First look at the new British Airways lounge at San Francisco International Airport

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British Airways has re-opened its lounge in San Francisco with a brand new look.

Late last year we reported that British Airways had closed its lounge at San Francisco airport for ‘construction’.  At the time it was unclear if this meant a full refurbishment as we saw in at Rome, Aberdeen and, more recently, the lounges at New York JFK.

The good news is that this refurbishment looks like it has been done to the same standard as the Rome and Aberdeen lounges (Aberdeen is reviewed here) which are a big improvement on the old lounges.

The general consensus is that the new JFK lounge, only recently re-opened, is disappointing in comparison.  Rob recently had a look in on his trip to New York and said that it did feel rather soulless – we will be posting a full review very soon.

Whatever happened with the JFK lounge seems to have been a one-off, though, because the new British Airways lounge at San Francisco International Airport looks rather good from the photos that have been released.

The bad news is that the showers and the dedicated First lounge have been removed.

Click any photo to enlarge:

British Airways San Francisco Lounge entrance

Although there were rumours a few years ago that British Airways might add in an extra floor for additional capacity, the lounge appears to have the same footprint as before – 655 square meters or around 7,000 square feet.

There are a range of seating areas. British Airways says a minimum of 80% have access to power sockets:

British Airways San Francisco Lounge

The lounge has the familiar new granite bar design used in other recent refurbishments:

British Airways San Francisco Lounge bar

There are floor-to-ceiling windows offering excellent views of the tarmac. You will be able to see your own aircraft on the stand and the lounge offers direct boarding:

British Airways San Francisco Lounge view

Instead of a separate First / Gold card lounge, you have a new dining area for passengers travelling in First.  Like the Concorde Rooms at New York JFK and Heathrow, this looks like it is only open to ticketed First passengers and not BA Gold card / oneworld Emerald holders:

British Airways San Francisco Lounge First Dining room

It is a proper dining room with nine tables offering a full meal service.  Here is a sample menu:

Selection from the Charcuterie Board

Busseto Prosciutto, Chorizo El Ray, Olli Salumeria Salame,
Columbus Coppa

Mitica Drunken Goat, Esperanza Manchego, Don Juan Mahon

Served with Marcona Almonds, Marinated Olives, Cornichons, Sourdough Toast and Fallot Grain Mustard

Soup

Garden Vegetable, Lemon Orzo Chicken

Entrees

Seafood Cioppino with Shrimp, Scallops, Sea Bass, Haricot Vert and Rouille

Rigatoni with Heirloom Cherry Tomato Sauce, Ricotta and Parmesa

Add Grilled Chicken, Shrimp or Scallops

Mezze Plate: Mini Vine Roasted Peppers, Grilled Local Shiitake Mushrooms, Marinated Heirloom Tomatoes, Hummus Warm Pita

Dessert

Blackberry Granola Yogurt Parfait

Cheese board

Laura Chenel, Goat Cheese, Sonoma County CA; Bellwether Farms Point Reyes Blue Cheese, San Andreas CA

Served with Fresh Pita Crisps, Fig Spread

Conclusion

On the whole it looks like the refurbishment of the British Airways Club lounge at San Francisco International Airport offers some welcome improvements and brings it in line with the new lounge concept.  The addition of the dining room for First class passengers is a fair trade off for the loss of the separate First lounge.

Somebody in the BA PR department had a good idea and decided to do a 360 Google Street View style tour of the lounge, which you can view here. It gives a very good sense of the space as it looks in real life, without fancy lighting or a professional photographer.

Johannesburg and Geneva are the next two lounges to receive a facelift, with both currently closed for a lengthy renovation.

HFP in Malaysia: Review of Malaysia Airlines First Class lounge at Kuala Lumpur
Bits: Amex rolls out its spend-based bonus promo to more people, Finnair adds Busan, Iberia adds Cairo
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Comments

  1. Will in SFO says:

    Direct boarding only if the correct gate is used. It certainly can’t be used for the 380 service as the 380 can’t squeeze round between the end of the terminal and the 101.

    In fact the gate(s) with direct boarding from the lounge are often occupied by VS and QF.

    • Should be available for the mid-afternoon 747 service. But yes, the A380 has different requirements…

    • Chris L says:

      I’ve only done this route once. It was on the 747 and they didn’t do direct boarding from the lounge, but it is true to say the lounge can accommodate it in theory.

