After spending a little more than an hour in the Centurion Lounge, we headed over to the United Club across from Gate A9. I had actually visited this lounge during my trip to Seattle last year and was curious to see if anything had changed.
The entrance is on the ground level, and you take either an elevator or a set of stairs up to the lounge itself.
The staff member at the front desk checked our boarding passes and admitted us to the lounge. You can gain access as a Star Alliance Gold member or if you're flying business class on a Star Alliance airline. When we arrived, we were pretty much the only people in the lounge, since the late-night United redeye flights weren't departing until 11pm and we were still awfully early for our Air Canada flight.
The United Club is very spacious, and on top of that, it makes the most of its space by having a well-designed lounge layout. Rather than having one large room, the space is partitioned off into many individual sections using half-walls and coloured glass panels. This allows the lounge to offer many different seating options without having them clash visually.
The lounge was decked out in an easygoing palette of beige, white, and signature United blue. I thought it was a decent decor scheme, but some areas could certainly do with a pop of colour.
Most of the seats were in the form of plush chairs, with electrical sockets on the walls, as well as the side tables between each seat. There were also seats around a coffee table, as well as high-top seating at bar tables, complete with United's signature white marble patterns.
There were dining tables closer to the bar area, as well as high-top seating overlooking the airport concourse.
The bar was manned by a few staff members and also had a food spread set up to the side.
Unfortunately, the food spread here were no better than the Centurion Lounge, with little more than a paltry salad buffet, some snack mix, and a sad-looking cheese selection. However, the one redeeming aspect was the soup: the Mexican chicken tequila soup was outstanding. It was hearty and delicious, and you could add your own Mexican-style trimmings. Given the dearth of alternative options, I consumed about five bowls.
We stayed in the lounge for another hour or so before heading to our gate for our hour-long hop over to Vancouver and subsequent redeye flight back to Toronto.
The United Club at SeaTac was, on the whole, solid but unspectacular. The ambience is comfortable and the lounge is definitely quite spacious, though the food experience at this lounge is so lacking that even a delectable chicken tequila soup wasn't able to salvage it.
Ultimately, I came away from the lounges at SeaTac – both this lounge and the Amex Centurion Lounge – pretty disappointed. Food is such an important part of the lounge experience, and I'm unsure as to why so many North American lounges miss the mark, offering little more than a cold spread, and often quite a limited selection at that. I understand that cooking hot food for guests is much more demanding for airlines and lounge providers in terms of resources and kitchen space, but personally I feel that it'd be a much more worthwhile investment than, say, having a tended bar over self-serve drinks.