*A Lounge Options in SFO?

Discussion in 'SFO/OAK/SMF/SJC | San Francisco Area Airports' started by YULtide, Nov 1, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. YULtide

    YULtide Gold Member

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    I'll be flying YEG-SFO-HKG in a couple of weeks on United. I have *A Gold status on Aeroplan (AC). First time in SFO. Are there any other (read "better") options for lounges in the international terminal than the United Red Carpet Club? We'll have a couple of hours to kill.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. BlueDog

    BlueDog Active Member

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    You could use the SQ lounge which is nicer and less crowded than the United Club; however, it's only open for the 3 hours before the SQ flights. Also, I've heard that the lounge dragons there don't always want to let in *Gs not flying SQ, although I've never had a problem (only been there twice, though).
     
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  3. YULtide

    YULtide Gold Member

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    That's helpful. Thanks!
     
  4. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    I've used this lounge a few times. I've never had any problem with admittance, but it is not a world-class lounge. It has some food offerings, but they aren't great and they tend to run out and not be restocked. Self-serve bar. They do have showers, I think, which is somewhat strange given they are open only pre-flight.

    I believe that all international F flyers have access to UA's IFL International First Lounge - but the last time that I flew international F from SFO was when the lounge was still in T2, which is about 15 years ago, so I don't know what it's like now.
     
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  5. YULtide

    YULtide Gold Member

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    Sitting in the Silver Kris Lounge right now. We'll be turfed out when they close in an hour then we can try United Club to compare. :)
     
  6. secretsea18
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    secretsea18 Gold Member

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    SQ SFO lounge is nice at providing SQ boarding passes for connecting passengers.
     
  7. YULtide

    YULtide Gold Member

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    On the way home now. We flew HKG-NRT-SFO last night and arrived SFO this morning. Then the nightmare of officialdom. For no apparent reason we had to enter the United States officially, clearing immigration and customs, so we could then recheck our bags and reclear security (evidently security at HKG and NRT being lax). In the immigration queue Mrs YULtide began to feel seriously nauseous and was at the point of throwing up just as we were in the midst of our interview with the agent. The agent, bless her, was very gracious and sent us straight through to the nearest washroom, which was in the secondary examination area. As I waited for Mrs YULtide another agent came looking for me and returned our passports, now stamped and cleared. So, a wholly unnecessary immigration procedure that went awry and was redeemed by a kind immigration agent.

    Having got rebuffed at the United arrivals lounge (the only one with showers, as near as I can tell, but only for J and F pax; Star Alliance Gold is worthless there), we made our way through security. We opted out of the scan and had to wait for a pat-down. I made sure I told the agent that this was a totally unnecessary procedure as we could have simply remained inside the secure area if we didn't have (unnecessarily) to clear immigration. So we were wasting his time as well as mine, and making the security and immigration queues longer for no reason.

    We had thought about exploring San Francisco, but Mrs YULtide wasn't feeling up to it, and it's cool and rainy in San Francisco, which is pretty much what we had in HKG. So instead we simply hunkered down in the United Club lounge for the brutal 10-hour wait. (Which by now was only 8 hours). We went to the lounge we knew from a couple of weeks ago, the one near the international gates. The lounge agent pointed out that the domestic one was nearer our gate. (The gate wasn't yet showing on the public boards, but the agent was able to tell us where it was.) So I pointed out that we had several hours, and asked which lounge was better. It was a question that I don't think the agent had pondered before. But she cheerfully suggested that we could check them both out in the available time and come to our own conclusions.

    Spent the afternoon in the international lounge, then emerged to find some real food at a restaurant. (The cheese was getting really old.) So now we're camped out in the domestic United lounge waiting to see if our flight to YEG will materialize. (They're waiting for a plane, and we're delayed at least 30 minutes so far. Playing musical gates, too.)

    Impressions: I like the decor of the domestic lounge better. The furniture is softer and appears newer. Furnishings in the international lounge are tired and worn. Bathrooms in both lounges could be better. They need some sprucing up, dabs of paint and so on. International bar area is bigger and more self-contained, but I like the more intimate feel of the domestic one. The view is better from the International lounge. I was able to watch the take-offs and landings, saw a LH A380 come in, and even caught a very nice full-arc rainbow (as we had also seen two weeks ago on the way through). To me, and this is entirely subjective, the international lounge says "big bright hotel lobby" and the domestic one says "cosy lounge to relax in." A key part of the difference in impressions could be the difference between daylight and evening.

    Big negative on both: no showers! :(

    Big positive: I am enjoying the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale! :)
     
  8. estnet
    Original Member

    estnet Gold Member

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    SFO - and most (?all) US airports don't have "transit" areas so therefore everyone has to "clear" immigration and then go thru security again (and yes TSA is so clearly better than NRT - NOT- that we have to check again).
    As an American I am so depressed and embarrassed :(
     
  9. secretsea18
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    secretsea18 Gold Member

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    Works both ways. You must always clear security in NRT before getting onto your connection, too. They also don't trust security from wherever you just arrived. Thank goodness there is no requirement to do customs.

    Transiting via the US is a hated thing for most travelers. But this scheme has been in place for several years now.
     
  10. secretsea18
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    secretsea18 Gold Member

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    You could have tried out all of the *A lounges if you are *Gold. There is the SQ Kris lounge, 3 UA lounges (including two in domestic terminals and the one intl terminal first class lounge and also China Airlines Destiny Lounge (business) to visit.
     
  11. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    Technically, only 2 of the UA lounges are *G lounges, the one in Terminal 3 and one in the International Terminal Concourse G; the third UA lounge is the international first lounge and is accessible only for global first and p.s. first passengers, not *G. Also, I'm pretty sure the China Airlines Destiny Lounge is over in the International Terminal Concourse A and not easily accessible (as well as being a contract lounge which generally requires travelling on a carrier that has contracted with that specific lounge).
     
  12. Bonnie
    Original Member

    Bonnie Silver Member

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    Can the SQ lounge in SFO also print boarding passes for another airline? We're flying SQ1 in April. :D
    We'll be connecting in SIN to a KLM flight.
     
  13. kiwi
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    kiwi Gold Member

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    Only if the KL flight is on the same ticket, and the flight is open for remote check in.
     
  14. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Silver Member

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    Different ticket. Oh well....thanks for the info, kiwi!
     
  15. TRAVELSIG
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    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

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    Use OLCI and print your boarding pass at the lounge?
     
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  16. kiwi
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    kiwi Gold Member

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    There are no printers in SQ-operated lounges.
     
  17. TRAVELSIG
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    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

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    The UA lounge at SFO has a printer.
     
  18. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Silver Member

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    Great info! Thanks.
     
  19. Bill Hunt

    Bill Hunt Silver Member

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    Rob,

    Thanks for the P.S. First info, re: Intl. First Lounge. Last time we did a P.S. F, we just used the "regular" UA Lounge, not knowing. Thanks to you, we are now better informed.
     
  20. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    There's no such thing as p.s. First Class anymore. Only GS can use the GFL when flying in p.s. BusinessFirst now; everyone else just gets in to the UClub.

    When Rob originally posted the info (over a year ago) it was accurate. Not so much today though.
     

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