Up to now, the sole Priority Pass lounge choice at DFW was the mediocre The Club at DFW. (I guess the Minute Suites in Terminals A and D count, though they’re not technically “lounges”.) However, in early October, The Club moved to a new location in Terminal D. My November trip to Europe gave me a chance to check it out on my way there.
Note: this post is part of a longer series about my trip to Europe last November. Click here for the introductory post and trip report index.
The Club at DFW
On the second level of Terminal D, near Gate D27. Note that when I visited in November, the airport still hadn’t updated signage for the new location. Perhaps DFW finally updated the signage. If not, and you have trouble finding The Club, look for the CRU Wine Bar near D27.
Just in front of the restaurant, look for this sign and staircase.
After heading up the stairs, look for the entrance to The Club on the left.
If you’re flying out of a different terminal, you can take the SkyLink train to Terminal D. Travel time is 3-12 minutes, depending on terminal.
Unlike the old lounge, no airlines send premium passengers to the new one. Instead, the lounge grants access to Priority Pass, LoungeKey, Lounge Club, and Diners Club cardholders. Anyone can buy a day pass for $40, space permitting. Lounge hours are 4 am – 10:30 pm daily.
I’ll start with the bad – this lounge is tiny, measuring just 2,528 square feet. As a frame of reference, United’s LAX Polaris Lounge measures about 12,000 square feet. And I have concerns about its ability to handle peak traffic. Heck, it’s literally smaller than my house. I can only imagine cramming an airport lounge in here…
Anyway, the new Club at least tries to make the most of its limited space. The space is separated into 5 “zones”: “Privacy”, “Replenish”, “Productivity”, “Relax”, and “Refresh”. Upon checking in, head straight ahead and then left to the dining area, the “Replenish” zone. The breakfast spread actually looked halfway decent for a contract lounge. Choices included fresh fruit, bread, pastries, granola, cereals, and three hot items.
Yelp reviews suggest a decent spread of soups and sandwiches for lunch and dinner, FWIW. There is also a self-serve coffee machine. The mocha I made wasn’t great, though acceptable.
The dining area includes seating for about 15 people.
On the opposite end is a small bar, along with a few seats overlooking the Terminal D concourse.
Return back towards the front desk to find the “Privacy Zone” to the right. This area consists of four “walled” chairs, set up so you can’t see your neighbor. Not really all that private if you ask me, but better than nothing I guess. And at least each chair has power ports. Apparently, you can ask the desk clerk for access to a private room if you need space for a conference call.
Here’s where the layout gets a little strange. The other three zones are in a separate physical area entirely. I wonder how the lounge staff stop freeloaders from just taking a seat? Anyway, head back out the door and turn left, and you’ll find the “Productivity” zone. It’s just a long, communal desk with a handful of chairs, also with a view of the concourse. I noticed one two-plug outlet for every 2-3 chairs. This actually is a pretty nice space, but I imagine it gets a little noisy when the terminal is busier. Also, don’t expect much elbow room with all seats taken.
Finally, a door across from the Productivity Zone leads to the “Relax” zone. This looks more like a traditional lounge space, with 2×2 chairs and tables. Compared to the old lounge, I found power outlets much more plentiful. However, even at 7 am on a Saturday, I saw very few empty seats. With no natural light, though, and the grey furniture, I found the overall vibe a little dark and drab. There is a small refrigerator in the back with some bottled water if you don’t feel like going back to the main lounge for a drink.
Also at the back of the relax zone is the “refresh” zone. Basically, it’s a fancy name for the restroom and shower. The restroom features a pretty significant design flaw, though. Both the toilet and shower are in the same room, so when someone’s using the shower, nobody else can use the toilet. With only one toilet for the entire lounge, I imagine this becomes a problem. Even during my visit, the restroom was occupied the whole time. When occupied, reader Ma points out there is another restroom by the escalators.
On the one hand, the lounge overall is an improvement over the old one. The “zone” layout does seem clever, and maximizes the small space as much as possible. And the food seems much better. But the lounge seats maybe 50 people, and as DFW’s sole Priority Pass option, that’s just not enough capacity. I found the lounge pretty crowded even at 7 am on a Saturday in November. And online reviews already suggest guests face waiting lists for entry at peak times, with 30-minute waits not uncommon. I really have to wonder what the powers-that-be were thinking here.