The United lounges at NRT and HKG are regularly cited as the best United lounges in their network, which is perhaps more a testament to the fact that US lounges are pretty crappy. But on my layover at NRT between my two Singapore Suites flights, I decided to stop by the United Global First lounge to check it out (I have previously reviewed the United business class lounge at NRT) before heading to the more renowned ANA Suite Lounge.
To get to the Global First Lounge, you need to go up a floor from the normal United Club. There’s an elevator just inside the entrance to the club, and the lounge dragons will tell you if you’re eligible to go up. Essentially, you need to be flying first class on a Star Alliance airline to get in.
The Global First Lounge is a nicer replica of the business class lounge underneath. It’s a large open space with tons of seating and some nice apron views. While the United Club can get very crowded given that it’s open to business class passengers, people with United Club memberships, Star Alliance Gold members, and people willing to shell out for a day pass (or who have free day passes courtesy of a credit card), the Global First Lounge is a relative wasteland since it’s the same size with a small fraction of the number of passengers. I think I saw three other passengers during my visit.
I think people generally get excited about the United lounges in NRT and HKG because they offer more food options than the United Clubs found in the US. While there are more food options, none of them looked particularly appetizing to me. And the sushi is definitely some of the worst sushi I’ve ever eaten.
I did end up taking a shower at the United lounge instead of the ANA lounge because I feel like the ANA showers can get a little too toasty.
If you have access to the United Global First Lounge, then you have access to the ANA Suite Lounges, and in almost all cases, I’d choose the ANA lounge over the United lounge, but that’s mostly because the food at the ANA lounge is significantly better than the food here. This lounge was very peaceful and quiet (even the ANA Suite lounge can feel overcrowded), and I do enjoy the apron views. I was also pleasantly surprised by the service in this lounge, and they speak English in this lounge by default, if that matters. All in all, if you want to eat, go to the ANA lounge, but otherwise, I’d go to this lounge again if it were more convenient for my departure gate.