Virgin Atlantic has long been present with its own lounge at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). It was time for me to try out the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, to see how the food, lounge location and the staff are shaping up.
The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is before security at SFO – just above the security that is to the right of the building. All Virgin America Business Class customers and Virgin Atlantic Business Class passengers have access to the lounge (though this may change when Alaska Airlines integrates fully with Virgin America).
After check-in, I walked up to the lounge and was greeted with many smiles. There is certainly a very different attitude here compared with the cold atmosphere in most SF lounges. There are lots of smiles and ‘How are you’s to be had here.
The lounge features a full bar with cheery attendants who happily chat and will make your favorite drink even if it is not on the extensive menu. The seating is split between a bar and a restaurant area and the lounge chairs along the window, and there is a great view toward the apron.
The food menu is rather eclectic, with just a few items, and the burger and grilled salmon were clearly the most popular. The presentation and food quality were both truly exceptional, much more like a restaurant than airport lounge food. The portions are more like appetizer-size, though the burgers are bigger.
I ordered the excellent champagne and coffee after dinner. The coffee isn’t great at all, so I would not drink it.
While the lounge is pre-security, you don’t have to worry about passing through; there are plenty of announcements, a priority line and lots of attendants who made sure nobody would miss their flight because of slow security.
The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse delivers a much higher level of service than any other SF lounge. The food selection is small but the quality is extraordinary. Too bad American Express built their own lounge and did not contract the Clubhouse.