Q: Where is the lounge?
A: Terminal 3, near Gate 74. It’s right beside the airside connector between Terminal 3 and the International G gates, and it’s where premium security at SFO used to be for United.
Q: Can I access this lounge even if I’m not flying United?
A: Yes! Any boarding pass at SFO will get you airside at any terminal. Note that only Terminal 3 and the G gates of the International Terminal are connected airside, which means that you will have to clear security twice if you want to use this lounge and you’re not flying out of Terminal 3 or the International G gates. You want to leave plenty of time to reclear security, as you’ll need to take the AirTrain to get to your terminal.
Q: What are the access policies?
A: Free access for Amex Platinum and Centurion card holders, and they get two guests or immediate family members for free. Otherwise, you need an Amex card to have the privilege of buying a $50 one-day pass. If you buy a one-day pass, kids under 18 get in free with you, but those over 18 will need to have their own one-day passes.
Q: How can I visit this lounge if I’m not actually flying?
A: Buy a fully refundable ticket, get a boarding pass, and then cancel the flight once you’re airside. Or if that seems morally dubious to you and you have a different lounge membership, you can often get access to the club even if you’re not flying. For example, for American Admirals Club members, you can call and they’ll arrange to have a fake boarding pass ready for you at the check-in counters which you can use to get airside. You can also arrange these boarding passes for other people. See AA’s Admirals Club FAQ page for more information. Note that you’re supposed to have a business purpose for this.
Q: What are the hours?
A: 5am to 11pm.
Q: How’s the food?
A: The food is significantly more elevated than most options that you would find at an airport. Bread was tasty, liked the salad, pumpkin was good. Overall, decent options for vegetarians. The rice was terrible, though. It was left out too long so the top got really crunchy. I didn’t try the meat entrees, but my friends enjoyed them. Desserts were solid. But there seemed to be issues with keeping up with demand, as every time I went up to the buffet there was at least one thing missing. See the food menu here.
Q: How about the drinks?
A: Lots of wines on offer, and you can get a code to taste up to 5 pours (your alcohol consumption is not limited at the bar). Cocktails were good, according to my cocktail aficionado friends. See the drinks menu here.
Q: Shower situation?
A: There’s only one shower suite, but it’s pretty nice as far as domestic airport showers go: spacious, good water pressure and temperature, and there was a normal-sized bar of organic olive oil soap (I can’t remember seeing bar soap in any other airport lounge). The towels are pretty ratty, so hopefully they replace those. While there isn’t a physical divider between the shower floor space and the floor space of the rest of the shower room, water did not get everywhere.
Q: How is the lounge for getting work done?
A: Many of the seating options have built-in electrical outlets, which is a nice touch. The lounge isn’t that big, and even on day 1 of operation it was quite crowded, so it might be hard to find a quiet place to work. Wifi is fast. No real quiet areas if you need to take a call.
Q: Any other amenities?
A: There’s a family room, which is good for people traveling with children. They also have luggage lockers.
A: Overall, a nice lounge, and one that tempts me to reapply for an Amex Platinum card. But I don’t fly United any more, and I generally get to the airport with less than 10 minutes to spare before my flight boards, so I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to come here even if I had an Amex Platinum card. But it’s probably a better place to grab a drink and a meal than anywhere else at SFO.