SFO United Polaris Lounge

Updated June 23, 2020.

Exciting news! There’s a new lounge at SFO, and it’s one of the most exclusive spots in town. New United Polaris Lounges are popping up all over the United States, with one now available in San Francisco, and my husband Steve and I were fortunate enough to pass through on our layovers to and from New Zealand recently. Here’s the whole story along with all the details.

Who Can Visit Polaris Lounges?

The reason Polaris Lounges are so exclusive is that they’re reserved for long-haul Polaris (aka Business and First Class) customers only. Any Business passenger on any Star Alliance partner can use this lounge, but you cannot bring a guest, and you may not use this lounge if you’re ticketed for Economy Class regardless of status. All international Star Alliance Gold Members can still use the other United (and all Star Alliance) lounges, however!

BONUS! This is also an arrivals lounge, meaning you can also visit the Polaris Lounge if you are arriving into SFO as a ticketed United Polaris passenger! For all the specifics, check here: United Airlines Club and Lounge Access.

Not sure if your flight qualifies? Check out this list!

The Lounge

Why does a person go to a lounge? To lounge, of course! It’s quiet, there’s free wifi, and the comfortable seats are terribly inviting. The Polaris Lounge has more than enough cozy, comfortable seating options for everyone, and there are many power outlet options available in both traditional and USB varieties: 

Wide, cushy seats with side tables and power outlets available to each seat.
Diner-style seating with comfortable chair, soft bench seat, and table for eating food from the buffet, doing a little light laptop work, or just spreading out.
My personal favorite: extra wide, cushy seat, table for working, personal light, privacy partition, and easy-access power outlet!
This is the definition of lounging, my friends! Soft seating, bench style, chairs for overflow, and tables for this, that, and the other.
High-back, cushioned seating with walls for semi-privacy
A close-up of the outlet options: two traditional plug-in outlets; two USB charging ports

What to Eat at the Polaris Lounge: The Restaurant

Wow! I love that I can order off an actual menu here and it’s just included in the experience! They serve breakfast from opening until 11:00am local time, then lunch and dinner from 11:00am to closing. We were fortunate enough to enjoy the experience for dinner on the way to Auckland, then for breakfast on the way home, so we got to sample each!

Appetizer: Crispy Shrimp Cake with Sweet and Sour Sauce
Entree: Polaris Burger with Beef Patty, Bacon, Cheddar, Fried Egg, Garlic Aioli, Pickled Veggies, Lettuce, Tomato, and house-made chips
Entree: Pappardelle Pasta with shaved Parmesan and Mushroom Ragout
Dessert! Profiterole with Vanilla Ice Cream and Ghirardelli Chocolate Sauce, served with fresh fruit; Tiramisu Espresso Cup made with Illy Coffee
Steve’s omelette with three kinds of meat, three kinds of cheese, and veggies inside!
Mango “pudding” with fruit and granola, and my latte!

What to Eat at the Polaris Lounge: The Buffet

The restaurant menu is admittedly limited, so if nothing offered really tempts your tastebuds, you will surely find something to delight you on the buffet! Options range from yogurt and granola to cold cuts and cheese, from hot Asian dishes to Italian cannoli, and items are replenished and refreshed as needed.

Pastries, butter, jams, and jellies
Assorted fresh fruits
A little Asian flair with egg omelette patties and accoutrements
Birchmeusli and granola, ready to add yogurt
Oatmeal bar with all the fixin’s
Mini frittatas and muffins

The Beverages

If you know me or have followed my blog for very long, you may have picked up on the fact that I don’t drink. Alcohol burns and tastes horrible in my humble and honest opinion, though I know much of humanity feels quite differently. However, my sweet husband got the bartender to make me a virgin Ginger Scotsman, and I think it’s now my go-to Polaris drink! If you do like to imbibe before a flight, you can enjoy the unique Polaris signature options or a classic. 

As for other beverages, you’ll find espresso machines, coffee and tea, juices, and fruit-infused water. It was pineapple and orange infused when we arrived on the outbound, and that’s one of my favorite combinations! On the inbound, I made a beeline for a yummy latte. 

Self-serve coffee and tea bar with both fruit-infused and regular water


No stalls here, ladies and gents! Each restroom is private and spacious, with not one, but two bag hooks—something I find missing from stalls more and more often these days! And you’ll find lovely British Cowshed handsoap and lotion waiting for you as well. 


One of the best perks of lounge living is access to a shower after a long, dark, dehydrating flight. Upon arriving in San Francisco from Auckland (even before my latte), I high-tailed it into one of the showers. Y’all, there were two kinds of shower heads in there! And the towels from Saks 5th Avenue are thick and luxurious. There was even a sweet treat waiting for me inside. Afterward I felt like a new woman, ready to face my next 5-hour flight back to IAD! 

First glimpse of the shower rooms
Luxurious towels and fresh slippers
Sink with hand soap and lotion available, wash cloth, bottle of water, and a Ghirardelli treat–in United blue, of course
Traditional shower head and rainfall shower head

Business Center

Need to get some paperwork done? There are private business rooms with a desk, comfortable chair, and an automatic light that comes on as you enter. I could certainly see myself getting some work done on a future layover!

Business Center, complete with power outlets and privacy!

The Quiet Room

An extra perk of this particular Polaris Lounge is the Quiet Room with comfy lounger beds, darkness, and best of all–complete quiet. You will not be allowed to use your cell phone or even have it on the ringer. For the sleepy traveler, it’s pure bliss. 

One of 5 available Quiet Rooms
Amenities: Fresh slippers, small bottle of water, eye mask, ear plugs, Ghirardelli sweet, alarm clock provided

Overall, my sweet husband Steve and I approve of the new Polaris lounge in San Francisco. And while it’s true that SFO is quite possibly our least favorite airport in the country (thanks to zillions of delays, cancellations, and a very heart-breaking missed connection), we could certainly find ways to keep ourselves occupied next time we’re delayed indefinitely!

Are you ready for your Polaris Lounge experience? Check out my Air Travel Page for more about airports and exclusive lounges!

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Published by quickwhittravel

Welcome to the blog! We do things a little differently around here: no ads, no negativity, and no checked luggage, y'all. My name is Whitney, and Quick Whit Travel Blog is your one-stop shop for all the best travel tips, packing advice, and destination information. Click around or message me on social media @quickwhittravel for more!

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