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United opened up a newly refreshed lounge at Terminal C (North) this summer with a fresh new look and feel from the other United lounges and I recently got the chance to check it out. Note: I don’t typically do “lounge reviews” but I figured I’d share some of my photos here and initial impressions of the lounge.
Where is the new United Lounge?
The new lounge is located near Gate 1 at Terminal C and is open from 5:30 am to 9:00 pm.
IAH is one of my favorite airports not just because I’m from Houston but because you can easily make your way between terminals both pre and post security. On this trip I arrived through Terminal E and quickly made my way to Terminal C in about 10 to 15 minutes (slow walkers might take closer to 20 minutes).
As soon as you enter the lounge you’ll notice the mood lighting through the blue-tinted doors.
There are two different check-in desks, one at the main entrance and another on the other side of the lounge. The staff at the main entrance were very polite and professional much like those I often interact with at American Express Centurion Lounges.
The interior boasts new stylish lighting and an open layout, which makes the lounge much more appealing and modern. When I arrived around 6:30 am, the lounge had pretty minimal traffic, although when I left at around 8:00 am (on a Friday), the lounge had become very packed throughout.
Unlike the Centurion Lounge at IAH, there’s not a lot of variety in the seating (e.g., no cubbies, chaise lounges, etc.). Outside of the few sleek seats, all seats are pretty much standard and come equipped with power outlets, USB ports, and lamps. While the lounge is very open, I found the corner pictured below to be one of the few semi-private areas of the lounge.
The seats pretty comfortable and you have a decent view of the tarmac, although since it’s Terminal C you’re not going to see a lot of the interesting planes from international carriers.
Towards the corner of the lounge where we sat there was a flight schedule screen and a table with stools for laptop users.
This is also the side where the bathroom is and a few phone rooms. The bathroom was very nice and well-kept but note that the phone rooms are not noise-proof. I could easily hear people chatting and doors slamming while inside. There are no showers in this United lounge (I don’t think any United Club’s currently have them at IAH) and also no family rooms.
On the other side of the lounge closer to the bar and food areas there’s another longer row of bar stools.
There are some comfy booth-style seats close to the bar, which also have small tables and different style chairs. Staff members roamed the lounge to check on guests and take away dirty dishes but they didn’t seem overly attentive to guests, so you may need to flag them down if you want to ask them for their services.
The bar area felt like a Centurion Lounge bar to me. I loved the new lighting design and set-up and thought that it looked very elegant, and noticeably more chic than other United Club lounges. The bar opens up at 7am, which I believe is much earlier than the Centurion Lounge.
Basic beers and liquors are complimentary at the lounge but you’ll have to pay for certain imports and for premium liquors, cocktails, and fine wines, with prices starting at around $5.
As a point of comparison, here’s another United Club Lounge bar at IAH (I can’t remember which terminal I took that photo at). To me these looks much more old-fashioned.
The food options for breakfast were very standard. They offered a mixture of fruits (cantaloupe, blueberries, etc.), yogurt, granola, muffins, pastries, breads, cereals, and one of those nice Coke machines that allow you to choose all sorts of different Coke products. I believe the lounges are now offering more lunch options with things like new salads, soups, and other offerings.
United is currently working on rolling out several new Polaris lounges worldwide. They’ve already opened one up at Chicago (ORD) and have plans to open eight additional lounges at the following airports: Houston Intercontinental, Los Angeles International, New York/Newark, San Francisco, Washington Dulles, Hong Kong, London Heathrow and Tokyo Narita. I’m excited to see the new Polaris Lounge and also hope to more refreshed lounges at IAH.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the digital smart wallet, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.