My flight from Seattle arrived very early into Chicago which left me with more than three and a half hours of free time at O’Hare airport. Because I was flying international First Class, I could access the United Global First Lounge in Chicago. All Star Alliance First Class passengers are entitled to use the Global First Lounge (of course except those on United domestic First flights).
Because I had such a long layover, I wanted to go landside to the Lufthansa check-in and have my boarding pass printed for my Lufthansa flights and of course receive the wonderful red/silver Lufthansa First Class ticket holder. I remembered though that I wouldn’t have Pre-Check which would kind of suck and therefore I headed over to the Global First Lounge after landing to see if I could leave all of my carry-on luggage there so I wouldn’t have to take it landside with me.
The Global First Lounge in Chicago is located by gate C18 and the lounge entrance is actually hidden in the back behind some telephones that no one uses. A very friendly and kind agent scanned my boarding pass and informed me a Lufthansa agent would come and get all of the First Class passengers before boarding started. I asked her if she could watch my things while I went landside and checked-in with Lufthansa, she said there wasn’t any problem and told me I should just (obviously) take my passport and cell phone with me.
It took me about ten minutes to get to the Lufthansa check-in, which was still closed considering the flight was in about three hours. After about another ten minutes of waiting, the check-in finally opened. I was issued my boarding pass and also asked for an agent to guide me to the lounge, they said that wasn’t possible but that she could at least bring me to the front of the security queue.
Another friendly Lufthansa agent walked me to the front of the security queue (we actually simply walked down the Global Services lane) where she said she would fetch me from the lounge when it was time for boarding. I was “randomly selected” for the full-body scanner instead of the x-ray machine and of course asked for the massage.
The TSA agent was actually very nice and I told him I always get Pre-Check but since I am flying internationally I didn’t. He said “well, no problem then, you should be familiar with the procedure!”. The whole process took less than thirty seconds and we actually chatted during the time and he was super friendly and actually seemed genuinely interested in where I was going, what I do, etc. It seems like there still are genuine people that are interested and friendly that work at airports out there.
After walking through the light tunnel, I was back in the Global First Lounge where a ton of people had actually shown up. There was maybe one other person thirty minutes before, but now it seemed like much more people were there. The lounge was nicely decorated for the holiday season.
The Global First Lounge isn’t actually that huge, but I would say it is the perfect size. You essentially have one big room with different seating areas, food, drinks, etc. There are also bathrooms closer to the entrance and there is a shower that is shared with the United Club next door.
The food selection is actually quite extensive and includes a wide variety of snacks, soups, salads, etc. I found the soup of the day to be excellent – and along with the tuna salad and salami, I was able to eat a nice lunch. Other items include cheeses, meats, fish, seafood, local and international food items, etc. Overall, I would say that for an American carrier’s First Class Lounge, the food selection is great.
Opposite of the food side, is the drink side. There is also a large selection of drinks available – coffee, tea, juices, alcohol, etc. all are available free of charge. It seems like no one ever touches the alcohol because it just sits there with dust building up on the bottles.
The view from the GFL is awesome, I was able to watch a United B777 for a good hour while it was being prepared for an afternoon departure.
All in all, the United Global First Lounge in Chicago is a nice First Class Lounge for the American airline. This type of food and drinks are normal for regular business lounges of other airlines around the world, however in America, things are different. All Star Alliance First Class passengers (except domestic United First) are eligible to use the lounge.