Not Nearly a Suite: United Airlines Global First Lounge

United Airlines SAN to SFO
Hyatt Regency SFO
United Airlines Global First Lounge
ANA First Square SFO to NRT
Park Hyatt Tokyo Park View Room
Kamakura and the Great Buddha
Conrad Tokyo
Thai Airways First Class on the A380
Best Western Premier Amaranth Suvarnabhumi Airport
Royal Orchid Lounge and Spa at Bangkok
Thai Airways Business Class BKK to CGK

Main International Terminal
San Francisco Airport International Terminal

After checking out of the Hyatt Regency SFO and boarding the shuttle bus, I alighted at the International Terminal and proceeded to the check-in counter, which is located at row 6 for All Nippon Airways. There was no one in the queue for the First Class check-in counter and I was served immediately by an agent with a smile. ANA and Asiana does have some of the most wonderful check-in agents ever who are always so pleasant with greeting the passengers. In this instance as I took one of the luggage sticker, she actually handed out some luggage tags for me. It was such acts of spontaneity that makes them much more pleasant to interact with.

Check-in Row 6
Check-in row 6 for All Nippon Airways

My single check-in luggage was left with the attendant as the check-in agent handed me my boarding pass and passport, indicating in the meantime on where to go. After that, she tagged my luggage to Narita with the ‘First Class’ tags to boot! Since I was early, I took my time to walk around the terminal and head to SFO Museum Gallery. In terms of airports, SFO has one nice check-in concourse in the international terminal.

SFO Museum Gallery
SFO Museum Gallery

There was not much of a queue in the priority lane today, and I was able to pass through customs in a record time! Again, I did not head directly to the lounge, instead I went airplane spotting. This was a smart move since I spotted the arriving ANA 777 as I walked past my departure gate and was able to take some good shots of the jet as it parked by the gate.

ANA Boeing 777
ANA Boeing 777 arriving from Japan
ANA Stewardess getting Ready
ANA flight stewardess getting ready

The ANA stewardess are also grouped around the gate as they make last minute planning for the flight to Japan. Meanwhile on the adjacent gate, a United Airlines flight to Beijing is getting ready for boarding with massive crowds mingling by the gate.

Boarding for United Airlines
Boarding for United Airlines to Beijing
United Airlines Boeing 747
United Airlines Boeing 747 in SFO

Having walked around most of the terminal, I headed to the United Global First Lounge. The attendant welcomed me in and directed me to take the elevators to a floor below. The lounge is unique in that it was decorated in an Asian style with Chinese wooden furnitures gracing the reception area. Inside the lounge is surrounded with louvred windows and Chinese calligraphy and Asian art. Maybe a throwback to the Asian population in the Bay Area?

Lounge Reception and Entrance
United Global First Lounge reception and entrance

Unlike most United Club lounge, or even the United Red Carpet Club which I visited in SFO, this lounge had a totally different ambience. Inside it was relaxing with several sections of seats for lounging. There was also a long shelf stacked with choices of newspapers and magazines.

Magazine Gallery
Magazine gallery in the lounge

At the end of the lounge was the dining area with a good selection of food like Japanese dishes such as Yakitori and sushi rolls in addition to sandwiches and a nice salad bar. There was also cookies which was delicious that I even got an extra one before I left the lounge. The beverage counter was also stocked with a variety of soft drinks, beer and wines.

Dining Area
Dining area at the end of the lounge
Buffet Counter and Bar Area
Buffet counter and bar area

Since the breakfast at the Regency Club in the Hyatt was lacklustre, I had my fill of breakfast here, though I made a point of not eating too much since I know ANA’s First Class meal is amazing! Even though the selection of food was good, it was still ‘lounge food’ after all and tasted quite bland to be honest. Thus I headed next for a shower and the attendant brought me to one of the available shower rooms.

Yakitori and Sushi
Yakitori, sushi and nuts with orange juice

Quite an embarrassing incident occurred here though. As I was getting ready to fully undress I suddenly hear a click on the shower doors. Apparently I had forgotten to lock the door, but I was still surprised since I thought the lounge attendant would have been keeping tabs on who is occupying the shower rooms. Fortunately not too much harm was done and I enjoyed a refreshing shower before my long flight across the Pacific. The bathroom was also furnished with an amenity kit, clean towels, and hangers for my clothes.

Shower Room
Shower room

After the shower, I returned to the lounge, chose a cosy corner by the window and picked up a newspaper while waiting for the boarding to commence. With the sense of excitement building up to be back in ANA’s First Class, I decided to head out earlier and walked over to the boarding gate, leaving what is perhaps the best airport lounge I have been to in the United States.

First Class Boarding Pass
First Class boarding pass

12 thoughts on “Not Nearly a Suite: United Airlines Global First Lounge

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