In August I took a quick trip across the country and back, just to fly in a couple different United premium seats. Sound crazy? Yes, yes it was. As much as I love flying, it was a quick solo getaway for the enjoyment. I booked a round-trip United premium service (p.s.) ticket for just 25,000 Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles, one of the most fantastic deals for domestic travel out there. United p.s. tickets include lounge access, so I was able to visit the United Club SFO Concourse F before my outbound flight.
Unfortunately, even though I was flying in a Polaris seat on the way to Newark, Polaris lounge access is not part of the United business ticket. It’s a bit confusing. The cabin itself doesn’t matter. It matters what it’s ticketed as. United Polaris Business and United Business are not the same ticket. But you do get club access, as I mentioned. Typically you need a club membership, or a Chase United card one time pass, or hold Star Alliance Gold to access the United club.
Arrival at SFO
I arrived at SFO late on a Tuesday evening a few hours before my flight was to depart. I headed to the United Club Concourse F (in Terminal 3). There are multiple United clubs at SFO since it is one of their primary hubs. As it was late, the club in Concourse E was already closing and the best choice for my flight was the one in Concourse F.
The United Club SFO Concourse F was very quiet when I arrived. There were still a number of United flights, but very few people were left in the club. It made sense that this was the time they would schedule some construction at the entrance. I wasn’t sure the club was even open at first glance.
I’ve visited this club only once before during a flight delay during a nightmarish trip back home. Another fellow member of the Travel Grumps 101 group guested me in while we waited for our delayed flight together. It was ultimately canceled and I was left fighting with Avianca to get my LifeMiles back.
But enough of the bad memories. This time things went smoothly. The agent at the desk scanned my boarding pass, and in I went. I would be able to spend the entire wait in the Club (or so I thought), at it closes at 12:30 AM, the same time time my flight was scheduled to depart.
United Club SFO Concourse F General Space
The United Club in Concourse F is rather large. There are plenty of different seating areas, including a business center. Across from the entry area past the desk is this seating area featuring maritime photos and decor.
I walked through the bulk of the lounge, a bit surprised that there were only a handful of people present. Sure, it was late. But SFO is a United hub, and they do have a number of late flights. There were at least a dozen departures over the next hour, and the United Club SFO Concourse F was the only one still open (I arrived at 10:45 PM and the Concourse E Club closes at 11:00 PM).
The Club had been packed the last time I was here. But there were numerous flight delays that day, and everyone was basically stranded at SFO for a few hours longer than normal. This evening there were maybe two dozen people to fill up the entire Club. Most of the seating consists of armchairs. Many have power outlets in the adjacent table.
Some of the seating areas were completely deserted, like this corner near the bar. The bridge construction photos are quite cool, though.
The business center is located to the right after you enter, down the hallway. If you’re looking for a quiet space where you can be productive, this is it.
There are multiple desks, each private and with their own power outlets. Given that the rest of the Club was plenty quiet, I headed back out there.
Eventually, I parked myself at one of the high tables across from the bar.
Food and Drink
United Clubs offer complementary wine, including a red wine and white wine. Most of the other alcoholic beverage options are for purchase, however. I was unaware of this. I asked for a rose, but the bartender said that this would be an extra charge. Guess I’m too used to The Club lounges where they offer a wider complimentary selection. I settled for the house Chardonnay. I’m not sure what United charges for their non-free drinks.
Near the bar there was a area of snacks with pita wedges and hummus. There wasn’t a whole lot else offered in that part of the lounge. At first I thought this meager selection was the entirety of what was offered this late.
Across from the snacks is a coffee machine.
The actual food area is on the other side of the lounge. The offerings that evening included a salad bar, soup, bread, fruit, and a few other items.
I don’t really expect a lot from domestic lounges, but I am always happy to see a salad selection. This is usually what I opt for.
It was a light dinner, but surprisingly good. I was entirely happy with the food that the United Club SFO Concourse F offered.
After eating, I worked for a little while. The internet speed was very good. This might have been influenced by the fact that there was hardly anyone in the lounge, but I was glad to see that the United Club offers a decent connection.
Like most airline lounges, the United Club has desks that are generally staffed with agents that can assist you with flight changes, rebookings in case of irregular operations, and the like. There wasn’t anyone here at the United Club this evening, but I did take advantage of this service the next day in Newark when I changed my return flight.
Lounge access can be invaluable when there are major disruptions, as the line in the lounge is often much shorter than the one for the customer service desk in the terminal.
I spent about an hour in the United Club before heading to the gate for my flights to New York. As it turned out, my flight was substantially delayed and I ended up having to wait at the gate for longer than I had stayed in the club! It is a bummer that the United Club SFO Concourse F is not open during the middle of the night. After 1:00 AM, there isn’t anywhere else else to go.
All things considered, I found the United Club SFO Concourse F to be just about what I expected for a major U.S. airline domestic lounge. Quiet space (at least that night) away from the terminal, decent complimentary food and drink, and a nice place to relax before a flight. I’ve been to both better and worse domestic lounges, although I’ve only experienced a handful of the United and Delta clubs across the country.
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