I’d flown down from Boston, to Austin, TX via Dallas with American. It was a pretty ‘meh’ trip so hadn’t included a write up here.
My route home was flying from Austin, TX, to Houston, TX with United, then onwards with Lufthansa in first class on their A380 back to Frankfurt where I would connect down to Milan Linate. Finally from there, I’d booked a British Airways Euro Traveller redemption using my Avios to return home to London.
Check in at Austin was swift and I was issued three boarding passes all the way to Linate. I somewhat cheekily asked the staff if they were able to check my bag through to the British Airways flight from Linate to London – the agent said that she didn’t think that British Airways were Star Alliance and thus couldn’t. I mumbled a “no worries, thanks” back at her, and didn’t press the issue any further.
The flight to Houston was entirely uneventful – it was a 30 minute hop in an Airbus A320 and we disembarked into the C terminal at Houston George Bush Intercontinental airport.
Houston Intercontinental Airport, a bit like Dallas Fort Worth is huge. It took a good fifteen minute walk through terminal C, D and E to get to the new Polaris Lounge in terminal E.
I was warmly greeted by the lounge lady and explained that I would like to invite a guest in. Normally for business class passengers, guests are only permitted if they’re also travelling business, however as I was travelling in first class on a Star Alliance carrier, I was permitted one. With access granted, we jumped into the lift and headed up to the lounge.
I was impressed. Seriously impressed. United have clearly spent a lot of money here.
I arrived around 13.00 and the lounge was almost deserted. It was a very decent size with some fantastic views of the apron.
There was a huge amount of seating available all over the place with comfy chairs and a variety of different styles of seating. There was also plenty of power sockets scattered around the lounge with most seats having a set directly next to them. Plenty of USB ports for charging devices too.
The lounge also had a full à la carte restaurant with table service.
Given I hadn’t really had a proper breakfast I was fairly hungry so figured I’d grab some lunch.
The menu was very comprehensive so opted for the burger and a glass of the champagne, Piper Heidsieck.
The burger was great – the bun was fresh and the fries freshly cooked too. Certainly a step above the BA Burger served in the Galleries First.
If you didn’t want to have a proper meal service, there was also a full hot buffet for you to pick and choose from.
Plus of course the bar with some rather delicious cocktails.
I can’t believe that United have created a lounge like this. I was stunned at the quality of the food and drink, the service from every member of staff was impeccable, and the fit and finish everywhere was of a very high quality.
Put simply this is a fantastic place to wait for a flight. With the possible exception of the Concorde Room at Heathrow, it beats every British Airways lounge by a country mile. But then again, this is for business class passengers, not first class. For those of you who have visited the Qantas London Lounge I’d say it was on a par, if not slightly better than that.
United really have done a great job here. If they could guarantee the new Polaris seating on all flights to/from Heathrow, then they really would have a very competitive offering over the North Atlantic.