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Air France KLM Lounge at San Francisco International Airport

Just over a month ago, I set off on a trip to Thessaloniki, Calais, and London booked with points and miles after finding business class award space on AirBerlin a few days before departure. My first stop on this adventure was the Air France KLM Business Class Lounge at San Francisco International Airport. The lounge is located in the same area where the Cathay Pacific First and Business Class Lounge is, just to the left of security on the first level. When I walked in, the lounge was packed but about a half hour later it emptied out and remained fairly deserted for the remainder of my time there.

Entrance to the Air France KLM Lounge at SFO

Entrance to the Air France KLM Lounge at SFO

Upon walking in, I was met by two lounge attendants. One of them was helping a guest and the other motioned me over. As she was checking me in, some friends of hers came over and she shrieked, ran over and hugged the entire clan. She chatted with them and when one of them suggested a selfie, the attendant looked over at her colleague and asked her to take over. The colleague apologized and after checking me in, pointed out a bowl in front of her which looked like it was filled with discarded fortune cookie slips. In actuality, they were wifi codes, printed in tiny text.

Seating Area at the SFO Air France KLM Lounge

Seating Area at the SFO Air France KLM Lounge

I found a place to sit, but it was kind of awkward because the seats were really close together and pretty much every single one was taken. The chairs were also really uncomfortable, which makes me wonder why anyone would buy these eggshell chairs – your arms either fan out over the chair or you have to squeeze them in and neither position is in any way comfortable. 

After a while, the lounge emptied out and you could practically hear a pin drop. I used this as an opportunity to take some photos and find a better seat. The high chairs by the window were a lot better. I wandered around for a bit and found the place to be very well kept. During my 1.5 hours in the lounge, the staff was constantly making the rounds, clearing tables and tidying up the place. 

Even the bathroom was very clean and as I walked in, the cleaning lady was finishing up her work. 

Bathroom at the Air France KLM Lounge SFO

Bathroom at the Air France KLM Lounge SFO

SFO Air France KLM Lounge Bathroom

Air France KLM Lounge SFO Bathroom

The Air France KLM Business Class lounge has one large seating area, with window seating and a small snack bar. Off to the left is a “quiet” room which I consider more of an anxiety room because there are no windows and the powder blue furniture alone is cause for a panic attack.

Quiet Room at the Air France KLM Lounge SFO

Quiet Room at the Air France KLM Lounge SFO

Snack bar at the Air France KLM Lounge SFO

Snack bar at the Air France KLM Lounge SFO

Past the small bar is the dining room, with lots of tables strewn about and a TV with kids shows playing. Eventually the channel was changed and all the adults left in the lounge were glued to coverage of the latest Donald Trump scandal. 

Dining Area Air France KLM Business Class Lounge at SFO

Air France KLM Business Class Lounge at SFO Dining Area

Dining Area of the Air France KLM Business Class Lounge at SFO

Dining Area of the Air France KLM Business Class Lounge at SFO

The food selection at the Air France KLM lounge was pretty lackluster. there was some cheese, sandwiches, salad, and drinks. I don’t think its too much to ask that the food selection in a business class lounge at least be equal to what’s available in the terminal restaurants. Imagine if you paid $35 – 50 to get into the Air France KLM Business Class Lounge and had this to contend with:

Food and Drinks at the Air France KLM Business Class Lounge SFO

Food and Drinks at the Air France KLM Business Class Lounge

Food Spread at the Air France KLM Lounge SFO

Food Spread at the Air France KLM Lounge SFO

Don’t get me wrong, I gladly ate a sandwich and washed it down with an 8 oz Kirkland Signature water (nothing says premium travel like Costco water). But if I’d paid for this, I’d feel a little ripped off. But I didn’t, so I won’t dwell on it. Except for now, when I’m trying to make this post about a generic airport lounge slightly more interesting with my snark.

One thing I will say about the lounge that I enjoyed was how it smelled like vanilla wafers. Screw chocolate chip cookies, nothing says hospitality like the smell of vanilla wafers. Oddly, they didn’t have these in the lounge so I have no idea where it was coming from. Another thing I enjoyed were the lovely views of the tarmac. Not only can AV geeks enjoy views of various planes passing through, but there’s also the scenery and the lovely weather to take in. Though on a dark, gloomy day you might feel less enthusiastic, looking at giant planes set against less than ideal weather conditions. 

Tarmac View from the Air France KLM Business Class Lounge SFO

Tarmac View from the Air France KLM Business Class Lounge SFO

Overall, the lounge wasn’t anything to write home about. The snacks were subpar and the seating at the gate was more comfortable. This is the part where I’m tempted to say, “it was still better than nothing” but it wasn’t. I would have been ok with sitting by the gate for an hour. This isn’t me being ungrateful, just a realization about what I actually need out of the whole airport experience. In any case, I used my time in the lounge to relax and begin planning the rest of my travels.

I had a lot of anxiety on this trip – not about the flight, but traveling on my own and then trying to navigate a strange city. I’ve never been bothered by that concept before, but for some reason I felt really anxious before I left. It might be because I haven’t traveled abroad on my own for a while. Maybe its because my job encourages my hermit habits and that stirs up anxiety about venturing out into the world. I did come back from this trip having overcome these somewhat irrational fears and anxieties.

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Ariana Arghandewal

4 Comments

  1. Hi Ariana,

    Enjoyed reading your lounge description. Funny thing is I have felt the same way often, except of course when I was in the Istanbul lounge, which beats most of ’em (imagine eating freshly grilled hamburgers, as many as you want).

    For me, the problem with lounges is that you are already so full from business class dinners on the flight, you don’t feel like eating so nothing in the lounge looks tempting. About the only thing I liked was the quiet room in the new modernistic lounge in Doha, Qatar.

    • That’s definitely a challenge – balancing the food in the lounge with the on-board meal. This is much easier on long layovers, where you can enjoy the food both on the ground and in-flight.

  2. Donald Trump scandal? Really? Stay with your trip blog, please.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Relax, President grab-them-by-the-p**** is not your close friend, family member, or your lord and savior. No need to get riled up at the mention of his name to the point where you can’t construct a coherent sentence.

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