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During our 2016 first class round the world trip, my wife and I had a brief stopover in Dubai. After a great afternoon at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai
we decided we would just head over to the Dubai Airport to hang out in the Emirates First Class lounge before our flight. Our flight from Dubai to New York was scheduled to leave at 2:35 a.m. from Dubai (ugh!).
(READ MORE: Emirates First Class A380 flight from Dubai to New York)
(READ MORE: Help! I’m “stuck” in Emirates First Class on “only” a 777!)
As such, we had decided not to book a hotel for Tuesday night and just hang out in the lounge until our flight boarded. Although the Radisson Blu Dubai did give us a late (3 pm) checkout – one of the only good things about our stay there!), we didn’t really have anywhere else to go, so we arrived at the airport about 6 p.m.
Attempting to check in (take 1)
We walked into the (very empty) Emirates first and business class check-in lines and gave the agent our boarding passes. When she found out we were checking for the New York departure at 2:35 a.m. (the next day) she told us that we could not check in until 4 hours before the flight! She made a call but basically told us “sorry about your luck”
I actually was a bit surprised that she wasn’t a bit more proactive in trying to help us. I mean, I get that we don’t LOOK like super classy first class folks necessarily, and that we ONLY booked using miles (and partner miles at that!) but I was under the impression that airlines (especially Emirates and other non-US airlines) really bent over backwards to cater to first class passengers. At least that’s how it played out in The Wedding Singer… 🙂
I felt like shouting out “BRING ME THE HEAD OF A PIG…. WITH MY BOARDING PASSES IN ITS MOUTH!!!”
One more try!
There were a bunch of self service kiosks out there, so I thought I’d give those a try – I looked up my Emirates record locator, but no dice – it told me I couldn’t check in. So I went over to the business class check in to see if they could check me in there, or at the very least give us gate passes so we could hang out in the lounge. I was NOT looking forward to just sitting around in the landside part of the airport for 4 hours!
This agent also gave me the 10pm schtick, but then helpfully suggested that I could already check in online. So I sat down and after 5 minutes or so had us checked in, at which point I returned to the counter where this same agent helpfully printed out our boarding passes and we were off to the (completely ridiculous) Emirates First Class lounge!
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Bravo! Filing this under useful tips to remember in a bind. Great pic too, from the top of the world. 🙂
Yes, I learned this lesson the hard way. Stuck with 8 huge cases of business cargo at the airport one time, with no place to even store it all, I sat there on my heap of luggage for hours in the lobby. Every airport/airline is different, many in the EU are just two hours before departure.
The good news in my case at least was that once we checked in online they were able to print our boarding passes and get us through security
My friend had this issue at ORD checking in for a SWISS flight in 2022. I was transiting so she got there earlier than she normally would have but we ended up sitting around for over an hour until the counter opened so she could check her luggage.
So happy you got to visit our corner of the planet during nice weather. Customer service with the big three ME airlines seems to be ok as long as things are going smoothly.
Etihad does that at AUH too. Tried to check in at 6pm for a 2.30am flight… Had to sit around the departures level for the next 4 hours. No fun.
According to Emirates, this was a “United States” rule / law. Doesn’t make sense to me but that sounds like the government… 🙂
The good news is that we were able to check in online and then there was no problem with the gate agent printing our boarding passes
I had the exact same situation checking in for the 2:30am to DFW at the J class check-in but the agent immediately informed me that if I checked in online she could print my boarding pass. I opened the app and was in the lounge within 10 minutes.
Excellent! I’m not sure why that first agent wasn’t more helpful…
What about luggage? They won’t have an issue taking it that early if they can print your boarding pass? I’ve had similar issues with checking in too early, but in HKG.
I’d also appreciate feedback on whether Emirates/Etihad will take your bags if you check in online early so as to be able to gain early access to the lounges.
Why is this showing up as a 2017 post when it’s been over a year since you originally posted it?
I occasionally repost old articles that are still relevant. Thanks for stopping by
Has this process changed since 2016? 🙂
Seriously this is a good tip. I’ve run into this before in HKG with AA. They farm this out so there isn’t even anyone to talk with at the check in counters until like exactly 3 hours prior to flight.
THANK YOU for this tip. It’s getting bookmarked for future use!!!
Always trying to pull fast ones. Seems like you are always attempting to scam the systems set up by the service providers for whatever reason. Maybe you’re just cheap?
Some might say “cheap,” others might reflect the philosophy of the A-team’s Mr. T….”save a buck or two.” Sometimes airlines rules are both governmental and bureaucratic simultaneously…finding ways to work around them doesn’t necessarily mean you’re “cheap” as much as deserving kudos for finding a drawbridge across the moat of endless and needless regulations…not only for one’s self but for other travelers as well.
This post is a perfect example. There was no earthly reason they couldn’t print boarding passes and enter the VIP lounge somewhat early…they only had to find the right key to open the treasure chest…which in this case meant simply checking in “online.”
If you want to find evidence of me being “cheap” there is a LOT of evidence you could use. But this…. doesn’t feel like one