San Francisco Bay Area flyers are in for a treat when they fly Alaska Airlines. Premium passengers will be able to access the airline’s latest lounge offering at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The facility opened on Tuesday, August 31st, representing the airline’s commitment to the Bay Area.
Alaska Airlines debuts new lounge in San Francisco
The new lounge at SFO features 9,200 square feet of amenities and design. Alaska has tried to bring the spirit of the Bay Area into the lounge. One area where Alaska has heavily invested is in the food and beverage department.
Guests in the lounge will have access to a full bar with complimentary Bay Area craft brews on tap. As San Francisco is located nearby to California’s wine country, the airline has curated wines from local vineyards for the lounge. There is also a staffed espresso bar with a trained barista.
When it comes to food, passengers will be able to enjoy Alaska’s signature made-to-order pancakes. For those with a sweet tooth, the airline has also offered locally-based options like Ghirardelli chocolates, Jelly Belly jelly beans, and custom travel-themed cookies by Oakland Fortune Cooky Factory. This is on top of the fresh meals available in the lounge, including the new sourdough toast cart featuring San Francisco’s famous sourdough from The Acme Bread Co.
There are also areas to unwind. Passengers will be able to appreciate the San Francisco Giants-themed children’s play area.
Doubling down in San Francisco
The new Alaska Airlines lounge is a complete renovation of the former American Airlines Admirals Club. However, it is also a renewal of the airline’s commitment to the Bay Area.
SFO is dominated by United Airlines. United uses the airport as a gateway to East Asia and the Pacific. The airline has operated long-haul international routes to Singapore, Hong Kong, various points in China, and other destinations. This is on top of the carrier’s heavy domestic network.
Despite being named after one of two US states that does not border any of the other states, Alaska Airlines is a West Coast airline. It is based in Seattle, and its major hubs and bases include Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland, Boise, and more. The airline has a strong brand presence in the Pacific Northwest and is looking to grow its penetration in California.
The San Francisco Bay Area is a critical market. It is home to some of the premier tech companies in the world and has a population of over seven million people. This means a lucrative passenger base of both high-paying corporate customers and leisure travelers.
Alaska Airlines has been on a steady expansion trend in San Francisco. Recently, the airline unveiled three more weekly flights to vacation destinations in Mexico and, in June, announced a new San Francisco-Cancun service starting this December.
In June, Simple Flying spoke with Brett Catlin, Vice President of Network & Alliances at Alaska, about the airline’s future plans in San Francisco. He stated the following at the time:
“We came in with what we view as a strong position, one that we hadn’t fully developed. So we had an opportunity the past year and a half to really rethink, through our Bay Area strategy, through our plans for San Francisco. We actually [held a] meeting with the airport authority yesterday, recommitting to our plans in San Francisco, because that is a critically important market for us it’s a growth market. It’s one where we see long term potential.
“So we’re going to be very deliberate in how we grow San Francisco. We don’t want to be a carrier that’s in and out of markets, which pre-pandemic we had added a bunch of markets, long thin markets, like Indianapolis and Raleigh-Durham, that were candidly a challenge for us to make it work. So as we regrow San Francisco we’re going to do it differently this time, and we’re really gonna be thoughtful about sticking in markets for the long haul and I’ve been very deliberate about how we serve the community and our guests.”
As Alaska Airlines grows its position in the oneworld alliance, it is expected to devote plenty of resources to expanding San Francisco. This includes not just new destinations but even looking at long-term schedule depth and building out some of the markets the airline is only serving once per week or a couple of times per week to more frequent schedules.
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Accessing the lounge
The SFO Alaska Lounge is available for passengers who fly on a first class ticket with Alaska Airlines. This is a unique policy among US airlines where customers flying in a domestic first class cabin can access the lounge. Select oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members will be able to access the lounge.
Other passengers can also access the lounge by purchasing a day pass. The other option is to purchase a membership. Starting on October 1st, standard membership with access to Alaska-operated Lounges will start at $350 for elites and $450 for non-elites. The Alaska Lounge+ Membership provides access to Alaska-operated Lounges and over 90 partner lounges at $500.
Are you looking forward to visiting the new Alaska lounge in San Francisco? Let us know in the comments!