Review: United Club, Newark Liberty International, Terminal A
After a quick layover at the Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott, we were back at the airport for the last leg of our journey. The Newark airport offers several terminals and concourses and is a United Airlines Hub for the New York area. Our flight today was departing from Terminal “A”.
This post is one chapter on our trip to Costa Rica. This trip was booked and credited to Air Canada Aeroplan and Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy). For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read more from this trip:
- Introduction: Costa Rica via United Airlines
- Fairmont Vancouver International Airport
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, Vancouver Transborder
- United Airlines: Vancouver – Houston
- United Club: Houston Concourse E
- United Airlines: Houston – Liberia
- Westin Playa Conchal, Playa Conchal, Costa Rica
- Westin Playa Conchal, Beach and Playa Brasilito
- Zip Lining “The Congo Line”
- United Airlines: Liberia – Newark
- Marriott Newark International Airport
- United Club, Newark International Terminal A
- Air Canada: Newark International – Vancouver International
Review: United Club, Newark Liberty International Airport, Terminal “A”, New Jersey, United States of America.
“The configuration of the airport at Newark Terminal “A” places the United Club Newark behind security, in potentially the wrong concourse from your departing plane. While the lounge offers everything you would expect from a United Club, it may not be worth your time and effort clearing security twice to access it.”
Checking into Air Canada at Newark:
After an 8 hour turn around, we were back at Newark Terminal A at 5:30 AM. We checked in at the Priority Check in and were met with a surly and grumpy Air Canada Employee who was obviously more interested in controlling the masses congregating in the short economy maze than dealing with us.
A bit of a personal rant here: Air Canada continues provide small nuances that irritate and annoy me. It’s super noticeable when it’s compared to United, who’s tired and dirty aircraft are forgotten when you deal with their (for the most part) wonderful staff and impressions that they genuinely care about you.
Despite MrsWT73’s Air Canada Elite 75K (Star Gold) status, and entitlement to 3 checked bags at 70 lbs, the check in agent insisted on only tagging one of the bags as hers, with the rest under each of our respective tickets (Star Silver for me and no status for my son). We tried the presenting her Star Gold Card and saying that she had three bags but he wouldn’t budge. What’s the point of benefits if you can’t use them? We’re all going to the same house anyway. Might as well tag none of them as priority bags if they are going to end up on the belt separately. We didn’t bother fighting this as it was 6 AM, and our bags were headed down on the conveyor belt before we realized that two were missing the orange priority tags. We’d had 5 hours sleep and this served more to irritate us than to upset us. Further reason to stop flying this carrier and move more business elsewhere. Ok – rant over!!
Locating the United Club:
Since we hadn’t had any breakfast, we headed over to the separate UA Club in Concourse A at Newark. Newark Terminal has 3 pods of terminals that branch out from the main concourse building. Each terminal has it’s own security checkpoint. We cleared security twice to get to the club, then had to return to the public side and get back over to gate A17 where we were leaving from. TSA had no issues with this, surprisingly, as it seems that they do this on a regular basis here and it was offered as an option at check in.
You can tell the terminal was built before security became an issue – the security screening wall almost blocks off the entrance of the club from any public view. The configuration of the club was likely built before large scale security screening requirements were the norm.
Accessing the United Club:
The United Clubs have a variety of methods in order to gain access.
A boarding pass for travel in United Polaris business class: Customers in United Polaris business class may access United Club locations at departure, connecting and arrival airports, along their eligible same-day routing.
A boarding pass for travel in United Business (international): Customers traveling internationally in United Business may access United Club locations at departure, connecting and arrival airports along their eligible same-day routing. Customers traveling to and from Canada in United First are eligible for United Business access.
A boarding pass for travel in United Business (premium transcontinental): Customers on premium transcontinental flights may only access United Club locations at the origin and destination of their premium transcontinental flight. Premium transcontinental flights are only between New York/Newark and Los Angeles and New York/Newark and San Francisco.
A boarding pass for travel in first class on a Star Alliance member airline: Customers may only access a United Club location at the departure airport for their international first class flight. One guest is permitted.
A boarding pass for travel in business class on a Star Alliance member airline: Customers may only access a United Club location at the departure airport for their international business class flight.
Star Alliance Gold membership card: a valid Star Alliance Gold membership card and a same-day boarding pass for travel on a flight operated by a Star Alliance member airline and departing from the same airport or a same-day boarding pass showing Star Alliance Gold status, for travel on a flight operated by a Star Alliance member airline and departing from the same airport
A United Club Membership (including a Mileage Plus Credit Card Membership): A boarding pass for same-day travel with valid United Club membership number listed, or a valid United Club membership card and boarding pass for same-day travel, or a valid United Club membership number and boarding pass for same-day travel
A United Club One Time Pass: A valid mobile or paper United Club one-time pass and boarding pass for same-day travel, or a valid 15-digit one-time pass number and boarding pass for same-day travel.
Active duty US Military Members: Active duty United States military members with a valid military ID, boarding pass for travel within 24 hours on a United- or United Express-operated flight and one of the following:
- Dressed in uniform
- Leave orders
- Rest and recuperation papers
Access is subject to United Club seating availability. Family members travelling on the same flight area are also permitted access.
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Memberships: A valid Air Canada Maple Leaf Club membership card and a boarding pass for a flight operated by a Star Alliance member airline and departing from the same airport. Maple Leaf Club North America members can access United Club locations in the U.S. only. Maple Leaf Club Worldwide members can access all United Club locations.
Access to the lounge today was provided courtesy of a Star Alliance Gold Card with the Air Canada Aeroplan frequent flier program.
Inside the United Club Lounge:
Once inside, the Newark United Club was like a Singapore Hawker Center – full of nooks and crannies. It was pretty standard United Club fare here. Although I think before sunrise, the dark wood makes the place look a little dreary.
Food and Beverage:
There were the usual light bite offerings here for breakfast, in addition to a seating area for just eating.
My only complaint about this particular lounge is that based on the configuration of the airport, you have to clear and potentially re-clear security just in order to access the space.
My thoughts on the United Club Terminal “A” Newark:
The United Club Newark Liberty Airport Terminal “A” is a straight forward United Lounge. Being a focus city and hub for United, it’s great that they offer space for their customers who are likely frequently through this Terminal.
The United Club itself isn’t anything all to spectacular. It features nice daylight windows and a medium sized foot print with lots of tucked away areas. It wasn’t the worst United Club I’d ever visited, but it was a long way from the best.
The largest inconvenience is perhaps going through security twice in order to access this space. Only you can decide whether the inconvenience is worth your time and energy.