First Look: The New United Polaris Lounge SFO

United’s new Polaris Lounge in San Francisco will be opening on April 30, 2018. This will be United’s second Polaris Lounge, and on top of that we should see them open the Polaris Lounge Newark just about a month later. I’m impressed that United finally seems to feel some urgency with delivering on their Polaris promise.

Today United put out a press release about the new Polaris Lounge San Francisco, including lots of pictures of the new facility. United’s new Polaris Lounge will be located in SFO’s international terminal, near gate G92.

Here are the facts they provide about the lounge:

  • Two levels across more than 28,000 square feet
  • 440 seats
  • 19 different types of seating
  • 492 power outlets and 492 USB ports
  • 8 pieces of art by prominent Bay Area artists, all San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art (SECA) Art Award honorees
  • 5 private daybeds outfitted with Saks Fifth Avenue bedding
  • 8 luxurious shower suites, featuring rainfall showers and Soho House & Co’s Cowshed Spa products
  • Personal valet services, including steaming garments
  • “The Dining Room” – a private restaurant style dining area with a menu designed by Chef Tritia Gestuvo, a California native, that blends international comfort foods — such as a traditional Chinese congee breakfast and hand-cut pappardelle pasta with mushroom ragout — with staples like the United Polaris Burger
  • A bistro-like buffet that includes a ramen noodle bar in the afternoon and additional unique-to-San Franciscotreats that align with the flight schedule and destinations of United and Star Alliance partners
  • Cocktails inspired by the Bay Area, including the Mai Tai, invented in Oakland in 1944, and the Pisco Punch, featuring pisco which became all the rage during the California Gold Rush of 1849

Here are the pictures United has provided of the new Polaris Lounge SFO:

The new Polaris Lounge looks beautiful, and I can’t wait to check it out myself. Keep in mind that this lounge won’t just be for United longhaul international business class passengers, but can also be used by other Star Alliance first and business class passengers. This lounge can’t be accessed on account of status or on domestic flights (even if traveling on a premium transcontinental route).

At 28,000 feet, this is also a very large lounge, so crowding shouldn’t be a major issue. That’s significantly larger than United’s Polaris Lounge Chicago, which is about 16,000 square feet. This new lounge is roughly comparable in size to American’s Flagship Lounge Miami.

What’s your initial impression of United’s Polaris Lounge SFO?


  1. Those are the most fake-looking passengers I’ve ever seen. They could at least have tried to cast some people who look like they’re not from a model agency.

  2. Is it safe to assume the lounge is open until the last *A departure? I’m thinking of the BR27 departing at 01:20 specifically. I wonder if the restaurant stays open that late…

  3. Looks awful. And what fools people are to spend miles to “preview”. Anything United does is absolute trash. This included.

  4. Does not impress me! Have to find out on my own and then I wil give a shown are so artificial..they do not convey a real experience being in the lounge..

  5. It’s not bad looking but I would still stay away from United internationally since they only have Polaris business class and a very tight one at that. Wish they had kept the Polaris first. It’s not really a first class… more like a middle of the pack business class at best but certainly doable to fly from sfo to haneda… sigh.

  6. Santastico wrote: “But to have access to this lounge you still have to fly United, right? No thank you.”

    That is false. As the article states, all Star Alliance int’l business and first class passengers are granted access.

    Brian wrote: “Looks awful…. Anything United does is absolute trash. This included.”

    I’ll never understand why some customers are so triggered by United. Any reasonable person would agree that the lounge looks well designed, just as the ORD lounge was — the only problem was that it was criminally undersized. We can only hope United has learned from its mistake, but it does no good to engage in preposterous hyperbole.

  7. Hey Kevin you should definitely stay away from United flying #875/876. Stay away from #837/838 as well. Thats HND and NRT.
    Your absence means better seat selection for me. I fly it pretty often and have zero complaints. Good luck finding a quicker route and better connection times.

  8. The pictures look like they were taken at about 11am. And virtually every person (except Stacey Stalkerton with the telescope) has an alcoholic drink. I guess that’s one way to ensure you have a good time on the ground.

    On a separate, I’m sure unrelated note, United just announced that they’re not going to remove the plastic covers from the seats for the planes flying into/out of SFO.

    In all seriousness, it does look like a nice lounge.

