Note: The British Airways Terraces Lounge at San Francisco airport is closed for remodeling through summer 2019. British Airways invites guests to use the China Airlines Dynasty Lounge. Eligible passengers may also use the Cathay Pacific Lounge (9 am – 1 am) and the Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge (11:55 am – 2:55 pm.) Renovations are expected to bring additional seating space as well as a new design.
The British Airways Terraces Lounge at San Francisco airport has a double personality. In the mornings, it serves Korean Airlines’ (a member of the competing SkyTeam alliance) passengers, prior to turning into a real British Airways lounge around 1pm. The club is located towards the center of the International Terminal A concourse, on the lower floor.
British Airways Terraces SFO design
From the entrance at the concourse level, make your way downstairs using the staircase to the right or elevator to the left, and you’ll reach a reception area. The whole lobby, both upstairs and downstairs, looks messy. It might be because of the ongoing expansion work (more on this below) although there are no visible signs of construction.
From the lower level reception area, a short but grim hallway leads past the tiny First Class lounge to the right to the main lounge. If you’ve ever been to a British Airways Terraces lounge, the key elements of the design will be immediately recognizable, such the light hardwood floors, sofas with blue upholstery, and bookcase in the back. It’s not impressive to begin with — the attempt at a décor is half-hearted, with an ugly industrial fake ceiling outfitted with brutal, glaring neon light fixtures — but what is the most striking is the general lack of upkeep: most furniture is worn out, few if any of the individual lamps appear to work, and the staff doesn’t seem to make a genuine attempt at picking up cups and plates in a timely manner.
The window lets ample natural light in — that would be another reason to avoid using neon lights — but given the location of the space on the ground level, there are no views to speak of.
The main seating area is furnished with chairs, couches, coffee tables, and a few high cocktail tables. As we pointed out above, it’s not especially attractive, but there’s a good ratio of individual seats versus sofas and group seating, and we could see the space being comfortable when it’s quiet. A major flaw, however, is the complete lack of power outlets.
In the back, to the right, in the “library” zone by the bookcase is a quiet room featuring much more private seating: large leather armchairs, some with ottomans, with individual side tables and lamps, sparsely arranged throughout the space. A couple chairs are isolated by partitions and offer a great amount of privacy. If you’re looking for peace and quiet, this is by far the best place to sit — as long as you don’t mind the lack of light and the utterly worn furniture.
British Airways Terraces SFO amenities
In the hallway leading to the main seating area are lockers for carry-on bags as well as a coat closet. Immediately when entering, to the left, is a small business center with a few work cubicles and shared computers (and power outlets!) as well as a fax/printer. There’s also a single work desk, oddly placed opposite the business center in the hallway. We’re not sure anybody would want to work there, in the way, but incidentally it’s more spacious than the cramped work carousels.
The lounge offers several well-appointed shower suites which come with all required amenities. Inquire at the reception desk.
The food and drink selection is a mixed bag. Two bars and serving areas are located on either side of the main seating area. Close to the entrance is a small self-service bar with an espresso machine, tea, flavored water, a selection of soft drinks and wines, snacks, and hot soup. On the other side is a more substantial spread with appetizers, mini sandwiches, wraps, and an assortment of alcoholic drinks. It’s enough for a snack on the ground, but British Airways stops shorts of offering hot food or any truly nutritious fare that would qualify as a meal. Then again, flights to London from the West Coast are long enough that patrons do have plenty of time to eat on board.
Other amenities include newspapers and magazines, including a complimentary digital magazine download service.
The lounge benefits from a convenient boarding door in the back offering direct access to the airplane. Unfortunately, the adjacent gate is not equipped to support the A380, so if you’re flying on a Boeing 747 or 777, you may board at your leisure from the lounge, while if your flight is operated by an A380, you’ll want to leave the lounge and walk to your gate.
British Airways Terraces SFO bottom line
Overall, the British Airways Terraces Lounge at San Francisco airport is a mixed bag. It delivers on the basics with comfortable seats, Wi-Fi, substantial snacks, and offers a few high-end amenities such as shower suites. But the appearance of the club is underwhelming and reveals years of neglect.
Crowding is a real problem and is especially acute when British Airways operates an A380 to London. The airline acknowledges the situation, with the following statement on oneworld.com: “On days of A380 operation, it is anticipated that there may be very high demand for the British Airways lounge. In the event that we are unable to accommodate all customers, alternatives will be offered.” Concretely, patrons may want to use the (much more elegant) Cathay Pacific First and Business Class lounge which is located above the security checkpoint. Longer term, British Airways is in the process of expanding their club by adding a second level, with construction scheduled to be complete in 2016. There is no word so far on whether the current area will also be refreshed in the process. Either way, we can’t wait to see the outcome of the ongoing expansion.
For information on possible alternatives, other lounges at SFO and rankings, check out our Definitive Guide to the SFO Lounge Scene.
You may have access to British Airways Terraces as a premium customer of one of the following airlines, or as an elite member of their frequent flyer program. Check the Access rules tab for more details.
Access for eligible customers traveling on any oneworld member airline.
American Airlines (AA) British Airways (BA) Cathay Dragon (KA) Cathay Pacific (CX) Finnair (AY) Iberia (IB) Japan Airlines (JL) LATAM Airlines Brasil (JJ) LATAM Airlines Chile (LA) Malaysia Airlines (MH) Qantas (QF) Qatar Airways (QR) Royal Jordanian (RJ) S7 Airlines (S7) SriLankan (UL)
Access for eligible customers traveling on the following SkyTeam member airlines only.
Korean Air (KE)
The following passengers have access:Notes:
View detailed access rules at oneworld.com
- British Airways First passengers (+1 guest)
- British Airways Business Class passengers (Club Europe and Club World) (no guests)
- British Airways Gold Executive Club members departing on a same-day flight operated by British Airways or other oneworld carriers (+1 guest)
- British Airways Gold Executive Silver members departing on a same-day flight operated by British Airways or other oneworld carriers (+1 guest)
- First class passengers departing on a same-day flight operated by a oneworld airline (+1 guest)
- Business class passengers departing on a same-day flight operated by a oneworld airline (no guests)
- oneworld Emerald members departing on a same-day flight operated by British Airways or another oneworld airline (+1 guest)
- oneworld Sapphire members departing on a same-day flight operated by British Airways or another oneworld airline (+1 guest)
- Guests must be departing on a flight operated and marketed by a oneworld airline.
- American Airlines AAdvantage® members, regardless of their tier status or class of travel, are not eligible for lounge access when travelling solely on North American flights within or between the U.S., Canada, Mexico (except Mexico City), the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Caribbean.
- For connecting passengers, lounge access will be determined on the international long haul ticketed flight (either First of Business Class) regardless of the ticketed class of travel on the international short haul or domestic flight.
- American Airlines and Qantas customers who have purchased a membership in their airline’s lounge network do not have access to British Airways lounges unless their ticket or status qualifies.
- 3.5Based on 21 ReviewsDavid G.2018-05-14 04:56:203.5 crumpetsYep the Yelpers are right. This lounge is so so...but hell it beats waiting outside in the general area.Food selection is meh.Drink...Claudine V.2018-05-04 22:57:26This lounge is only available for club world and first. They serve wine, beer, tea, soda, sparkling water, mineral water and mix your own drinks. They only...Sunil R.2018-07-22 18:29:05I love that you can board the plane directly from the lounge. Decent food and drinks option. Wish the staff were friendlier though, felt like I was in...
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