Sharon Stephenson checks into the United Club Lounge Seattle
Whoever decided Business Class passengers get their own dedicated security line at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport deserves a pay rise. It allowed me to swerve around the poor sods queuing for hours for the privilege of being yelled at by security staff. Once I got to the United Club Lounge, Patti, the very sweet receptionist, gave me a tour and frequently stopped by to ask if I had everything I needed.
First impressions: At noon on a Thursday, the lounge was emptier than a Kardashian's head. And although it filled up during the afternoon it never had that horrible "holding-pen" feel that so many lounges have. The maximum capacity is 173 and although it's not one of United's flash new Polaris lounges, it's still pretty good.
What's there: A game of two halves — seating on two sides flanked around a central reception desk/food station/bar. It's an arrangement that creates a womb-like sense of privacy. There are both comfy low-slung chairs and bar-style seating, perfect for those who are tall and have good knees, neither of which is me. There are no showers but spotlessly clean loos.
Who's there: Mainly business travellers, plus a kid determined to break the world record for screaming. Thankfully his parents whisk him into the "multi-purpose" room, which is also used for service dogs. And how do I say this without causing offence? Lots of people talking really, really loudly into their phones. Although I was riveted by a woman having an argument with someone I presume was her boss: she sobbed loudly and repeatedly and claimed she was being victimised for being "too attractive". There are also two small sound-proofed rooms should you need peace and quiet; I just wish the Texan bloke, who should be charged for excessive use of the term "let's be clear", had made use of them.
Tech stuff: Unlimited Wi-Fi as speedy as the service, plus plugs and sockets galore.
Reading material: Bring your own. Just United's Hemispheres Magazine (which is a pretty good read) and a PGA Golf magazine I can't comment on, golf not being my jam.
The view: Look away, nothing to see here, just the building next door.
Eat and drink: After two weeks of fried food and enormous portions, it's a relief to find bowls of fresh salad, grated carrot and celery sticks. A smallish brownie may have also have found its way on to my plate. Being a tea drinker, I've got a real beef with places that think tea begins and ends with Earl Grey and English Breakfast. So big ups for a wide selection that includes Moroccan mint and gun-metal green tea bags. There's also a full bar service. But with three flights ahead of me, I decide to stick to beverages involving boiled water.
Final word: For being able to skip the huge security queues alone, this was worth it. I'd also like to travel everywhere with Patti, the ever-attentive receptionist, who should really write a book on customer service.