In a nutshell: I’m not sure what the Air France-KLM lounge SFO was like before COVID-19, but the experience of the reopened business class lounge isn’t all that bad, considering the measures that are needed during the pandemic. The food and wine options are good. The lounge may still experience capacity issues, given the requirements of San Mateo County. 

I kicked off a 4-night trip to Mexico with a flight on the country’s national airline. What I didn’t expect was lounge access on the front end. Although I was flying Aeromexico business class, I didn’t think that there would be anything offered at SFO. You know, COVID-19 and all.

Well, it turns out that the Air France-KLM Lounge SFO has reopened. The check-in agent directed me to it as I left the desk, and I was more than surprised. The county has been in “red tier” of California’s COVID-19 designations for a couple months (as far as I recall), and indoor dining is allowed at very limited capacity. I was immediately curious what the Air France-KLM lounge experience would be like during COVID-19.

Accessing the Air France KLM Lounge SFO

I always miss the International Terminal A lounges. You have to head left immediately after security. The first time I tried to access the Air France lounge at SFO (turned away due to capacity), I had walked halfway down the terminal looking for it. Not this time. I remembered to not head off into the empty terminal.

There are several lounges located in International Terminal A. Half are still currently closed due to COVID-19. Two of the others, the Japan Airlines and China Airlines lounges, have very limited hours. The Air France-KLM Lounge SFO has the most extended hours, but it also serves the most airlines.

You can access the Air France-KLM Lounge SFO if you:

  • Are flying on a qualifying same-day business class ticket with Air France, KLM, Aeromexico, Korean Air, and possibly other airlines (I’d guess Alitalia will use this lounge, if they do for sure end up serving SFO)
  • Are a SkyTeam Elite Plus member flying with Air France, KLM, or Korean Air
  • Have a Priority Pass membership

One note on Priority Pass: this lounge has been known for capacity restrictions for Priority Pass members. Although fewer people are traveling, the lounge was fairly full (by COVID-19 standards) before I left, so I’d venture a guess that this would likely still be an issue.

Lounge COVID-19 Precautions

I arrived in the lounge about an hour before boarding since I’d made really good time on my drive to SFO. I waited for a good two minutes at the desk, unsure of what to do, since no one was there. Deciding to head in, the staff at the bar waved me back and said someone would be there soon.

First up were the COVID-19 measures. The staff have to take your temperature, and you have to sign a health attestation. There is also sanitizer available. They took my boarding pass while I filled out the form.

General Space

I’m not sure what the lounge looked like before COVID-19, but it was very pandemic-ready. The tables were spaced out well, and some had signs on them that they were also closed.

The general space of the lounge is not all that big. There is a second room past the food/bar area where most of the passengers were, along with another small room with a couple TVs in it. Given that there were a handful of passengers in the latter, I didn’t snap a photo.

The Air France touches in the lounge include the model Eiffel Tower and a couple French wine options. There is also a photo of Amsterdam, along with one of the Golden Gate bridge. The décor is minimal.

I found a seat at one of the chairs along the edge of the room looking out toward the tarmac, very near the food/bar area.

Food and Beverage During COVID-19

The food/bar area has a nice presentation, although it is small. I’m assuming this is the same bar area from when the lounge operated in pre-pandemic times. Now it also serves food. It was staffed by one or two people during the time I was in the lounge, both of whom were very helpful and friendly. There was an assortment of chips and other grab-and-go snacks to the side of the bar area.

The other prepackaged food options are nicely presented. These you have to go to the counter and request. The day I was there, the Air France-KLM lounge was serving fruit cups, salad, a charcuterie box, and a couple sandwich options. I requested a veggie sandwich, a charcuterie box, and a glass of the 2012 Bordeaux wine. There were a few French wine options, along with a Napa Cabernet.

Everything is already individually boxed. The staff will place your order on a tray, and off you go. Totally cafeteria-style service. The food was pretty good, though, I have to say. Much better than the pre-packaged options at the United Club a few weeks back when I flew the new United SFO-JFK service.

I finished things off with a glass of sparkling wine while I worked for half an hour before heading over to the gate.

Final Thoughts

The Air France-KLM lounge SFO got fairly full by COVID-19 standards by the time I left. There were several other guests speaking Spanish, who I have to assume were on the same AeroMexico flight to Mexico City. The flight ended up being completely full, which meant that there were up to 16 of us in the lounge from just that flight.

While the lounge is pretty plain and not all that large, especially with the necessary capacity controls, the food and service weren’t all that bad for the post-COVID-19 world. Even though the lounge only had pre-packaged offerings, the food was good, and I enjoyed both wines I tried. The staff were pleasant. It’s certainly no top-notch business class lounge, but it not a bad place to spend the time before your flight.

Anyone visited this lounge both before and after COVID-19 to be able to compare?