View Poll Results: For those who've been to ALL the Polaris lounges, which is the best?
EWR / Newark
12
21.05%
ORD / Chicago
11
19.30%
IAH / Houston
5
8.77%
LAX / Los Angeles
14
24.56%
SFO / San Francisco
15
26.32%
Voters: 57. You may not vote on this poll

What's the best Polaris lounge to visit?

Old Jan 15, 20, 12:19 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: SF Bay Area
Programs: UA MileagePlus (Premier Gold); Hilton HHonors (Gold); Chase Ultimate Rewards; Amex Plat
Posts: 2,286
What's the best Polaris lounge to visit?

Has anyone here actually been to all of the United Polaris lounges that are currently open? Or at least most of them? If so, which in your opinion is the best one in the system to visit?

I am trying to book a flight on a *A partner to Asia from a US airport, and then SAUA for Polaris access. SFO is my "home" airport, but I can do a placement flight to just about anywhere -- LAX, IAH, ORD, or EWR. Seems SFO's lounge is physically the largest though, at over 28,000 square feet, with EWR a close second at around 27,000 square feet, and the rest around half the size.
STS-134 is online now  
Old Jan 15, 20, 12:30 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: AVP & PEK
Programs: UA 1K MM (soon to be Gold), Hertz PC
Posts: 3,197
There's definitely differences in the individual lounges, although it depends much on time-of-day of visit (for buffet food or sit-down quality/availability), and what you want from a lounge.

Overall, I don't think it's worth changing a flight to choose one particular Polaris lounge over another though. They are all very nice lounges (compared to what UA offered beforehand).
narvik is offline  
Old Jan 15, 20, 12:39 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: NYC
Programs: UA-1K MM, AA-Gold, DL-Silver, AS-MVP
Posts: 1,516
I have been to all but IAH. I would agree with above, it's not really worth detouring just to experience the Polaris lounges, enjoy your destination more instead. That said, the most I did in one day was 3 lounges: ORD-SFO-LAX-SYD.
STS-134 likes this.
hirohito888 is online now  
Old Jan 15, 20, 12:42 pm
  #4  
Moderator: United Airlines; FlyerTalk Evangelist
2020 FlyerTalk Awards
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA Plat 1.85MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Plat/LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Gold
Posts: 48,842
Other than a bucket list item to check off having visited all the PLs, I would focus on finding an upgradeable (at booking) flight.

That said, it depends on what would you use to "rank" the PLs?
Seating availability? crowding?
Tarmac views?
Buffet?
Sit down dining?

After a rough start, ORD seems to have fans.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Jan 15, 20, 12:55 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: DEN
Programs: UA 1K, DL, AA, AS, HHonors, SPG, Kimpton, Hyatt, IC PC, Marriott Titanium, Hertz PC
Posts: 7,094
I have been to IAH, ORD, SFO. I personally prefer SFO, but I'm not sure why. All three are nice enough, but each is a little different.
GBadger is offline  
Old Jan 15, 20, 12:56 pm
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: SF Bay Area
Programs: UA MileagePlus (Premier Gold); Hilton HHonors (Gold); Chase Ultimate Rewards; Amex Plat
Posts: 2,286
Originally Posted by hirohito888 View Post
I have been to all but IAH. I would agree with above, it's not really worth detouring just to experience the Polaris lounges, enjoy your destination more instead. That said, the most I did in one day was 3 lounges: ORD-SFO-LAX-SYD.
Well yeah, but I might have to detour just to get an upgradeable flight. And since I have not experienced any Polaris lounge yet, one of the goals of this trip is to do just that. But you know how in technology and cars, people say you can have something fast, reliable, and cheap, but you can only pick two of the three?




In airline flights, you can have three different things:
1. A good itinerary (day of week and origin/destination that's convenient)
2. A comfortable seat
3. A good price.

But you can only pick two of the three. For me, (2), or J cabin, is a requirement, for access to a Polaris lounge. So unless I want to just throw money at the problem, I need to sacrifice (1) to get (3). Last time I threw money at an airline to get a specific seat, it was to get on seat 1A on the UA 744 before it was retired (had to buy a J seat outright to be eligible for the upgrade). It was a good seat, but it wasn't $5 per minute for 10 hours good. Anyway, I did find some upgradeable *A flights out of SFO, but they require a nearly 24 hour layover to connect to my destination city, due to the late afternoon arrival time in Asia not being well suited to making connections.
seat38a likes this.

