Review: United Polaris Lounge Chicago O’Hare (ORD) [2023]

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The United Polaris Lounge Chicago is the best lounge for Star Alliance premium-class passengers. However, the lounge is in Terminal 1, the United Airlines terminal. Most International Star Alliance flights depart from Terminal 5 such as Swiss Air. Consequently, traveling between the two terminals is quite a process and can be time-consuming.

United Polaris Lounge O’Hare Location

The United Polaris Lounge ORD is by gate C18 in Terminal 1. If your plane leaves from Terminal 5, remember it can take time to travel from T1 to T5, so give yourself ample time. In the meantime, check out the process of getting from T1 to T5 in this blog post.

I started my journey for Swiss Air from O’Hare. I checked in online and got the mobile boarding passes. So, four hours before my Swiss flight departure, I went to Terminal 1 at O’Hare to enjoy the United Polaris Lounge before moving to Terminal 5. Here’s how I did it:

  • Twenty-four hours before departure, I used Swiss Air to do an online check-in.
  • I then added the boarding pass to my mobile phone.
  • At Terminal 1, I went through the TSA security line with my mobile boarding pass. Swiss Air participates in the TSA PreCheck. So, ensure you have your TSA or Global Entry (GE) number on your ticket.
  • I scanned my boarding pass and gave the TSA agent my passport for the ID check.
  • Afterward, I went through a security scan and headed to Concourse C for gate C18, where the United Polaris Lounge is.
  • At the lounge’s check-in desk, I scanned my Swiss Air mobile boarding pass, showed my passport, and got into the lounge without any issues.
  • The agent also informed me about getting to Terminal 5, and she suggested being safe at least two hours before the boarding time. In reality, one hour should be enough, but it’s always better to be early than sorry! Lounging is good, but you don’t want to miss your flight.

United Polaris Lounge Chicago Access

United Polaris Lounge has exclusive access policies below:

  • A boarding pass for travel in United Polaris business class for a long-haul international flight. United Polaris business class customers may access a United Polaris lounge at departure, connecting, and arrival airports along their eligible same-day routing.
  • A boarding pass for travel in long-haul international business or first class on a Star Alliance member airline. Customers may only access a United Polaris lounge at the departure airport for their international business or first class flight.
  • United Polaris is available on trans-Pacific or trans-Atlantic flights and flights from the U.S. to these South American destinations: Buenos Aires, Lima, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Santiago. All other international routes are United Business and include the United Club: Guam, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador.

I was flying from Chicago ORD to Zurich ZRH in Business Class with Swiss Air. Because Swiss Air is a Star Alliance member, I could access the Polaris Lounge with my boarding pass.

United Polaris Lounge Chicago Hours

The United Polaris Lounge Chicago ORD opens daily from 6 AM to 9 PM.

United Polaris Lounge Chicago Seats

United Polaris Lounge at ORD was super crowded when I was there after 2 PM. The lounge had plenty of seats, tables, and chairs, but it was so crowded that it was almost impossible to find available seats for two.

United Polaris Lounge also has a small dining room with tables and seats where you can order food off the menu. With many lounge guests, there was an hour and 30 minutes waiting when we got there and got our names on the waiting list.

United Polaris Lounge Chicago Menu

As mentioned above, United Polaris Lounge ORD has a sit-in dining room where you certainly can order food and drinks off the menu. The plates are small except for the Polaris Burger. Regardless, I enjoyed the Seafood Chowder, and my travel companion liked the Polaris Signature Burger.

Here’s the menu offered. You’ll also find the menu they serve that day at the dining room’s entrance.

United Polaris Lounge also has a buffet station. It served pasta, pork tenderloin, eggplant in marinara sauce, mini sandwiches, and a salad bar. They taste alright, so I would go to the dining room instead to enjoy your meal if you have time. I recommend you go there first thing after you enter the lounge to ensure your name is on the waiting list because it can get busy. You can order as much as you want while in the dining room.


Non-alcoholic drinks are available inside the Polaris Lounge. Moreover, there’s a fully functional bar inside the United Polaris Lounge where you can order alcoholic beverages.

There’s also a drinks menu inside the dining room to order alcoholic drinks for your meal. The drinks are all complimentary and unlimited.

Fresh Warm Towels

What makes United Polaris Lounge ORD unique is fresh, warm towels by the check-in desk after you enter the lounge.


United Polaris Lounge has quite a few unisex bathrooms. They are all individual and offer good privacy.

Shower Suites

The Shower Suites are available inside the United Polaris Lounge, and a reservation is required. You book the shower suite inside the Valet Service Center by the buffet area.

Day Beds

United Polaris Lounge ORD also has daybeds, and a reservation is required. You reserve a day bed with the Valet Service by the buffet area.

Review: United Polaris Lounge Chicago O'Hare (ORD)
The Valet Service Center Inside United Polaris Lounge ORD


Yes, you connect to the United Club with no password required.


United Polaris Lounge Chicago ORD is excellent and offers several lounge amenities, making it the best Star Alliance Lounge at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

The United Polaris Lounge Chicago can get crazy busy and crowded with waitlists at the dining room and reservations for shower suites and day beds. Therefore, sometimes, finding free available chairs for multiple people can be challenging. Still, the United Polaris Lounge Chicago is the best lounge for International United Polaris and Star Alliance business class passengers at Terminal 1. Therefore, if your flight departs at Terminal 5, such as Swiss Air, remember to give yourself enough time to travel between T1 and T5 as it can be time-consuming. Check out this post and see if it’s worth doing that. United Polaris Lounge Chicago is excellent, but you do not want to miss your flight!

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