  2. Shame they removed the showers. I always liked to use them before the later flight.

  3. David S says:

    Having no showers is a major disappointment since majority of the time flying back from US or Canada, we check out of hotel early and spend the day in the city exploring and get the evening flight. So like to have a shower before flying.
    Last week out of YVR, had to use the Plaza premium lounge since they had showers and BA lounge doesn’t and the food offering was also much better. Looks like the refurbishment just looks good superficially and aesthetically and not much thought put into it.

    • Andrew says:

      You can pop upstairs and use the Cathay Pacific showers.

      • then you might as well just stay in the CX lounge. It’s probably better than the BA one?

        • Chris L says:

          The CX lounge is good and their flights depart quite late so it’s quite quiet for the earlier BA departure

      • Yorkieflyer says:

        Suspect there’ll be a queue!

        • I used the CX lounge in January while all the other BA passengers went and used the stand in lounge. Surprising how few people know about oneworld lounge access. We were the only 2 in the CX lounge i.e. had to point out the coffee machine wasn’t working, had to point out there wasn’t any champagne at the drinks area! 😉

      • Lady London says:

        IIRC Cathay and JAL lounges had considerably reduced opening hours on the two times I checked each? May not be open when you need for a BA flight.

      • David S says:

        Hi Andrew,
        That is what we did in SFO last time. The showers and food was so much better in the CX lounge.
        The CX lounge was not open in YVR till 2000, so couldn’t use it there.

  4. Much better having a dedicated First dining area.
    Only been to SFO once but when I left, with my wife, the First class room was full of Gold card holders.
    Now, I like to use the F lounges as a Gold also, but, on this occasion we held F tickets but could not be seated.
    Directed into the main lounge. Asked a waiter if we could get champagne, he advised sure, but you need to be either Gold card holder or F passenger. Said ok, we are both.
    Seemed surprised we were not in the F lounge. I said it was full.
    Apparently the staff were supposed to reserve spaces in the room for all F passengers, but had not.
    F dining for F only suits me fine.
    Also gives a much bigger area for all other J passengers and cardholders.
    Seems a vast improvement to me.

    • Stu N says:

      We had similar issue at Seattle, the F lounge there is tiny and was full 2.5 hours before the flight…

      The F dining works well at Boston and Singapore.

      • Lady London says:

        I actually preferred the Business side of the Lounge in Seattle, far more than the First side. First is a tiny room that did not seem to have anything distinguished BC about it otherbthsn that you could reassure yourself you were only amongst First passengers and possibly Gold card holders.

        The Business side was much buzzier, felt no more crowded than the First side although it was busy, had far better coffer and a better choice of snacks. I regretted the time I’d spent feeling Elite on the First side of the lounge.

        Oh, and the additional thrill of being able to politely say “I AM in First, Seat 3K”, when the lounge Dragon called across to me as she saw me opening the door to the First side of the lounge ” No you can’t go in there, that’s the First Class lounge. The Business lounge is that door on the other side”. I must have looked scruffy or somerhing. Quite made my Christmas being abke to coolly retort oh yes i as m in First on this, my First and Last First. Then I spent about 15 minutes sitting in the First side of the lounge feeling Elite before I went to the Business side and stayed there.

  5. Neil Donoghue says:

    These new dining areas only available to F travelling passengers are really beginning to annoy me. The AA flagship lounge in Miami is the same. Fair enough, don’t open them to emerald members but what about GGL at least? I love eating on the ground and then sleeping all the way home.

    • It may be that the alliances don’t allow airlines to open lounges for ticketed passengers and their own frequent flyers only, ie. if they let G or GGL people in they must also accept oneworld Emerald.

      • Neil Donoghue says:

        That’s a good point! Flying F with BA is underwhelming but if we could start to see some real dining experiences outside of the CCR, it might be worth considering.

      • Chris says:

        There are first only lounges like al safwa and Concorde room. The there are exceptions for acces; my Concorde room card gets me into t5 Concorde room, BA are doing it outside one world status; which likely makes aa recognising ggl for flagship dining problematic as ggl is a one world emerald.

