United Airlines has clearly taken steps to correct what happened to my family over the summer when we were denied lounge access by a pair of vicious agents at SFO despite being eligible on the basis that we did not have a boarding pass with a barcode. Under nearly identical circumstances, we were recently welcomed into the lounge.
United Club Access Without Boarding Pass
You might recall that last summer my family was denied access to the United Club in SFO on the grounds that we did not have a boarding pass with a barcode. We were flying SWISS from San Francisco to Zurich and received a check-in confirmation that had all our flight information (including name, flight date, flight number, gate, seat assignment, boarding time, confirmation number), but no barcode. On that basis, we were denied.
United reached out after my post was published and put me in touch with Alex Dorrow, United’s Managing Director of Lounges. He apologized for my treatment, confirmed I should have been granted access, and assured me that the agents in SFO would be re-trained so this did not happen to me or any other passenger again.
Note that key point: you must be confirmed on a same-day Star Alliance flight to access the United Club, but you need not have a boarding pass. Agents have other ways to enter your flight information and confirm whether you should be granted access.
For my Christmas trip to Germany, United had a chance to redeem itself. Would this time be any different? We were flying from Burbank to San Francisco on United, then connecting on a separate ticket on Lufthansa to Germany. Just like with the SWISS flight, we were issued a check-in confirmation, but not a boarding pass with barcode since our vaccination records had to be checked.
After arriving in SFO, we proceeded to the United Club in Terminal G (this was just a couple weeks before the Polaris Lounge reopened). An agent named Eduardo greeted us at the door. I explained the situation and rather than turn us away, he welcomed us into the lounge. Well, not exactly. The lounge was so crowded there was a waiting list to get in, but we only had to wait about five minutes outside before getting in. There was no demand for a boarding pass: our Lufthansa itinerary was enough.
After getting my family settled, I headed down to the Lufthansa gate nearby, picked up the boarding passes, and returned.
See how easy that was?
I commend United for recognizing its agents (last summer) provided horrible service and improperly denied my family access to the lounge. It seems like the problem has been resolved.
Feel free to report in the comment section below if you have had any issues accessing a United Club with “check-in confirmation” versus a boarding pass with a barcode.