Our flight from Midland to Houston was very uneventful and everything seemed to be on time at that moment. Since we had like a 2 hour layover in Houston, we headed to the United Club Terminal E to get some work done and relax before our flight. This was the obvious choice given that the AMEX Centurion Lounge wasn’t open at the time.
Introduction: A Week in Italy
United Club Terminal E – Houston
United Airlines BusinessFirst MAF-IAH-PIT(DIVERSION)-EWR-FRA
Lufthansa Senator Lounge Frankfurt Airport
Villa La Perla Di Sonenga Panoramica, Menaggio, Italy
The Park Hyatt Milan
Radisson Blu Rome
Crowne Plaza Milan City Centre
United Airlines BusinessFirst Milan (MXP) – Newark (EWR)
The entrance to the United Club Terminal E is located right across from you upon turning left and walking straight after getting off the sky train. At the entrance we were admitted based on our BusinessFirst boarding pass to Milan (domestic first class tickets don’t grant you lounge access), after which we proceeded up the elevator to the second floor where the lounge is located.
The Access Policy:
- International flight in a premium cabin on United or its Star Alliance partners
- United Club Credit Card ($450 annual fee)
- Star Alliance Gold Status with a Star Alliance partner (not United itself)
Anyway upon entering the lounge, you are met with this vast open wastage of space. I’m assuming they had a check in desk up here at some point because there was no staff at the lone counter in this area.
Just ahead of the wasted space is the shower and restroom area. The United Club Terminal E has three or four shower rooms, for which you need a key to access (obtained from the desk which didn’t have staff at the moment).
Upon turning left, you immediately see the main food area of the lounge:
The lounge had a fairly decent spread compared to say an Admiral’s club where they insist on serving those extremely unhealthy danish pastries and croissants, but to each his own I guess.
At this particular lounge there were bagels, munchkins, packaged yogurt, fruits, and cereals. There were a few coffee and juice dispensers, but I didn’t see a coffee machine. Definitely enough to make a quick breakfast, and pretty much the items I have for breakfast at most places anyway.
Moving on, as you turn around there are some seating areas followed by a wall separating them from the work cubicles along the far side of the lounge facing the front of the terminal.
Walking along the far wall, there were just rows and rows of work cubicles with ergonomic chairs. This is definitely a positive for the lounge because it provides plenty of space to work on the laptop. I do love my personal space 😀
And then there were more cubicles at the far end of the lounge. Wow Houston must really be all about taking care of business before travel.
The lounge featured some great tarmac views with plenty of United long haul aircraft departing from the gates underneath the lounge. Though this isn’t as fun as watching aircraft depart from the adjacent Terminal D, it was still better than nothing.
The downside to the lounge overall is that the seating areas outside the work cubicles aren’t very private and it gets super crowded quickly. There is some more seating available up another flight of stairs, but that looked to be crowded as well. Since we were one of the first ones in the lounge during this wave, we found a spot in a corner, but good luck to the rest. At least there were those work cubicles I suppose.
As an update, there does appear to be a new bigger bar area in the lounge as of today, but I have no idea where that is positioned. United Clubs do have decent selection of alcoholic beverages from what I hear though.
I had a breakfast bagel and finished up some work phone calls when news of the first delay came. Apparently the inbound aircraft was late due to storms in the northeast, and our flight would be an hour late. No biggie, It just cut our wait in Newark down. And then the delay kept getting longer and longer until we were getting nervous that we only had an hour to catch our flight to Milan.
There is a manned united agent counter near the elevator and we went to ask about changing our flight. When we asked, the agent didn’t even bother looking and told us that us that we would make it. Definitely not great service on the part of the agent. It was now time to go board the flight to Newark anyway so we didn’t persist on the changes further.
It was now time for me to rush off before that flight left 🙂
The United Club Terminal E offers fairly decent space to work, relax, take a quick shower before catching your flight. However during the peak morning hours and evening hours expect an absolutely jam packed lounge. The food selection was fairly good for a U.S lounge, and drink selection is supposedly superior to AA Admirals Clubs, but inferior to Delta Sky Clubs.
With this being said: I would never pay for entry into this crowded lounge or any United Club for that matter. If I ever wanted to visit a lounge it would be the AMEX Centurion Lounge @ IAH, which offers superior food, and beverages. I would give it another go if it were complimentary, hoping for a smaller crowd now that the Centurion lounge opened across the hall. But it is most likely that I shall not return.
Have you been to United Clubs recently? What are your thoughts?