Three weeks ago, Alaska Airlines opened its newest airport lounge at San Francisco International Airport. This latest lounge joins seven other locations at:
- Los Angeles
- New York – JFK
- Seattle (three lounge locations)
Although I just missed the opening when I last passed through San Francisco, we can still take a tour of this latest addition to the Alaska Lounge family. The Alaska Lounges strive to take on the regional flavor at each location with their own identities.
Until recently, the Alaska Airlines lounges were known as “The Boardrooms”. Now, the lounge network has been rebranded at the Alaska Lounge. The new San Francisco lounge is located in Terminal 2 just past security, offers more than 9,000 square feet of relaxing space where guests can enjoy classic bites like San Francisco sourdough bread and a pint of the city’s famed Anchor Brewing Crisp Pilsner while taking in art inspired by the Bay Area.
Previously before moving to Terminal 2, The lounge in the old terminal was a victim of sinking into the ground. Alaska Airlines moved to Terminal 2 and when American Airlines vacated their Admirals Club there, Alaska started working on creating a new lounge to call home.
This new lounge takes in the regional flavors of San Francisco by offering:
- Trained baristas who will serve Starbucks coffee.
- A sourdough cart and a candy bar with delicious bites.
- California beers and wines for smooth sips.
- Local art from artists in the Bay Area to brighten your day.
- Room for kids to play, inspired by the San Francisco Giants.
The lounge is a complete renovation of the former American Airlines Admirals Club and will be open 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Sangita Woerner, senior vice president of marketing and guest experience at Alaska Airlines says this about the new lounge:
“We’re thrilled to give our guests a place to work, relax, unwind and enjoy some of the best of what the Golden City has to offer when they travel through SFO on Alaska or a oneworld partner.”
ART WITH A PURPOSE
In addition to art by local artists sourced by San Francisco’s Minted, our new Lounge will showcase a piece called “Offshore” by American painter and printmaker Anne Neely, who is inspired by Alaska’s commitment to reduce our climate impact. “The artist saw the efforts we have been making in sustainability, and she gifted the art to support those efforts and add to the conversation,” says Jordan Womack, Alaska Lounge product manager.
Food And Beverage
Whether in the air or on the ground, Alaska Airlines is unique among airlines to base food and beverage service that is regionally based and locally sourced.
CALIFORNIA BEERS AND WINES
Unwind with a taste of one of Northern California’s finest brews; along with Anchor Brewing, we’ll be pouring Lagunitas IPA, Calicraft Brewing’s Tiki Time tropical wheat ale and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. We’ll also offer a rotating selection of California wines, and our bartenders will mix up a new craft cocktail each month.
I have been to the Anchor Steam beer brewery in San Francisco. This micro-brewery uses copper kettles from Germany and by “Kräusening” which is the process of adding a proportion of active wort to cellar tanks containing fully-fermented beer. The term “kräusen” refers to wort when it is at its most active state of fermentation. Anchor steam beer lets the bubbles develop naturally instead of pumping in CO2 creating “the steam”.
Other lounges feature their own regional taste in crafted beers:
Anchorage (ANC): Alaskan Amber, King Street Brewing
Los Angeles (LAX): Boomtown IPA
New York (JFK): Greenport IPA, Bronx Brewery Summer Ale
Portland (PDX): Deschutes Mirror Pond
Seattle (SEA): Airways Preflight Pilsner, Georgetown Bodhizafa IPA
THE SOURDOUGH CART
Sourdough bread – a part of San Francisco’s food scene since Gold Rush days – will be the highlight of our vintage-style cart featuring local bakeries like Acme Bread Company. Acme is known for its San Francisco Ferry Building location and the Bay Area restaurants it supplies, including Berkeley’s celebrated Chez Panisse. Available at lunch and dinner meal times, the sourdough cart will also offer a variety of sweet and savory toppings, such as ricotta with figs and honey, and burrata with pesto.
THE CANDY BAR
Just past the Lounge reception desk, a nook beckons with jars of jewel-toned Jelly Belly jelly beans and sweet squares of Ghirardelli chocolate. Ghirardelli’s roots in San Francisco stretch back to 1849, and Jelly Belly candies have called Northern California home for more than three decades.
The Home Team Advantage
Just 13 miles north of SFO is Oracle Stadium, home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team. Young San Francisco Giants fans can cheer for the home team in the play area featuring baseball-themed games and art celebrating mascot Lou Seal.
How To Visit The Alaska Lounge SFO
There are five ways that you can visit Alaska Lounges:
- Become an Alaska Lounge member,
- Travel on a paid first class ticket (fare codes J, C, D or I). Those who have been upgraded to first class (fare code U) are not eligible for complimentary access,
- Use or gift your MVP Gold 75K or MVP Gold 100K lounge day pass certificates,
- Purchase an Alaska Airlines day pass or
- Emerald and Sapphire members earned through Alaska or American Airlines are eligible for complimentary lounge access when they travel on an itinerary to Mexico City, Central America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia or Australia.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF CURRENT ALASKA LOUNGE PRICING
Alaska Airlines has restructured lounge membership so it can be either a stand-alone membership or combined with lounges from other airline partners. The price for both plans will increase as of October 1, 2021. When you compare the cost of Alaska Lounge membership to United, Delta and American, you will see that Alaska has better pricing. Members can bring two people in as guests as long as they have a same-day Alaska or partner airline boarding pass.
New Alaska Lounge Membership pricing starts October 1, 2021.
Standard membership with access to Alaska-operated Lounges will start at $350 for elites, $450 for non-elites. Alaska Lounge+ Membership with access to Alaska-operated Lounges and more than 90 partner lounges will start at $500. Current memberships will be grandfathered into Alaska Lounge+ until the next membership renewal. Purchase or renew a membership by September 30, 2021 to avoid the price increase. I pay for my lounge membership with my American Express Hilton Aspire credit card which gives me a statement credit for $250.00.
The Alaska Lounge day pass is good for 24 hours at all Alaska Lounge locations. The Alaska Lounge day pass is not valid for access to partner lounges. The regular cost of the day pass is $50.00. If you purchase a day pass with your Alaska Airlines Visa credit card, you can buy your pass for just $25.00, a savings of 50%.
Over the past few years, Alaska Airlines has built new lounges that focus on the regional appeal of the cities they serve. The new San Francisco lounge is no exception. It combines spaciousness with comfort with regional tastes in food and beverages. Los Angeles and Portland are on the list to rebuild those lounges into bigger and better facilities.
The Alaska Lounge is a great value compared with the cost of other lounge memberships. Membership includes bring up to guests with you. The prices will be going up on October 1, 2021 so act fast to get your membership at the current member rates.