Last edited by STS-134; Jan 15, 20 at 1:01 pm
STS-134 is online now  
Old Jan 15, 20, 12:57 pm
  #7  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K 1MM; AS 75K; Marriott Ambassador; Hilton Diamond (Aspire); Hyatt Explorist
Posts: 42,958
SFO has a very nice hard product, but the buffet is poor and the table service dining is hit and miss. The food is much better at LAX, though the space is considerably smaller.
STS-134 likes this.
Kacee is offline  
Old Jan 15, 20, 1:00 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Programs: UA 1K, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 469
I prefer ORD mostly since you simply exit and turn left or right as appropriate to get to your UA departure gate in C. Literally a minute or two away. Can cut your waiting at the UA gate down to nothing, and maximize your lounge time since you don't have to worry about an elevator, or a long hike. Having said that, it is slight hike back through the tunnel to the LH departure gate in concourse B, or waaaay over to Term 5 for any of the other *A carriers if those are your flights. LAX and SFO are tied for second, IAH is nice but I always seem to hit the crowded times. I loathe everything about EWR and have only visited the PL lounge there once. Nice lounge, but still its at EWR.
STS-134 and 2stepbay like this.
gmt4 is offline  
Old Jan 15, 20, 1:09 pm
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: SF Bay Area
Programs: UA MileagePlus (Premier Gold); Hilton HHonors (Gold); Chase Ultimate Rewards; Amex Plat
Posts: 2,286
Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
SFO has a very nice hard product, but the buffet is poor and the table service dining is hit and miss. The food is much better at LAX, though the space is considerably smaller.
Just out of curiosity, how would you rank the LAX Polaris lounge food against the food at the *A lounge at TBIT? If I do a placement flight to LAX, I'd want to visit both.
STS-134 is online now  
Old Jan 15, 20, 1:43 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Programs: UA
Posts: 836
Originally Posted by STS-134 View Post
Just out of curiosity, how would you rank the LAX Polaris lounge food against the food at the *A lounge at TBIT? If I do a placement flight to LAX, I'd want to visit both.
I went to the LAX Polaris lounge when it launched and the *A once a month. The sit down food quality and taste is better at the PL, can't speak of the buffet since I didn't try it. I'd rate the sit down at a 8/10, although the menu has changed since, *A 6-7/10 (depending on the entree options), UC 4/10
STS-134 likes this.
thejaredhuang is offline  
Old Jan 15, 20, 1:59 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: NYC
Programs: UA-1K MM, AA-Gold, DL-Silver, AS-MVP
Posts: 1,516
Originally Posted by STS-134 View Post
Just out of curiosity, how would you rank the LAX Polaris lounge food against the food at the *A lounge at TBIT? If I do a placement flight to LAX, I'd want to visit both.
I think food at LAX Polaris lounge is better than *A TBIT. I also don't think *A lounge is worth the 20min walk if you have access to Polaris lounge, unless your flight departs out of TBIT.

For some reason, all the times I've visited *A TBIT over the years, it feels like the food menu has never changed. Buffet has a decent selection (Western and Asian food) and a DIY noodle bar.
STS-134 likes this.
hirohito888 is online now  
Old Jan 15, 20, 3:19 pm
  #12  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K 1MM; AS 75K; Marriott Ambassador; Hilton Diamond (Aspire); Hyatt Explorist
Posts: 42,958
I agree with comments above that Polaris LAX has better food than *A. *A is a very nice lounge, but Polaris is a cut higher.
Kacee is offline  
Old Jan 15, 20, 3:34 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Greensboro, NC USA
Posts: 1,026
The level of food and service at ORD has IMHO risen above the others. The physical space is tighter than the other clubs, but it still feels like the nicest of them all. Coincidentally, AA's Flagship at ORD (even without First dining) is heralded as the best in the system. Midwestern hospitality and friendliness go a long way.
trvlr70 is offline  
Old Jan 15, 20, 3:56 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 5,023
Originally Posted by trvlr70 View Post
The level of food and service at ORD has IMHO risen above the others. The physical space is tighter than the other clubs, but it still feels like the nicest of them all. Coincidentally, AA's Flagship at ORD (even without First dining) is heralded as the best in the system. Midwestern hospitality and friendliness go a long way.
I think ORD, as the first one opened, started way (way way) above the others and has been gradually falling, but it is still appreciably better.

edit afterthought: The LAX food might be better now, though.
fumje is offline  
Old Jan 15, 20, 3:58 pm
  #15  
Used to be MBS PremExec
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Saginaw, MI USA (MBS)
Programs: UA 1K 1.9MM, Marriott Plat w/Lifetime Gold, Hilton LT ♢, National Exec, Sixt Plat
Posts: 5,244
Food and service, ORD...LAX was a close second (1st visit for me was earlier this month). SFO is perpetually overcrowded and both buffet and sit down dining hasn’t wowed me the way that ORD continues to.

IAH falls somewhere in between for me, but I was slightly put off that in my ~15 visits to various Polaris lounges, at IAH I was “carded” for the first time at any lounge. I was asked for my passport, apparently I didn’t “look the part”. When I dug deep into my backpack (I was inbound from Asia and didn’t think I’d need it anymore) and produced it, I was “sighed” into the lounge by a stodgy guy...A complete 180 from how I’m otherwise welcomed in everywhere else.
STS-134 likes this.
MBS MillionMiler is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: