When I arrived in SFO, without even thinking it has become so rote, I headed right for the domestic United Club. Suddenly, I stopped in my tracks and looked down at my boarding pass. It did say “first class” and traditionally first class p.s. passengers were entitled access to United’s International First lounges (now called “Global First Lounge”) before their departing flight. So I walked over to the lounge, a respectable hike through Terminal 3, down the corridor to the International Terminal, and almost all the way down the International Terminal concourse until I came to the lounge:
I was a bit apprehensive. Would the ladies be rude and deny me access? Do p.s. flyers still even have access to the clubs before the flight? (Turns out, the answer is yes).
Three legacy United agents were sitting at the desk as I walked in and warmly welcomed me in. They couldn’t have been more friendly and immediately verified I had access to the lounge before checking to make sure my flight was on time. They asked if it was my first time in the lounge and I told them no, that I had been in on multiple occasions in the past. They invited me to go downstairs and make myself at home.
Which is exactly what I did.
Travelers seem to like the United Club in Hong Kong, but this is my favorite club in the United system. It’s spacious, warm, and comfortable. With plenty of natural light, it does not have the fluorcent feel that many lounges have.
The selection of food and drink certainly does not compare to leading first class lounges like Lufthansa, Emirates, Etihad, and Thai, but I thought it showed a good effort on the part of United. I had work to do and also did not want to spoil my dinner, so I just had a small bowl of chicken noodle soup, some pasta salad, fresh veggies, and some almonds.
I did miss Perrier (or any sparkling water) which the Chicago, Washington, and New York JFK clubs have, but other than that it was a great experience in the lounge.
Boarding time came and I was not fetched, nor was an announcement made for my flight, but I was warmly thanked for my business on my way out.
All in all, a good experience and a small added treat of flying first class on United (or on any departing three-cabin first class Star Alliance flight).