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For most of us, travel is about the destination first and foremost, but that doesn’t mean that being comfortable along the journey is a bad thing. Airline lounges can be a good way to make the time in the airport a bit more comfortable or productive. They are certainly not a necessity for travel, but can be a nice option when you have extra time to kill at the airport.
A good airport lounge is a relatively calm space that offers reasonably fast internet, plenty of (comfortable) places to sit, drinks, food, and if you are lucky, a family room so your little ones can just be little ones in their own confined space. The really good airline lounges offer food and drinks that are actually tasty. The really, really good ones go way beyond that to include things like spa services, private nap rooms, and even a driving range.
Within the United States, most domestic airline lounges are not in the “really good”, and certainly not in the “really, really good”, categories, with the Amex Centurion Lounges (especially the DFW location) being a notable exception.
With those low expectations in place, I recently visited the new United Club at Boston Logan’s newly renovated Terminal B, and found it to be a surprisingly very nice place to spend time waiting for a flight, even if it didn’t meet my scientific “really good” airport lounge criteria.
If you are familiar with United Clubs you will know that the food is nothing to write home about. For breakfast there will be small processed bagels, yogurt cups, bananas, muffins, and occasionally donut holes. During the day there will some assortment of pretzels, trail mix, crackers, and packaged cheeses. The complimentary drink offerings are limited to the very house varieties, but you can certainly get a house red, a cup of water, or a soft drink without an additional charge.
In other words, the United Clubs aren’t known for their cuisine, but the United Club in Boston should be known for its sleek design, it’s aviation themed decor, and certainly for its plane-spotting.
The design of the club was their newer still which I find to be very nice with plenty of seats available the morning of our visit. There were a couple of little phone cubicles, but no family room. Which is really just such poor planning in my book as a conference room sized space could be so much more beneficial for everyone if families with small children had their own area with a door that closes like they have in the Amex Centurion Lounges.
Luckily for us my close-to-five-year-old is at an age where she can usually sit quietly with an iPad and not disturb others, so the lack of a family room wasn’t as big a deal for us as it would have been a few years ago. The restroom was nice and clean with a good changing table for those who are still in the diaper ages.
All that was well and good, but what stuck with me about the lounge was the epic plane-spotting available via the 180 foot windows behind the bar and along the exterior of the lounge. About every minute or two you could see planes taking off, most impressively when they were on the runway closest to the airport. It was the best view of take-offs I have ever seen from an airport lounge, and that is a feature that certainly makes this a good airline lounge for me.
If you want to see the quality plane-spotting at Boston’s new United Club for yourself but don’t have a United Club membership, remember you get two free passes each year via the United Explorer Card, or you can often find them on eBay for a fraction of the normal price of admission.
What do you think of the new United Club design?