I had the opportunity to visit the very first Capital One lounge DFW Airport on Wednesday, a couple of weeks before opening. This is a great space, really thoughtfully designed with a lot of details built-in. They’ve invested a lot, and what impressed me most was the food which wasn’t just ‘good for an airport lounge’ but genuinely good. I’m hoping it scales and is sustainable, because you’re going to want to check it out.
The lounge is located at gate D22, next to the American Airlines Flagship lounge, in the space that used to be occupied by several foreign airline lounges. You walk through a small reception space and take an elevator that’s shared with AA Flagship up a level.
Inside The Capital One Lounge DFW Airport
The lounge is just to the right of gate D22. You’ll enter a room where there’s an elevator up to both the Capital One lounge DFW airport and American Airlines Flagship business class lounge. The Capital One lounge is to the left, and Flagship to the right, once you’re upstairs.
Right near the entryway is a grab ‘n go market with interesting sandwiches, salads and juices. Also near the entryway are the restrooms, which are all individual private rooms – great for taking a few minutes to freshen up and have privacy.
The lounge is set up wonderfully for a quick drop in between flights – exactly how I often want to use a lounge – while also being a nice place to spend a few hours on a longer layover, with an outstanding buffet, bar, shower, and workout and relaxation rooms as well as a private room for nursing and a multifaith prayer room.
Indeed, for longer stays I thought it was impressive that they have a day-long music playlist so they aren’t regularly repeating songs. And the lounge scent was nice and not overpowering.
The lounge has fantastic apron views, and brings the light from the somewhat modest wall of glass overlooking the tarmac into the rest of the space nicely. Lighting here is very well done with great attention to detail, such as the backlighting behind seating areas and plenty of soft lighting from the ceiling. The place is very well-designed.
There are several different seating areas spread throughout the lounge, from more open to more intimate, with plenty of power outlets available (sometimes hidden at floor level of furnishings) and plenty of touches like hooks on tables for hand bags.
The lounge has a single shower room, and I worry that’s not enough. It’s actually a great experience, directly across from the Peletons. (They also have personal shower wipes for use in the restrooms if you’re in a pinch, but nothing beats a full shower.)
The first thing I went looking for was the bath amenities. I totally get the environmental impulse to avoid single use toiletry bottles, but I abhor wall-mounted shared bath amenities. Capital One is doing exactly what I wish major hotel chains would do: offering single-use environmentally friendly packaging.
Shampoo, conditioner and bath gel is in a water soluble package. Get it wet in the shower and the encasing dissolves in your hand. It’s somewhat novel, and makes me want to try out a shower in this lounge. You can reserve a time slot for the shower at the lounge check-in desk.
What was missing on my visit – but I’m told is being added – is a cabinetry upon which guests can place their luggage, as well as hangers to hang clothes while showering.
Some of the best views in the space are in the relaxation and exercise rooms. There’s a room directly across from the showers with two Peleton bikes:
Lounge Food And Drink
I was genuinely shocked by the quality of the food and beverage program in the lounge. Sure, this is their first lounge and if you’re going to break into the space you need to wow guests otherwise what would be the point? But even accounting for needing to do an impressive job I was still surprised by how good the food here is.
First of all, everything is individually portioned as small plates rather than a large buffet. The trays you take are even an interesting design with heft; nothing disposable about the experience.
But most of all the quality of the ingredients was shockingly high. The mac and cheese was delicious because they were using good cheese, and because the bacon sprinkled on top was a very high quality bacon, that was carefully smoked. I have a pet peeve about cheap thin and dry bacon that you’ll find even at nice restaurants and hotels, because what’s the point in making the choice for bacon and getting disappointing bacon? I’d be thrilled to bring the bacon they’re using home from the market.
And bibimbap might make logical sense to serve because it’s an inexpensive dish… at least in South Korea. But they’re using nice beef in theirs. I haven’t seen beef in a Centurion lounge in years.
