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As part of my recent trip to Australia, I flew United Global First class from SFO to Seoul, South Korea. It was my first time flying in a true international premium cabin (SEE: United Polaris First SFO to ICN: A review). Part of the whole experience included access to the United Global First Lounge SFO, one of only a few Global First lounges that United operates.
With the roll out of United Polaris and the gradual phasing out of United’s GlobalFirst product, the United Global First lounges will soon be a piece of history. My guess is that the one at SFO will be converted into a Polaris lounge in the future, but that is just my speculation. For now it is still a Global First lounge.
I arrived at SFO via an early morning connecting flight from Arcata/Eureka. The United Global First Lounge SFO is mid-way down International Terminal G, on the east side of the terminal, and I quickly made my way there from Terminal 3.
I hadn’t thought to check the schedule on the lounge, but it turned out it doesn’t open until 8:30! My previous flight arrived a few minutes after 7:00, so it was barely 7:15 when I arrived at the lounge.
No matter. I headed back to the United Club near the Terminal G security checkpoint and grabbed a cup of coffee. The receptionist kindly noticed that I was flying international first on a 3-cabin service, and that I was more than welcome to use the Global First lounge when it opened at 8:00 (Google said 8:30).
I decided to play it safe and wait until 8:30 to head to the Global First lounge. No use running downstairs when I can enjoy my cup of coffee and a view of the tarmac for another 30 minutes. When I arrived, I was warmly greeted by United staff.
The lounge is on the lower floor of Terminal G. It was an elevator ride down from the reception desk. There was hardly a soul in the place when I arrived. Quite a few more arrived over the 90 minutes I was there.
The food selection was phenomenally better than any of the United Clubs I have visited. There were some hot breakfast options.
They actually had hot breakfast options.
There was also a nice selection of fruit, cold meat and eggs, and dessert items.
The oatmeal, a typical sad offering in normal United Clubs, made its appearance as well.
There was Illy coffee (from a machine), an assortment of juices, soft drinks, water, and other beverages.
And, of course, alcohol, for those who might want it at 8:30 in the morning.
I loaded a plate of food for breakfast and made myself a latte.
The seating in the lounge was very nice. Next to many of the seats were both power and USB outlets.
The United Global First Lounge SFO sure didn’t have the same view as the United Club in Terminal G, though. Two floors makes quite a difference.
I stayed about an hour and a half, enough time to check in with work and enjoy my breakfast before the long flight. The flight itself was an adventure, including a diversion to Anchorage because of a woman going into labor, and then 2 other first-class passengers getting engaged. (SEE: 2 people getting engaged and 1 going into labor on my crazy flight).
I did notice that there were very few United staff working in the lounge. I saw a single server come in and out to check on and replace food, and there was a guy cleaning the bathrooms. Maybe there are more staff later in the day as it fills up, but it seemed odd. The place was very clean and the food nicely stocked, so they were doing a good job (plus, the place had just opened).
Overall, the United Global First Lounge SFO was comfortable, quiet, and had a decent selection of food options. In my opinion the food was’t quite as good as that at the SFO Centurion Lounge, but I think I still preferred the Global First Lounge better. The Centurion was extremely busy almost the entire time I was there, and I grew tired of all the people constantly coming and going.
It is doubtful I will ever fly a United Global (Polaris) First ticket again before the product is discontinued. I will be interested to see what United does with the SFO Global First lounge in the future.
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Thank you for your review of both the lounge and flight. I’m taking the same flight in F this summer as a nostalgic farewell to UA’s F and 747 product. I don’t know if the GFL will be open when I take my flight. Hopefully as I like quiet lounges with hot food. QF F lounge at LAX is superb.
Hope you have a great trip, Steve! I really enjoyed mine, emergency diversion to Anchorage and all. Going to miss seeing those 747s at SFO all the time.