Getting To India Part 1 – United Club San Francisco International Terminal
I arrived in San Francisco from Las Vegas aboard a United regional flight. It was about a five minute walk airside from where my domestic flight landed to the United Club SFO International Terminal. In total I had about two hours to kill before my flight to Beijing. I was actually flying on Air China, but they have contracted with United to use this lounge for business class passengers. While I had hoped to use the lounge of a different Star Alliance partner like Singapore Air or EVA, unfortunately that didn’t happen.
When arriving at the club, you enter downstairs and present your boarding pass. Once the formalities are completed, an escalator awaits to whisk you up to the second floor where the club is located. You arrive in a round shape lobby with a ticketing desk. The lounge is very long and narrow with two wings that flank off from the central lobby. Almost the entire lounge has wonderful views of the tarmac.
After walking around for a bit, I was immediately impressed with the lounge’s size. Despite the fact that there were a ton of people in the lounge and quite a few departures, it didn’t seem too crowded. Everyone was able to spread out a bit. It was much better than the United Club in Tokyo’s Narita airport where I had to fight to get a seat last year!
Unfortunately amenity wise this international United Club seems no different than their domestic clubs. The food selections were pretty scarce. I will say they are better than you will find at the typical Admiral’s Club, but that really isn’t saying much. In addition to cookies, trail mix and candy, the club had a selection of Tilamook cheese and crackers along with different kinds of fruits. Like I said, this felt more like a domestic lounge than an international business class lounge.
Drink wise, the lounge had several different areas to get coffee, tea, juice or soft drinks. I really like that they had soft drink and juice machines which made the process of getting a drink pretty easy. One of my biggest complaints about some lounges is the necessity of having to go to the bar to get a simple soda.
As far as alcohol goes, United has a large selection of premium liquor at premium prices. The complimentary beer selection consists of Bud or Bud Light. They also have complimentary house wine and well drinks. There is only one bar that is located at the far end of one of the wings. I found the bartender to be incredibly friendly.
Overall, the United Club was relatively quiet and comfortable. The chairs while not revolutionary, were nice to sit in and almost every spot had a power outlet. Additionally, the tables between seats were large making the space feel less cramped. There are also several partitioned off work areas for those who need a little privacy while they work.
While the United Club in SFO’s International terminal can’t compete with some of the better international business class lounges, they aren’t trying to. The lounge is a pleasant enough place to spend an hour or two while waiting to board a flight. It certainly beats sitting in the crowded terminal.