The United Arrivals Lounge at San Francisco international airport, discreetly tucked away on the way from the International Terminal to Domestic Terminal 3, holds the distinction of being one of the only two arrivals facilities operated by United worldwide. The lounge offers inbound international premium passengers arriving in the morning the ability to freshen up and enjoy breakfast prior to embarking on their day’s activities.
After exiting immigration and customs and claiming your bags, make a left towards Domestic Terminal 3. Walk past the bag recheck area, then take the escalator down to the baggage level and follow the signs. The Arrivals lounge is in the immediate vicinity of the escalator.
United Arrivals Lounge SFO design
The United Arrivals Lounge at San Francisco airport is hardly a beacon of modernity, but its timeless design is classy and unpretentious. An elegant marble-clad lobby area opens onto a small room with 20 seats. While the Arrivals Lounge is small, crowding is unlikely to be an issue, as most guests leave promptly after a shower and a bite.
Seating options include a handful of dining tables, a single work desk, and traditional lounge seating with power outlets at every seat. Located on the basement level, the Arrivals Lounge lacks daylight and views, but patrons typically don’t linger long enough to notice.
United Arrivals Lounge SFO amenities
The United Arrivals Lounge at San Francisco airport features a dozen of elegant and well-appointed shower suites.
Each room is outfitted with a sink, a large walk-in shower, a toilet, and plenty of space to change. Cowshed bath products and lotion, towels, toothbrushes, slippers, combs and other amenities are available.
Breakfast is a step above the traditional United Club fare. The selection includes pastries, cereal, fruit salad, cookies, yoghurt, and oatmeal. There is also a hot buffet with scrambled eggs, potatoes, and sausage. On the beverage front, juices, soda, Illy drip coffee and espresso, and tea are available.
While there may be a short wait for showers at peak times, the Arrivals Lounge is typically very quiet after 9am. It is unfortunate that it closes shortly after noon, since showers aren’t available at any of the three United Club locations for connecting passengers (but two showers are available for arriving Global First passengers in the Global First lounge.)
United Arrivals Lounge SFO bottom line
The United Arrivals Lounge at San Francisco airport is one of United’s better lounges and well worth a visit if you arrive during opening hours. The lounge is run by the United Global Services team and the staff there is consistently amongst the best, providing a friendly welcome as well as proactive service. Typically agents will check on your connection, reprint your boarding pass with updated gate information, and provide assistance proactively.
Passengers continuing on to domestic flights on United will find a security checkpoint with TSA PreCheck conveniently located upstairs, immediately after the moving walkway.
For information on possible alternatives, other lounges at SFO and rankings, check out our Definitive Guide to the SFO Lounge Scene.
- Pastries and bagels, jam, cream cheese
- Cereal and milk
- Fruit salad
- Oatmeal and accompaniments
- Scrambled eggs
- Breakfast potatoes
- Juices and soft drinks
- Illy drip coffee and espresso
You may have access to United Arrivals Lounge 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 the following Star Alliance member airlines only.
The following passengers have access:This is not a Star Alliance Gold lounge. Passengers holding Star Alliance Gold status or arriving on other Star Alliance airlines may not use this facility.
- United Polaris business class passengers arriving on a same-day flight (no guests.)
- United Global Services members arriving on a same-day United international flight in any class of service.
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