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Review: United Arrivals Lounge SFO

Step into United's one-of-a-kind lounge at San Francisco International Airport!

I have not been paid by any entity in any way (financially, benefits) to write the following post. This is from a trip that occurred in July 2018. Any airline, lounge, and/or loyalty program policies may have changed since then. 

United Club, United Polaris Lounge, United Global First Lounge. All fairly known lounges in the United Lounge network around the world. But there is one lounge that seems to always be forgotten, and perhaps it’s because it’s the only one of its kind. I am of course talking about United’s Arrivals Lounge at their San Francisco hub.

Having landed from my Polaris First Class flight from Paris, I was curious to see this lounge. It is the only United operated arrivals lounge in the network, as the London Heathrow Arrivals Lounge is shared amongst other Star Alliance partners. Like the United Polaris Lounge, you can only access the Arrivals Lounge if you arrived in Polaris Business Class. Access is not offered to Star Alliance members, and you must arrive before noon to access the lounge. United’s official policy can be read on their “Club and lounge access” page. If you’re still unsure on whether you qualify for access, you can always check LoungeBuddy, a tool that I always use when I fly to see what lounges I can or can’t access (not a sponsor, I just really like the app!).

United Arrivals Lounge SFO Entrance

The lounge is situated landside in Terminal 3 on the baggage level, and can be found by following the signage in the airport. Once you arrive, you will be asked for your boarding pass and then access is granted. Unfortunately, this lounge isn’t quite worth going out of the way for unless San Francisco is your final destination, you arrive before noon, and want a complimentary breakfast. If you are continuing onward, then I recommend going back airside as fast as possible to take advantage of the Polaris Lounge SFO, which I previously reviewed.

Take advantage of a la carte dining at United’s Polaris Lounge in San Francisco

Upon entering, you will notice there are two main seating areas, and the buffet station is to the left. The lounge has a variety of breakfast and brunch options, however the hot options didn’t seem appetizing, but maybe it was because I had gotten there at 11:30AM, close to closing time.


Seating is sufficient, and I was for most of the time the only person in there besides the staff. Because of this, I found the lounge to be nice to rest, work, and be immersed in a relatively peaceful environment with slightly above average food.

Some of the seating in the Arrivals Lounge SFO

This lounge also provides showers, which is a great perk if you’re just starting your day in the Bay Area and don’t have time to head out to your home or hotel to freshen up.

United Arrivals Lounge Shower


The United Arrivals Lounge in San Francisco does the basic job it sets out to do, but it is not comparable to the United Polaris Lounges or even some of the better United Clubs, like the one at LAX (review coming soon). I think that if SFO is your final destination, you need to shower, and want a quick bite, then this lounge will do the job. If you’re connecting in San Francisco, then run up to the United Polaris Lounge and take advantage of the many perks that are offered there. They are far better than those offered in the Arrivals Lounge.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comment section below! Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed it, follow us on our social media accounts located in the sidebar, and please share share share! 

As always, remember to keep living life one trip at a time!

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