Military airport lounges are exclusive zones made available at various airports for the convenience of the military community. They are dedicated to serving active-duty military personnel and their families, as well as retired military personnel with a valid ID issued by the government.

An airport military lounge is a gesture expressed by airlines or independent lounge associations to diligently serve and honor the ones who serve the citizens.

An airport military lounge offers a range of amenities and services such as snacks, drinks, high-speed Wi-Fi, Television, computers, games, books, magazines, and a children’s area. They are usually operated by non-profit organizations, such as the USO, or by airlines, such as United, American, or Delta.

Offering a comfortable and relaxing environment to military travelers, these lounges prove to be beneficial during long layovers, flight delays, and deployments.

Not just airport lounges, military personnel also enjoy special travel benefits such as waived fees, free checked bags, and early boarding. Moreover, various airlines have introduced exclusive military fares.

On the other hand, the United Service Organizations Inc. (USO) is a non-profit, charitable corporation that operates independent lounges at various major airports, particularly for the members of the United States Armed Forces as well as their families.

Let’s discuss both USO Lounges and the specific Airlines’ Lounges offering access to the military community. 

USO Airport Lounges

USO Lounges are a popular type of military lounge. Military personnel and their dependents can use these lounges while they wait for the departure of their flights after check-in. A dedicated team of volunteers efficiently spearheads and manages all the tasks at these military lounges. The team is also available for any kind of support, consultation, or guidance. 

These lounges serve as a perfect space where military personnel can relish a nice time with family members or colleagues. Furthermore, some exciting motivational events are also regularly organized at these lounges. If you are eligible to use these lounges, you may seek pleasure in attending such events and learn a lot while on the go. 

Who Can Access USO Lounge?

Since USO lounges operate only in the military community, all the active and reserve service members, along with their dependents, can access the same. If you belong to any of the branches of the Armed Forces, whether Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, or National Guard, you can easily gain entry into the lounge.  

Present Your ID Proof  

There is a defined policy per which the visitors are permitted access to the USO lounges. As an active military personnel, you are required to present a valid government-issued Common Access Card or DD Form 1173 Identification Card at the front desk of any USO lounge that you need to visit. Therefore, please keep in mind that either of the documents must be ready with you. This will help you avail of the lounge facilities without any hassle. 

You are recommended to visit the official website of the USO Center to take a complete look at the relevant information, guidelines, or instructions provided to let you have a pleasant experience. 

Important Note: The retirees of the Armed Forces may also access the lounge by showing their DoD ID Card at the front desk. It may be highlighted that their entry in certain cases may be restricted due to the limitation of space inside the lounge.

In such situations, decisions are taken by the staff on whether the retirees can be permitted to use the lounge or not. They might need to wait until they get space inside the chosen USO lounge.

Facilities at USO Lounges

USO Lounge inside view

The following facilities and/or services are offered at almost each and every USO lounge. Some of the additional facilities may also be provided at select lounges. 

  • Food & Beverages 
  • Snacks
  • Internet 
  • High-speed Wi-Fi Connection 
  • Gaming
  • Xbox One
  • TV
  • Cable
  • Information Board
  • Local Information

Airports with USO Lounges 

Here is a list of some of the airport locations that offer USO lounges:

  • Boston Logan Airport (BOS), Terminal C
  • Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Terminal B
  • Greater Cincinnati-No. KY Airport Lounge A, Terminal 3
  • Harry Reid International Airport, Terminal 1 and Terminal 3
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Domestic Terminal Atrium
  • Los Angeles International Airport, Terminal 2
  • Newark Liberty International Airport, Terminal B
  • Orlando International Airport, Terminal A
  • Ontario International Airport, Administrative Building 
  • Palm Springs International Airport, Main Terminal 
  • Philadelphia International Airport, Terminal E

Airlines Offering Access to Military

These are some of the airlines that allow the military community to access their lounges.

American Airlines 

Admirals Club Lounges operated by American Airlines provide access to the U.S. military personnel traveling in uniform. They can visit the domestic and international locations of these lounges. They must be traveling in their uniform and present a Military ID and a boarding pass for the same day’s flight operated by American Airlines. Immediate family members (spouse, children under 18 years of age, and/or domestic partner) or a maximum of two guests can also accompany or join them. 

Some of the airports where Admirals Clubs are located are listed below:

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
  • Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • Denver International Airport (DEN)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Nashville International Airport (BNA)
  • St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL)
  • Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)
  • Orlando International Airport (MCO)

Nevertheless, only the two lounges i.e., Airspace Lounge in San Diego (SAN) and the JAL Sakura Lounge in Honolulu (HNL) are not open to military personnel. 

United Airlines (United Club Lounges)

Inside View of United Airlines United Club Lounge

U.S. military personnel can simply access these lounges but they must be in uniform or show present leave orders. Rest and recuperation papers can also be presented. Lounge access is available on the same day of a flight operated by United Airlines or United Express. The Military ID, boarding pass, and sponsoring documents must be kept ready at the time of gaining entry into a United Club. 

