During my positioning trip to Vietnam to begin my Qatar Airways mileage run, I first had a stop in Los Angeles. After paying a quick visit to the United Club in LAX Terminal 7 I decided to take the long walk over to the Tom Bradley International Terminal to visit the impressive Star Alliance Business Class Lounge. I’ve wanted to visit this lounge for a while now. After all, the lounge has won the Skytrax “Best Airline Alliance Lounge” three years running. I had about a 3 hour layover in Los Angeles which gave me plenty of time to explore the lounge and best of all, sample both the breakfast and lunch food options.
Los Angeles International Star Alliance Business Class Lounge Location
This lounge inhabits the North West corner of the 6th floor of the Tom Bradley International Terminal. The lounge is near the other premium lounges located within the terminal. To access the lounge simply take the elevator up to the 6th floor and head toward the north end of the mezzanine. A series of escalators from the central duty-free area of the terminal also lead directly to the entrance of the lounge.
Who Has Access To the Star Alliance Business Class Lounge?
As far as airline lounges go, this lounge and the OneWorld Business Class Lounge also in TBIT, are among the easiest lounges to get into. I personally had access thank to my international business class award ticket on Asiana Airlines.
As with all international business class lounges within the Star Alliance network the following people have access:
- Anyone traveling in Business or First Class on an international itinerary with a Star Alliance carrier.
- Passengers traveling on any airline with a United Club membership. Those who have the United MileagePlus Explorer Club card also may access the lounge when traveling on any airline.
- Star Alliance Gold Elite Status (United Premier Gold or higher) have access to this lounge when traveling internationally on a Star Alliance partner airline. Typically access is only granted when departing from LAX on your international sector. However, I’ve read mix reports of people gaining access to this lounge during the domestic leg of a return flight. Keep in mind, it’s about a 20 minute walk from TBIT to United’s Terminal 7. I wouldn’t walk 40 minutes round trip to visit this lounge, but to each their own.
As you can see a lot of passengers have access to this lounge. That showed during my Friday morning visit. Nearly ever seating area of the lounge was full when I arrived at 10am. The lounge remained mostly full throughout my visit until I left for my flight around 12:30pm.
Main Entrance and Entry Hallway
Even before you enter the lounge there are subtle indications that this lounge is special. Perhaps it’s the gold trim surrounding the signage or the large Skytrax award banner located next to the entrance.
There are essentially two entrances to the lounge. The primary entrance is to the right of the below photo and features two large scanning terminals. During my visit, two lounge greeters were at these terminals scanning boarding passes to confirm access to the lounge. The below door remains functional, but wasn’t utilized during my visit.
Once inside there is a small customer service desk manned by representatives from various Star Alliance airlines. These agents can print boarding cards, change seats, and make any other complex changes to an international itinerary. They’ll also do their best to help with missed connections and delays, however they repeatedly reminded customers that a lot can change during the 13 hours flights to Asia!
After entering the lounge and retrieving a reprinted Asiana Airlines boarding pass I proceeded down the main hallway into the heart of the Star Alliance Business Class Lounge. As you pass down the main hallway you’ll find the main sitting areas to the left and smaller, more private sitting rooms to the right.
The above room is among the first you’ll pass as you walk deeper into the lounge. This room features a picture of a behind the scenes view of the Hollywood sign. That picture is the first of many
not so subtle reminders that you’re in Los Angeles.
Large Central Sitting Areas
Once past the smaller, more private rooms, you’ll find the main central sitting areas of the lounge. Each area is partially curtained off which helps make each area feel a little more private.
One thing I loved about this lounge was the sheer number of power outlets. You’ll have no problem locating a power outlet during your visit to this lounge. I found the power outlets located in the base of the couches extremely convenient.
These central sitting areas are perfect for recharging (body/electronics) before a long flight. Large thin curtains help separate the large sitting area into smaller, quieter, sitting rooms.
Toward the back of the lounge (pictured above) is a small enclosed corner area which felt more like a coffee-house. This area featured booth style bench seating throughout.
I found most of the seating options in the main area of the lounge comfortable to sit in, but difficult to do much else. I wouldn’t recommend eating a meal or working on a laptop in the seats located in the center area of the lounge.
LAX Star Alliance Business Class Lounge Bar and Indoor Terrace
Toward the west wall of the lounge is a large, full service bar. The bar is complete with a bartender who is happy to make mixed drinks or serve the various draft beers on tap.
The bar wasn’t getting much use when I arrived to the lounge at 10am, but as I left just after noon I saw a few people belly up to the bar for a drink or two. The bar connects (separated by a shared wall) to the large indoor terrace portion of the lounge. This area features a long central table and various sitting areas near the railing of the terrace.
