Mini-Review: Air France Lounge, Washington Dulles Airport

On my way home from working in D.C. I turned up at Dulles airport early to check out the Chase Sapphire lounge there. And since I was on the A-B concourse, and would be making my way from the beginning of A all the way to the other end of B, I figured I should do a bit of a lounge crawl.

air france lounge washington dulles

The Etihad-Chase lounge is at gate A14, and next up was Air France lounge Washington Dulles by gate A22. Throughout most of the day it’s accessible via Priority Pass just like many others in the terminal.

  • Hours are 7:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. (8 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays).
  • Priority Pass access is not available 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. which is peak time for transatlantic departures.

In addition to Air France’s business class passengers and Priority Pass members this lounge is accessible to SkyTeam same-day international business class and SkyTeam Elite Plus passengers (including connecting onward domestically in the U.S. on Delta).

This lounge was renovated shortly before the pandemic, and while I guess it is… different than before I also wonder, given what it’s like now, why did they bother?

At the entrance there’s a kiosk to scan access into the Air France lounge Washington Dulles, but for Priority Pass they need to manually bring you in, swiping your card through their portable card reader.

Upon entering you see a bar in front of you and then a very large room with seating areas and a buffet to the right. This is a long, narrow space along windows so the lounge gets plenty of light and has views.

This place was packed, with passengers dodging and weaving at the buffet rather than acting in any sort of orderly fashion. The food wasn’t worth dodging and weaving for, and I was actually only here for a few minutes.

While this won’t give you views, if the lounge is crowded make sure to check for space in the room behind the reception desk. It has a bunch of tables, and I believe this is the ‘preflight dining’ area for Air France flights but during the day is just another place to sit.

Naturally the lounge offers better service for the Air France flights. When they’re primarily welcoming partner and Priority Pass customers it’s all about holding down cost and monetizing the space with the small payments they receive.

There’s actually additional downstairs seating but that was closed off while I was there. Restrooms are in the back of the lounge. Honestly nothing special about the Air France lounge Washington Dulles and too busy to be relaxing around 9:30 a.m. so I took off for the Virgin Clubhouse next. I did stop and grab two small bottles of water for the flight, though, so the visit wasn’t a total loss.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Not a fan of Air France lounges. Been to the one in San Francisco the vibe is totally lame. I was flying out Thanksgiving Day and requested they put the football game on rather than watchibg the French news channel provide live war coverage and was rudely told know by the Chinese lady running the place. Wasn’t worth the walk back to the Centurion Lounge.

  2. The Air France lounges I’ve been to (JFK, SFO, CDG, TXL (when it was open) and a few others were OK. Nothing stellar. Nothing cutting edge, but also nothing particularly dated or inadequate. The real crown jewel is the La Premiere experience at CDG. But otherwise, a B+.

  3. They sometimes serve very fresh baguette sandwiches with bread that presumably arrived on the inbound CDG flight. That’s the only reason to pop in.

  4. Flew Air France on 4/23 to catch a river cruise up the Rhone. I’m still waiting for my luggage almost a month later. Who cares about a lounge?

  5. I’m glad you mentioned that the Air France lounge is closed to Priority Pass members during peak times. I recently flew Air France from Dulles and was persona non grata as a Priority Pass member. The only time a PP member is welcome there is when they don’t have flights. No point, total waste.

  6. Before Polaris, it was one of my favorites, mainly for the Taittinger and the jambon beurre. But that is when there are AF flights – for PP times it not as good. Same with the BA lounge – they don’t put out good food and drink until the PP hours are over, so if you look at PP reviews, they are awful, but in Club World or F reviews, it is good. With Polaris and the Chase lounges, the bar has been raised (although with much better onboard food, AF lounge food does not have to be up there with Polaris).

  7. Honestly, I was rather impressed with the food they had out before our recent AF flight. My point of comparison was when we were flying KE, and what they had was truly pathetic. Considering how packed the lounge was when open to PP, we just waited in the otherwise empty terminal. This was before the Chase lounge opened, and it made me seriously reconsider whether there was any value to the PP membership. I’d dumped amex plat many years ago when told there’d be a 3-hour wait for a shower and there was literally nowhere to sit to eat. In truth, I’ve simply come to the conclusion that US lounges have been monetized into uselessness — with C and F increasingly full, even when the lounges are “blocked” for pax only, you have more personal space on the plane.

  8. Cozy space. Champagne service is good. Gotta ask the other passengers to move their baby strollers and walkers out of the way of the laptop counter so I can get some last-minute work done. Just across the concourse aisle from the gate, so that’s convenient.

  9. Another IAD lounge review, thanks! I have never been to this one either — whenever I swing by it’s always closed to Priority Pass customers so cool to what I’m missing out on.

  10. My favorite lounge at Dulles! I’m glad the review is negative to hopefully keep other people out as it does get crowded early afternoon (the relatively new Priority Pass hours have helped). Very good and fresh food, some great wines, and nice views. I dislike Turkish’s alcohol selection and it always seems to have broken HVAC when I visit, and Virgin’s lounge is closed often despite posted hours.

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