At Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport, United Airlines operates five different United Clubs for their premium cabin passengers, Star Alliance Gold members and United Club card holders. Of the five, the United Club in terminal E is the biggest and in my opinion, the best one. In fact, I would argue it’s not just the best one at Houston, it’s actually one of the best ones in their entire domestic network. The lounge hasn’t been updated yet to reflect their new Polaris design aesthetic but as far as domestic airline lounges go, it doesn’t get much better than this.
The United Club Houston terminal E is located near gate E11 and is open from 5:00 AM to 11:30 PM daily. The lounge offers two levels of spaces to rest, relax and be productive before your flight. The entrance is located on the first floor but the main seating area of the lounge is located up one level. It’s a little weird but the lounge skips level two. From the entrance on the ground level, you take the escalators up to level three. Here, you’ll find the main seating area of the lounge with low leather armchairs grouped together to relax and socialize with other passengers (or not).
There is a bar located in the back of the lounge with a selection of beers, wines and spirits. House drinks are provided complimentary but top shelf items are provided for a fee.
There’s also a small dining area with high-top tables and chairs and a self-serve buffet area with a selection of light snacks. During my 8:00 AM visit, there were light snack items such as fruits, yogurt, pastries and cereals and hot oatmeal with various toppings. Illy branded coffee and espresso machines are also provided in the lounge.
Floor to ceiling windows provide plenty of natural lighting and views of the ramp and runway.
If you need to get some work done, there are private cubicle spaces with partitions and electrical outlets. As a business traveler, I really appreciate lounges that have good usable work spaces for me to be productive on my laptop. Having a proper desk and a good working chair really goes a long way with me.
A customer service counter is located on the main level if you need any assistance with your flights or other issues.
If you are traveling with kids, there is an enclosed family room with toys and a TV with children’s programming located in the front.
Just want to kick back and relax to some mindless TV programming? There is a relaxation room in the middle of the lounge with comfortable leather chairs to zone out. There are no dedicated sleep rooms or day room so this will be your next best place to kick your feet up and shut your eyes for a bit. The room is much darker in real life. I had to bump up the exposure to show the details in this picture.
If you didn’t know any better, you would actually think this was the entire lounge but there’s actually a whole other level. If you walk towards the windows, there are a set of stairs leading up to the fourth floor. Up here, you’ll find a quieter place to sit and relax as the majority of the people will be down on the main level. I don’t know if people just don’t know about this level or if they are too lazy to take the stairs up (there are elevators also) but this level has always been less crowded every time I have visited.
This fourth level is geared more for business travelers. There is a small seating area to the front but the rest of the lounge is dedicated to more cubicle work spaces. There’s also a business center with a copier, fax machine and printer for you to use.
Other than alcohol, all the food and drink options located on third floor can be found up on the fourth floor as well. You won’t have to go up and down the stairs just to get some snacks to munch on.
If you need to freshen up, there are five shower suites for your use. To reserve a shower, just present your boarding pass to the shower attendant and get a pager. The showers are a little dated but refreshing nonetheless. Cowshed bath and body products are provided for you to use (and take). The showers do get busy so make sure to sign up as soon as you get here to reserve your spot.
United Club Houston Terminal E bottom line
Overall, this is one of my favorite (if not my favorite) domestic United Clubs. The lounge is a little disconnected but the lounge is spacious with plenty of usable places to rest, relax and be productive before your flight. The fourth floor offers a quiet(er) place to get away from the masses and the showers are a welcomed amenity for passengers connecting from long haul flights. The United Club Houston terminal E is starting to show its age and more substantial food options wouldn’t hurt but it’s still a great lounge nonetheless.
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