First look: The newest United Club (PHOTOS)

The new United Club opened on Sunday, June 8 (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

The new United Club opened on Sunday, June 8 (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

United’s newest United Club opened last Sunday and TravelSkills was there with a camera! Check out the photos and deets on the new Club located at San Francisco International Airport, Terminal 3, on the mezzanine level between boarding areas E (the new one) and F.

On opening day, United was offering free champagne and mimosas to guests (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

On opening day, United was offering free champagne and mimosas to guests (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

The 5,000 square foot, 103-seat club is temporary. It will be open for just 16 months while a newer, larger (5,500 sq ft, 130 seat), brighter (tarmac facing windows), swankier club (like the new one in London) is built on the main level closer to the brand new Boarding Area E. The new club is scheduled to open in 2015. “The new United Club will have everything the London club has except [the replica of] Big Ben,” said Nina Moore, United’s Senior Manager of Airport Lounges who was at SFO from Chicago for the opening.

By comparison, the current United Club on the Rotunda in boarding Area F is 18,000 square feet with 274 seats.

While the new space is modern, super clean and well appointed, the lack of windows gives it a somewhat claustrophobic feel. What alleviates that are the oversize vintage black and white photos strategically placed on walls throughout the space which help open it up.  There are power outlets (standard and USB) by every seat and the free wi-fi is good and fast. Clusters of modern “egg chairs” give it a Scandinavian feel.

When I was there at around 10 am on Sunday, the breakfast offerings were standard United Club: Bagels, cream cheese, donuts, yogurt, cereal, coffee, some fresh fruit. And to celebrate the opening on Sunday, free champagne or mimosas. There’s also a full bar area with cafe style tables. Bathrooms, but no showers.

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Checking in at the new United Club at SFO's T3 (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

Checking in at the new United Club at SFO’s T3 (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

The new United Club color palette of gold, gray, white and putty on display (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

The new United Club color palette of gold, gray, white and putty on display (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

Oversized vintage prints help open up the windowless space (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

Oversized vintage prints help open up the windowless space (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

Clusters of egg chairs lend a mod feel to the club (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

Clusters of egg chairs lend a mod feel to the club (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

A big bright full service bar with lighting similar to that in the new London club (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

A big bright full service bar with lighting similar to that in the new London club (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

Who gets to go to the United Club? Members, those on one-time $50 day passes, Priority Pass cardholders (but not including “Select” members who get cards as a credit card bennie), United MileagePlus Explorer Card holders, international first and business class passengers, Star Alliance Gold members and BusinessFirst passengers flying on United’s p.s. flights to New York-JFK. Also, United Star Gold member with valid Star Gold card and same day departing boarding pass in conjunction with Star operated INTERNATIONAL flight. Star Alliance Gold members with valid Star Gold member card and same day departing boarding card from SFO for Star operated flight. Here’s a link to help understand who gets in.

United is in the process of revamping and enhancing all its United Clubs. The latest to get the once over are at airports in Chicago, San Diego, Seattle, Boston and London. 

Are you a United Club member? What do you think of its Clubs? 

–Chris McGinnis

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  • Kylie Pug

    Will the new United Lounge be nicer than the typical UA Club? I’m sick of the packaged crackers, cheese and carrot sticks. Why can’t they provide something more alluring such as that offered in the Maple Leaf Lounge at YVR or LH lounge at FRA for example?

  • rami

    very accurate description; nothing to be excited about except that it was relatively empty when the main UC in the rotunda was packed like usual.

  • Bhavit

    while the furniture seems refreshed everything else seems the same. Is it just me or everything with United gets cut – cheap bagels, donut holes, etc.

    I welcome the cleaner environment than the older club.

  • http://www.travelskills.com/ Chris McGinnis

    Awww, Dean! So hard to please! 😉 — chris

  • ptahcha

    Looks like they brought over the same bartender from the other club.

  • sfomsp

    So the Untied rep says the new 2015 club will be just like London. Does that mean there will be a Global First lounge within it? Am guessing 99% chance it’s no since this is not a pier for International departures, but curious.

  • Luc

    Was United really offering champagne? Or was it American sparkling wine?

  • Bryant

    Hey Chris, are all Star Gold members (UA Gold +) entitled to access clubs on PS flights? I knew this was a 1k or BusFirst feature on these flights, but wasn’t aware it was available to Golds, Platinums and Star Golds.

  • garydpdx

    You’re welcome, Chris! BTW, my PP comes from a Bank of Montreal (BMO not BMO Harris) World Elite Mastercard for a Canadian project so I do have four free accesses per year on that, including United Clubs in the US.

  • http://www.travelskills.com/ Chris McGinnis

    You are right, Louie! I’ve updated the post to reflect this– thanks! — chris

  • http://www.travelskills.com/ Chris McGinnis

    Thanks, Scott! I’ve updated the post to reflect this– chris

  • http://www.travelskills.com/ Chris McGinnis

    Thanks, Gary! I’ve updated the post to reflect this. — chris

  • garydpdx

    In descriptions on the PP web site for United Clubs at ORD, SFO, etc.:

    “Note: Members holding a Priority Pass Select membership card and
    Priority Pass cardholders in the U.S. that receive their membership
    through a U.S. financial institution will not be allowed access to this
    Lounge.”

    On the other hand, at ORD T5 (International), the Air France KLM lounge is your PP option and there is no such restriction.

  • Haloastro

    The food offerings look almost as sparse as the US lounges.

  • http://travelcodex.com/ Scott Mackenzie

    A real Priority Pass membership purchased separately does include access to the United Club. However, many people think of the Priority Pass Select membership that comes with an American Express Platinum Card, which does NOT include access to the United Club.

  • Louie

    You can access UA club with PP as long as it didn’t come from a bank, ie American Express. I have PP thanks to my Platinum Card, but, alas, cannot access UA clubs.

  • Dean

    zzzzz……bland.

  • http://www.travelskills.com/ Chris McGinnis

    Hey TIm! I don’t know why, but I will ask! Thanks! — chris

  • http://www.travelskills.com/ Chris McGinnis

    Thanks, Steel! We included the Explorer card folks in the post, but let me double check on Priority Pass… — chris

  • http://www.travelskills.com/ Chris McGinnis

    Yes! Good memory! It’s the site of the original Red Carpet Club! — chris

  • Timpap

    Chris I just don’t understand why SFO does not have a star alliance lounge level like the other uniteds clubs at their non-US global hubs with food, drinks and showers? Do you know why?

  • Brian

    Is this where the Club used to be years ago?

  • Steelsnow

    Hi Chris,
    It’s my understanding that priority pass holders based in the US do not get to use the US United lounges. This is also stated in the Lounge Buddy app. One other inclusion would be anyone who has received the two free United lounge passes from the United Explorer card.