Any advantage of using UA club lounges?

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Old Nov 14, 17, 12:53 pm
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Any advantage of using UA club lounges?

I am flying later this week SAN-LAX-LHR (in Polaris Business) and would be able to use the UA club lounges in both SAN and LAX. (Note the cities I fly so not have Polaris lounges so my opinion may change when there are Polaris lounges.)

I recently used the Airspace lounge in SAN (via my AMEX membership) and found it quieter, better selection of food and available seating so am thinking of using the Airspace lounge again instead of the UA club lounge in SAN.

The UA folks at the SAN lounge are actually very friendly and pleasant, but so were the Airspace folks. One advantage it would seem to me of the UA club lounges would be if they announced flights and early boarding of flights or flight delays but the UA club lounges do not do this.

[You also have a number of people in the UA club lounges who think people want to hear their calls (cell/skype/facetime, etc.) with no consideration for others that may not want to listen to their conversations - although in fairness this happens in other "elite" lounges as it is not confined to UA clubs.]

In LAX, I found the new UA club quite underwhelming and as I have a long layover I will mosey on down to the *A lounge in the International terminal. I actually enjoy a bit of walking before getting on a long flight - keeps the blood circulating.

In LHR these days, I usually go to the LH lounge for a bit of food, and then to the SQ lounge for the peace and quiet before going to my UA flights. I find the UA lounge at LHR quite noisy and crowded although it is much, much better than any UA domestic lounge. I have only been to the LHR GF lounge once when I was in GF and have never been "surprised and delighted" by an invitation although would say it is the nicest LHR lounge and would select it over LH and SQ.

If UA made flight announcements I certainly would see an advantage for using UA lounges, especially when there may be an early boarding of flights, but otherwise I am not sure I see any advantage and in fact they could close the UA lounges and I would not be disappointed and this would be an excellent cost saving measure for UA and perhaps they could reinstate paying GE for 1K members and provide more availability to use GPUs.

It got me thinking what people may think is the advantage of UA lounges vs non-UA lounges.
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Old Nov 14, 17, 12:55 pm
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Originally Posted by Aussienarelle View Post
The UA folks at the SAN lounge are actually very friendly and pleasant, but so were the Airspace folks. One advantage it would seem to me of the UA club lounges would be if they announced flights and early boarding of flights or flight delays but the UA club lounges do not do this.
They will make boarding announcements for delayed flights at SAN, which is the only time I find that useful.
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Old Nov 14, 17, 1:03 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
They will make boarding announcements for delayed flights at SAN, which is the only time I find that useful.
That's interesting as I have used the UA club at SAN for many years and never heard an Announcement (to the best of my recollection).

Then again the check-in staff have always been proactive in getting me on the waitlist for earlier flights when there have been flight delays as most of my flights have been connections for international flights, or the folks at the check-in desk at the club lounge will work with the GAs to get me on the earlier flights.

However, not all my flights are delayed, but I have nearly missed a flight in SAN as they apparently boarded early and I arrived at the gate close to the time for when boarding closed (but there was still a couple of minutes) to hear my name being paged as I neared the gate and to be told they were going to close the door without me. As I was in the SAN lounge for the whole time I was surprised they did not announce the early boarding at the lounge (and I am quite a fast walker) if an early departure was their goal.
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Old Nov 14, 17, 1:11 pm
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Originally Posted by Aussienarelle View Post
..

It got me thinking what people may think is the advantage of UA lounges vs non-UA lounges.
Proximity -- such as in LHR, the LH lounge is in a different building and a health walk (while the SQ / AC are in the same building, they are weaker offerings). LAX is a similar case, the *A lounge is miles away. SFO/ORD/IAH/EWR there are no viable *A nearby options.

Not everyone has an AMEX, which eliminates the AMEX options for many.

Many feel UA is a marginal world player, removing lounges would do little to address that concern. Having a lounge system is a key requisition of a major airline.

For me, having access to multiple UA agents in times of need without huge lines, is a key benefit.
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Old Nov 14, 17, 1:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Aussienarelle View Post
That's interesting as I have used the UA club at SAN for many years and never heard an Announcement (to the best of my recollection).
I'm in there several times a month, flying to SFO. They definitely announce delayed flight boarding.

Originally Posted by Aussienarelle View Post
As I was in the SAN lounge for the whole time I was surprised they did not announce the early boarding at the lounge (and I am quite a fast walker) if an early departure was their goal.
The UC agents are not normally going to be in touch with the gate unless the flight is delayed.
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Old Nov 14, 17, 1:37 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
For me, having access to multiple UA agents in times of need without huge lines, is a key benefit.
That is a fair point I had not considered.
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Old Nov 14, 17, 1:53 pm
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I definitely try to use the Star Alliance lounges or Priority Pass lounges when available, mostly for better food, self-serve bars, and showers. The biggest benefit for me at the United Clubs is the help with irrops. If you can make it to the club right after irrops are announced, there usually isn't much of a line at all to get your new travel plans figured out.