  9. Looks beautiful and I can’t wait to try the restaurant and drinks. It’s certainly better than the other Star Alliance lounges at SFO. At 440 seats that’s huge.
    Good Lord so much negativity, and much of it not even based on the factual information as written in this post.

    Question: Have they posted the menu(s) anywhere yet?

  10. @Chuck Lester: You’re correct. Less a public relations/news photo than one out the advertising department using stock photos from agencies. The real UA front desk employee would be female, about 50ish, holding a cudgel and wearing brass knuckles along with a grin whilst pointing at the ‘access rules’ sign. Welcome to Oscar’s world.

  11. Santastico wrote: “But to have access to this lounge you still have to fly United, right? No thank you.”

    That is wrong; he didn’t read the post. As the article states, all Star Alliance int’l business and first class passengers are granted access.

    19 different style of seating? Not impressed. Unless the affirm there are 19 *comfortable* styles of seating.

  12. Missed the part that says you can use if flying Star Alliance business or first. That might make the case for a visit. I would never fly United if I have a choice of flying a foreign carrier. Also, United would be my last choice if I had to fly a US carrier internationally.

  13. Dreadful. They need someone with a bit of design flair and good taste. EG, Melania Trump could have whipped up something far better: A few life-size blackamoors, some gilt chandeliers, some repro Louis XV, swathes of brocade…it would transform the place rather than have it look as though they ran out of money half -way through the fit-out. At least she gets to redo the dreary WH and I look forward to that.

  14. Eric – name 5 positive things United has done in the past year to improve the customer experience?
    they are a trash heap of an airline, with employees who think it’s ok to drag people off planes and shove dogs into overhead bins and kill them.
    It doesn’t matter WHAT they design, they can never get out of their own way, and will continue to treat people like dirt.

  15. Not sure why there is so much negativity, especially when lounges in the US are so poor. Looks like a nice lounge, although I would have preferred private day bedrooms and/or more beds. The lounge at O’Hare is beautiful and not so crowded during my flights. The staff were always courteous and polite at the Polaris at O’Hare also. I am looking forward to this lounge in SFO.

  16. I really don’t like United and generally avoid them, especially as I mainly travel long-haul. That said, even I had to admit being very impressed by their new LHR-T2 lounge when I visited a couple years back. Of 100+ lounges I’ve visited (and ranked) the UA LHR lounge is near the top and I preferred it to SQ’s similarly new LHR lounge.

  17. Wow! People! Give credit where credit is due. This lounge looks stunning and superbly appointed to rival other quality lounges such as Qantas First. Can’t wait to try it.

  18. Agree with the comments that this is a beautiful lounge. I like the Polaris lounge at ORD. Not a big fan of the Admirals or the DL Skyclubs at any major hubs in the US.

  19. @Lucky

    I’m booked on the TPE SFO route on Polaris Business in June and have a connecting to LAS on F the same afternoon. Will I get access on account of my Intercon Polaris Ticket?

  20. Im laughing at the models they used. Throw in a bald guy and a fat lady please. It’s hard to focus on the lounge itself when the people in it are so ridiculous

  21. I remember when this space had the renovation taking it from the Red Carpet Club to the United club. The space was refreshed but was in all form and functionality the same space. When I now look at the pictures of the Polaris lounge, I see the same form and functionality as the United Club, with the exception of the showers.

    I’m curious what had actually changed. Perhaps throw up a few new walls, some new paint, added showers, added the “United soft product PR package” and out pops the new Polaris lounge!

  22. I’ve been in the Polaris Chicago lounge; it’s great. This one looks a bit nicer. Well worth a visit if you are flying Polaris class….

  23. United is a disgusting airline with a deplorable culture. Talk about lipstick on a pig. The sooner they are gone, the better.

  24. I just don’t get all the negative posts…..United will exceed all other american airlines soon. Their lounges are gorgeous. I was lucky to see the United Club lounge at London’s Heathrow Queens terminal a few years ago…fantastic!!! If anyone has a problem with this lounge, they are just nuts!!!!!
    EWR Polaris Lounge will open on June 4, 2018 and journalists will preview on May 31. I will be flying Polaris 777-300 EWR-FRA so I am thrilled!!!
    These new lounges, with restaurant service, are on the same level as LH first class lounges at JFK and FRA….I’ve been in both……
    Thank you United!!!!!

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