, this United lounge at gate D8 may be more convenient. As none of the United lounges at Washington Dulles is particularly good, there isn’t a brilliant lounge alternative to this lounge.
This club lounge has low ceilings, which makes the lounge feel claustrophobic. There’s a small bar at the back where you can order complimentary house alcoholic drinks or pay for premium drinks. Most seats have AC outlets to charge devices, but a big disadvantage of this lounge is that it can get crowded. Because this lounge offers complimentary drinks and food, it is definitely better to use this lounge than sit by the gate, but it is not a great lounge.
10. United Club near Gate C4
The United Club near Gate C4 features a small business center, with conference rooms available for reservation. Food choices include snacks, salads, and soups. House drinks are free, and premium drinks are available at a fee.
Note: Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor.
Disclosure: Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.