Regarding flight announcements, from places like LAX UA has nearly 150 departures a day. I don't think I would want to hear "now boarding" every 7 minutes when I went to the club to relax in the first place. Many rolling delays would end up being annoying as well. Hopefully new updates to the app will take care of this.
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Old Nov 14, 17, 1:58 pm
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Unless you are bored silly, I would not bother arriving at SAN earlier than necessary and thus making use of any lounge before the micro-hop up to LAX.

At LAX, it all depends on the length of your connection time. Any lounge beats sitting at the gate, but the sole significant value I find in a domestic lounge is simply the access to agents in IRROPS.

I would never rely on announcements for departure times.
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Old Nov 14, 17, 2:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Aussienarelle View Post
In LHR these days, I usually go to the LH lounge for a bit of food, and then to the SQ lounge for the peace and quiet before going to my UA flights. I find the UA lounge at LHR quite noisy and crowded although it is much, much better than any UA domestic lounge.
Interested at this. Have always found LHR SQ dark, stuffy, and crammed with people who presume the UC will be terrible. What times do you go that you find it quiet? (Or maybe it's changed recently; I haven't stopped by in a while.)

By contrast, I have never had trouble finding a whole table to myself at the LHR UC. Take every ex-LHR flight from the 7:30a to IAD through to the 6p to EWR, so don't think it's a time-specific thing.
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Old Nov 14, 17, 2:06 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
I would never rely on announcements for departure times.
With that approach, you must waste lots of time at the gate. Getting boarding info on delayed flights straight from the gate is one of the perks of UC access. At SAN they'll do it for all delayed flights. At SFO (and I presume other hubs), they'll typically only do it for significantly delayed ps and international flights.

And of course, at various F lounges around the work, the agents will escort you to the gate.
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Old Nov 14, 17, 2:13 pm
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Canít speak to SAN specifically, but some advantages of UA club vs. others, IME:

- generally closer to UA gates
- UA agents who can help in case of IRROPS, etc.
- flight boards with specifically UA flights
- I donít find this necessarily a better thing, but many might appreciate that he food/snacks are more of what Americans normally eat/want - I like a variety of various foods, and when traveling, like eating Ďlocalí, but to each their own.

As for boarding announcements, maybe it wouldnít be so bad in places like SAN, but if Iím in the lounge in a hub like ORD, I definitely donít want boarding announcements, which if they did everything would probably happen every 30 seconds or less. IME, in some international lounges, like NRT, where there are only a handful of flights, they do announce all flight boardings - that is fine by me.

There are are some disadvantages in many foreign lounges as well. I donít understand why, but in the transborder MLL in YYZ, they only list AC flights and not UAs (Im pretty sure, they used to, so not sure why the change - obviously this is the lounge any eligible UA pax would go to - but I know they also didnít list my TK flight in the international MLL at YYZ either).
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Old Nov 14, 17, 3:19 pm
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I like how in some lounges in Asia an agent walks around the lounge with a board with the number of the flight that is ready for boarding. It's not noisy so not intrusive.
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Old Nov 14, 17, 3:51 pm
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I have found that the UA lounges are always busy as we are all waiting on UA flights, if you go to a *A lounge that doesn’t have an immediate upcoming flight they are usually quiet.

Just check the hours before changing terminals in case they are too far out from a flight and not open

Passes the time too exploring the lounge options
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Old Nov 14, 17, 3:56 pm
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Originally Posted by sfo789 View Post
Interested at this. Have always found LHR SQ dark, stuffy, and crammed with people who presume the UC will be terrible. What times do you go that you find it quiet? (Or maybe it's changed recently; I haven't stopped by in a while.)

By contrast, I have never had trouble finding a whole table to myself at the LHR UC. Take every ex-LHR flight from the 7:30a to IAD through to the 6p to EWR, so don't think it's a time-specific thing.
As a general rule I am leaving LHR on a Friday or Saturday going to the west coast - SFO/LAX/IAH. Normally the morning flights but did get caught catching the afternoon UA LHR-LAX flight in April (when they cancelled the morning flight) and did use the UA lounge then and it was crammed and noisy and just so bad I decided to use the SQ lounge going forward. So it has been six months since I have used the UA LHR lounge.

I generally get one of the comfy chairs next to the window in the SQ lounge and very few people have been in the lounge.

I had a number of *A flights over summer transiting LHR a few times so my flights were on a number of different days and times, and also used the "lounge" chairs in the LH Senator lounge for a couple of longer layovers.

Interestingly it was a LOT desk employee in LHR who advised me to use LH for food, SQ for relaxation and considered that the best advice I had heard as it confirmed my experiences of a couple of weeks earlier.
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Old Nov 14, 17, 4:03 pm
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At LHR, the LH Lounge is better for breakfast and the UA for lunch. Avoid the AC lounge. I was underwhelmed by the SQ lounge. However, usually when one or two UA flights have problems, the UA lounge can be too crowded, in which case just switch to SQ.
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