Overview: SAS Lounge Chicago (ORD)

To kick off my whirlwind Aeroplan journey, I flew Austrian Airways enterprise class from Chicago to Vienna. Austrian, and most Star Alliance airways departing from Terminal 5, use the SAS Lounge as their contract lounge at Chicago O’Hare Airport.

On the plus facet, the SAS Lounge Chicago has fashionable Scandinavian decor, nice airplane views, and plenty of pure gentle (nicely, as a lot pure gentle as one can anticipate in Chicago in January).

Sadly aside from that, the lounge sucks — it’s tiny (approach too small for the variety of passengers it’s purported to accommodate), and it doesn’t even have loos. However that’s not SAS’ fault. Except for Delta’s new presence there, Terminal 5 at Chicago needs to be the worst worldwide terminal within the nation.

The lounge scenario is uniformly horrible, and that’s not the fault of airways, as there’s merely not sufficient obtainable lounge area, so airways have nowhere to develop to. I beforehand wrote concerning the Swissport Lounge Chicago, which I think about to be the worst lounge in america. Now let’s check out the SAS Lounge (which, in equity, is just like the Lufthansa First Class Terminal by comparability).

SAS Lounge Chicago location

The SAS Lounge Chicago is positioned in Terminal 5, by gates M19-20. After clearing safety, flip left and stroll down the principle terminal hall.

Chicago O’Hare Terminal 5

After strolling for a few minutes, you’ll see the doorway to the SAS Lounge on the fitting.

SAS Lounge Chicago entrance

SAS Lounge Chicago hours

Formally the SAS Lounge Chicago is presently open every day from 12:30PM, till half-hour earlier than the final scheduled SAS flight. Nonetheless, because the lounge is used as a contract lounge by different airways, you possibly can anticipate that it stays open till shortly earlier than these flights depart, in conditions the place that’s later than the SAS flight.

SAS Lounge Chicago hours

SAS Lounge Chicago entry necessities

The SAS Lounge Chicago is an ordinary Star Alliance lounge, open to departing Star Alliance enterprise class passengers, in addition to Star Alliance Gold members touring in a cabin aside from enterprise class. Enterprise class passengers can’t carry any visitors, whereas Star Alliance Gold members can carry one visitor.

The SAS Lounge is the one Star Alliance lounge positioned in Chicago O’Hare Terminal 5, so there are fairly just a few airways that use this lounge for his or her passengers. Whereas Lufthansa and United don’t depart from this terminal, Air India, Asiana, Austrian, EVA Air, LOT Polish, SAS, SWISS, TAP Air Portugal, and Turkish, all do depart from this terminal.

A few of these airways proactively ship their passengers to this lounge, whereas in some instances they use different contract lounges. Nonetheless, in case you are an eligible Star Alliance passenger, it is best to be capable of use this lounge even in the event you don’t technically obtain an invite for it.

The SAS Lounge Chicago doesn’t belong to Precedence Go.

SAS Lounge Chicago seating & structure

The SAS Lounge Chicago is simply 2,000 sq. toes, with seating for 117 visitors. Not solely is the lounge tiny, however that’s an extremely excessive ratio of visitors to sq. toes (~17 sq. toes per visitor — yow!). Simply as some extent of comparability, the United Membership Newark that opened not too long ago is 30,000 sq. toes, with seating for 500 visitors. That’s roughly 4 occasions as a lot area per visitor.

The SAS Lounge Chicago was renovated in 2017, and options fairly model commonplace SAS decor, just like what you’ll discover on the service’s lounges within the Nordics. That’s to say that the design is fairly minimalist, fashionable, and non-offensive.

The lounge is only one room. If you enter the lounge and look proper, there are seats organized in rows going through each other, in addition to a bench by the wall with some stools to take a seat on.

SAS Lounge Chicago seating
SAS Lounge Chicago seating
SAS Lounge Chicago seating

Behind the lounge is a communal desk, plus a some high-top seating by the window.

SAS Lounge Chicago seating
SAS Lounge Chicago seating

Then contained in the lounge and to the left are three round tables every seating eight or so individuals.

SAS Lounge Chicago seating
SAS Lounge Chicago seating

Lastly, there’s one other row of seats going through the home windows right here as nicely.

SAS Lounge Chicago seating

Whereas there are shops close to some seats, a overwhelming majority of seats don’t have them, so don’t anticipate you’ll be capable of simply cost your electronics.

Behind the lounge there’s an SAS A340 mannequin plane. Satirically SAS doesn’t fly A340s anymore. The lounge is so small that there’s probably not any space for storing, so you possibly can see bins of drinks stacked up within the nook.

SAS Lounge Chicago mannequin airplane

The lounge has pretty views of the gates, taxiways, and runways, so in the event you like airplane recognizing, remember to seize a seat close to the home windows.

SAS Lounge Chicago views

The lounge seems completely good, although the catch is that you would be able to anticipate that when it’s open, nearly each seat goes to be taken. 117 seats isn’t practically sufficient to deal with all of the Star Alliance demand amongst premium passengers. It’s not simply absolutely the capability, but additionally the area per passenger.

After being on this lounge briefly, I simply determined to go sit in an empty gate space. By way of what I worth in airport lounges, a quiet and enjoyable ambiance is often a very powerful, and this lounge positively doesn’t ship that.

My makeshift “lounge” throughout my layover

SAS Lounge Chicago meals & drinks

The SAS Lounge Chicago has a superbly good number of meals & drinks, all by way of a self-serve buffet.

SAS Lounge Chicago buffet
SAS Lounge Chicago buffet

There’s one a part of the buffet with recent(ish) objects, together with hen and turkey sandwiches, and a salad bar with spring combine, pasta salad, tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, olives, and roasted corn.

SAS Lounge Chicago meals choice
SAS Lounge Chicago meals menu

There are additionally some crackers, chips, snack combine, cookies, on the spot noodles, entire fruit, and quite a lot of condiments.

SAS Lounge Chicago meals choice
SAS Lounge Chicago snacks
SAS Lounge Chicago meals & drink choice
SAS Lounge Chicago buffet

So far as drinks go, there’s a number of beer, wine, and liquor. There are additionally gentle drinks, juice, water, an espresso machine, and tea. The choice is first rate, however don’t get too excited.

SAS Lounge Chicago drink choice
SAS Lounge Chicago drink choice
SAS Lounge Chicago espresso & tea choice

SAS Lounge Chicago loos & showers

The SAS Lounge Chicago doesn’t have loos or showers. If you wish to use the toilet, you’ll have to enter the terminal. Normally entry to a clear toilet is a beneficial amenity of a lounge, although that’s not supplied right here.

Whereas this can be a unfavorable to the visitor expertise, I can also’t actually blame SAS right here. The lounge is tiny, and the airline acquired the area that it might.

Backside line

The SAS Lounge Chicago has good views and nice decor, nevertheless it’s approach too small for the variety of passengers it’s purported to deal with, and doesn’t even have loos. If you happen to’re on the lookout for meals and drinks and are eligible for entry, then it’s price visiting. Nonetheless, personally I’d fairly simply go sit in an empty gate space after that.

This lounge gives a reasonably dangerous expertise, although I don’t blame the airline for that — O’Hare Terminal 5 is solely terrible (besides Delta’s setup), and airways are so restricted by way of lounge area.

If you happen to’ve visited the SAS Lounge Chicago, what was your expertise like?

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