Top-tier United Airlines elites flying out of Denver International Airport (DEN) have a new – and somewhat hidden – check-in area. I stopped by last week, and it seems to be a work-in-progress.
United operates exclusive check-in reception areas for Global Services members at most of its major hubs, including Chicago (ORD), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Newark (EWR), and San Francisco (SFO). It appears that United is planning on upgrading the check-in situation at both Denver and at Washington Dulles (IAD) – the only US mainland hubs without a private check-in lobby.
The ultra-private check-in experiences – designed by SCB – look more like posh hotel lobbies than airport ticket counters. SCB designed the original Global Reception in Chicago as well as the newer one in San Francisco. In addition to personalized service, the check-in receptions offer direct access to the front of the TSA PreCheck lines at each hub.
Per a travel notice posted on united.com:
Starting May 21, 2018, the United Global Services®, United Polaris® and Premier® 1K® check-in desks will move to a new location. The new check-in area will be at the southwest end of Terminal West, around the right-hand corner of the existing ticket counters.
United isn’t using the words “reception” or “lobby” to describe the new check-in, but I can confirm that the check-in area is at least hidden – although far from private. While two large signs direct Premier 1K and Global Services customers in the departures lobby, the new check-in counters aren’t visible until you turn the corner. Global Services previously had a separate line next to Premier 1K and Polaris at the far end of the Terminal West counters, in the regular departures ticket counters.
Here’s the Result?
Once you turn the corner, the “lounge” is visible to your left. The whole thing seems a bit taped together – literally, in the case of this sign. Kudos for craftiness?
The check-in nook does have the signature white monitors and contemporary counters, but that premium vibe is overshadowed by recycled signs that resemble old vestiges from the Cleveland hub.
A Temporary Solution?
Surely, this is not the experience United wants for its top customers. Perhaps the $5,000+ globe pendants from Mooi (seen below and in renovated United Clubs) are back ordered?
Denver International Airport is set to spend $1.5B building 39 additional gates and $1.5B renovating the Great Hall. Given the massive changes coming to Denver’s airport, let’s hope United has a better plan for a premium check-in experience.