Review: Male Airport Lounge and (Alone In) Emirates First Class, Male – Colombo

There’s a shared contract lounge at the Male airport, and it no longer offers access via Priority Pass. There’s little special about it, except for comfortable seating. I find the buffet something I’d rarely do anything other than skip (and indeed haven’t touched the food in four visits) and there’s no alcohol (by law). But it’s a lounge…

Some will find the nearby food options a more attractive place to sit, but the lounge does seem to have gotten its wifi act together.

After waiting around for the flight we wound up the only passengers in first class, and beneficiaries of full, extensive service for this very short hop on Emirates…

Previous installments:

  1. Introduction, overview, and costs
  2. Star Alliance first class and business class lounges, LAX
  3. Etihad First Class, Los Angles – Abu Dhabi.. the 3rd Longest Flight in the World!
  4. Premier Inn, Abu Dhabi International Airport
  5. Etihad’s new business class lounge, Abu Dhabi
  6. Etihad Business Class, Abu Dhabi – Male
  7. Male Domestic Lounge and Maldivian, Male – Kooddoo, plus boat transfer to the Park Hyatt
  8. Park Hyatt Hadahaa, Maldives
  9. Park Hyatt Maldives Menus and Pricing
  10. Boat Transfer and Maldivian Domestic Flight from the Park Hyatt Maldives to Male

Once inside the international terminal – with no demand for printed itinerary on this visit – we had to wait about 10 minutes for check-in to open.

We were given lounge passes for the Plaza Premium Lounge and then proceeded through immigration and then security checks, which wouldn’t have taken long regardless but with fast track passes as well meant no wait at all.

Once inside the international terminal and past formalities we wanted to get something to eat. I’ve never wanted to touch the food inside the lounge, but there are a few restaurants scattered throughout the terminal and one right beside the lounge entrance. Service was slow, but the food was pretty good.

This was from ‘The Coffee Club’… and not Burger King.

After a snack it was time to go into the lounge. We were welcomed upon surrounding our lounge passes, and found the lounge mostly as it was on past visits. The ‘private’ separate room wasn’t blocked for Emirates first class, though (not that it’s any better than the rest of the lounge) and some of the furniture appeared changed.

Here’s the ‘dining area’.

Here’s the seating area of the lounge.

There’s free internet, and a reasonably clean bathroom. That’s what I find worthwhile about the lounge. And the seating is more comfortable than the terminal. But there’s otherwise nothing remarkable about it.

The airport is at its busiest late at night, so on this visit the lounge was largely empty.

About 45 minutes out we headed down to our gate where the flight was mostly boarded.

Down in a gate area there’s a Swenson’s, a brand I remember as a kid growing up on Long Island.

Boarding passes scanned, we walked out towards the aircraft.

The plane was equipped with Emirates’ regional product, which means six-across in first class. First isn’t even all-aisle access.

Still, better than the 7-across business class. And the seats had plenty of bling albeit not really any storage space.

There’s the Emirates entertainment system.

There’s seat power.

And noise cancelling headphones at the seat.

There’s also a mini-bar in the side of the seat.

On the ground we were offered dates and Arabic coffee as well as menus.

The lavatory contained plentiful amenities, though attention wasn’t paid to their presentation.

After checking out the lav, the Captain invited me into the cockpit. There are some advantages to being the only travelers up front.

We got settled for takeoff and I had a look at the menu for the short flight.

Click on any menu page to enlarge:

Once in the air I was served nuts and asked for champagne.

The meal was served promptly — as the flight is only blocked at 90 minutes gate-to-gate.

About the time I finished the meal we began our descent into Colombo.

The short flight between Colombo and Male is generally pretty inexpensive, and intensely competitive. Airlines flying the route include a mishmash of world carriers including Sri Lankan, Turkish, Korean, Emirates, and China Eastern. Alone in Emirates first, even regional first, is a cool way to make the trip though on such a short flight it doesn’t much matter. Had this not been a ‘throw in’ as part of my award ticket home using Alaska miles I wouldn’t have paid extra miles or money to be in first.

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, 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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  1. Very Interesting!

    I haven’t had any look booking this segment of my upcoming trip (which is similar to yours as far as CMB) in a premium class. Been trying Sri Lankan, plenty of economy, but nothing up front.

    Any thought on who else might have award availability?

  2. How is this added to an Alaska emirates award? What what was the breakdown of the award as far as stops

  3. @Westin – all revealed in the first section of the trip report. This was actually a 23 hour stay, but you’re allowed a stopover on a one-way Alaska Airlines award anyway.

  4. The food at that lounge is pretty good – primarily the curries. I laughed when I was the Swensen’s also; haven’t seen one in years.

  5. We had Swenson’s talked up to us by our Thai guide in Bangkok last month as the best ice cream in the world. Being from AZ, and living in DC, my wife and I had never heard of the chain. The mango sticky rice sundae was pretty tasty on a hot, humid day.

  6. i flew your exact itn on EK F Jfk-mle-Cmb in Apr. I. Was also the sole F passenger to CmB as well. After my 5 days @Hadalaa Hyatt, Spent 7 days to Negombo and Kandy to see the beaches, temples, and tea plantations.

    Did the Cultural Triangle Matale – Dambulla – Sigiriya.

    Did a Combined Train and Road Trip into the Tea (Nuwara Eliya) from Kandy. Booked the observation carriage for the
    Super 4hr+ ride (train follows the hill tops).
    One of the most beautiful
    will move through city side, country side and the Ghat sections where u travel to the top. More than 15 tunnels and beautiful mountains,+rivers.

    Then went to Vietnam for 2 weeks and explored the Mekong Delta culminating in a 3 day Mekong Bassac cruise from HCMC to Phnom Penh

  7. Gary there are only two blogs I read and yours is one of them, my only concern I have when you write a travel report you go from singular to plural in who you are writing about. In this installment you wrote, “I” was the only one in FC, in other installments of this trip report you wrote, “we.” We know your wife is with you, just say, My wife and I, it would make for a more cohesive report. The other blogger I read, doesn’t have a problem with this.

  8. Gary we all have a level of protection, however, since you are on TV and do public speaking on these very subject and your readers know you travel with your wife, not too sure how that is giving too much detail about your personal life, it’s a given you are traveling with her to Maldives… Just be consistent in your writings.

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