I’ve written before about the innovative United Club Fly Lounge at Denver International Airport (DEN), but never actually written a review…until now. I love this lounge concept as a complement to the full-service lounges and would love to see it expand to more hubs.
United Club Fly Lounge DEN Review
With a long layover in Denver, I had plenty of time to visit a number of lounges and restaurants, but my first stop was at the Club Fly Lounge, a concept United Airlines introduced in November 2022 in a bid to reduce lounge crowding and trial a new approach to “lounges.”
I put lounges in quotation marks because although Club Fly has seating, it is almost the opposite of a lounge. The intent is not to lounge around in this extension of the United Club, but to grab your food and go. While other United Clubs post signage asking that guests not remove food, here guests are encouraged to take food with them rather than to linger. This lounge, which resembles a ski chalet, is located airside in Concourse B East, near Gate B60 and open daily from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm.
2/3 of traffic at DEN is connecting and United’s flight banks often make connections short (some are well under an hour). This makes a grab-and-go lounge particularly attractive since there really isn’t time to spend sitting in lounge when boarding for your connecting flight begins shortly after arrival. However, if you are sticking around you will find a handful of comfortable, fast wi-fi, and power ports (including USB-A and USB-C plugs).
Let’s review the particulars of this lounge:
- It is small. There are only 16 seats. But the point is not to linger, but to grab something and go
- Access will be via automated gate (similar to the C123 lounge in Newark)
- No guests of United Club members or Star Alliance Gold travelers will be allowed, but one-time passes will be accepted
- Grab-and-go snacks include sandwiches, salads, wraps, yogurt, vegetables, fruit, and more
- Grab-and-go drinks include water, juice, soda, coffee, and tea
- No alcoholic drinks are available
- I know they are full of sugar, but I was delighted to see different varieties of Naked Juice in the lounge, which I quite enjoy if I am going to drink something sweet
- Not only is automated coffee be available via two machines, but baristas will be present to offer various specialty coffee drinks using illy coffee
Superb Barista-Made Coffee At United Club Fly Lounge Denver
It is that last point that most appeals to me, since handmade coffee from a professional-made machine generally turns out much better than anything produced from an automatic machine.
During my stay, I had had both a cortado (served in a smaller espresso cup with just a bit of milk) and a cappuccino:
The baristas were very nice, but total novices. I actually took a moment and showed them (yes, I’m a dork…but they requested it when we were talking about coffee) how to better blend the milk and espresso and do a bit of latte art…
There’s a nice variety of sandwiches, wraps, and salads, with dressing and condiments also available.
While I did not eat anything during this stay, on my next visit I enjoyed a gluten-free chocolate brownie with a smoothie and coffee.
Beverages include Coca-Cola products, Aha water, favored milk, Tropical juices, Naked Juice, and tea from Dammann Frères.
Here’s a video tour of the lounge:
I hear from readers that there is some concern that United will turn its clubs into gas station convenience stores with concepts like this, but as long as this augments more classical lounge space, this is a great thing. United is not the first to do this. We see similar concepts from Air Canada in Toronto and Lufthansa in Munich:
I will say that those lounges offer fresh-squeezed juices, which would be something else I’d love to see at Club Fly, but these lounges also complement club space rather than replace it…
When you are done, simply exit the other side:
This is a welcome addition to the crowded lounge space at Denver and certainly helps to reduce crowds in United’s other lounges. I love the excellent coffee here and also appreciate that if my upgrade does not clear (and frankly sometimes even if it does), I can grab a salad here before my flight and not have to worry about what is served onboard.
I do hope we will see this lounge concept spread and end with the reminder below: