Review: United Club Houston Airport

Filed Under: United

Our flight from Frankfurt landed at 5:30PM, while our connecting flight to Los Angeles was at around 8:20PM. Our flight arrived at the E Concourse, while our connecting flight was departing from the C Concourse. Global Entry was quick, though it’s a bit of a haul to change terminals, and on top of that, security took a while.

We were airside in the C Concourse by 6PM, and then had about 90 minutes before we needed to go the gate for our connecting flight.

Houston Airport concourse

So we decided to check out the United Club in the C Concourse, which just opened this spring, meaning the lounge is just a few months old. The lounge is located near gate C1, and it’s tough to miss the translucent blue exterior.

United Club Houston Airport exterior

The lounge has an impressive interior with mood lighting and a small decorative seating section (at least I assume that’s what it is, since it’s not even past the reception desk).

United Club Houston Airport entryway

We presented our inbound boarding passes to the associates at the desk, and were quickly admitted. I recently reviewed the new United Club Los Angeles, and it was clear that this lounge had a similar design style.

This is a fairly small United Club, as it consists of one large room with a few different seating zones.

United Club Houston Airport seating

The main part of the lounge just consists of leather chairs lined up in rows facing one another.

United Club Houston Airport seating

United Club Houston Airport seating

There are also some stylish leather chairs around small circular tables.

United Club Houston Airport seating

Along the wall is a counter with a couple dozen more seats.

United Club Houston Airport seating

Then on the far right of the lounge is an area with high-top seating and plenty of outlets.

United Club Houston Airport seating

Then on the far left of the lounge is the area with dining tables, bar, and buffet.

United Club Houston Airport bar

The club had views of the C Concourse gate area, though it was quite empty at the time, so there wasn’t much to see.

United Club Houston Airport view

The buffet was along the left wall just in front of the bar area.

United Club Houston Airport buffet

In terms of food, there was whole fruit, a small salad bar with limited toppings, cubed cheese, raw veggies, soup, snack mix, crackers, brownies, and cookies.

United Club Houston Airport snack selection

United Club Houston Airport snack selection

United Club Houston Airport snack selection

United Club Houston Airport snack selection

United Club Houston Airport soup

United Club Houston Airport snack selection

United Club Houston Airport snack selection

In terms of self serve drinks, there was illy drip coffee, an espresso machine, and then one of those high tech Coke fountains with over a dozen drinks to choose from.

United Club Houston Airport coffee

United Club Houston Airport espresso machine

United Club Houston Airport soda fountain

The bar had complimentary house wine, beer, and liquor, and then premium drinks were available for purchase.

The Wi-Fi in the lounge was reasonably fast. You can log-in either with your MileagePlus number if you’re a club member, or otherwise you can use the password, which changes every so often.

The bathroom was fairly nice, though the lounge didn’t have any showers. It’s a bit disappointing that United doesn’t have showers in more of their lounges, as it seems they’re saving that mostly for Polaris lounges nowadays.

I spent about an hour in the lounge working, and then eventually we headed to our departure gate for the flight to Los Angeles.

United Club Houston bottom line

In terms of quality, I’d say United Clubs are marginally better than American Admirals Clubs and significantly worse than Delta SkyClubs. I like the new United Club design, even if it doesn’t feel especially high end or seem like it will age very well. The food spread in United Clubs is a bit better than in Admirals Clubs, though it’s amazing the degree to which Delta SkyClubs blow away the lounges offered by the other two US global carriers. There are several ways to visit these lounges, some as easy as a credit card with lounge access.

I guess United’s argument is that they have Polaris Lounges for their international business class passengers (well, only one lounge so far, really), while Delta only has SkyClubs for all passengers eligible for lounge access.

Where do you think United Clubs rank compared to other US lounges?

  1. There are showers in the United Club in the E concourse at IAH. I haven’t been to this lounge that you reviewed; I think it’s gorgeous!

  2. IF UA had installed hot food prep in all their new/renovated clubs like they did w/ORD B6, THEN you could say it was truly striving for greatness and matching DL SkyClubs. But of course, they saw the add’l cost and now have quit on the effort. A recurring theme…

  3. @ Lucky
    “We presented our inbound boarding passes to the associates at the desk”

    I’m curious why you call them “associates”. To me, an “associate” is someone who is a bit detached from the organisation (an “associate professor” is someone without tenure, so not a permanent part of that university). Is that the meaning you are intending to give? Or are you using that word as a euphemism to avoid writing “staff” (I’m not sure why you’d want to avoid writing “staff”. And it has less than half the letters of “associates”, so it’d be more efficient for you when you’re typing…).

    Personally, given how disempowered most frontline staff are, I’d refer to them by the old-fashioned term of “company servants”: which is technically correct, and emphasises that most of us in our working lives are mere corporate drudges. You being a notable exception.

  4. @Lucky – There is a pretty easy way to avoid the long security line after clearing immigration at IAH. Instead of following the signs for connecting flights, head for the exit. After you exit, take the escalator up one level, and you will find the security lines for Terminal E. These are much shorter and have Pre-Check.

    IAH used to be my home airport.

  5. Unfortunately this new club always seems to be completely full when I swing by. The other club in Terminal C is usually less crowded. Used to be the other way around before this new one was renovated and the new C gates opened up.

    Also, I believe this club used to have showers before it was renovated. I remember showering there on a few occasions.

  6. ” though it’s amazing the degree to which Delta SkyClubs blow away the lounges offered by the other two US global carriers.”

    Really? I think the SkyClubs are overcrowded sh#$holes with terrible offerings. Shows how people see things differently.

  7. I don’t see anything in here that an Admirals Club doesn’t have, and at least you can order ala carte food options in the admirals club. Are there any foods that can be ordered in United Clubs?

  8. I think it’s unfair to claim SkyClubs are THAT much better. Agree with @UA-NYC that it’s a sad miss they didn’t ace prepared food. By far the thing I’m most frustrated with is that I can’t even get a simple salad with protein in there. But all that said, the new clubs are light, airy, and frankly the house wine is drinkable (like honestly, that should get some praise) – when it comes down to it I’m there for fast wifi, a glass of wine, and the ability to take a call in a quiet space and United knowing that has aced it.

    I always thought United was the worst but having been forced to fly them this year because I moved to SF I realized that they aren’t any better than AA. Wish you could give them a fair review – for instance, I love the club bartenders they really carry the brand well.

  9. @Paul – Thank you for your perceptive comments. I have questioned the use of ‘associate’ for some time but presumed it was an ‘american’ term and thus remained in silent bewilderment.

  10. Also, the fact that with a paid membership, I can still only get Bud or Bud Lite swill as the house beer is a total joke. A couple outstations *may* offer Blue Moon, but that is a rarity.

  11. I 100% agree with your statement “it doesn’t feel especially high end or seem like it will age very well. “.

    Yes, I can see it now. 20 years from now the design will have remained, and UA will have no plans for a refresh or a renovation. That is typical UA (well, CO).

    I agree that Delta SkyClubs are much better. Much much better. I think the best USA domestic airline lounge is the Delta SkyClub at SFO. The food at the SFO SkyClub has always been amazing, and I believe it is done by a different caterer than what other SkyClubs use. Unfortunately the food has dropped a few notches over the past few months, but the food is still much better than anything offered at any other USA domestic UA Clubs.

  12. @Bobby: Please don’t associate any CO comments towards with the “new United”. Wonderful airline that should’ve never merged with such an antiquated, hard-headed airline.

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