Tried & Tested

Lounge review: United Global First Lounge, San Francisco

4 Apr 2017 by Valerian Ho
United Global First lounge entrance, San Francisco

WHERE IS IT?

The United Global First Lounge is located between gates 98 and 100 on concourse G of the international terminal, around five minutes’ walk from security. The lounge is surrounded by lots of retail stores.

WHO CAN ACCESS?

United Polaris first class passengers travelling on long-haul international flights arriving or departing on the same day, or passengers holding a first class boarding pass travelling on a Star Alliance member airline. These eligible visitors are also allowed to bring one adult or child with them as a guest.

WHAT'S IT LIKE?

The lounge entrance is subtle and easy to miss in the crowded concourse area.

Once I entered through the blurred glass door, I was greeted by reception staff who checked my ticket and guided me to either the lift or staircase to reach the lounge area on Level 2.

First impressions were the impressive size and pleasant decor that included paintings and Chinese calligraphy.

The ceiling is very high and the lounge is flooded with natural light from large windows. The windows also afforded excellent views of United’s B747 parked right outside the window – so close the nose was almost kissing the glass partition. It was particularly nice to have such a close-up view of this aircraft, as the airline’s Queen of the Skies will be entirely retired by October.

United Global First lounge San Francisco storage

The facility is split into different zones, including a business centre, quiet zone, dining area and lounge area.

It was crowded on the day of my visit. I could not find a seat in the quiet zone, and there were not many seats left in the lounge area either, but I was able to find a spot in the dining area.

There is space for passengers to store luggage and coats in the interval between the dining and lounge area, though no one had made use of this facility, perhaps because it is public storage and not a secure area.

United Global First lounge San Francisco dining

The lounge served a wide range of food and beverages.

A hot station offered steamed rice, chicken teriyaki, pork dumplings, vegetable spring rolls and assorted vegetables.

United Global First lounge San Francisco sushi

There was also a wide selection of cold dishes, including sushi, salmon, Spanish olive and hummus canapés, BBQ chicken flatbread, salad and assorted artisanal cheese. Sushi was by far the most popular option of the day, and I had to revisit twice to finally get some.

For dessert, there were cookies, chocolate brownies and fruit, while an extensive beverage selection ranged from wine to whisky.

United Global First lounge San Francisco beverage

Printing services were available in the business centre, and the complimentary wifi was smooth and fast enough to stream Youtube videos.

Other facilities included two shower rooms and a magazine rack.

The lounge does not provide boarding announcements, but guests can monitor flights schedules on TV displays near the lift.

VERDICT

The lounge has been operating for many years and is trailing behind other first class lounge offerings I have seen, however it is still in good condition and a pleasant place to kill time. I particularly enjoyed the fantastic airfield view.

One gripe was that the lounge seemed overcrowded around noon. The lounge offers 120 seats, but the large space could easily handle more, and probably should.

OPENING HOURS

Monday to Sunday 8am – 10.30pm

CONTACT

united.com

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