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Review: United Airlines Polaris Lounge – Houston (IAH)

Over the past few years, American Airlines and United Airlines have introduced new premium ground experiences. We have shown you a preview of the American Airlines Flagship Lounge and Flagship Dining in Miami.

Today I am here to show you what I consider to be the best sets of lounges in the United States, The United Polaris Lounge. While I generally think that American Airlines Flagship Dining is superior to United Polaris, access to the Flagship Dining room is so restrictive that it cant compete against United Polaris.

Who Can Access The Polaris Lounge

Access to the United Polaris lounges can be confusing and that’s because it is. Let’s start with the easiest rule. If you are flying in Polaris Business Class with United Airlines on any international flight, you are entitled to use the Polaris Lounge before or after any international flight.

Now the complicated rule, any passenger flying an international Business or First Class flight with a Star Alliance carrier is entitled to use the lounge, only just before their international flight. Meaning if you are flying from Newark -Houston-Tokyo (NRT) with your international segment on ANA, you are only entitled to use the Polaris lounge in Houston.

Additionally, you cannot use any United Airlines lounge when connecting as a Business or First Class passenger on a Star Alliance flight to a domestic United Airlines flight.

The United Polaris Houston (IAH) Lounge

The United Polaris lounge in Houston opened just about a year ago in 2018. It is located in Terminal E near gate E12.

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The entrance is downstairs and after check in every customer must take an elevator to the 2nd floor. It is one of the smallest Polaris lounges at just over 12,500 square feet.

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There are 191 seats and 22 signature work space seats.

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a room with chairs and a glass wall
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The lounge features an astounding 324 power outlets and 264 USB ports, finding a plug will never be a problem.

a chair with a desk and a lamp

Like the American Airlines Flagship lounges, the United Polaris lounges feature a dining room. Fortunately every customer is eligible to dine here vs the strict American Airlines policy.

a restaurant with marble walls and chairs

The dining room has 14 tables of 2, with seating for up to 28 guests.

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The menu is crafted with local and seasonal ingredients. I recommend trying the corn and poblano enchiladas, for an authentic taste of some local food.

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a pan of chicken wings and pickles

There is also a full buffet in addition to the dining room.

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a buffet with different food items on it
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My favourite amenity of the Polaris Lounges, which differs from the American Flagship lounge, is the full bar with a bartender who makes amazing cocktails.

a bar with a counter and chairs

There is some local Houston flair on the menu here as well. Be sure to try the Signature Paper Plane, which is available at every United lounge.

a menu in a restaurant
a glass with a drink in it

After you have eaten or drank yourself into a coma be sure to check out the Quiet Suites/ day beds. The lounge in Houston only offers 2 of these, but they were never full while I was here for my long layover.

a reception desk in a hotel

The daybeds are stocked with the same Saks Fifth Avenue bedding that you find on-board the airplane.

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The lounge also offers spa-like shower facilities featuring: a rain fall shower head, premium Sunday Riley products and Saks Fifth Avenue towels.

a shower with a hand rail and shower head
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a bathroom with a mirror and sink
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In Conclusion

Polaris Lounges are absolutely fantastic. The United Polaris Lounge at San Francisco recently won the best Business Class lounge in the world by Skytrax Awards. If you are given the opportunity to visit one of these lounges, you should go out of your way to arrive early. Other Polaris lounges can currently be found in: Los Angeles (LAX), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO), and Chicago (ORD). United has plans to open up more lounges in Washington D.C (IAD), London (LHR) Hong Kong (HKG) and Tokyo (NRT) but delays keep pushing back their opening timeline. Given how amazing these lounges are, we are confident in ranking Polaris Lounges as the best network of lounges in the United States, which surprisingly coincides with Skytrax most recent ranking.

What is Your Favourite Lounge in North America?