The High School Cafeteria Masquerading as the Air France Lounge in IAD Airport

When you’re on vacation, you want every portion of your trip to be amazing and memorable, but not memorable for the wrong reasons. The Air France Lounge in Washington Dulles IAD Airport is a lounge, in the technical sense, as it gives you a quiet space to remove yourself from the crowds.

But really this is where it stops. With subpar food that could be confused for a cafeteria and nonexistent service, the lounge didn’t have many saving graces.

Read more to find out all about this Air France lounge in Dulles Airport.

Access to the Lounge

If you’re flying on a SkyTeam partner out of Washington Dulles in Business Class or you hold elite status with SkyTeam and you’re flying in Economy, welcome in.

You can also access the Air France lounge in Terminal A of the airport by using your Priority Pass Membership that comes with many credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire or the American Express Platinum cards.

In our case, Emirates partners with the Air France lounge to allow its business class and first class passengers access, as the lounge is directly in front of the Emirates departure gate.

The Lounge Itself

Seating was ample, and gave you plenty of space to stretch out. As we were there early in the morning (9am) we didn’t have to compete with a ton of passengers. The lounge would be even busier in the evenings when the SkyTeam flights depart from the airport.

Off to the left behind the check in counter was a large communal table and some small dining tables. This is where we opted to sit in order to have some physical distance between us and the other passengers.

The main portion of the lounge was visually quite nice, with deep blues and vibrant orange chairs contrasting sharply against the white and grey backgrounds.

The Food

France. A world POWERHOUSE in cuisine, culture, and style. Well, apparently that’s only IN France and not in their lounges.

The water station had three fresh fruit options: oranges, saran wrapped green apples and saran wrapped red apples. The limes and lemons, those are plastic.

Ahhh bread! Finally, something the French have mastered! I can’t wait to get my hands on a fresh bague………. Oh wait… what’s that sign say?

“DISPLAY ONLY”

OH you’ve got to be kidding me. The French bread is also plastic?! Don’t even try and grab one of those loaves. If you try to cut into it, you’ll probably lose an eye from the shards of weeks-old bread flying everywhere.

But, if you wanted cookies from a Sysco Food Service truck and muffins from Costco, you’re in luck.

Maybe some nice cereal? A granola, or muesli perhaps? Nope – you get Cheerios, and you’re going to like it! I mean, if you would have given me some frosted mini wheats or apple jacks, I could have been excited, but this was just depressing.

The sweet potato fries were ice cold and the “hash browns” are TATER TOTS. Nowhere, and I mean nowhere outside of a cafeteria or a hipster bar in Brooklyn should serve tater tots on any menu. They tried to hide them with a fancy name, but we all know a tater tot when we see one.

I love scrambled eggs in France. They’re light, fluffy, and downright magical. These, were… well… not that. Could they be some reconstituted powdered egg? Nothing looks THAT yellow and perfectly formed that’s 100% natural.

Pineapple and Cantaloupe? I mean sure, I guess those are OK fruits, but they were sitting in a pool of what I am going to assume was their own juice. At least I hope so.

The Saving Grace of the Lounge

There was one, and I mean one, part of the lounge that they got right. Of all the things that this Faux French Air France lounge did wrong, the one thing they mastered?

The champagne:

Yes, free flowing Tattinger Champs. As much as you want, as often as you want. We were also told that they had a rosé depending on the stock, but today it was just lovely bubbly Tattinger champagne.

Sadly, the champagne couldn’t drown away all the rest of the issues in the lounge.

With that, we bid adieu to the lounge and strolled the 15 seconds over to our gate, on our way to the glorious Emirates First Class flight that awaited us.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a quiet place to relax away from the crowd and have a nice glass of champagne, you’ve got it.

If you want a good meal before your flight, either snag something in your hotel or hit up a Starbucks before you head into the airport.

I’ll always be happy when there’s a lounge for us to use before a flight, but I just suppose that I had higher standards for a brand such as Air France.

Have you been to this lounge, perhaps in the afternoon or the evening? What is your perception? Does it get better in the afternoon?

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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7 Comments

  1. Both the BA and Air France lounges at Dulles are contracted out in the earlier hours of the day (as you mentioned, Priority Pass, etc.) and offer a much lower quality food/beverage service than they do later in the day when they serve their own passengers. BA takes it a step further and cuts off Priority Pass access in the early afternoon before re-opening an hour later for BA passengers.

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  2. I often use the AF lounge as IAD is my home airport. I’m usually there between 5 and 8 pm. The food is OK, nothing special. Service is good enough And I usually get a glass of Taittinger. As a priority pass customer flying domestic, no complaints.

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  3. Wow, that makes their lousy lounge in ORD look good by comparison.

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  4. Looks better than the AF/KLM lounge in Houston. Not many lounges are that nice anymore.

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  5. Went into that (IAD Air France) lounge once, which was a fairly basic/forgettable experience. Your review captured it pretty well. Didn’t even try the champagne when I was there, doh.

    I haven’t been to it since Covid started (so things may have changed over the past two years), but the Turkish Airlines lounge located a short walk over in Terminal B is quite good. They serve(d) hot entrees and soups and some real desserts, making them the best of the (non-restaurant) Priority Pass lounges at Dulles, IMO. The Turkish lounge could get full/crowded, however, resulting in a hold line/queue for PP members to get in (while actual upper-class ticket holders on Turkish and partner airlines were allowed in).

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  6. Went there in November with my family. Fairly meager food offerings in the late afternoon, but better than what I had in the Charlotte Admirals lounge in December. The best lounge at IAD available on Priority Pass is the Turkish lounge. Eagerly awaiting the opening of the Capital One lounge.

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  7. This lounge is looking awesome I would definitely like to visit this lounge when next time I will travel Washington Dulles.

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