Your first look at the brand-new Alaska Lounge in San Francisco
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After lengthy delays and some changes to its original plans, Alaska Airlines has finally opened its hotly anticipated San Francisco (SFO) lounge. The lounge was first announced in early 2019 with an estimated opening date of sometime in 2020, but that was pushed back due to the pandemic.
This lounge is a big deal for the Seattle-based carrier as SFO is one of its largest hubs. At just under 10,000 square feet, this is now also Alaska’s second-largest lounge behind the flagship lounge in Seattle’s North Satellite Terminal.
It features all of the usual Alaska Lounge amenities like comfortable seating, made-to-order pancakes and barista-made hot beverages, as well as a number of locally sourced amenities that pay homage to the Golden City. Here’s what it looks like inside.
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Inside the new Alaska Lounge at SFO
The new Alaska Lounge is located in Terminal 2, in the terminal’s former American Airlines Admirals Club space just beyond the D security checkpoint. However, Alaska gave it a fresh look with new furniture and design elements.
Like Alaska’s other recently opened and renovated lounges, this one has a modern, yet cozy feel. It features lots of warm Pacific Northwest colors and plenty of wood. There’s even a fire pit at the center of the lounge.
The space has a wide variety of seating styles and options — most of which offer easily accessible power outlets.
Throughout the lounge, there’s fine art curated by the San Francisco-based online design marketplace Minted.
Amenities include an espresso bar staffed by a trained barista, a full bar and buffet with complimentary snacks like made-to-order pancakes, fresh salads and various soups. There will also be various locally sourced food and beverage items like sourdough toast from San Francisco’s Acme Bread Co.; Bay Area wines and craft brews; and sweets by Ghirardelli, Jelly Belly and the Oakland Fortune Cookie Factory.
Given that Alaska is now a part of the Oneworld alliance and the lounge will cater toward more long-haul passengers, we asked if Alaska plans to expand its hot food options. Sangita Woerner, senior vice president of marketing and guest experience at Alaska Airlines, explained:
“We aim to offer options for every type of guest, whether it be through providing family-friendly spaces like the new San Francisco Giants themed children’s play area or locally sourced bites for long-haul travelers looking to enjoy a warm meal. The new Lounge at SFO will offer a range of hot food like our fan-favorite made-to-order pancakes and fresh offerings at the bistro including steel-cut oatmeal in the morning and soups in the afternoon. We’ll also offer locally sourced food and beverage items including a sourdough toast cart, featuring San Francisco’s famous sourdough from The Acme Bread Co; Bay Area wines and craft brews at the bar; and sweet treats at our candy bar, which feature Ghirardelli chocolates, Jelly Belly beans and custom fortune cookies by Oakland Fortune Cookie Factory.”
As mentioned in the statement, another amenity of the new lounge is a San Francisco Giants-themed children’s play area. Although the former Admirals Club offered shower suites, Woerner told us that they’ll now be used as storage.
How to access Alaska Lounges
There are a number of ways you can gain access to Alaska Lounges.
For starters, you can get in with an Alaska Lounge or Admirals Club membership. If you’re not a member yet, keep in mind that Alaska is updating its lounge membership structure this fall. As of Oct. 1, 2021, Alaska will split lounge memberships into two tiers: Alaska Lounge and Alaska Lounge Plus. The standard membership will provide access to the eight Alaska Lounges only, while the extended option will also offer access to a network of partner lounges, including all American Airlines Admirals Clubs and some United Clubs. Alaska Lounge membership will cost $450 annually (or $350 for Alaska Airlines elite members), while Alaska Lounge Plus membership will cost $600 annually (or $500 for Alaska Airlines elite members). If you don’t want to commit to an annual membership, you’ll continue to be able to purchase a day pass for $50 (or $25 if you use your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card).
Unlike the other major U.S. airlines, Alaska also offers lounge access to domestic first-class passengers (excluding those who were upgraded). Further, you may have access if you have Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald status. The only restriction is that Alaska and American elites don’t get access when traveling solely on North American flights (except Mexico City).
Unfortunately, the SFO lounge won’t accept Priority Pass members. “To ensure the best Lounge experience for members and our First Class guests, we are currently not accepting Priority Pass with the exception of Alaska’s New York – JFK Lounge,” Woerner explained.
While it opened a bit behind schedule, the new Alaska Lounge at SFO appears to be a great addition to the airline’s lounge network. The space looks modern and there are a number of local touches incorporated throughout.
We asked Alaska if they have any other lounges in the pipeline that they can tell us about. We were were told, “Alaska is always looking for new ways to enhance our guests’ experience and offer amenities that make travel more relaxing through our lounges. Stay tuned for future updates.”
Featured photo courtesy of Alaska Airlines.
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