Review: St. Regis San Francisco
Review: British Airways Lounge San Francisco Airport
Review: British Airways Club World 777 San Francisco To London
Review: St. Regis Rome
Review: Hotel Cala Di Volpe Porto Cervo
Review: Dining At Hotel Cala Di Volpe
Review: Hotel Romazzino Porto Cervo
Review: Dining At Hotel Romazzino
Review: Hilton Rome Airport
Review: British Airways Lounge Rome Airport
Review: British Airways Club World A380 London To San Francisco
Our flight from San Francisco to London was scheduled to depart at 4:30PM, so we got to the airport at around 2PM. British Airways departs from International Terminal A at SFO. We had already checked in on line, so we proceeded straight for security.
While the security line wasn’t all that long, it was a bit chaotic, as they didn’t have enough bins for passengers, and also most of the people ahead of us didn’t seem familiar with the screening process. I sure miss TSA Pre-Check in instances where I don’t have it!
Eventually we were through security, and headed towards the British Airways lounge, located between gates A4 and A6. Once past security, the lounge is located about a third of the way into the terminal, on the right.
The lounge looked quite small from the outside, which is probably because most of it is one level down.
There was a sign on the door indicating that Korean Air also uses this lounge for their passengers. Conveniently they also had a sign indicating all the other lounge agreements in the terminal, which seemed like a helpful thing to do.
While there was theoretically a reception desk on the concourse level, there was a sign advising passengers to proceed down a level to check-in. You could go down a floor either by elevator or stairs.
Once there we found ourselves standing in front of an associate who didn’t welcome us or anything. Instead she just sort of sat there until we handed her our boarding passes. Since we had checked in online, she had to verify our passports as well.
The main entry room had a few oddly placed chairs and a high-top table, though I imagine that was intended to be overflow seating.
The rest of the lounge was located down a hallway to the side of the reception desk. Immediately on the right was the first class section, which I’ll talk more about in a bit.
The main part of the lounge itself felt like most other British Airways lounges. On the plus side, the lounge had lots of natural light and high ceilings. On the other hand, the lounge was densely furnished, and a lot of the furniture was in bad condition and felt pretty cheap.
On the left side of the lounge was an area with a business center, which included a few PCs and a printer.
In the back right of the lounge was more seating in a darker area, which felt a bit more like a library.
Also in that area was a door and a podium, so I imagine if a flight departs from the right gate, you can board directly through the lounge. Unfortunately in our case, our flight wasn’t departing from that gate.
The buffet spread was in the very back of the lounge, and in a word can be summed up as pathetic. While the drink selection was decent enough, the food select was pretty bad.
As far as food goes, there was soup, cookies, several types of chips, candy, packaged cheese, fresh veggies, and small finger sandwiches and wraps.
While the food was fairly readily available towards the beginning of our stay, virtually the entire buffet was empty by the time most passengers showed up.
The liquor selection was fairly good, at least in comparison to the food selection.
Then there was beer and wine, though they were almost entirely out of wine. For example, they only put out one bottle of white wine, and that was typically empty within a couple of minutes. Then it would be another 15 minutes until they brought another bottle.
They didn’t have any champagne, though they did have prosecco.
Fortunately thanks to my oneworld Emerald status we had access to the first class section of the lounge. Surely that would have a better food & drink selection, right?
The first class section was simply a separate room. While it wasn’t too full when we arrived, within about an hour every seat was taken.
The food selection in the first class section was identical to the business class section.
The drink selection almost entirely overlapped as well.
I really don’t get it. We had access to the first class lounge but didn’t actually use it, because it was basically just a more depressing version of the business class lounge. Why even bother?
Our flight was scheduled to board at 4PM, so at 3:45PM we headed to our departure gate, A7. The gate had a beautiful view of “our” British Airways 777, as well as the Air France A380 at the gate next to us.
Within a few minutes boarding was called for first class and oneworld Emerald passengers.
The British Airways lounge reminded me of the domestic lounges offered by US airlines, except the alcohol selection was a bit better. I really don’t understand why British Airways bothers having a first class section in the lounge, when it’s just a separate, smaller room, with the same offerings as the business class section.
Regardless, it blows my mind how the lounges operated by the UK’s two biggest airlines are polar opposites. While I find most of British Airways’ lounges to be underwhelming, Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses are among my favorite business class lounges out there. All of them have fantastic a la carte dining, while with British Airways you’ll be dining on finger sandwiches and packaged chips.
The point is, if you’re flying British Airways or Korean Air out of San Francisco, don’t arrive early to use the lounge. 😉
Lastly, I should note that if you’re flying British Airways you can in theory use the Cathay Pacific lounge, though you’ll have to watch the opening hours, as the lounge isn’t always open.