My visit to the New United Club in Newark

Last year, United Airlines opened its biggest club yet and did so at Newark International Airport, Terminal C. This lounge was long overdue and looked forward to by many, including me. I read Matthew’s review on live and fly (open this in another tab and read it because it’s great at first sight and covers a lot of stuff that i’m not going to here) and I was pretty excited because I would be there the day after it opened (the day before too, so just missed then!). Here are my thoughts.

Tour of the massive new United Club lounge at Newark International Airport

Location, hours and access

First, let’s get rid of some of the basics. This new lounge is located near the door C123 and is open from 5:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. every day. Access rules are the same as for other United Clubs, i.e. you can enter with the following passes or subscriptions:

  • Be a member of the United Club
  • Fly transcontinental business class on United to Los Angeles or San Francisco with United’s premium nonstop service
  • Fly International Business Class or First Class on one of the Star Alliance airlines
  • Chase United Club Visa cardholders
  • United Gold elite members or above – if you are traveling internationally (and you can be in economy)
  • Foreign Star Alliance Gold Members (as if I am an Aegean Gold member so it matters to me) can access the club even on national routes
  • United Club Single Pass (that come with United credit cards)
  • Or, you can buy a United Club pass for $59.
  • World Service Members

It’s on an upper level so you need the elevator, stairs or escalators to get to the entrance. There were still balloons out of their wide opening.

Once upstairs you have the staffed entry desk to the right and the electronic gates to the left. Simply scan your boarding pass to enter. However, the day I was there, many people were beeping red and had to go to the officers to be checked. Since it was a brand new lounge, it could have been travelers who didn’t know the access rules or maybe they had day passes or maybe maybe it was electronic problems.

United says it is a 30,000 square foot lounge, making it the largest United Club lounge and can accommodate 480 people. Remember these statistics and keep reading. 🙂

Inside the new United Club lounge

The entrance and the library – yes, you can read the books.

At this point, I once again encourage you to read Matthew’s review. It was there before it officially opened, so it has photos that represent much better what the show actually looks like – minus everyone!

Yes, it’s a table football and one of the only places where there were not many people!

There were so many people in the living room that I only took a few pictures with my phone as I walked through. I wanted to pull out my mirrorless camera to get it right, but every time I went to take a photo, there were people right next to me or in front of me and I didn’t want to step into their space. So please forgive the photos and the fact that some of them are a little tilted – check out Matthew for better views!

Remember, this lounge is 30,000 square feet and is United’s largest. Well I was there the day after it opened around 2-3pm and it was totally packed with people! I wandered around for a while trying to find an empty space to sit. Each food court had lines of people waiting to access it.

So, I couldn’t review it as much as I wanted because there were so few areas I could try or reach. Also, I really wanted to go back to the Polaris lounge for dinner. 🙂

But, speaking of food, this new United Club does food very differently than any other national airline lounge. In fact, it’s even a step up from the lounges of the Lufthansa network throughout Germany.

Food and drinks

One of the food stations

They have an amazing supply of various sandwiches and snacks as well as things like a taco station. I grabbed a taco to try it and it was really, really good! The staff were very good at getting the meat out and bringing in fresh as it was getting low (and it quickly became weak due to the number of people in the living room).

My only complaint about the food is petty, but I have to know – when making a taco do you put your shredded cheese on the tortilla first or after you put everything else? I, and everyone online, put cheese last or nearly last. Apparently the person who designed this food station made it their way of eating tacos, which is cheese first, then tortillas and everything. 🙂 Yeah, kinda weird and kept messing up the line!

I had to wait a while to get a photo with no one in it! 🙂

They also have two drink machines where you can select your type of drink and flavor. I still love them and I’m glad they use them here.

For coffee, they have the usual automatic coffee machines, but they also have a barista to make you your favorite caffeinated drink. She did a great job and it was nice to see something like that in the States. As I travel a lot through Turkey, I’m used to this kind of stuff at the Turkish Airlines lounge in Istanbul, so it was nice to have a similar experience in an American lounge. But, in case you mind, these drinks are served in single-use cups and not actual mugs/tumblers.

Here are some additional photos from the United Club. There are a variety of seating areas, including mostly enclosed workspaces as well as tables and dining areas. There are comfortable lounging chairs and regular seating on the long islands. United definitely did a good job of varying the 480 seats.

As for power, there really are power ports, USB ports (both regular and type-C) all over the living room, so it might not be too difficult in normal times to d have access to charging if that’s what you need.

The dashboard is located just after entering the main part of the living room, on your right

The barista coffee corner is just to the left in this photo

Bathrooms and showers

I did not take pictures of the bathrooms (because they were packed too) or shower suites but this living room has some really nice bathrooms and it’s great to see shower suites making their entrance here. This will no doubt be very popular with passengers arriving from international flights and even those on early morning flights.

My impressions of the New United Club in Newark

My very first impression was “wow this place is packed” There is no doubt that it is probably one of, if not the, better air lounges in the United States for a national airline. But, I couldn’t really enjoy it as much as I thought because the place was so full of people. I’ve been careful in my photos to try not to take photos of people so they don’t even show how crowded some areas really were.

I saw many people leaning against the walls eating as there was no room for anyone. Of course the design, layout and food make this an amazing lounge and one that I will definitely frequent whenever I am in Newark and fly a Star Alliance carrier. But the crowd is worrying.

I imagine that if this continues, we could see United limit the use of single-use passes for this lounge. Although the seating capacity of 480 seems large, remember that this lounge is near flights carrying thousands of people and there are many who would have access to this lounge.

Walking around the lounge it didn’t seem like the majority of people were really talking about anything regarding the lounge so it wasn’t like people made a point of coming here just to see the new lounge .

I was there mid afternoon on a Friday so it was probably much worse than other mid day times during the week.

So I give high marks for design, seating, power and food. The overcrowding was a little too much, but hopefully United will open another pop-up lounge in the meantime.

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