While not much has structurally changed since my last review of this lounge in 2018, I thought a pandemic update was in order for the United Club in Newark near gate C74.
United Club Newark Review
Currently, this is the only United Club open at Newark Airport. Another permanent club in Terminal C is under construction, but the pandemic has delayed its completion.
Location + Hours + Access
The United Club at EWR is located in Terminal C, near gate C74. During the pandemic, it is open daily from 5:45AM to 8:15PM.
Access is reserved for United Club members, Chase United Club Visa holders, Star Alliance Gold travelers, business class travelers flying to Los Angeles or San Francisco on United’s premium transcontinental service, and international business or first class passengers traveling on any Star Alliance flight.
Furthermore, one-time passes from Chase are accepted or can be purchased for $59. Note that if you hold a Star Alliance Gold card from United Airlines (Premier Gold or higher), you can only access the lounge when traveling in conjunction with an international itinerary.
Those who have a Star Gold card from other programs can use the lounge when traveling on any Star Alliance flight in any class of service. Also note that United does not give premium cabin passengers access on domestic flights, with the exception of the premium transcontinental route noted above.
Global Services passengers are also allowed complimentary entrance.
The lounge is hexagonal in shape, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a food court atrium one level below lounge. While this lounge was routinely packed prior to the pandemic, I spent seven hours here (lucky me…) on a recent visit and it never got very crowded.
Plugs are readily available, wi-fi is fast, and I stayed very productive after finding a desk to work in.
Food + Drink
Perhaps I’m too easy to please or set my expectations too low, but I was pleasantly surprised by the selection of food in the lounge. All of it was pre-packaged, but there was a decent selection of things to nibble on.
Breakfast choices included:
- Sausage, egg, and cheese biscuits (served warm)
- Fruit cups
- Hardboiled eggs
- Cereal + milk
Breakfast of champions? No, but that’s really not a bad selection at all and if you only have a few minutes you can just take a few items with you.
I love buttermilk biscuits, sausage, eggs, and cheese, but I have to warn you the nutrition facts on the breakfast sandwiches are not pretty:
Around 11:00am the food was rotated to a PM variety and included:
- Ramen noodles
- Gummy bears
- Trail mix
- Baby carrots
- String cheese
- Beef jerky
- Appetaggio (Hard Salami, Cranberry, and Mozzarella)
- Chickpea puff chips
- Green bean chips
- Fruit cups
- Ritz Bitz crackers
- Rice Krispie Treats
- Lorna Doone shortbread cookies
- Chocolate chip cookies
- White chocolate-covered pretzels
Again, I prefer the pre-pandemic soup and salad, but this was a nice selection of packaged food.
The bar in the rear of the lounge was operational and staffed even earlier in the morning. Bottom shelf beer, wine, and spirits are available for free while cocktails and better beer and wine do incur charges.
There’s also a Coke Freestyle machine and a couple illy espresso machines and coffee pots.
I had a few cappuccinos during my visit and found them quite acceptable.
Confession: I love these old marble bathrooms. Totally old school, yet just my style. This lounge does not have showers and never had showers (some former Continental President Club’s did, but not this one).
I’ve got to give credit where credit is due. The lounge dragons (male and female) in this club used to be so surly and rude after the United-Continental merger. But quite honestly, the staff has been kind and accommodating over the last few years. I’m usually here a few times per year and the staff has been cheerful and friendly when checking me in, extremely accommodating when I ran into irregular-operations, and even helped me once with a voluntary change to get home early.
Showing Its Age
The lounge is showing its age. For example, the ceiling was flaking in more than one area:
And the “no smoking” signs throughout the lounge are a reminder that this lounge was built in a different era.
But most of the furniture is new and the lounge is functional in its present form.
I enjoyed an extremely productive seven hours in this lounge and it has grown on me for two reasons. One, the coffee is good and the snacks are acceptable (and a nice way to augment limited meal service on most flights). Two, the service has greatly improved.
While I look forward to the Polaris Lounge re-opening, this lounge is serviceable now and has improved.