First look: British Airways opens new San Francisco Airport lounge

First look: British Airways opens new San Francisco Airport lounge

British Airways has cut the ribbon on its new-look lounge at San Francisco, which now combines the seperate first class and business class spaces of the old lounge but adds a private a la carte dining room for BA's own first class flyers.

Visitors to the former BA lounge, which closed at the start of 2019 for renovations, may have trouble recognising these fresh digs.

A wall-to-wall makeover has seen the space reinvigorated with the same contemporary design as recently-opened BA lounges in Rome, New York and Aberdeen.

There's now room for 146 passengers ahead of BA's afternoon and evening flights to London, although the lounge will close around 7pm – too early to welcome travellers on Qantas' flights to Sydney and Melbourne, who'll still need to make tracks to the Cathay Pacific lounge.

Located one level down from the terminal's ground floor in Concourse A, between gates A4 and A6, large windows provide natural light and sometimes an up-close view of your BA flight.

Flights departing from gates A4 and A6, which is typically the afternoon BA284 Boeing 747 service, also allow passengers to board directly from the lounge.

A stylish bar serves as the lounge's focal point while a curated music playlist contributes to a relaxed cocktail vibe.

There's ample variety in the types of seating as well as the spaces carved out within the lounge to suit moods from social to solo, with plenty of AC and USB outlets to go around.

 

BA claims that 80% of the seats have easy access to power, and that includes this window-side bench.

Another thoughtful touch: side-tables which provide space to park your cabin bag out of the way while keeping it close at hand.

Travellers can sample hot and cold buffets with a seasonal menu, a pasta bar and a selection of locally-sourced cheeses.

BA's first class passengers (but not Emerald-grade frequent flyers, such as BA Executive Club Gold members) will head for the private dining room and settle in one of 26 plush seats.

The a la carte menu which includes wine pairings (showcasing some wonderful Sonoma and Napa Valley wines) along with mezze plates, rigatoni and seafood cioppino, which is a San Fran speciality.

The refurbishment has, however, seen the shower suites removed – so if you want to freshen up before that ten hour flight to London, we suggest grabbing a quick shower before you check out of your hotel.

Up next on BA's lounge to-do list are similar renovations for Geneva and Johannesburg, although the year's star attraction is of course the debut of the new Club Suite business class, which takes wing in August on a factory-fresh Airbus A350.

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

11 comments

  • Fergo747

    Fergo747

    10 Jul, 2019 10:26 am

    It's interesting the number of lounges / dining areas that are now excluding Emeralds and only allowing access to those travelling in true F. This one example along with all the AA 'Flagship First Dining', Concord Room and QR lounges in DOH comes to mind. Makes me question the benefit of Emerald over Sapphire as more and more lounges are becoming combined J/F lounges and only those in actual F can have access to the dining element located in these (one of the main benefits or Emerald I've found).
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  • Chris Bershaw

    ChrisB

    10 Jul, 2019 10:41 am

    @fergo it’s actually worse than that...

    You can go into the Concord lounge, even if you’re not in first. You just have to be in the BA elite tier - similar to Qantas P1.

    No doubt at all, the BA Concord lounges are the closest experience to our Syd / Mel / LAX First lounges with Qantas.

    The BA ‘First’ lounges on the other hand, are just chaos, and the very bare minimum when it comes to any sort of experience and dining. Qantas domestic business class lounges are even light years ahead of BA First.

    Next time you’re at Qantas LAX First lounge and a boarding call gets made for a BA flight... it’s like an evacuation has just taken place.
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  • John Phelan

    John Phelan

    11 Jul, 2019 09:21 pm

    Totally disagree re the catering - the BA Galleries First lounge at LHR has catering and alcohol far, far superior to QF's domestic Business lounges.

    Real champagne, to start with, normally of choice of about 5 hot dishes and a range of sandwiches, salads and desserts.

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  • Dale

    hakkinen5

    10 Jul, 2019 01:12 pm

    Why would you remove the showers? Bizzare.
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  • David Flynn

    David

    10 Jul, 2019 01:21 pm

    To free up more space (although this is reportedly for staff, not passengers).
    No member give thanks

  • Scott Wilson

    Libertyscott

    10 Jul, 2019 02:56 pm

    Given the opening of the United Polaris lounge at SFO, it still looks like it offers the best lounge facility for SFO-LHR compared to BA. The old BA facility was dire and grossly overcrowded, with the only benefit being direct gate boarding, so this is a vast improvement.
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  • Ladtsmt

    Ladtsmt

    10 Jul, 2019 03:11 pm

    "BA Concord lounges are the closest experience to our Syd / Mel / LAX First lounges with Qantas" Ha, ha! You have to be kidding. QF lounges need a bit of hurry up, too, Definitely need new menus. They've been the same for at least the last six months, except in London, where there were only three items (but plenty of choices of alcohol).
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  • moa999

    moa999

    10 Jul, 2019 08:07 pm

    Hopefully QF can negotiate some later opening hours for the SYD and MEL flights.

    On the QF First Lounge menus they change slightly every quarter and the regular specials. Always something new everytime I've been, but also many old favourites.
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  • GoldCanyon340

    GoldCanyon340

    10 Jul, 2019 08:24 pm

    The menus change every three months in the QF F lounges.
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  • John Phelan

    John Phelan

    11 Jul, 2019 09:18 pm

    With QF having evening flights to SYD and MEL - and the just-announced new flights to BNE - it would make sense for QF to contract the BA lounge to stay open to cater for those flights. In fact, on most days, QF will have more flights out of SFO than BA does!
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  • Jackson

    Jackson

    13 Jul, 2019 02:21 am

    Somehow I find a lot about this new lounge fairly underwhelming. No showers, and generally a fairly bland design with cheaper finishes (eg floating vinyl timber-look floors)
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Guest

21 Jul, 2019 12:56 pm

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