Review: United Club Lounge SFO – “G” International Terminal, USA
United Airlines has a few unique lounges in it’s worldwide system. One of these oddities is the United Club Lounge in San Francisco “G” International Terminal. This lounge started off life as the United Airlines Global First Class lounge when United Airlines expanded into the International Terminal and operated a First Class Cabin. Since United Airlines opened a United Polaris Business Lounge in 2019, and removed all of it’s First Class cabins, United Airlines converted this space into a regular United Club while still keeping the same intimate feel to it. We would experience one of United Airlines’ most storied lounges in the system on our visit today.
This post is one chapter on our trip during the pandemic to Honolulu Oahu, Hawaii, United States. This trip was redeemed through Marriott Bonvoy and further enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. 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.
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Read more from this trip:
- Introduction: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA via United Airlines Business Class
- Coronavirus Testing for Travel: Getting Tested for Hawaii
- Fairmont Vancouver Airport, Canada
- United Airlines Business Class: Vancouver – San Francisco
- United Club Lounge San Francisco – “F” Rotunda, USA
- United Airlines First Class: San Francisco – Honolulu
- The Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, Honolulu, USA
- Tips for Walking Diamond Head, Oahu, Hawaii, USA
- Roy’s Waikiki Restaurant, Waikiki Beach, Hawaii, USA
- On the Locals Beach at Waimea Bay Beach Park, Oahu, Hawaii, USA
- Snorkelling at Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii, USA
- Circling the East Coast to Waimanalo Bay Beach, Oahu, Hawaii, USA
- How to Save on Hotel Parking in Waikiki Beach, Hawaii, USA
- Marakume Udon, Waikiki Beach, Hawaii, USA
- The Sheraton Waikiki – Kai Suite, Honolulu, USA
- The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort – Waikiki, Historic Garden Suite, Honolulu, USA
- United Club Lounge Honolulu, USA
- United Airlines First Class: Honolulu – San Francisco
- United Club Lounge San Francisco – “G” International Terminal, USA
- United Club Lounge San Francisco – “E” Concourse, USA
- United Airlines Business Class: San Francisco – Vancouver
Review: United Club Lounge, San Francisco International Airport – “G” International Terminal, California, United States of America
We arrived into San Francisco International Airport on United Airlines First Class: Honolulu – San Francisco. We had a four hour connection to use up prior to continuing onwards on United Airlines Business Class San Francisco – Vancouver, as a result of being on a deeply discounted business class ticket.
With MrsWT73 comfortably deposited at the American Express Centurion Lounge San Francisco, I set out to visit the best of what United Airlines had to offer in its lounge network at San Francisco International Airport.
Locating the United Club San Francisco:
The United Club “G” Gates International Concourse is located in the international terminal. The SFO International Terminal is easily accessed through a passageway between Gate F1 and G Gates on the secure side.
The United Club G Gates is located immediately after the first set of moving escalators in the bright and spacious international concourse. It’s located on your right as you immediately get off the moving sidewalk.
While it’s a bit of a walk out to get to the “G” International Terminal from United Airlines domestic gates in the “E” and “F” Concourse, you’re possibly rewarded with less travellers willing to go the distance and a quieter lounge experience.
Accessing the United Club:
Thanks to complex lounge access rules in the United States where memberships are offered, it’s a little more challenging than most to access the United Club. Access to the United Club is permitted under the following circumstances:
- A boarding pass for travel in United Polaris or United Business Class (international) business class 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.
- Customers on premium transcontinental flights may only access United Club locations at the origin and destination of their premium transcontinental flight (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, only at the departure airport for their international first class flight
- A boarding pass for travel in business class on a Star Alliance member airline, only at the departure airport for their international business class flight
- A valid Star Alliance Gold membership card and a same-day boarding pass for travel on an international flight operated by a Star Alliance member airline are needed to access United Club locations at departure, during connections and upon arrival, along the eligible same-day itinerary
- A same-day boarding pass showing Star Alliance Gold status, for travel on an international flight operated by a Star Alliance member airline is needed to access United Club locations at departure, during connections and upon arrival, along the eligible same-day itinerary
- 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
- 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 boarding pass for same-day travel with a valid United Club membership number listed
- A valid United Club membership card and boarding pass for same-day travel
- A valid United Club membership number and boarding pass for same-day travel
- A valid mobile or paper United Club one-time pass and boarding pass for same-day travel
- A valid 15-digit one-time pass number and boarding pass for same-day travel
- Active duty 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
- 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.
