Must-read Earlier Installments:
- Singapore, Cathay, and Qantas First Class.. Some of the Best Meals of My Life, and a Tour of Hyatts in Bangkok, Singapore, and Sydney
This was my first visit to the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX since it was renovated, and boy what a difference. You notice it from the moment you step up curbside. It’s no longer entirely an entirely an embarassment (well, it’s still part of LAX). It’s modern and bright and far better organized. Ok, it’s still part of LAX. But it’s a huge improvement.
I checked in and proceeded through security. Unfortunately there’s no PreCheck, but the nude-o-scope was backed up with passengers and so they allowed me to proceed through the metal detector only — no opt-out required.
I was confronted by the array of shops that’s now the terminal, with signage directing you to essentially walk circuitously around and through the shopping before proceeding to the lounges. I made a cut-through some of the shopping an expedited my arrival up to the oneworld premium lounge.
The lounge entrance is stylish, and a great way to set the tone for the entire lounge. At entry they explained that the first class lounge had not yet opened, so I was welcomed into the large business class facility.
The lounge wraps around a hollow center space, there are plenty of corners and corridors, and there’s furniture and places to sit everywhere.
Unfortunately the lounge is also super crowded, so people traveling together need to squat a place to sit. To me the best part of a lounge is escape from crowds, and this lounge certainly doesn’t provide that at peak travel times — and I was there before Qantas’ departures to Sydney and to Melbourne, as well as prior to a LAN flight.
With widebodies offering large business class cabins, with first class thrown in, and with every mid-tier elite traveling economy having access to the lounge shared across multiple airlines it’s bound to get crowded.
Fortunately there were a few spots to find seating.
They felt the need to say this:
There was hot food, though limited in offering, and nothing tempting enough for me to even try.
The buffet area is in a corner, with one side up against a wall, and traffic backs up there.
The bar itself though is much more prominent and will be a highlight for many.
There are showevers, and of course wireless internet — with the kind of passcode an idiot would use on his luggage (though anyone inside of course has access, so the idea of the password itself is a bit strange yet common).
As the evening wore on the lounge cleared out, and I could appreciate its beauty and the overall peaceful that seems to be what was intended.
It was a place to go before a flight, but certainly not a destination — an improvement over what was there before the renovation of the terminal, but not the facility I might have hoped for. I’ll look forward to trying the first class side (hopefully!) the next time I’m through the terminal, rather assuming it will be less crowded (though presumably accessible to all top tier elites regardless of class of service flown).
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