Alaska Lounge SFO Opening Summer 2021

Filed Under: Alaska

In early 2019, Alaska Airlines announced it would open a new lounge at San Francisco Airport (SFO). There’s now an updated timeline for when the lounge will open (the airline has also announced changes to Alaska Lounge memberships, which I covered in a separate post).

Alaska Airlines’ SFO lounge opens summer 2021

The Alaska Lounge SFO is expected to open by late summer 2021:

Below are some renderings that Alaska Airlines has provided of the new lounge space (I’ve gotta be honest, the space looks really bland to me, but maybe it’s just the pictures).

As Sangita Woerner, Alaska Airlines’ SVP of Marketing and Guest Experience, describes this new lounge:

“We’re always looking for ways to be more responsive to our guests and offer amenities that make travel more relaxing. SFO has been the top-requested Alaska Lounge location by our guests for years. So many people are dreaming of travel this year, so we want to open up our newest Alaska Lounge as quickly and efficiently as possible – and renovating this space in Terminal 2 allows us to do that.”

This lounge isn’t what we were expecting

Initially the Alaska Lounge SFO was supposed to open in 2020, though it got delayed due to the pandemic, which is understandable. What I find interesting is that it seems like the plans for this lounge completely changed:

  • Initially the lounge was supposed to be on the top floor of SFO Terminal 2 in a space that wasn’t previously utilized, offering the highest viewpoint of any domestic lounge at SFO
  • American moved from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1 in 2020, and as a result the space of the former American Admirals Club became vacant
  • However, the plan was for the former American Admirals Club to become retail space, given the prime location, rather than to be converted into the Alaska Lounge
  • Now the plan is for the American Admirals Club to become the Alaska Lounge

For what it’s worth, below is the rendering of what the Alaska Lounge SFO was initially supposed to look like.

I guess the benefit of the new plan is that the lounge is a bit larger, while the views won’t be quite as great as they would have been from the other planned lounge.

This new lounge represents the return of a lounge for the airline at SFO. The Alaska Lounge SFO closed many years ago (at least seven years ago, I think), though the lounge at the time was basically a broom closet.

Bottom line

The Alaska Lounge SFO will be opening in the summer of 2021. The nearly 10,000 square foot lounge will take over the former space of the American Admirals Club in Terminal 2. It’s exciting to see that this lounge will finally be opening, after a significant (but not unexpected) delay.

Anyone excited about the new Alaska Lounge SFO?

  1. And now Alaska increasing membership prices to access Admirals. Closing the loophole I’ve enjoyed for years – Alaska Lounge + will be $550 per year for members (includes partner lounge access including admirals).

    Oh well – I use Amex Plat and Hilton Aspire airline credits to bring cost down.

  2. They should have just kept the AA lounge fittings. It would have saved them a lot of money and almost no one would care.

  3. @Ben
    You didn’t cover the upcoming (in october) bifurcation of AS Lounge membership into two tiers and grandfathering of existing lounge membership into ‘plus’ tier

  4. NM.
    Just saw the other post pop-up on the blog. Still grandfathering of existing paid membership into Plus tier is an important thing and should be mentioned. I plan to renew in sept.

  5. @ Bhalo — Covered it in a separate post, since I figured both stories were important and sufficiently different. 🙂

  6. This is incredibly disappointing. The location and design of the previous lounge scheme was 1000x better. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it a bingo hall – more like corporate cafeteria in some fly-over state that’s trying hard to be cool, but failing. First partnering with AA, now taking their old space – is Alaska drawing influence on how to suck life from the passenger experience?

  7. It looks like a glorified cafeteria… I really hope the actual thing has better seating options upon its debut

  8. I actually found the SFO Admirals Club to be among the better in the AA system, at least for clubs of its size, so I think this could be just fine. I see they kept the AA “tree” ceiling plan in the renderings. It certainly looks better than the Seattle D club! The style of the Seattle N club is *fantastic.*

  9. So we’re calling that sad little pancake machine Made-to-Order now? I guess AS and I have objectively different ideas of what “made-to-order” means. What’s that Henry Ford quote…”Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”? In the same vein, I can have any pancake I want so long as it is the the specific one made by the machine. I think “Pancakes on Demand” is maybe a better term.

  10. “I actually found the SFO Admirals Club to be among the better in the AA system”

    I liked it a great deal as well @BKKM.

    I’m not sure the changes they are planning are beneficial. But the space is nice.

  11. Agreed with @Chase et al. that it looks like a cafeteria. The terminal actually has nicer and more inviting decor and furniture.

  12. Very excited … I loved the space as the Admirals Club and can’t wait for Alaska to open it up as an Alaska lounge! I fly Alaska out of terminal 2 all the time.

  13. I *was* going to buy an AS Lounge membership once the SFO lounge opened – but boy, am I ever re-thinking that now. Looks like a sort of nice company cafeteria?

  14. @Ben, any word on whether an AA membership will allow access to this particular lounge? (When it was an Admirals Club, it was a notable exception to the “Alaska Lounge membership gets you AA entry” loophole.)

    I will probably get an AA or Alaska membership at this point, since Alaska out of SFO T2 is my main travel — i.e., so long as I can avoid United. At the same time, as others have pointed out, T2 itself is pretty pleasant for an airline terminal; and the TSA precheck line is so fast into T2 that I often push it and show up at the airport just before boarding time. (Or I did, anyway — haven’t stepped foot in any airport since late February 2020.)

  15. @Mark – that’s the first question that came to my mind as well.

    The lack of showers in AS lounges is really not acceptable if they’re looking to position themselves as fully-fledged oneworld member.

    The fact that they mention showers as a benefit of oneworld lounges on their website whilst not offering that facility in their own lounges looks terrible.

  16. With there being no international flights out of T2, I’m a little confused why people are so concerned about showers. If you have a layover before heading to Asia (or back from), you’ll be moving to/from the international terminal, where there are plenty of lounges with showers, some of which your OneWorld status will get you into.

  17. @shza – it’s not simply a case of a lack of showers at SFO, and you’re only considering flights leaving the US. Flying into the US and connecting onwards to an AS destination may not present travelers with an option of the type you suggest.

  18. @UA, I get the point beyond SFO (though Alaska is probably unique among OneWorld in being just a domestic operator — apart from a few Mexico and maybe Vancouver routes, which are just as short as domestic legs; and, correspondingly, they also charge less for a lounge membership than, e.g., AA). It’s just that this article is only about the new lounge at SFO so I assumed that was what was being discussed.

    With respect to this particular lounge at SFO though, someone flying into SFO is going to be flying into the international terminal and will have plenty of lounge options there with showers though, so I’m not sure why flying into versus out of the U.S. matters. Unless the bulk of those options don’t allow arrival lounge use, which I don’t think is the case (though with SFO as my home airport, I’ve never had any reason to check — I’d rather shower at home).

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