In short, there are many ways to get in, if one can figure out the assortment of complicated access rules. Our access today was courtesy of the International Business Class ticket status of our United Ticket.
Inside the United Club SFO “G” International Terminal:
The United Club “G” Gates International Concourse started off life as the United Global International First Lounge. When United Airlines disposed of their First Class cabins, they converted this space to a United Club and built a new United Polaris Lounge in the space that was previously vacated by Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge international terminal.
I took the elevators down one level after I was granted access at reception. The lounge is located across the level below the main international concourse. The lounge has a great first impression for a United Club. Most United Club’s that I have previously visited have a large institutional feeling to them. This particular location have a more boutique feel to it thanks to it’s compact footprint and high ceilings.
Although I arrived approximately 5 minutes after opening at 7 AM, the place was almost already at capacity.
The lounge was rectangular in shape. It was split into two areas; a dining and a lounge area. The lounge area featured a small amount of lounge seating, that was oriented into small intimate seating spaces.
As a result of being in a smaller room, the lounge felt fuller than it actually was. Regardless, it was still a classy location and as a result, felt a lot more classy than a large lounge with rows and rows of endless seating.
In an elegant touch, the lounge offered large windows that fronted the side of the lounge with California shutters.
The level of the lounge offered some unique “at level” viewing of planes. It’s pretty unusual to have such an eye level view of aircraft from a lounge. This type of view is typically found on the concourse next to your gate.
In addition to the primary lounge room. there was also seating available in the back corners of the lounge away from the windows. There were a few nooks and crannies in the back, which allowed for a few additional lounge chair placements. It was better that it allowed some quieter locations at the back of the lounge, although it allowed less large open air views.
Food an Beverage:
The United Club’s aren’t usually known for their outstanding food and beverage. Despite this, the United club offered a small space for dining.
The United Club San Francisco G International Terminal offered a small seating area. The seating area contained Pacific Rim art consistent of the international flights that would have been served from this lounge when it was the United Global First Class Lounge.
I didn’t see anyone actually using the lounge dining space the entire time I was there. This could perhaps be because the foods on offer were more snack oriented instead of meal oriented.
The lounge offered a reasonable amount of food for the breakfast hour. The lounge offered Chobani Yoghurt, Orange Juice, Milk and Cereals, Pre-Cooked Hard Boiled Eggs, and an assortment of Cherrios.
There were also some fresh fruits along with a surprising assortment of instant noodles.
The lounge in San Francisco offered Illy Coffee’s, unlike our earlier visit to the United Club Lounge – Honolulu which had it’s coffee station completely shuttered. I enjoyed an Illy Coffee to go with my early morning wake up.
The main event of the lounge was a Jimmy Dean Sandwich; Sausage Egg and Cheese on a Muffin. This was a standard United Airlines staple, having enjoyed such a sandwich catered on board my United Airlines Island Hopper Honolulu – Majuro flight on the United Island hopper.
The lounge also featured a wine and cocktail list as scanned from a QR code on the menu. The lounge offers alcoholic drinks during afternoon hours, which would have been after my visit on this date.
We would enjoy at stay at this lounge, prior to heading off on our United Airlines Business Class San Francisco – Vancouver international flight.
My Thoughts on United Club SFO “G” International Gates:
The United Club San Francisco “G” International Gates is a United Lounge that offers a little bit of history, having previously been the United Airlines Global First Lounge. As a result of this designation, it’s got a bit of a smaller footprint and was designed to be a more inclusive space. While it can feel a little fuller as a result, I personally enjoyed the atmosphere of the place which had a past history of exclusivity.
Hey there, thanks for the review. I’m travelling thru SFO from Brisbane to PDX, so I’m planning my lounge of choice for when I arrive.. if you had to pick one, would you choose the international G lounge or domestic F lounge to stay in? I read both of your reviews and it seemed like a tough choice. Wanted to know your thoughts (mostly regarding capacity and food/drink offerings for each). Thanks!
If I’m being frank, my first choice would be the American Express Centurion Lounge (assuming you have access). If not, I’d probably head up to the Domestic F Lounge.
It was originally the primary Business Lounge for United. It has heaps of daylight (International G is almost ground level), lots of places to sit and the largest bar. The United F Rotunda Lounge also happens to have a food court right outside it’s doors, so if you’re not satisfied with the food inside the lounge, at least you have some options; perfect after travelling all that way. There’s limited food choices around the International G.