United Airlines Closing All Polaris Lounges, Some United Clubs

Filed Under: United

This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, because if you don’t operate many international flights, you also don’t need many international lounges. United Airlines has announced huge capacity cuts in light of government restrictions and reduced demand, and now the airline has announced significant lounge closures as well.

United Airlines closing all Polaris Lounges

United Airlines will be closing all five of their Polaris Lounges indefinitely as of Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Polaris Lounges are United’s premium lounges for long haul international business class passengers.

There are locations in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, and San Francisco. That makes sense, since at this point United has canceled all long haul international flights.

As United describes the move:

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to have a significant impact on travel demand and that has resulted in far fewer customers visiting the airports where we do business. As a result, we will temporarily suspend operations at some United Club locations at our hubs and Polaris lounges starting on Wednesday, March 18. For now, each of our U.S. hub locations will continue to have at least one United Club location open for customers.

All United Polaris Lounges will be closed

United Airlines also closing some United Clubs

Given the overall reduced demand for air travel, United Airlines is also closing United Clubs at some of the airports where they have multiple lounge locations. Specifically, as of Wednesday United will be closing at least one United Club at the following airports:

  • Chicago
  • Denver
  • Houston
  • Newark
  • San Francisco
  • Washington Dulles

Several United Clubs at hubs will be closing

Bottom line

While many airlines have adjusted their lounge procedures for health reasons, United is the first of the “big three” US carriers to start closing lounges. Frankly I’m surprised they’re not closing United Clubs at smaller airports where presumably demand has decreased significantly, rathe than only focusing on hubs. Presumably that’s still coming.

Maybe I’m just a pessimist, but I hope that they actually reopen these lounges once things improve and demand picks up, because in their effort to cut costs in light of the situation, I could also see them leaving the Polaris Lounges closed for a while…

  1. With VS announcing it’s cancelling VS1 LHR-EWR “permanently” is this just during the current situation or is it finished, if so what a loss of both route and of course the fabulous Clubhouse, I assume the other Clubhouses will also close too.

  2. Lucky, am I missing something or have none of the ulcc announced any cuts beyond those imposed by border closure?

    Ie, spirit, allegiant, frontier

  3. United could be more customer-friendly here and turn the closed Polaris lounges into United Clubs, with United Club food and service to match. Why not close all all Newark Terminal C lounges and set up a United Club in the Polaris lounge?

    Of course now would also be an ideal time to renovate all the outdated Clubs. But I’m dreaming.

  4. United always ahead of curve in customer-unfriendliness actions. Lets close some clubs to have them more packed in. To hell with social distancing.

  5. United is quickly implementing various cost-cutting measures, but curiously enough, they are not taking flights out of their timetable — even though they announced Sunday night that they would reduce flights by 50% in April and May. You can still buy tickets for many flights that everyone knows are not going to happen. Is this a ruse to get more customer money into United’s coffers?

  6. These Lounges cost a fortune to operate. If they can save the taxpayer a few bucks in bailout money, it must be done.

  7. @Charlie
    They will allow bookings til the last minute, so they can lock up your money as interest free loans for a year. United is a disgusting operation.

  8. These airlines are just trying to survive I would imagine you have not seen anything yet …. going to be interesting when in late summer when this passes , there are 2 airlines flying NYC-LHR and the cheapest ticket is $4000 …. so with that said screw the lounges, grow up and learn that you fat business f**Ks can sit in the terminal like everyone else and ….. yes that escalated fast …

  9. Today I am at Changi airport, where there are numerous Priority Pass lounges. My wife and I flew here in United Polaris last week. We fly to SFO the on to IAH. This means we cannot access the Polaris lounge in either city, killing one of the reasons to pay for the business upgrade.

    Losing access to Polaris business lounges at my home IAH and my SFO or LAX connection makes me less likely to book Polaris business.

    I canceled my United Club Card last year and got Sapphire Reserve for my wife and me.

    With dynamic pricing making United miles hard to value, Chase would have to offer way more than this to get me back.

  10. My wife just entered the Changi Jewel lounge, which is landside. We love Priority Pass! The United checkin counter doesn’t open for another hour, so she could not get into Star Alliance lounges, all of which are airside, past immigration.

    I am stuck airside, having flown in last night from Bangkok, hours after Singapore blocked the entry of passengers coming from Asean countries.

    Priority Pass cards are awesome. United Club and other Star Alliance clubs are mediocre.

  11. Not going to label anyone, but if you guys think that going to an airline lounge, eating buffet food in the company of people who just came of a plane is “social distancing”, you’re out of your mind.
    You want to social distance, minimize your air travel and when absolutely essential minimize your airport time and the food you consume at airports.
    If you still purchase plane tickets these days, with the expectation of a mightly good time at the lounge, that’s fine, but don’t clutch the public safety straw…

  12. @D

    In Asia Priority Pass is pretty good, but in other parts of the world the are pretty mediocre. I would prefer most of the lounges of Star Alliance and United to a Priority pass lounge overall…

  13. Has anyone heard news since March? I’ve flown Polaris twice, both before the Lounges we’re ready. I’m supposed to fly to ATH in August, and won’t be thrilled to have clubs closed. I’d love some info! Thanks.

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