United Opened a Global Services Lobby(ish) in Denver

by Sam Roecker

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.

United Global Services Reception @ SFO | Image: SCB

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?


United Sprung for Brand Enhancements | Photo by Sam Roecker

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.


SFO Check-In with Very Expensive Lighting | Image by SCB

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


Related Articles


mallthus June 18, 2018 - 11:11 am

There’s a multi-million dollar, multi-year renovation of the main DIA terminal starting this year. My hunch is this is very temporary, to be replaced with something more like other hubs (or better still).



Sam Roecker June 18, 2018 - 11:41 am

Good point, but I still wonder why they would open something so temporary… I know they’ve been slowly shrinking check-in real estate @ DEN, maybe they got a good deal on otherwise unused space?

Mark June 22, 2018 - 10:51 pm

They had to give up some space way down in the Economy area and shift everything to the right, pushing 1K and GS off the end, so the wrap around is there for a temporary solution while the entire remodel is done for TSA/Great Hall. Once that’s done the plan calls for UA to move to where AA has their check-in counters now.

Sam Roecker June 23, 2018 - 10:58 am

Ahhh, interesting. Thanks for sharing, Mark! Big fan of yours on FT.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Point Me Awake


A morning jolt of travel-infused news & deals straight to your inbox. 


Success! Check your email for a welcome onboard message