Review: Lufthansa Senator Lounge, Washington Dulles, USA


During our time in Washington Dulles, we were able to visit the Lufthansa Senator Lounge. The Lufthansa Senator Lounge is one of only two Lufthansa Lounges in the United States with the other one being in New York (Newark, New Jersey). A cut above a typical North American lounge, the space featured quality champagne along with great views. The space set the tone for a great overseas flight.

This post is one chapter on our trip to South Africa, a Safari in the Maasai Mara in Kenya and Mauritius. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) and Hyatt Gold Passport. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: Lufthansa Senator Lounge, Washington Dulles International Airport, Virgina United States

“The Lufthansa Senator Lounge was a cut above the usual North American Star Alliance Lounge experience, highlighted by an upgraded food and beverage program.”

Checking into South African Airways:

Our difficulties with flight cancellations continued…

On landing in Washington Dulles, we approached UA Customer Service desks in Concourse C to try to check / prompt United on the status of the checked bags. The agent said that one bag was here at IAD “in the pit” and the other was missing in action. The agent sent us to UA baggage services for further investigation.

We left the tired and dark United concourse and went to United baggage services in the IAD domestic arrivals hall. We got an “I don’t know” answer. “You should check later in Johannesburg” was his useful suggestion. Is there any way to check now? “Not really. There’s 10,000 bags out there.” 

Without any real resolution there, we decided to give up on the bags prior to leaving North America and went into the beautiful departures hall at Dulles to check in with South African Airways.  The main terminal was designed in 1958 by famed Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen, and it is highly regarded for its graceful beauty, suggestive of flight.

Washington Dulles Departure Hall
South African Airways Check In Counters at Washington Dulles

Arriving to the South African Airways Business Class counters, we received a “I’m sorry I can’t check you in.”.

“They’ve booked you on the flight but haven’t issued an e-ticket yet.” Oh boy.

We received an explanation that United had re-booked us but not re-ticketed us. I asked about the seat assignments that we had called about earlier this morning. “Yes, we have those but no ticket has been issued.” We were re-directed back over to the United check in desk where we spent the next 40 minutes at the counter there while an agent talked on the phone attempting to get our tickets “re-ticketed”. The reservations agent allegedly had to manually re-ticket ever segment of your 10 segment itinerary for two persons. Groan. 

After that test of patience was finished, we returned to South African Airways with new e-ticket numbers on 016 ticket stock. This time we were able to check in again without any issue. Seats were assigned as promised. We were invited verbally to visit the Lufthansa Senator Lounge near Gate B51. 

Finally, after 1.5 days of bouncing around North America, we were finally going to be on our outbound overseas flight!! If our troubles only ended there, we would have been happy. However, we’d later have another test of travel as we moved on through this trip.

Locating the Lufthansa Senator Lounge:

We left the SAA check in desk and took the train over to Concourse B. Concourse B was a beautiful terminal compared to the dungeon United is presently in at Washington Dulles Concourse C. Bright open windows letting in natural light with wide walkways with and beautiful flags from many countries hung across the ceilings led to an interesting, international appearance. After passing through the dank and dark UA concourse so many times, I had no idea IAD could look this good. 

Washington Dulles Concourse B

We easily located the Lufthansa Senator / Business Lounge thanks to it’s bright safety yellow décor. No one will miss that on the walk by. It probably glows at night it’s so bright. Somehow, they make the company colors work.

Locating the Senator Lounge
The brightest lounge entry around: IAD Lufthansa Senator Lounge

Accessing the Lufthansa Senator Lounge:

The lounge was accessed today courtesy of the class of service of our Star Alliance business class ticket. The lounge can also be accessed for those with a Star Alliance Gold Card, regardless of travel class.

This is a duplex sub divided lounge with both a Business Lounge for business class passengers and a Senator Lounge available for Lufthansa Elites, and Star Alliance Gold Members. There was also a small roped off area within the Senator Lounge for Lufthansa First Class Passengers.

The hours of lounges are usually tough to find so here they are as shown on Nov 6, 2013. 

“Closed for Lunch” : Operating Hours

Inside the Lufthansa Senator Lounge:

The lounge is on two levels with the separate Business Lounge (not visited by us today) downstairs. Entry was on the top level of the lounge and we were granted access to the Senator Lounge portion thanks to my wife’s Star Gold card. The lounge was empty on arrival at the time of our visit at T – 3.5 hours from the SAA flight but filled up by the time we had to leave. The clientele were primarily Germans catching their LH ride home. 

Comfortable Dark Blue Lufthansa Loungers
Lufthansa Senator Seating
Natural Light from the Windows

The Senator lounge had similar chair loungers as in the Frankfurt and Munich lounges. Lufthansa Senator Lounges are typically crowded but this out post version in Washington Dulles was quiet and peaceful.

There was also a tiny first class section against the glass (not pictured). It appeared that it was added after the fact. The wifi sponsored today by T-mobile was horribly slow. Worse than 56 k dial up slow. . .

Food and Beverage in the Lufthansa Senator Lounge:

There was a great selection and servings of food available which puts the other Star Alliance Lounges in the United States (ie: the United Clubs) to shame. Admittedly, we’ve gotten used to less exciting food in the North American Clubs. Whether they’d be the United Clubs, AAdmiral Clubs or the Delta Sky Clubs, the foods haven’t been super exciting. Consistent with a proper international first / business lounge, the Lufthansa Senator Lounge stood our among the mediocrity and provided quite a few options, including hot and cold features.

Substantial Food Offerings
Almost enough for an entire meal replacement
Hot foods also available

There was manned bar service here thanks to local laws with Heinseick Champagne being poured on request in fabulous Schott Swistel stemware. It’s pretty rare in my experience to enjoy wine or champagne from branded stemware, so I thought that this was pretty unique.

Full Service Bar

We also had airside views of the gate areas immediately outside the lounge as well.

Great Airside Views

After we settled in, we were able to relax a little bit for the first time prior to a great experience with South African Airways.

Chilled champagne in a proper stemware flute
Getting Ready for an Overseas flight to South Africa via Dakar

My thoughts on the Lufthansa Senator Lounge Washington Dulles:

This was a lounge that we could have spent some serious time in!! I’ve always been impressed with Lufthansa Senator Lounges. The usual crowding issues that occur at these lounges in Germany was gone with this out post version in Washington Dulles. We were able to relax in style with lovely champagne while we awaited our South African Airways flight. The food and beverage program at this particular Lufthansa Senator Lounge really made our stay that much more comfortable, setting this place apart from the usual North American lounge experience.

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