Review: Air France Lounge San Francisco Airport

Filed Under: Air France
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Our flight from San Francisco to Seoul Incheon was departing at 11:30AM, and we arrived at the airport plenty early, at around 8AM. Korean Air departs from International Terminal A at SFO, and they use check-in Zone 9. Their check-in only opened at 8:10AM, so they were just setting up as we arrived.

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Korean Air check-in SFO

The check-in process was friendly and quick, and we were soon handed boarding passes all the way to Kathmandu, and invitations to the British Airways Lounge, which Korean Air uses for their premium passengers at SFO.

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Korean Air fist & business class check-in SFO

Often security at SFO’s international terminals is horrible, though fortunately we arrived ahead of the big rush, and we were through security in a matter of minutes. While SFO’s Terminal 2 and International Terminal G are quite nice, I find that the shopping and food options are fairly limited in International Terminal A.

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San Francisco Airport International Terminal A

As mentioned above, Korean Air uses the British Airways lounge at SFO, which I’ve reviewed before. Therefore we decided not to visit that lounge, and instead went to the Air France/KLM Lounge, which is a member of Priority Pass and therefore is a great perk of any credit card with lounge access. As a reminder, there are lots of great premium credit cards that come with Priority Pass lounge access, including the following:

Card# of Complimentary GuestsAuthorized User AccessCost To Add Authorized User
Chase Sapphire Reserve®2Yes$75 Per Person
Citi Prestige® Credit Card2Yes$75 Per Person
The Platinum Card® from American Express

No access to Priority Pass restaurants as of August, 2019.
2Yes$175 For Up To 3 People, $175 For Each Additional Person Beyond That (Rates & Fees)
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

No access to Priority Pass restaurants as of August, 2019.
2Yes$300 Per Person (Rates & Fees)
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

No access to Priority Pass restaurants as of August, 2019.
2No$0 (Rates & Fees)
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

No access to Priority Pass restaurants as of August, 2019.
2No$0 (Rates & Fees)

Once past security, just turn left immediately and you’ll see the entryway to most of the lounges.

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SFO Airport International Terminal A lounges

The Air France/KLM Lounge is located on the first level, and is just inside the entrance and to the right.

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Air France Lounge San Francisco Airport exterior

Once inside the lounge we were greeted by a guy who swiped our Priority Pass cards and welcomed us in. While the Air France Lounge is open from 8:15AM until 11:30PM (except Tuesdays, when the lounge closes at 10PM), it’s worth noting that the lounge has restricted hours for Priority Pass members. Priority Pass members can’t use the lounge between 11AM and 1:30PM, and then again between 7PM and 10PM. That coincides with the timing of the Air France and KLM departures.

The lounge was a good size, at least this early in the morning, when it was still empty. Just inside the entrance was an area with circular dining tables and chairs, as well as a counter along the window with more chairs.

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Air France Lounge San Francisco Airport seating

Past that was a bigger room, which had a few rows of seats either facing the windows or facing the interior of the lounge.

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Air France Lounge San Francisco Airport seating

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Air France Lounge San Francisco Airport seating

Then to the interior of the lounge was a more elegantly furnished room. I’m not sure if this used to be a smoking lounge, or if it’s reserved at certain hours for VIPs, but it certainly had a different feel than the rest of the lounge.

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Air France Lounge San Francisco Airport seating

Inside that small room were brownies, pretzels, and two kinds of wine.

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Air France Lounge San Francisco Airport wine & snacks

Back in the main room was a counter with coffee, tea, soft drinks, and snacks.

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Air France Lounge San Francisco Airport drinks & snacks

There was a coffee machine with all kinds of options, packets of Stash tea, and soda.

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Air France Lounge San Francisco Airport coffee machine

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Air France Lounge San Francisco Airport tea selection

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Air France Lounge San Francisco Airport soft drinks

Then there were pretzels, pound cake, and brownies.

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Air France Lounge San Francisco Airport snacks

In the very back of the lounge was the biggest room of all, which featured a couple of rows of traditional lounge seating, and then some dining tables.

