Following my trip to Washington D.C. for Thanksgiving, it was time to return home. With a belly full of turkey, I made my way to Washington Dulles Airport to board a United Boeing 777 back to London Heathrow.
Since I had a Polaris seat, I was eligible to check out the United Club lounge by gate C17. This particular lounge is just one of four United Clubs at the airport. After checking in, I made my way to security, which was expectedly busy due to everyone traveling during Thanksgiving week.
Despite finally clearing security, it wasn’t time to sit back as passengers at this airport have to take the AeroTrain. This is is an automated train system that transports passengers to their gate’s concourse after check-in and security.
After making it to Concourse C thanks to a short train journey, I made my way to the lounge by gate 17. The reception leads to an elevator, next to a flight of stairs, allowing for access to the lounge on the floor below. With a bag full of Black Friday deals, I opted for the elevator, which reminded me of a classic type that would be found in vintage hotels in United States-based metropolises.
On exiting the lift, I instantly noticed something that was different in the sonics of this lounge. There was a lot of chatter in the background.
As I turned the corner, I noticed what was adding to this extra noise. The business desks were occupied with people trying to get work done on their laptops and negotiating deals on the phone.
Making my way through to the main lobby, there were also plenty of passengers occupying the casual seating and bar areas. I can imagine that this lounge isn’t as busy as this on a standard week. However, since it was the Thanksgiving period, more people were traveling after seeing their loved ones.
Furthermore, there were several reports of bad weather causing delays. Therefore, many businesspersons were using the lounge’s resources to catch up on work.
Best for business
This lounge is set up perfectly for workers. There is an abundance of desks and cubicles for some serious work sessions. However, there are also many comfortable lounge seats in which to sit back and work at a casual pace.
There were even plenty of ports for mobile devices at the dining table that I was seated at, where those around me were cramming in some tasks.
The ambiance at this United Club branch was completely different from what I felt at the on my outbound trip at London. The Heathrow Terminal 2 lounge had an easy-going yet professional feel about it.
The food & beverage options, open space, and decor had given a balance between business and pleasure in my previous visit. However, the experience I had in Washington felt that it is more suited for those who need to tend to important responsibilities before boarding.
This point is highlighted within the cuisine that was on offer. At Heathrow, there was an array of hot and cold food available over several counters. There was a buffet of hot full English breakfast selections available, backed by cereal, fruit, and pastries.
At the Dulles C17 lounge, there were mostly only options available from a salad and cold cuts counter, with the hot choice being tomato soup.
Subsequently, it occurred to me that the majority of passengers in this lounge must be traveling on regional services, so they don’t have time to sit and tuck into a full meal.
However, those at London Heathrow would mainly be flying on international routes, needing their stomachs to be full before a long journey. Furthermore, this is why the design of the lounges are so different.
This lounge is great for a short rest on a layover or for a moment to get some business done before the journey. This year, United has been doing a great job at meeting the demand set by emerging business markets. This lounge is evidence that the carrier’s mission of tending to these passenger segments is becoming a reality.
Altogether, it was a different but pleasant experience at Washington Dulles. Nonetheless, the staff did a great job of keeping things in order among the festivities.
Have you had a chance to visit any of the United Club lounges at Washington Dulles? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.