Bibimbap and Mac & Cheese
The pot pie is good, there’s a separate bar of cold items, and a dessert selection as well. Food will change quarterly, although dishes may be updated subtly for instance there might be more root vegetables in the pot pie seasonally rather than replacing the dish entirely if it proves popular.
Cold dishes were good as well, and would you believe they have the biggest baklava I’ve seen in my entire life?
Bresaola and Cheddar
Need I mention they have dessert as well?
Breakfast, which I didn’t try, will include breakfast tacos (a nod to the Texas location), fruits and grains, and yogurt parfait.
The bar is similarly thoughtful with some nice cocktails, good spirits (not the cheap stuff though not super premium) and interesting craft cocktails. I tried the frozen Irish coffee and all I can say is that it’s dessert and it’s dangerous. They offer upgraded wine for pay in half bottles as well, though they aren’t set up to take Capital One miles to cover the expense (a missed opportunity in my opinion).
For soft drinks they’ve got something better than a soda machine, they’ve got soda on tap – and not just cola, either. Here you can also choose from root beer, orange soda, ginger ale, lemonade, iced tea, sweet tea and water.
And let’s zoom in on the half bottles and spirits at upcharge:
Grab ‘N Go Food And Beverage
Capital One has done some interesting things with its design. One is that the restrooms are near the entry to the lounge. Another is that there’s a Grab ‘n Go space that looks like a small grocery market where you can pick up sandwiches and salads along with juices and the like to take with you on your flight.
That’s a huge plus when most lounges, even that offer self-serve drinks, make sure there are no small bottles you can take with you. I don’t usually get the airport earlier than necessary and would love access to a cleaner restroom and the ability to grab a snack easily, and Capital One has put both of these things right near the front for easy in-and-out. This isn’t just a lounge for long-stay travelers, although it’s that too.
The fear is that some of you are going to ruin it, like the British Airways first class lounge guests caught on video tossing over 20 beers into a bag to take with them.
Perhaps stationing grab ‘n go near the front of the lounge will make it tougher to abuse the perk through sheer shame (since it’s tough not to be seen). I’m just going to put it out there now: don’t be the reason we can’t have nice things, because I really love this concept.
Capital One Lounge DFW Airport Access
This lounge is now open. Capital One Venture X cardmembers get unlimited access to Capital One airport lounges, including access for 2 accompanying guests. So do no annual fee additional cardmembers on Venture X accounts.
Capital One Venture and Spark Miles cardholders will receive two complimentary visits to Capital One airport lounges annually and a discounted $45 rate per visit after that, while anyone (Capital One cardholder or not) can access these lounges for $65 per visit.
A same day boarding pass will be required, which I presume is a way of limiting crowding, otherwise it would be a no-brainer for airline and airport employees. Non-revs are going to need to be confirmed onto a flight before using this lounge.
Capital One has made big investments in travel, from the introduction of miles transfer to a new booking portal in conjunction with Hopper. So I’d expect the lounge to be tied in with their travel products (Venture and Spark Miles portfolios). There have also been rumors for a couple of years about Capital One entering the premium card space. Regardless we won’t have long to speculate since the first lounge will open soon, so as that approaches we’ll learn more.
I don’t know how well this is going to scale over time or how well they’re going to be able to maintain the level of quality being offered. That’s a challenge, but partnering with Plaza Premium Group to run the lounges they’ve got an experienced partner in doing just that. What I know is that there’s no better time to experience a lounge than when it’s new, before it gets too well known and too busy.
When guests leave the lounge they get a cakepop. Thanks for ‘popping in’.
Now I’m looking forward to the opening of their Denver and Washington Dulles lounges.
[…] Inside Capital One’s New Airport Lounge at DFW: Capital One is about to open its first airport lounge in the D terminal at DFW airport with more to follow. Initial reports look good, although I wonder if the everyday experience in the lounge can compare with this press preview? Also, Capital One has not announced the entry requirements yet. I’m not counting on Capital One cardholders getting in for free. See this post on View From the Wing. […]