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Air France Lounge San Francisco Airport seating

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Air France Lounge San Francisco Airport seating

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Air France Lounge San Francisco Airport seating

The food and drink selection was along the far left wall, and was actually really impressive, at least for a Priority Pass lounge.

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Air France Lounge San Francisco Airport buffet

There was a selection of self serve liquor, wine, and beer.

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Air France Lounge SFO liquor

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Air France Lounge SFO wine

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Air France Lounge SFO drinks

Then there were pretzels, dried fruit, etc.

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Air France Lounge SFO snacks

There was pound cake, focaccia sandwiches, fresh fruit, and instant noodles.

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Air France Lounge SFO snack selection

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Air France Lounge SFO instant noodles

Then there were a few hot dishes, including sausage, rice, waffles, and breakfast potatoes.

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Air France Lounge SFO food

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Air France Lounge SFO food

There were also two types of soup — clam chowder and chicken noodle soup (which was actually labeled as vegetable soup).

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Air France Lounge SFO soup

Then there was a make-your-own-salad bar.

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Air France Lounge SFO salad bar

The bathroom was decent enough. However, there were no showers in the lounge, best I could tell.

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Air France Lounge SFO bathroom

The views from the lounge were also great. The lounge looked directly at the tarmac, and in the distance you could see all four runways.

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Air France Lounge SFO view

Eventually a China Eastern 777 pulled into the gate right below the lounge. My gosh, the plane looked shiny on the outside (though I’m sure it didn’t smell great on the inside).

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Air France Lounge SFO view

Shortly after 9AM our gorgeous Korean Air 747-8 landed and taxied to the gate. What a beauty!

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Korean Air 747-8 arriving in San Francisco

The Wi-Fi in the lounge was fast, and towards the end of our stay the lounge started to fill up more with China Eastern passengers, since they also use this lounge.

Boarding for our flight was scheduled for 11:10AM. It’s bizarre to me that Korean Air starts boarding only 20 minutes before departure. I get that non-US airlines are more efficient than US airlines when it comes to boarding. However, boarding a big plane in 20 minutes is no easy task.

So we headed to our departure gate, A9, at around 10:50AM, so we could be sure we were among the first aboard. This gate was located at the very end of the concourse, on the left.

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Korean Air departure gate SFO

Sure enough, boarding was called at 11:10AM sharp.

Air France/KLM Lounge San Francisco bottom line

I was pleasantly surprised by the Air France Lounge SFO. While it’s not a world class lounge, I found it to be significantly better than the British Airways Lounge SFO, and also one of the better Priority Pass lounges in the US. The decor was reasonably nice, and the food and drink selection was impressive, in my opinion.

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees), Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (Rates & Fees), and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (Rates & Fees).

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  1. You were lucky to be there during the narrow window of time when they actually allow in PP members

  2. The lounge has recently been refreshed, mostly in the furniture department (in the last year I think?). It’s still hard to get laptop power sitting at most of the main seats but the seats along the windows with outlets are a new and great improvement.

    If you’re flying on the KLM or Air France flight, it gets FULL and difficult to find two seats together.

  3. Why did you give them your PP cards, you were flying SkyTeam Business or First and had access already?

    Also, your info is wrong, 11-1:30 is for both AF/KL departures, 7-10pm is closed for QF departure, who uses this lounge.

  4. @Lucky having been in there during the run-up to the Air France flight, pretty sure the small room with different decor is for First Class passengers (it gets a rope and “Reserved” sign during those hours.

    Also, looks so much nicer in your photos without the food picked over and every seat taken like it tends to be in the middle of the day 🙂

  5. I like the drink and food offering of the lounge but I do find it really packed most of the time.
    While I understand why the lounge is closed for Priority Pass between 7 pm and 10 pm because AF 85 leaves for CDG at 9:05 pm. But I never understood why the noon closure is only until 1:30 pm and not until 3:00 pm because AF 83 leaves at 3:10 pm to CDG.

  6. I agree, it’s one of the nicer Priority Pass accessible lounges. Convenient for JetBlue flyers as well.

  7. Related, if you are on a premium BA ticket you can use the Cathay or JAL lounges, both of which are nicer than BA and also this one, obviously.