      • Hi can I ask please if it is possible to depart Inverness and arrive back in to Glasgow on a ba 2 for 1 redemption. I have booked Inverness – Heathrow – Miami then New York – Heathrow – Inverness but would rather if possible return to Glasgow .

        Thanks

  6. My wife and I will be flying F from LHR T5 to SFO 31/10, CW back from San Diego to T3 (leaving 15/11, landing 16/11) using our first 2-4-1. News of the SFO departures lounge refurb has got me wondering what our departure and arrival lounge options will be, if anyone gets a chance to advise (we’ll be in the Concorde room for the first flight, no worries there!).
    Both of us have BA Silver, may have AmEx Gold or BAPP at the time of travel, possibly Plat as a last resort.
    TIA if anyone has the time to help guide us.

    • Chris L says:

      From LHR T5 – you’ll almost definitely be departing from the B or C gates so the Galleries Club at the B gates satellite would be the best option IMO. If you’re on the A380 you’ll def be going from C gates. There is no lounge there but you can use the B gates lounge and then continue on to C gates or I believe you get some spending credit in the Starbucks at C gates – can’t remember the value.

      • Surely the Concorde Room would be the better option at T5 since travelling F?

      • Lady London says:

        …noting that as in Rob’s article a day or two ago Amex has now stopped dining credit on UKPlat issued PP,’s with one exception and that’s not at LHR so will exclude that Starbucks .

        • Jonathan says:

          The Starbucks credit (£15pp) was a gift from BA to those with a flight from T5C in lieu of a lounge there. It got culled a couple of years ago IIRC. The only PP dining credit that has ever been available in UK is the Grain Store at Gatwick.

    • Re your departure from San Diego – there may only be one possibility, the AirSpace lounge which is used by both BA and American. It was converted from the old American lounge. It’s adequate, but nothing special. However, if you happen to need help with anything, the American Airlines staff who will let you in to the lounge are wonderful – very professional and friendly.

      I suspect this may also be the Amex lounge. There is no Priority Pass lounge.

      Hope you and your wife enjoy San Francisco and San Diego.

      • Thanks, Lyn!
        Doing the classic Pacific Coast Highway, though apparently in reverse! Airport choices were actually decided by the aircraft – A380 and B747, as my wife commented a while back about double decker planes. I initially booked the A380 upstairs, but a chance to upgrade to First came up (£1.40 + £35 change fee each – no brainer!), so snapped that up!

        • Well done with your upgrade, and on a long enough “day flight” to SFO to be able to really enjoy it.

          Perhaps the SAN – LHR might become eligible for an upgrade as well?

          • The lounge in San Diego is very underwhelming. There’s no difference between what you get on a C or F ticket.

    • If you’re in F then at T5 use the Concorde Lounge and ask them what gate your flight will be from, the staff will know, its just not put up on the boards. The train from T5A to T5C doesnt take long.

  7. Yorkieflyer says:

    So the later A380 flight begins to look like a poor choice? No shower, no direct boarding and no access to arrivals lounge at LHR as it’s closed by time of arrival.

    • depends on priority and personal preference. Until the winter schedule change the later flight is a 380 so a much more comfortable flying experience. Once winter comes it is a mix of 380, 777-200 and the odd 777-300 thrown in.

      The 744 doesn’t always use the correct gate(s) for boarding from the lounge.

      Then there is the flight timing. I personally don’t like the later flight as it eats into too much of my day and you end up trying to force sleep at about 6pm PST following the meal service.

  8. I counted 10 tables in the F dining area.

  9. Freddy says:

    Does anyone know what the BA lounge is like at nearby SJC for business passengers? Thanks

    • Bill Carson says:

      It’s “The Club at SJC”, it’s not a BA specific lounge, I believe it’s basically the only one available and is used by all carriers and Priority Pass. It’s a fairly generic, nothing special tbh but better than nothing.

      • Peter says:

        Went through SFO earlier this week and I have to say the new lounge is a vast improvement.

        Food options much better (several hot options – and I didn’t go into the F bit), it seems more spacious and lots of light.

        We boarded from the lounge but they didn’t call by Group which was a bit disappointing since I have just made Gold!

  10. Re showers, at least for those flying to London on business, it makes more sense to shower at the LHT T5 Arrivals Llounge.

    I’d rather eat at the F dining lounge and then sleep more.

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