Unveiling the Luxuries of the Largest United Lounge at Terminal C
This superb lounge was opened in the spring last year and was quite a major event for United. At 30,000 square feet, it was the largest United lounge ever opened and will serve as a model for future lounges. It has been helpful at reducing overcrowding at one of United’s major hubs, and boasts some very nice amenities that have been lacking at many other United lounge locations.
Navigating to the United Lounge
Situated in Terminal C between gates 123 and 124, this lounge is conveniently located for travelers. Once you get through security, turn left towards the westernmost pier of the terminal. You’ll pass by the United Polaris lounge (available only for international flight customers) and you’ll find the United Club (for domestic and transborder flight customers) just past gate 123.
Gaining Access to the Lounge
The lounge can be accessed by passengers holding a same-day boarding pass on a Star Alliance flight and who:
- are travelling in business/first class
- have Star Alliance gold status
- have a United Club / Air Canada North America Maple Leaf Lounge membership
- have a United Club one-day pass
- purchase entry for $50, on a space-available basis
Entry and lounge seating options
Once you’re past gate 123, you’ll notice the large sign pointing to the stairs/escalators which will take you to the lounge entrance on the second level. You scan your own boarding pass to gain entry. There is also staff on hand to assist you and to sell one-day passes if the lounge occupancy level allows for it.
Upon entry, a foyer welcomes you with a small library, water, and fruit. Down the corridor in the main seating area you’ll find screens present to help with gate and departure information, and there is a customer service desk with airline staff should you need any help with your United flights.
With 30,000 square feet to work with, the lounge seating is broken up into different areas and styles. There are solo booths perfect to get some work done alone, and pretty much any style of other seating you could be looking for: Tables and chairs for eating or working, recliner chairs and benches for relaxing, and even full sofas to spend time as a group.
The other terrific thing about the design is the amount of natural light filling up the entire space. This is something that always makes a huge difference in airports lounges. Not only is the wall lined with large windows, but skylights are found pretty much along the entire roof.
Along the main windows there are sweeping tarmac views. Since this is terminal C, you can expect to see a lot of United and Star Alliance jets.
Exquisite Bar and Barista Services
A centerpiece of the lounge, and the main drinking area, is the long bar which runs along the main room. The following alcoholic drinks are complementary:
- All draft beer
- House spirits such as Beefeater gin and Smirnoff vodka
- House red and white wine (typically blends from California)
Many other drinks are available for a surcharge including higher-end spirits, wines, and champagne.
With what is sure to be a hit with coffee enthusiasts, the end of the bar also includes a full-service barista station including lattes, espressos, and cappuccinos.
Food and drinks options
The end of the lounge features a large self-service buffet. It includes soup, a salad bar, hot entrées, snacks such as cheese, salami, grapes, and tortillas with salsa, fruit, deserts, and a huge selection of freshly made sandwiches. I’ve been to the lounge a few times now, and the food is always good. The soups in particular have been delicious, and definitively taste restaurant-quality.
Elsewhere you can find a hydration station with drinks and snacks, as well as another separate drink station with self-serve coffee, water, and soft drinks.
Bathrooms and shower facilities
In the club you’ll find a main bathroom area for men, women, and an all-gender restroom. They’re nice with individual stalls with full doors that close properly and are kept quite clean.
One of the best amenities of all is a series of shower suites. These are hard to find in the USA in domestic/transborder business lounges. For those on long journeys they are extremely appreciated. I was on a short trip so didn’t use the facilities myself, but went inside to grab a few photos. The reception area is where you can book a time for yourself, and has nice touches like a water station and fresh fruit available.
Transforming Airport Experiences at United Lounge
This lounge is fantastic, and is quite a game-changer for the American business lounge landscape. Solid food and drink choices, plenty of natural light, a great variety of seating, clean private bathrooms, and showering facilities which are found here can totally transform your airport experience. United plans to use this format as a template for future lounges, so we can hope to see more of these in the future.
The airports in the New York area have seen a big improvement in recent years. When I fly home from business trips, I always now look forward to my time in the airport. If flying from La Guardia, I’ll be sure to stop at the excellent Amex Centurion Lounge. If flying from Newark, I make a point to fly United and arrive early to have some time to enjoy this United Club.