I visited three of the four lounges in Houston’s terminal D. There’s the airport’s own Executive Lounge which I will cover in this post and is used by Emirates and also Lufthansa among others. There’s also a KLM lounge and an Air France lounge separately (odd, since they’re jointly owned and mere gates apart). And there’s a British Airways lounge that I didn’t have access to on this trip.
In a few months the terminal will be getting an American Express Centurion lounge. And the terminal itself is slated for replacement so lounge options will change entirely in a few years. Of course the terminal is connected airside to the other terminals in Houston, so for instance you can visit United Clubs as well.
I arrived at Houston’s terminal D and went inside to find the Emirates check-in counter. I had gotten to the airport 3.5 hours prior to departure, since I specifically wanted to check out a variety of lounges. I knew none of them were going to be placed I’d want to spend a ton of time, but I hadn’t ever been over in terminal D so it seemed worth scoping out.
Emirates is at the far end of the terminal. There are some couches beside the check-in queues. While the desks were open, there really wasn’t anyone in line yet and I walked straight up to first class check-in. Pro-tip: there was a basket of hard plastic permanent ‘Emirates First Class’ bag tags so I grabbed a few.
Boarding pass and lounge invitation in hand, I went up the escalators to security. Since I was flying Emirates there was no PreCheck (and there isn’t one in the terminal since it doesn’t house precheck-participating airlines which are currently only specific US and Canadian carriers). Nonetheless, no lines to speak of and I was through quickly. Past security it was up further into the terminal where I headed to the Executive Club.
The terminal itself is reasonably small, though the Executive Club is on the other side from the Emirates gates. That was fine, I wasn’t even going to stay in this lounge for long I just wanted to check it out before roaming the rest of the terminal.
I walked inside and they marked us down. Then I went for a walk to survey the space.
The lounge was brightly lit, but with no windows. There was plenty of furniture, rooms, and discrete spaces. There’s nothing actually ‘nice’ about it, merely functional, and it was at least at three quarters capacity while I was there.
Nonetheless, you had a business center and a tv viewing room as well as a bar and also a conference room.
And there was substantive hot food as well as sandwiches, not just packaged snacks or soups and vegetables (though they had those too).
The Executive Club certainly got crowded in the afternoon. There are no windows and no restrooms. It was loud and anything but relaxing. However it had the best food of the three lounges I visited, which is to say it had substantive options and not just snacks. But don’t plan ahead in order to spend time here.
Ultimately I preferred spending time in the KLM and Air France lounges, and especially the KLM lounge, both of which I’ll cover in my next post.