Re: United Red Carpet Clubs

Rohit Khare (
Tue, 3 Dec 1996 19:28:45 -0500

Ash Nallawalla <> wrote in article
> [I am not an RCC member but belong to Ansett's Golden Wing club]

I am a 1K and RCC member and wanted to follow up on a few of Ash's points:

Normally, I travel domestically, and have gotten used to the functional but
bare-bones RCC network. Its #1 value to me is being able to jack into the
Internet within minutes of landing. The phones work, the cappucino robots
are consistent if unspectacular, and I'm away from the crowds. I'm not
impressed by the overpriced drinks or the fact that it always costs at
least $175/yr -- no comps for loyalty alone.

[although at smaller RCC's like BWI, they offer free soft drinks and juices
when the bar's unstaffed -- United promises more small and mid-size airport
RCCs for '97, so this could spread]

So when I took saw my first *overseas* RCC, I wasn't prepared at all...

> I had given up on UAL's ability to run a Red Carpet Club lounge
> until I saw the one at LHR. Plenty of free, quality booze,
> baked confectionery, cashews, almonds, newspapers, magazines, etc.
> Very spacious. Not bad.

LHR RCC was SPECTACULAR. Calm, efficient service -- I got a US->UK modem
adaptor within 15 seconds on a five-minute stop. A surprisingly broad
magazine selection. Open bar at 6:30AM -- too decadent even for me :-)

My second time through, I was transiting on BA, but I had an hour to kill
and took a shower at the LHR RCC. A class act, from the towels to the cute
take-home pouch of Moulton Brown toiletries.

Worlds away from LAX, my former home hub:

> Next stop was the one at LAX ... :-( To generalise about
> all UAL employees with customer-contact roles per airport,
> not just the RCC, LAX must be at the bottom of the list.

I think it comes from being waay overburdened and suffering Angeleno egos,
too. It's a pretty good place for star-spotting, though... LAX is always

> JFK RCC is a breath of fresh air for a US RCC by contrast. I
> was there at 6.30 AM but found it comfortable and well stocked
> in OJ, coffee, and nibbles.

JFK also seems to be quite important to UA, so they seem to do a few
special things: free sandwiches, crackers and cheese, etc. BOS, by contrast
offers nothing beyond a danish in the morning.

> ORD and DEN RCC are pretty average, from memory.

ORD and DEN are average service, but each of their multiple lounges are
huge and have excellent views.

> [I missed not having an LAX-quality RCC at LAS on the Friday evening
> of Comdex, where I had to spend five hours owing to a late arriving
> connecting flight, which made me miss my LAX-LHR flight by 10 minutes.]

Yes, I agree that LAS needs one badly, esp given the recent expansion of
McCarran. Comdex crowds must have been hell, but on one random leisure
weekend, I had the pleasure of walking past a block-long line to the
two-person premier check-in :-) Not many revenue business travelers through

> Any other RCC evaluations?

So on the other stops of my round-the-world on UA, we saw:

In Paris and New Delhi, they don't have facilities of their own, but they
do have a shared lounge for FC and Connoisseur passengers. Paris was
passable, but no service in sight. New Delhi has just opened a brand new
victorian-style club room with finger foods, desserts, sandwiches, and
limited business facilities.

Hong Kong was, like Hong Kong itself, small, overcrowded, courteous and
impressive. I have to admit, even I was taken aback by the staff's
greetings, since they had been taking messages all afternoon long for me...
without complaining in the least. Wasn't able to connect the modem,

Narita was a real trip. Not as featureful as LHR, but the most charming.
The bar their includes a selection of Japanese spirits, sushi, bagels and
lox, fresh juices, and best of all: a beer robot. It's like a machine out
of Aliens: you take a refigerated stein from the case and hit the button
and two alumninum tubes shoot down like fangs, one for beer and one for
head, slowly drawing back up the length of the glass to build a perfect
stout, with 3-4 inches of foam. A real shocker when all you're expecting is
a soda jet.

Finally, HNL was no great shakes, just the usual. I also spend a lot of
time in IAD, which seems large enough but can get extremely crowded at peak

Anyone been to the new MIA yet?

Rohit Khare