In May I took the older of my boys to Taiwan for three days, followed by one day in mainland China before flying right back home. It was a whirlwind trip, but incredibly fun. I’d stumbled across the best one-way transpacific flight deal I’d ever seen for a potential return flight. Paired with a nonstop China Airlines business class flight out for 85,000 Delta SkyMiles per person, we had an itinerary. Flying China Airlines business class meant that we had access to the China Airlines Dynasty Lounge SFO before departure.
Arrving at SFO
We drove all the way to SFO to catch our flight. This is a 5-hour endeavor I have done many times. That may sound crazy to some, but when your local airport is served by a mere six unreliable United Express flights per day, you have to take some drastic measures. I’ve gotten used to the trip. This time it was amazingly cheap as well. Using Hertz points let me pay ~$2 for the rental car, all said and done.
The airtrain at SFO has been down for a while at night (they are upgrading and expanding the system), so a bus brought us to the International Terminal. If you’re not familiar with SFO, the International Terminal is split into two sections: Terminal A and Terminal G. They do not connect. You must go through security on the correct side. The China Airlines Dynasty Lounge SFO is in International Terminal A, which is home to essentially all non-Star Alliance international flights.
The China Airlines Dynasty Lounge SFO is located in the same area as several other lounges. We missed the door initially and headed down the terminal looking for it. It’s just past security to the east. Head up the escalator to the floor above and you’ll see the door.
China Airlines Dynasty Lounge SFO
The China Airlines lounge at SFO is not very large. It serves as the lounge for the airlines own business class and Dynasty Flyer elites. It is also open and accessible as the business class lounge for a number of other airlines earlier in the day, plus for SkyTeam elites traveling on China Eastern. China Airlines only has one flight per day between Taipei and San Francisco, and it departs around 1:00 AM. We arrived late in the evening, but probably still had about two hours to kill before the flight. The evening hours at 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM. You cannot access the China Airlines Dynasty Lounge SFO through Priority Pass (but you can visit the Air France/KLM lounge downstairs).
The space consists of primarily armchairs, with a few tables. There is counter seating along the windows with plenty of outlets, so this is where I chose to set up and work. My son plowed through most of his packet of schoolwork in one sitting. I had no qualms pulling him for a few days around the Memorial Day holiday.
There is a section reserved exclusively for China Airlines Paragon members (the airline’s highest elite tier). It was remarkably full when I walked past initially, but obviously emptied out right before the flight.
Overall, it’s not a bad space. Maybe not upscale like a Cathay Pacific Lounge, but pleasant and functional, and better than hanging out in the terminal. During the day, I don’t mind wandering the international terminal to have a look at all the aircraft, but this was a better spot to enjoy in the evening.
Food and Drink
The China Airlines Dynasty Lounge SFO offers a few hot food items, including noodles, chicken wings, and a vegetable medley. Overall, it’s a kinda weak offering. The vegetables weren’t very good, and not everyone (unless its just me?) enjoys chicken wings. The attendants did keep things clean and stocked well. There is also instant ramen.
Drinks are available at the bar, and they are self-serve, although there is an attendant there at times as well. We enjoyed a light dinner, as we’d eaten during the drive. But I also knew that we would have a third dinner once we’d boarded the plane.
I did connect to the WiFi at the China Airlines lounge, and the speed was decent. It beat trying to connect to the terminal WiFi, which probably would not have had much of a signal all the way up in this section of the building.
We had a funny moment at the end: my son found $40 cash tucked into the chair in which he was sitting. He asked if he could keep it, but I handed it to the attendant. I’m sure whoever lost it won’t be back to fetch it, but maybe they will. Or maybe it’ll get split between the lounge workers.
The China Airlines Dynasty Lounge SFO is decent lounge. It’s certainly not the saddest I’ve visited, and the staff were pleasant and the space is nice. The food could it what could use some improvement. Several domestic lounges I’ve visited offer better food than the China Airlines Dynasty Lounge SFO. I’ve not visited any of the airline’s lounges in other locations, but I hope that they are a step up in locations where they offer more flights. I guess the lounge did help me appreciate the excellent on-board meal we’d have later. But I wouldn’t have known that yet.