This lounge visit was part of my trip to Turkey and China. My index including trip reports for Air Canada, Asiana, Thai Airways and Turkish Airlines, and lounge and hotel reviews can be found here.
This was my first time flying out of the new Tom Bradley International Terminal since the remodel and I was giddy as a kid in a candy shop to finally visit it. The new terminal is modern, beautiful and is actually quite enjoyable to walk around and kill some time in. There are new airport lounges, a decent food court and plenty of high-end stores that would rival other world class airports. Walking around the new Villaraigosa Pavilion (named after our very humble LA mayor), it was hard to tell if you were in an airport terminal or on Rodeo Drive. There were beautiful shops, interactive displays, a kid’s play area and enough going on to keep you entertained for a couple of hours.
For those of you that enjoy lots of pictures, I created a photo slideshow of the new Tom Bradley International Terminal for you here.
I actually got to the airport about three hours before my flight because I wanted to explore the terminal a bit before checking out the lounges. After walking around the new terminal, I checked out the Korean Airlines SkyTeam lounge using my Priority Pass Select membership. Full review of the Korean Air SkyTeam lounge will be coming soon but you can view my photo slideshow here.
The boarding gates in the new TBIT terminal are all located on the fourth floor. The Korean Airlines SkyTeam lounge is located on the fifth floor and the new Star Alliance Lounge is located on the sixth floor. Both lounges are located airside (after security) and are only accessible to passengers departing from the TBIT. The two lounges are located across from each other in the Villaraigosa Pavilion.
The main entrance to the Star Alliance lounge is located as you exit out of the Time Tower elevators and the first class lounge has a separate entrance to the right side of the main lounge. The two lounges are connected on the inside and the first class passengers can access the main lounge from the first class lounge.
On this trip, I was flying Turkish Airlines business class and did not get to use the first class lounge. But from what I hear, it’s a small lounge with additional seating, privacy, two VIP rooms and a dining area with waiter service. The main lounge is open to first and business class passengers on Star Alliance flights that depart from the TBIT and those holding Star Alliance Gold status. Only first class passengers can access the first class lounge.
Currently, there are eight airlines that operate out of the TBIT: ANA, Asiana Airlines, EVA Air, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, SWISS, Thai, and Turkish Airlines. All other Star Alliance airlines such as Air New Zealand, Air Canada and United Airlines operate out of the domestic terminals and do not have access to the Star Alliance lounge. Air New Zealand currently operates out of terminal two but will be moving their operations to the TBIT soon. Air Canada and United will continue to use their domestic lounges.
Compared to the old Star Alliance lounge, this new massive lounge is a breath of fresh air, literally. If the dungeon-like feel of the old lounge made you feel claustrophobic, then you are gonna love the new Star Alliance lounge. It’s approximately 18,000 square feet and features:
- Large main area with a variety of seating, dining and work space.
- Plenty of electrical power ports to keep your devices powered and Wi-Fi to keep them connected.
- Buffet station with hot and cold food items and a do it yourself pho bar.
- Two bars, one self-serve and one with traditional bartender service.
- Media room for television watching.
- Library room for additional peace and quiet.
- Work room with plenty of desk space to keep you productive.
- Free printing – you can connect to any of their printers wirelessly and print your documents free of charge.
- Shower suites to freshen up.
- Indoor balcony style terrace overlooking the Villaraigosa Pavilion.
- Grand outdoor terrace with partial views of the tarmac and runways.
- Free iPad lending – You can borrow an iPad from the front desk free of charge but they do hold on to your passport just to make sure their iPad gets returned at the end of your visit.
I got to the lounge around 4:00 PM on a Wednesday and the place was fairly empty. I would say it was probably 40% full. There was plenty of seating available and the lounge still felt quiet and peaceful. As you enter the lounge, there is a large plaque on the wall saying the lounge is operated by Air New Zealand. It’s a beautiful lounge and you can tell the employees are all very proud of the space.
There is a small storage area for your bags by the front reception desk but the room is not locked nor are there individual lockers to secure your belongings. I’m assuming the front desk agents do watch your bags for you but I felt better just carrying my bags with me.
You can sit anywhere in the main lounge area or choose any one of the individual rooms for additional peace and quiet. The library room is completely enclosed in glass and provides additional privacy and serenity. The other rooms offer more privacy and comfortable seating but are not fully enclosed to reduce noise.
Food wise, I found the food selection to be quite tasty. The pho bar was a nice touch and was very appropriate for the Los Angeles demographic. If you have never had pho before or don’t know what it is, just think of it as a Vietnamese chicken noodle soup. You choose your type of noodle, add your chicken, vegetables and broth and voila, chicken noodle soup.
Now, my favorite part of the lounge by far had to be the outdoor terrace. Especially in Los Angeles where you have over 300 days of sunshine, it’s great to have an outdoor space to chill and relax before your flight. Complete with a cool waterfall feature, a black rock fireplace and sleek furniture, this outdoor terrace would make for a pretty hip Los Angeles hotspot. And don’t worry about the smokers. It’s not allowed in the outdoor terrace. If you sit by the east glass wall, you have some cool views of the tarmac and runway.
Service wise, the front desk agents were very polite and seemed to be very proud of their new home. They do make general boarding announcements but don’t expect them to come get you personally to announce your flight or anything. The lounge was kept clean and there were plenty of employees bussing dishes and preparing the food stations.
Overall, I was very impressed by the new Star Alliance lounge. It’s such a huge improvement over the old lounge and is even miles apart from the new Korean Airlines Skyteam lounge just next door. If you get a chance to fly out of the new TBIT, I would highly recommend a visit to the new Star Alliance lounge.
Want more pictures?? Of course you do. I created a photo slideshow for you here.
Other trip reports in this series:
- The new Star Alliance Lounge at LAX
- The new Korean Airlines Skyteam Lounge at LAX
- Turkish Airlines business class from Los Angeles to Istanbul
- Hilton Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge at Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines business class from Istanbul to Frankfurt
- Lufthansa Senator Lounges at Frankfurt
- Asiana Airlines first class from Frankfurt to Seoul
- Asiana Airlines first class lounge at Seoul
- Asiana Airlines business class from Seoul to Shanghai
- Westin Bund Center Shanghai
- VIP lounges at Shanghai Pudung International Airport
- Thai Airways business class from Shanghai to Bangkok
- Thai Airways Royal First Spa and Lounge
- Thai Airways first class from Bangkok to Paris
- Star Alliance Lounge at CDG
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at CDG
- Air Canada business class (Executive First) from Paris to Montreal
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at Montreal
- Air Canada business class (Executive First) from Montreal to Los Angeles.