One thing I loved about this terrace was that the seats out near the edge also maintained easy access to power outlets and charging ports. Often remote sitting areas of a lounge like this lack power options.
The terrace offers guest fantastic views of the central duty-free section of the Tom Bradley International Terminal. While the views are great for people watching, there aren’t any tarmac views which isn’t great for anyone hoping to watch heavy aircraft move about the airport. For that you’ll need to head outside to the large spacious outdoor terrace.
LAX Star Alliance Business Class Lounge Outdoor Terrace
Similar to the Terminal 7 United Club, the Star Alliance Business Class lounge features a beautiful outdoor terrace. There aren’t any amenities (food or drink) out on the terrace, but there is plenty of seating and plenty of warming fire pits for those “cold” Los Angeles evenings.
This particular terrace doesn’t have the best views of the airport, but does partially overlook the LAX Terminal 3 alley. Although the views of the surrounding airport aren’t fantastic, it’s hard to complain about any outdoor space found within the confines of an airport.
As you can see, each small sitting area surrounds a gas fire pit. As it was warm and early in the day during my visit none of these fire pits were on, but I imagine they could be turned on by request and are turned on at night.
The outdoor terrace also featured an impressive water feature. I found the sound of the running water quite soothing as I sat out on the terrace enjoying an early morning beer.
LAX Star Alliance Business Class Lounge Dining Area
After enjoying the soothing sounds of the water feature coupled with the wonderful jet noise resonating throughout the airport I decided to head inside for some food. This lounge features a large dining area and buffet style dining options.
The lounge serves standard continental breakfast options in the morning. Of course the buffet offers various breakfast pastries, yogurt, and fruits, but this lounge additionally offered impressive and delicious hot breakfast options.
Just behind the buffet is an impressive wall of wine bottles. This wall separates the dining area from the hallway which leads to the kitchen. Both men and women restrooms are also located just on the other side of this wall of mine bottles.
LAX Star Alliance Business Class Lounge Beverage Options
Speaking of wine, this lounge also features a wide variety of beverage options located throughout the lounge. Located at the end of the buffet line is one of several self-service beverage stations.
For those not interested in wine, located just to the left of the above wine station is a huge stocked refigerator of beer, wine, juice, and milk.
For those not interested in alcoholic options, there is a soda fountain located within the dining area. You’ll also find soda fountains located at the bar (mentioned above) and the two smaller beverage stations which flank the bar.
All in all, while inside the LAX Star Alliance Business Class Lounge you’re never more than a few feet away from beer, wine, or soft drinks. I was quite impressed by the number of beverage options located within this lounge.
LAX Star Alliance Business Class Lounge Shower Suites
After I spent a sufficient amount of time eating and drinking in the lounge, it was finally time to take a shower before my long flight to Seoul. Shower suites are located just to the right of the main entrance to the outdoor terrace.
Once you enter the reception area of the shower suites a host will take down your information and hand you a pager. If there isn’t a wait you’ll quickly be directed to an available shower suite. Various toiletries are available upon request.
Just next to the door is a standalone sink and vanity. Assorted hand towels, a razor and shaving cream, hand soap and lotion, and a hair dryer were all within reach of the sink. Large towels and a floor towel were found within the smaller cubbies located under the sink.
The shower itself was quite nice and easy to operate albeit the shower head was a little low. Shampoo, conditioner, and body wash were provided by Soaptopia.
One thing I didn’t love about this shower was the temperate. Although the controls made it easy to adjust the temperature up or down, the water changed temperature frequently throughout my shower. I eventually gave up trying to constantly adjust the shower and instead stuck to warm with brief flashes of scolding hot water.
Lastly, I really liked the small plaque located just outside of the shower which subtly reminds guests to try to conserve water. After all, we’re in Los Angeles where water is a little more precious.
I have to say, I completely understand why this lounge has won award after award from Skytrax. It’s one of the most impressive US airport lounges I’ve ever visited. I loved the overall look and feel of the lounge, but found the space a bit small. During peak hours the lounge was little overcrowded although there is plenty of food and drink to go around.
By far and away the thing I loved most about this lounge are the two terraces. The outdoor terrace is fantastic simply because I love outdoor space at an airport. The indoor terrace is great because even though it’s still indoors it actually feels like an outdoor space. Even better, the indoor terrace features power outlets which makes it a viable area to sit and get work done.
Overall, this is a fantastic lounge. Anyone with access to this lounge before flying out of LAX should definitely stop in to check it out.