Entry may be denied or they may be asked to wait if the lounge capacity is full at that moment. Their family members carrying gate passes or those flying on the same flight are also eligible to gain access to the lounge. 

Here is a list of some of the airports housing United Clubs:

  • Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • Honolulu International Airport (HNL)
  • Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
  • John Wayne Airport (SNA)
  • Orlando International Airport (MCO)
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
  • Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) 
  • Portland International Airport (PDX)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)

Alaska Airlines

Alaska lounges also provide complimentary access to U.S. military personnel who are flying on the basis of official government-sponsored travel through SATO. They are ticketed to travel on an Alaska Airlines flight departing within 3 hours. A valid Military ID must be presented.

Apart from this, other Active Duty military personnel who are flying on paid or award ticket basis and can show a valid Military ID are eligible to purchase a day pass. The same is available at a reduced price of US$30 (if they are flying on an Alaska Airlines flight). 

Here are some of the Alaska Lounge locations:

  • Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • Portland International Airport (PDX)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)

Benefits of Military Airport Lounges

Take a look at some of the benefits of using airport military lounges:

•  They allow entry on a complimentary basis or are available at a low cost for eligible military travelers and their guests.

•  They are located in convenient areas within the airport terminals. You will often find them close to the gates or security checkpoints.

•  They are staffed by friendly and helpful volunteers or friendly employees who can guide or help you with travel information, reservations, or other requirements.

•  They are open daily and have flexible hours, usually from early morning to late evening.

•  They are safe, secure, and reliable, as they require a valid military ID or proof of service to gain entry.

Apart from the benefits, there could be certain limitations involved with using airport military lounges. Take a look below:

•  They are not available in all airports or terminals, and some may have limited space or resources.

•  They are not open to all veterans or military retirees, as you will find that some of these lounge have specific eligibility criteria or restrictions.

•  They may have different policies or requirements for access, which could be wearing a uniform, being on orders, or having a same-day flight ticket. Fulfilling such criteria lets you gain access. 

•  They may not provide you with all the facilities or services that other airport lounges offer, such as showers, spas, or premium food and drinks.

Concluding Thoughts 

In a nutshell, USO lounges are an attempt to serve the military community and enable a pleasant experience for them while they spend time at airports before catching their flights. Besides, airlines such as American, United, and Alaska welcome military personnel to their lounges located at various airports around the world. 

So, if you are an active military member and need to catch a flight, you can look for a USO lounge or see if Admiral Club by American Airlines, United Club by United Airlines, or Alaska Lounge by Alaska Airlines is available at the related airport.

However, you must abide by the entry criteria and acquire complete information through the website of the USO Center or the related airlines.

Frequently Asked Questions on Military Airport Lounges

Here you will find answers to some of the usual queries on military airport lounges.

Do military members get access to airport lounges?

Yes, Admirals Clubs by American Airlines, United Clubs by United Airlines, and Alaska Airlines lounges welcome the military community. Furthermore, exclusive USO lounges are located at various airports that are meant only for the military community and their dependents. There are certain ID proof criteria for them to enter into a related lounge.

Are USO lounges free?

Yes! USO lounges are available for free use by all active and reserve service members from all branches of the Armed Forces.

What airport lounges can the military use?

Active military personnel traveling in uniform can access USO lounges, Admirals Clubs by American Airlines, United Clubs by United Airlines, and Alaska Airlines lounges.

Who can use USO airport lounges?

US Airport Lounges are meant for all active and reserve service members from all branches of the Armed Forces i.e., Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, and National Guard. Their dependents can also use the lounge services. 

How can a USO lounge be accessed?

If you are an active or reserve service member of the Armed Forces, you need to show a valid government-issued Common Access Card or DD Form 1173 Identification Card to access the lounge. 

Can active duty military get into United Lounge?

Yes, active-duty military personnel can visit a United Club lounge by showing a valid ID proof and the same-day boarding pass of a flight operated by United Airlines or United Express.

What lounges allow active duty military?

Active-duty military members can gain access to USO lounges, Admirals Clubs by American Airlines, United Clubs by United Airlines, and Alaska Airlines lounges.

What is the military airport lounge called?

The USO is a pre-security lounge providing to-go snack packs for traveling United States Armed Forces members and their families.

Can the military get into the Admirals Club?

Yes, active-duty military personnel traveling in uniform can visit an Admirals Club lounge by showing a valid military ID proof and the same-day boarding pass of a flight operated by American Airlines.

Can you sleep at USO?

USO lounges offer comfortable chairs where military personnel can take a rest and relax. There are no specific sleeping areas made available at these lounges.

Where can you find a USO airport lounge?

USO has over 230 locations all across the globe. More than 50 of these are USO airport lounges, which can be found at several major and local airports across the United States and other countries.

Does the military get lounge access?

Yes, military personnel can access USO lounges, American Airlines, United Clubs by United Airlines, and Alaska Airlines. Most of these lounges require them to be in their uniform. They must also present a valid military ID and the same day’s boarding pass. Detailed information may be obtained through the website of such a specific lounge.
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