For several years, major construction has been underway at Denver International Airport. It is long overdue, and the airport desperately needs many of these improvements and additions. The concourse expansions include additional gates, new restrooms, expansive seating, dining options, and more. There is also a new United Club Lounge called Club Fly. Think it’s worth a visit?
Denver International Airport is a major travel hub. It is one of the biggest and busiest airports in the US. It’s always been a little surprising at the lack of airport lounges here. United Airlines has always had two existing lounges here, but the reviews have been a turn off. On a recent trip through the airport, we noticed the brand-new United Club Fly. This is a new concept and currently only exists in Denver. It has been open about 6 weeks at the time of our visit. We love trying new things, so we couldn’t resist the opportunity to give it a try.
United Club Fly is located in Concourse B of Denver International Airport. It is at the intersection of a section of old gates and an entire brand-new addition. From the airport tram, you can walk the length of the concourse to this area, or you can always take the moving walkway.
Accessing United Club Fly
Like other airport lounges, United Club Fly is not open to everyone. There are automated doors which have certain requirements in order to gain access. To access this space, you need to have one of the following:
- A United Club Membership
- An international ticket in a premium cabin
- A one-time club pass
Other programs that grant lounge access do not allow travelers into United Club Lounges.
We elected to purchase one-time club passes. At $59.00 each, these really aren’t cheap. However, we had a long layover after a red-eye flight and were looking for the opportunity to relax in a clean, quiet space for a few hours.
We purchased our passes in advance and received them as PDFs via email. Upon arriving at the club, we scanned our passes, and they were automatically rejected. We then had to scan our boarding passes for our flight, followed by scanning our passes again. While a bit cumbersome, this worked, and the automated doors opened.
The United Club Fly Food
Once we made it in the door, I was surprised by what we saw. We have visited a wide variety of airport lounges over the last few years and the United Fly Club stands out from the rest. This lounge is set up to resemble more of a small cafe than anything. It includes a few sections with rows various cafe style seating options.
On the opposite side from the seating sections is a self-serve beverage station, as well as commercial fridges filled with ready-made snacks and grab-and-go food options. They have everything from sodas and smoothies to salads and sandwiches. There are a few other options like granola bars and oatmeal cups as well.
Finally, there is a coffee station where baristas can make a limited selection of pint-sized drinks.
The food in United Club Fly is free for the taking.
The United Club Fly Atmosphere
Between the two areas of seating options are what looks to be a cozy fireplace. Upon a closer look, the fireplace is actually just putting off steam with realistic orange lighting. And there is no heat being omitted from them, which was especially disappointing considering Denver International Airport is always freezing. It is an interesting display.
The entire club is surrounded by frosted glass. Although this is a nice barrier from the activity on the main concourse, it creates many dizzying shadows of passers-by in the morning sun. The glass enclosure also amplifies the voices of other guests, making the space a bit louder than imagined.
Because the club is new, most travelers aren’t familiar with usage and access. This causes the alarm system on the entry doors to be activated often. The staff did their best to assist travelers both at the door and in the club itself.
We also found it interesting that there aren’t any restrooms located in the space. If you need to use the restroom, even to wash your hands, you must leave the lounge and go into the main concourse. Our one-time passes were denied when we tried returning, so we had to shout for assistance from the lounge staff. That was a bit awkward.
The Bottom Line
We were excited to finally try out our first United Club Lounge ever, as well as the first United Club Fly Lounge at Denver Airport. Based on our experience, we just didn’t think it was worth the money though. We would have paid much less for the same grab-and-go snacks from a kiosk out in the main concourse. And the lack of actual lounge style seating did not make this area feel relaxing or restful during a long layover after our redeye flight.
We can see how it would be hard to match the offerings of some other larger airport clubs, but we did think this new concept fell short. As work at the airport continues, we hope for better options as we just happen to prefer full amenities and extra comfy spaces.
Bottom Line: For travelers who may have a United Club membership (or a first/business class ticket on an international flight) and need something quickly when passing through, this could be a great option. One-time pass holders won’t get a benefit from Club Fly.