United Airlines has recently introduced a new premium lounge called United Polaris Lounge. These lounges are many miles above the United Club (and possibly United First Lounge – which I have tried once back in San Francisco). Currently, Polaris Lounge is only available in these locations:
- Chicago (ORD)
- Newark (EWR)
- Houston (IAH)
- San Francisco (SFO)
- Los Angeles (LAX)
Access unfortunately is only for those traveling on their Transcontinental Premium Service and Long-Haul international Business and First Class (including Star Alliance partners). Unfortunately, Houston to Panama (despite being in International First Class) is not considered eligible and hence I only had access to United Club.
Situated in Terminal E (next to the Polaris Lounge), United Club is huge – given that Houston is a United Hub. Despite that, the lounge is full and getting a seat can be rather challenging.
Food option is pathetic and beverage selection is nothing to shout about either. As I am not an avid drinker, I did not explore the alcoholic options in available in the lounge.
Seating area in the lounge
Food & Beverage
For those traveling on Star Alliance and are not eligible for Polaris Lounge, it is worth giving this lounge a miss especially if you are not flying out from Terminal E.
For those flying from Terminal D (and holding Priority Pass card), one can either go to the KLM Crown lounge or Air France Lounge (wonder why they need 2 lounges given that KLM and Air France are under the same umbrella). Being just outside the gate, KLM lounge was more convenient for me.
The lounge is way smaller than United Club (understandably) and the food selection is almost as bad as that of United Club’s. You have a small selection of cheese, salad and a soup.
Other than having a place to chill before the flight, I do not see much value in being in either lounge. If time is on your side, you are better off trying out one of the two restaurants on the Priority Pass card list.