The Incidental Tourist

Tip: Don’t bother with the United Club in Philly Terminal D

On a recent flight through Philly, I had to catch a connection in terminal F, the terminal of misfit toys.  This is where they send all the little turbo-prop puddle hoppers that fly into the big ol’ city from the little podunk’s across the eastern U. S. There are only two ways in and out of Terminal F if you’re transferring, and only one of them avoids the testicle groping hands of the TSA.

As it happened, I had about three hours to kill.  Looking for a snack, and craving a pretzel and cheese, I spent the first bit of that layover at the standard Auntie Anne’s with a soft pretzel and some cheddar dip, washing it down with a cold cup of high-fructose corn syrup.  Sigh… no more real sugar sodas for me, I guess, now that I was back in the land of corn subsidies and agricultural lobbies.

But I digress.  I really needed to get some work done, mostly e-mail’s answered, so I hit up the closest airport lounge which happened to be the United Club in Terminal D.

To say this is a lounge is a gross misrepresentation of what a Lounge should be.  I’ve used these lounges all over the world and this is by far the worst I’ve ever been in.  To start with, the lounge was small and cramped and the seats were wedged together giving the whole place a claustrophobic feeling.

The snack bar options were worse than the usual US Air lounges.  Same stuff, cheeses, crackers, cookies, juice, tea and coffee, but somehow less.  It could be that the lounge looked run down, making the snacks and drinks less appealing, but the selection was thin and chintzy by any standard.

The temperature was warm, as though they were trying to save money by providing the cheapest snacks and turning the A/C up to just above tolerable. The seats looked like they came from the 70’s.  In fact, the only redeeming thing I could see was that the bar had some liquor.  This was, however, offset by the lack of beer and wine selections.

Most American airline lounges are pale imitations compared to the lounges run by foreign airlines aound the world, but the United Club put even the lowest of the low-rent American lounges to shame.

My tip, avoid this lounge at all costs.  I never thought I would say this, but the US Air lounge looks like paradise in comparison.

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