Dan signed up for the United Airlines credit card last year to qualify for bonus points and free checked bags, and one of the perks associated with the United Airlines credit card are two United Club lounge passes for one time use give out each year. Since we love a good (or really even mediocre) airport lounge, we were pretty excited to try the United Club lounges! We also usually fly out of Newark, and Newark is home to three United Clubs! Well, not so fast. As it turns out, United is revamping all of its airport lounges and the main United lounge at Newark in Terminal C is closed for renovations and is currently not open to day passes until later in 2018…
In any case, by some stroke of luck we booked last minute flights to Richmond for New Year’s Eve to visit our friend Pryor (of Europetrip 2014 fame, among others). And, we flew out of Newark Terminal A, whose United lounge recently reopened after a complete revamping!! We left home extra early to be sure to have enough time to take advantage of the lounge even if security lines were crazy, but they were not, and we enjoyed a good two hours in the lounge to enjoy all of its benefits!
The particular United Club lounge that we visited is located post-security in Terminal A of Newark International, and the renovated United Club is a welcomed addition to Terminal A, which basically stinks. Terminal A, a mostly domestic terminal, offers very few food options and each gate area (there are 3) basically one sit down restaurant with a bar.
As I mentioned, the United Club in Terminal A is located post-security on the United Airlines side of Terminal A (Gates 20 – 27) NOT the Air Canada/Air Alaska side). If you are not on the United side of Terminal A, you will likely not be able to access the United Club. To reach the United Lounge, turnaround after clearing TSA, as if you are leaving the terminal, and walk down the hall to the left of the TSA line (this is a little strange). The United Club entrance is just down this hall on the left, marked by two automatic blue doors. You really can
Once inside, the lounge is completely different from Terminal A and is actually quite upscale. Since we entered just after Christmas, the United lounge entrance was decorated with a large Christmas tree, in addition to photos of old school United planes. We checked in quickly and easily with our United Club entrance passes and our boarding passes.
After check-in, we walked down another hall to the main lounge are, which is anchored by a cafe area with a bar, small buffet, and tables and chairs.
Behind the cafe is a seating area with more private window seats, a few couches and chairs grouped together for groups and one communal table. We choose the more private window seats, but I regretted that later due to lack of table space.
Although I was not expecting much in terms of, the food at the United Club was very decent for an airport lounge (especially one in Newark’s Terminal A)! As I mentioned, the United Club is anchored by a cafe with a small buffet. We visited around dinner time, and the buffet offered a very decent dinner selection: uneventful brownies and the most delicious chocolate chip cookies, a relatively fresh salad with two types of dressing, some salad toppers, many crackers with tomato/onion/pepper toppings (a bruschetta theme I think), two hot soups (broccoli cheddar and Italian wedding soup), fresh fruit, and a large cheese plate! While it was not decadent, the food was tasty and certainly substituted for dinner.
I enjoyed the Italian wedding soup, which was really good, two chocolate chip cookies, and lots of cheese. Dan had a similar meal and we were overall both satisfied with the food.
A wide variety of non-alcoholic beverages are set up on the backside of the buffet, and I was again, quite impressed! The United Club offered flavored water, espresso drinks (via machine), a coffee machine, juices, and a Coke machine that had so many options, including Diet Fanta and Diet Dr. Pepper!!
All alcoholic drinks are served from the bar. Normal mixed drinks, some beer, some wine, and lower level liquors are complimentary (but there is a tip jar out); top shelf beverages incur an extra charge, as is customary in a lot of US carrier lounges.
I enjoyed a number of glasses of the sparking wine (free, good) and a glass of the red (also free, not great) wine. Dan had the same and a gin and tonic. He liked the gin and tonic, thought the sparking wine was a bit too sweet, and agreed with me on the red. The bar tender was friendly and did not hesitate to serve us so many drinks.
The food and the drinks were the the best amenity in my option but in addition, the entire lounge is covered by wifi (although Newark has a free network) that is decent. There are also a number of outlets spread throughout the lounge, although there could be a problem during busy hours. In one corner, there is sort of a business center with complimentary computers and a printer.
The United Lounge also offered reading material, which did not seem that interesting, and would have offered pretty decent plane spotting (well, for a domestic terminal) during the day. Finally, the United Club had decent sized restrooms in the lounge – better than that in Terminal A!
STEAL OUR LOUNGE
United Club Newark Airport, Terminal A: Concourse A2, Gates 20 – 27. Open daily 5h – 20h. Day passes can usually be purchased for $68 USD/person (if there is room).
ON A BUDGET
I probably would not pay $68 to enter the United Club on a budget. While you can get a meal and unlimited drinks, since Terminal A is a domestic terminal, you shouldn’t be there too, too long. And, if you are, shot over to Terminal B where there is a Priority Pass Lounge – Art and Lounge!