Review – The Club At DFW Lounge (JAL Contract Lounge) – DFW

The Club At DFW lounge had to be the most “exciting” lounge I visited during my mileage run. Not because it was a great lounge, but rather because of the random events that occurred while I was at the lounge – all of which were firsts for my travels.


 

Introduction: Taipei Mileage Running Extravaganza
Review – American Airlines 767-300 Business Class – MIA-JFK
Review – British Airways Galleries Lounge – JFK
Review – Cathay Pacific 777-300ER Business Class – JFK-HKG
Review – Dragon Air G16 Lounge – HKG
Review – Cathay Pacific The Bridge Lounge – HKG
Review – Cathay Pacific The Cabin Lounge – HKG
Review – Cathay Pacific 777-200 Business Class – HKG-TPE
Review – Sheraton Grande Taipei Hotel
Review – The More Lounge – TPE
Review – The Premium Plaza Lounge – TPE
Review – The VIP Airlines Lounge (JAL Contract Lounge) – TPE
Review – JAL 767-300 Economy Class – TPE-NRT/NRT-TPE
Review – JAL Sakura Lounge (Near Gate 61) – NRT

Review – JAL Sakura Lounge (Near Gate 92) – NRT
Review – JAL 777-300ER Economy Class – NRT-LAX
Review – The Club At DFW Lounge (JAL Contract Lounge) – DFW
Review – JAL 787-8 Economy Class – DFW-NRT

As I was flying on a full fare Y economy ticket, I was granted complimentary access to the Club At DFW, which is the lounge JAL contracts with at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (DFW). Just like The More and the Premium Plaza Lounge, the Club At DFW is also a Priority Pass lounge. As I have a Priority Pass membership through my American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass card, my entry would have been complimentary had I not had access through my paid ticket. Otherwise you can purchase a day pass for $35.

The Club At DFW is located in Terminal D which is where a large majority of the international flights depart DFW from.

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The Club is located between gates D21 and D22 and is tucked in between some gate area seating.

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Once you enter the sliding glass doors, there is a nice atrium area with a few couches.

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The plaque on the wall shows you just how many airlines this particular lounge services.

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The elevators are just past the couches, which you take up to the second level. From there I turned left and walked down the hallway towards the check-in desk.

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Check-in consisted of my boarding pass being reviewed and then being directed to Room 4. What was strange was that this is not just one big lounge. Instead, each individual airline has their own separate room. Room 4 was located down the long hallway to the left.

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The entrance was nondescript and featured a screen on the wall which listed the airline it was serving.

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Upon entering the lounge, I again had to present my boarding pass, after which time I was welcomed in. The lounge was rather small with a small dining area immediately in front of me after walking in.

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The buffet was across from the dining seating area. On offer were a miso and a tomato basil soup.

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There were also two hot dishes containing red wine beef and sesame chicken along with some white rice.

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Next to that was a small selection of pastries, sandwiches and some salad fixings.

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On the far end was some yogurt, chips and pretzels and instant noodle bowls. That was offered next to a small selection of teas.

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There was also some pre-made coffee that was pretty bitter tasting and some fresh whole fruit.

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Lastly, there was a small cooler that offered a selection of sodas, juices, water and beer.

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It is worth noting that if you are in the lounge on a Sunday before noon, they do not put out any alcohol. As I happened to be there during that time, there was no alcohol available.

The back of the lounge featured a few small seating sections that overlooked the tarmac.

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Along the opposite side was a small additional selection of seating along with a small television on one wall.

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There were two restrooms located in the lounge, but both of them always seemed to be locked. So instead I had to venture out into the hallway to find an open restroom. The restrooms are included in the shower rooms, though the showers appeared to be first come first serve. The shower rooms were incredibly spacious and featured a long vanity.

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The showers looked relatively clean and there were dispensers of soap, shampoo and conditioner.

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The far corner of the shower room also featured a small bench that housed the dirty towel hamper.

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Now, despite the door obviously locking from the inside, I actually somehow managed to get locked inside the bathroom here. I would unlock the door, but the handle would not budge. I ended up having to elbow the door handle from above to get the door to open. That was a first for me. When I told the lady staffing the counter about the issue, she responded simply with “oh yeah, it happens all the time.” I had to just laugh at that because she could clearly care less.

Heading back into the lounge, I noticed there were also a few small desk spaces available in case you wanted to get some work done.

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I ended up grabbing a sandwich and a bottle of water and posting up by the windows. This lounge has a severe lack of power outlets, so if you need to charge a device, I would highly recommend you seek out one of the few seats next to an outlet.

The other thing that I noticed immediately was that the lounge was in pretty rough shape. The carpet was stained and the seats felt rather tired with worn out padding. Perhaps the worst part though had to be the tables which were de-laminating everywhere.

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The tarmac views though were pretty good and there were several 747s that were taking off or landing while I was in the lounge.

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The first time I was in this lounge, I happened to look out on the tarmac and see the baggage handlers riding a rascal scooter and doing donuts on the tarmac before loading it on the plane. That one really made me laugh as those guys were having a grand old time.

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The second time I was in the lounge I took the same seat by the window. A few minutes into working on my laptop I noticed a giant fireball out of my peripheral vision. It was a plane burning on the other side of the airport!

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This just turned out to be an old fuselage that the airport fire department was training with, but it set off a lot of gasps in the lounge. It would have been nice if the lounge had let everyone know that this would be going on so don’t mind the fireballs and the plane that is clearly on fire across the airport. The plane was set on fire 5 or 6 more times during my stay and freaked people out each and every time. Imagine landing and seeing that!

The last crazy thing that happened during my two visits to this lounge was the Japanese businessman who clearly had received some bad news from a phone call. He started yelling into the phone before leaving the lounge for about 5 minutes. When he came back he was throwing (and I literally mean throwing) things into his bag, including his laptop. Except he missed the bag and ended up throwing his laptop on the ground. This set him off even more at which point he stood up and stomped his laptop. I have never seen anything like that and he showed no shame over it. I was tempted to ask if I could get a stomp or two in myself (when in Rome?), but I didn’t.

The wi-fi in the lounge was perfectly usable throughout, though I would not necessarily say it was fast. The lounge never really filled up too much during either of my visits, though I can imagine during peak times that the wi-fi would become borderline unusable.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the Club at DFW is about what I would have expected from a Priority Pass lounge. The food spread was not large, but what they did have was decent enough. They really need to install some new outlets in the lounge though as it was substantially lacking. After visiting this lounge, I can unequivocally say that the only worthwhile lounge at DFW is the Centurion Lounge. If you happen to be in Terminal D, it will get the job done as a basic lounge, but I certainly would never go out of my way to visit this lounge.

What is your favorite lounge at DFW?

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