    And on the BA A380 flight you don’t have direct access to the plane anyway because SFO can’t squeeze a A380 on that side of the terminal.

    I recall once arriving really early for a BA flight and it was being used by Korean. They let me in anyway and I got to eat Korean food. Nice.

  8. The lounge is useless for Priority Pass members. I’m based in SFO, and every time I’ve tried to use the lounge I get turned away. Priority Pass has very little value.

  9. Just visited this lounge flying B6 out of SFO and were admitted without question at 8PM on a Tuesday, FYI. Lounge was pretty dead.

  10. The lounge gets miserably crowded before the departure of the AF/KLM flights. Outside of these peak hours, it is a pleasant enough space to pass the team, and the food is good enough to make a light lunch if needed.

  11. I have never been affected by the mid-day closures (maybe this is a M-F thing as I often fly on weekends?) for PriorityPass but have been turned away a few times by crowding.

  12. Um, wouldn’t you have had access to the AFR lounge anyway, given you were flying business on a Skyteam airline?

    Bizarre you’d enter by virtue of Priority Pass, unless this was just another post to try to sell referrals through those credit card sign-up links.

  13. The lounge is the old Delta lounge…which was the old Northwest (RIP) WorldClub, so no old smoking room as the terminal was built after the ridiculously written law.

    To echo others, since you were flying ScaryTeam, you should already have access.

  14. “You were flying Korean Air, you can use any SkyTeam lounge.”

    Yeah but PP referral…bonus…links…money…

    “However, there were no showers in the lounge, best I could tell.”

    You didn’t ask? Just curious, since “best I could tell” implies that you checked out the lounge on your own and didn’t see any…it’s possible there are showers, though.

  15. Was there a few weeks ago catching the KLM flight at 2:30pm and I used the Priority Pass (and took my husband with me as a guest). Must have entered the lounge at 12-12:30. Had no problem entering the lounge on Priority Pass with a guest and it was packed. Not a bad lounge. Loved the nice microbrew beers they had in the fridge.

  16. This is the designated lounge for QF’s evening departure to SYD and is absolutely HATED by QF passengers. There are regular complaints that this one of the worst lounges QF use. Apparently a (very) limited number of very high-status pax are permitted to use the CX lounge instead (I believe its limited to 12 per flight) and the rest of the pax are refused entry to both the BA and CX lounges even though they are oneworld lounges (not sure the BA lounge is open in the evenings though).
    Compared with LAX, the lounge situation in SFO is awful for QF pax.

  17. I prefer the Air France lounge at Dulles, which is also a Priority Pass lounge. The champagne is great, as is the brie cheese. No showers there, either. The Turkish lounge has a nice isolated VIP room upstairs that they always let me in, as nobody seems to know about it. You basically have to walk through the kitchen and climb stairs to reach it. The champagne is better in the Air France lounge, but the food is better — a full, real meal — at the Turkish lounge.

  18. The furniture’s been updated, of course, but the rest of the “hard product” is pure Northwest World Club, right down to the tiled walls, marble floors, wood paneling, and bathrooms. Near identical designs live on in Delta’s Sky Clubs in DTW and MSP concourse C.

  19. I entered the lounge last night at 8 pm with a Priority Pass card. No problems whatsoever and I was welcomed warmly. Of course, Tuesdays are pretty slow.

    It was just as well, as the crew on AC 754 to YYZ had decided to take the night off. I swear there were crew members who did not have a single interaction with a passenger. Paperwork was completed in the last row and a loud discussion ensued about the Toronto housing market. Thanks for the cup of water 3 hours into the 5 hour flight!

  20. I have a PP and will be flying United I’m not sure if we can get in the lounge. Any one know if we can? We have 3 hours layover and I would appreciate any of you help. Thanks

  21. I’ll be flying on Singapore Airlines departing from gate G area, is the lounge accessible for priority pass card member?


  22. @Laural, @Julia

    I’m in the AF/KLM now, flying on a KAL ticket. They will NOT let you in on the SkyTeam E+ alone, as in thier words, “KAL uses the BA Lounge”
    So I did have to use my PP.

    I did have the same thoughts as you, so I purposely gave it a try without.
    Good coffee and nice choice of drinks.

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