Lounge Review: Inside the New Air France Lounge at SFO

The lounge stands out for its buffet of French classics including croque-monsieur and boeuf bourguignon.
Updated
Profile photo of Sally French
Written by Sally French
Lead Writer/Spokesperson
Profile photo of Dawnielle Robinson-Walker
Assistant assigning editor at large
Fact Checked

Many, or all, of the products featured on this page are from our advertising partners who compensate us when you take certain actions on our website or click to take an action on their website. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

For better or for worse, the Air France lounge at the San Francisco International Airport underwent a massive renovation, reopening in June 2023 with more space and newly improved amenities — including showers, swanky seating and a staffed bar.

(Photo by Sally French)

We’ll start with the bad news. The renovations make things worse for the many guests who previously visited through the Priority Pass network.

For now, Priority Pass members have lost access. Instead, they’re redirected upstairs to the smaller, less impressive Golden Gate Lounge. Priority Pass says the suspension is temporary, though there’s no official timeline for when Priority Pass members will regain access to the new Air France lounge.

Video preview image

Now for the good news, which applies to top-tier elite status holders and folks flying in business and first class. The lounge has received a chic, modern update — standing in stark contrast to the previous incarnation that felt like a collection of generic chairs and tables crammed in one room.

So whether you have access — or you don’t have access and want to self-inflict some FOMO — here’s a look inside the new Air France-KLM Lounge:

SFO Air France lounge food and beverages

(Photo by Sally French)

The lounge’s centerpiece is the self-service buffet, which offers a changing menu of hot, cold, savory and sweet dishes.

(Photo by Sally French)

Healthy options include a selection of salads.

(Photo by Sally French)

French cuisine is highlighted with dishes like croque-monsieur and boeuf bourguignon.

(Photo by Sally French)

There’s also a staffed bar where a bartender serves French wines and Champagne, spirits and cocktails. Local draft beers are also available.

(Photo by Sally French)

For an alcoholic beverage without the bartender, there are drinks on ice that anyone can grab to fill up their own glass.

(Photo by Sally French)

And for DIY-caffeinated drinks, there’s a coffee machine.

Spaces to relax and work at the SFO Air France lounge

Despite occupying the same general space, the new lounge is nearly 1,000 square feet larger than its former incarnation. It now spans more than 6,000 square feet with 117 seats that include a mix of bench-style seating, comfy chairs and high tables. The former doctor’s waiting room vibe has been replaced with mostly wood and leather materials, decorated in Air France’s colors of blue, white and red.

(Photo by Sally French)

The contemporary French aesthetic includes chairs by Pierre Paulin and the Bouroullec brothers, as well as bar stools by Patrick Jouin. Like most lounges, there’s free Wi-Fi connection and no shortage of electrical and USB sockets.

Bathrooms

(Photo by Sally French)

Not only were the bathrooms renovated, but shower rooms were added.

(Photo by Sally French)

How to get into the Air France Lounge at SFO

The lounge is located at gate A of the international terminal, just to the left after passing security.

(Photo by Sally French)

Who is allowed in?

There are a few ways to get in, including if you hold:

Certain levels of elite status: You’re welcome if you’re flying with Blue Elite Plus status in the Gold or Platinum tiers and are departing on an international flight operated by Air France, KLM or one of its Skyteam partner airlines.

Business class airfares: Business class travelers flying with Air France, KLM or its Skyteam partner airlines are permitted.

La Première airfares: Not only are customers with La Première airfares (which is the Air France version of first class) welcome, but the lounge offers a separate section devoted exclusively to them. Though small, it has its own restaurant and direct access to the bar.

Certain Qantas travelers: If you're flying Qantas, you might also be able to access the lounge. Eligible Qantas passengers include those with Gold or higher frequent flyer status, Business or First Class cabin passengers. Some of those passengers are also eligible to bring guests (check the terms of your fare to learn more).

There are also a few other ways to get in such as holding oneworld Sapphire or higher status.

Other SFO lounges to consider

If you have access to this lounge, you likely also have access to the Delta Sky Club, which is in Terminal 1. In 2023, Delta cracked down on how many people have Sky Club access due to record crowds, but Flying Blue Gold, Platinum, or Ultimate Elite members have continued access to SkyTeam partner lounges (including Delta Sky Clubs).

While Priority Pass members have lost access to the space presently occupied by this Air France lounge, they still have access to a few other SFO Priority Pass lounges in International Terminal A, including the British Airways lounge and China Airlines lounge. Many premium travel credit cards offer Priority Pass lounge access, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.

The China Airlines Dynasty Lounge has the best food of any of SFO's Priority Pass lounges, thanks to its buffet of Chinese food. (Photo by Sally French)

Another excellent airline-agnostic lounge is the Centurion Lounge at SFO, which — much like the Air France lounge — also recently reopened to a redesign and expansion. It stands out for its buffet menu designed by Ravi Kapur, the Executive Chef at Liholiho Yacht Club, a popular San Francisco restaurant. Most folks gain entry by holding The Platinum Card® from American Express.

A highlight of SFO's Centurion Lounge is the Napa Valley wine-tasting area. (Photo by Sally French)

Is the Air France lounge at SFO worth it?

The Air France lounge reopening is just one of a recent bout of either new or newly expanded lounges to open at SFO. Beyond the anticipated Centurion Lounge expansion, the airport also welcomed a new Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, the first of its kind to open at SFO.

All three of those lounges — alongside many others — provide a luxe retreat for those lucky enough to gain entry, both in terms of calm, relaxing places to wait out your flight, while also providing superior amenities including thoughtfully curated buffets.

(Top photo by Sally French)


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

Airport Lounge Cards from our Partners
Citibank Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® Credit Card

on Citibank's application

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
4.6
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x

Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases.

Miles

Intro offer

70,000

Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.

Miles
Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-10x

Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Points

Intro offer

60,000

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Points
See more Airport Lounge cards
Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.