Trip Report & Review – United Global First Lounge Washington-Dulles…”Are You a Spy?”

by Enoch

With my next flight on United, I decided to actually stop by the United Global First Lounge after visiting both the BA Galleries Lounge and the Lufthansa Senator Lounge. United gets a pretty bad reputation for their lounges in the U.S., and I think there is some merit to that reputation, but read on to hear my experience…where I was essentially called a “spy” from another airline.

This is the second part in my latest series of reviews and reports on my trip to Asia in First Class. See also:

The entrance was easy to find and the frosted doors added some discreetness. The lounge was quiet but bigger than I thought it would be as there were only two flights leaving in the morning (each with less than 10 Global First seats).


The woman at the reception desk was very nice when I checked in and told me the lounge should be quiet with only flights to Beijing and to Tokyo scheduled for departure. She scanned my boarding pass and off I went!

The lounge has ample seating and is divided into three main areas with two TVs at the ends. No floor to ceiling windows here—just strips of tall ones that provide a not-so-interesting view.



There were snacks placed by the TVs…



The buffet area was actually quite nice with both hot and cold options. I already ate plenty at the British Airways Galleries Lounge and the Lufthansa Senator Lounge, so I nibbled on some “satchels of chicken” (seriously, that’s what they were called), and had some some shrimp.



Unfortunately, I didn’t end up taking many pictures because as I was happily snapping away, the lounge agent walked up to me and said, “You cannot take pictures. You know, we have no way of knowing if you are a spy working for another airline.”

Spy?! Right…because if I were representing another airline and trying to scope out what the gold standard is for an international lounge, clearly I’d be visiting United’s Dulles lounge.

I wasn’t sure if she was joking but she had a pretty straight face and there really wasn’t much to see anyway, so I tucked my camera away. Here are the two pictures I was able to snap…the alcohol selection was pretty sad, though I appreciated that they had Hendricks gin.



Several aspects of the lounge felt like a cheap afterthought. The coffee cart with styrofoam cups, the nuts that were presented exactly how they would be served on the plane, the rollaway wine cart…it almost felt like they tried to stock the lounge as they were loading the catering supplies for a flight.

Overall, like I said, this is definitely a step up from your run of the mill United Club. As far as international first lounges go on a global scale, this is no doubt sub par.

…and no, I’m not a spy.

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United Trip Report related – SQ First Journey to Bali Begins…with UA 767-300. I’m Impressed!

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Ed C March 26, 2015 - 8:48 pm

I’ve been to most of them and i’m pretty sure no airline in their right mind wants to replicate the GFL at IAD (or any UA GFL sans HKG and LHR).

I would’ve laughed in the agent’s face if I was told that..

Travel Dude March 26, 2015 - 8:58 pm

Love the “Several aspects of the lounge felt like a cheap afterthought.” really sounds like the Global First service/product in the air

Review: United Global First Lounge Washington-Dulles - The Travel Womble March 30, 2015 - 10:02 pm

[…] Continue reading at Point Me To The Plane to see if/how the “spy” issue was resolved […]

Jared April 7, 2015 - 2:01 pm

This is the ideal space for a spy from another airline – To learn what not to ever serve or do. I am surprised they think United is the envy of the airline world. Perhaps we can start a fund to collect $ or miles to send that agent through the First class lounge in FRA, BKK, HKG or SYD ?

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[…] Well the Global First lounge in Hong Kong made me bite my words. It turns out, United does know how to do a great lounge. …and this time, I didn’t get accused of being a spy. […]

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Review: Thai Airways Royal Orchid Lounge Hong Kong - The Travel Womble May 29, 2015 - 5:05 am

[…] Galleries Lounge Washington-Dulles Part 2: Lufthansa Senator/Business Lounges Washington-Dulles Part 3: United Global First Lounge Washington-Dulles…”Are You a Spy?” Part 4: United Global First Washington-Dulles to Tokyo-Narita Part 5: ANA Business Class Tokyo to […]

Arthur February 13, 2018 - 12:45 pm

Absolutely accurate. Generally, I prefer the LH Senator (where UA First are not considered first class – a pity), both for food and comfort, though I sometimes drop by the UA GFL because the champagne and drinks are better. Of course, it is rare to have first on a UA international flight any more.


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