Star Alliance Lounge Los Angeles

Introduction
Alaska Airlines First Class from Seattle (SEA) to Los Angeles (LAX)
Star Alliance Lounge Los Angeles
Virgin Australia Business Class from Los Angeles (LAX) to Brisbane (BNE)
Virgin Australia Lounge Brisbane
Virgin Australia First Class from Brisbane (BNE) to Cairns (CNS)
Cairns, Great Barrier Reef, and Surrounding Areas
Virgin Australia Lounge Cairns
Virgin Australia First Class from Cairns (CNS) to Melbourne (MEL)
Westin Melbourne and the Press Club
Garuda Indonesia Business Class from Melbourne (MEL) to Denpasar, Bali (DPS)
Sheraton Kuta, Bali (Wow, Wow, Wow!!)
Korean Air Business Class from Denpasar (DPS) to Seoul (ICN)
Korean Air Lounge, Seoul
Free! Cultural Experience in Seoul
Korean Air Business Class from Seoul (ICN) to Seattle (SEA)

Upon arrival to LAX we headed out of arrivals and started the long walk from the Alaska Terminal 6 to the Tom Bradley International terminal.  Let me tell you, this is a LONG walk, so be prepared.  When I asked some of the people working in terminal 6 they made it seem like it was a short stroll but you’re gonna have to huff it.  There are buses that will transport you, but in the interest of time, we opted for the on-foot method.  The confusing part starts when the name “Virgin Australia” was posted outside of the main entrance to Tom Bradley.

All the International airlines at Tom Bradley

All the International airlines at Tom Bradley

But, the actual checkin counter was even more down the road.  See, the checkin for Virgin is different for the security for Virgin.  All the security funnels through the new arrivals portion of Tom Bradley with its glitz and glamour, but Virgin is relegated to a side section of the old terminal 2 action, right near Virgin America.  After a confusing interaction with two security guards giving us directions in a language that was NOT English, we found the real checkin counter for Virgin Australia.

The ACTUAL Virgin Checkin Door

The ACTUAL Virgin Checkin Door

VA Checkin Desk

VA Checkin Desk

In what I would call an unexpected shock to the system, the checkin staff was rude, indifferent, and downright unhelpful.  The drama started when I mistakenly mentioned that I booked my ticket with Skymiles, and then they insisted that I was at the wrong counter and go back to the Delta desk.  After explaining that I purchased my ticket through Delta but was not FLYING on Delta, they still insisted I go to Delta for checkin.  We left begrudgingly pissed, but then turned right around and found someone much more helpful.  Once the original person who helped us found out that we were flying in business class, his tune changed and now he was extremely accommodating.  I think that he also noticed that we grabbed one of their “How Are We Doing” comment cards for submission to the corporate office.  Still waiting for that reply however.  It only took about 30 seconds for us to get the proper boarding passes and be on our way to the real terminal 3.  Fail Virgin, Fail.  Not a good experience to start.

Once we got our actual boarding passes we were instructed to go through security and on to the Star Alliance Lounge.  Doing this you get to walk through the immense Tom Bradley International Terminal, which is more like a duty free haven for international tourists than a terminal.  Coach, Ferrari, Hugo Boss, Tumi, and of course Sanrio’s Hello Kitty and Victoria’s Secret.  ALL the name brands are in one easy location.

After what felt like a sensory overload of retailness, we headed up to the Star Alliance lounge.  This lounge’s normal schedule is to only be open until 00:30 hours, but this night there were some flight delays and it looked like they were staying open later.  I was surprised, however, that the food was fully stocked and the staff was more than prepared to keep replacing the food, even at 11:00 at night.

Star Alliance Lounge Los Angeles

Star Alliance Lounge Los Angeles

The drinks were all self service, but the selection was ample.

Star Alliance Lounge LAX Drinks

Star Alliance Lounge LAX Drinks

The bar was also unmanned, probably due to the late hour of the day, but the staff was willing to help with any drinks we requested.

Star Alliance Lounge LAX Bar

Star Alliance Lounge LAX Bar

There was also a balcony seating area that overlooked the International Shopping Mall Tom Bradley Terminal

Star Alliance Lounge LAX Balcony Tom Bradley Terminal

Star Alliance Lounge LAX Balcony Tom Bradley Terminal

Star Alliance Lounge LAX Dining Area

Star Alliance Lounge LAX Dining Area

There was a large selection of hot and cold food selections including crudité platter and various hot options including rice, pasta and veggies, and cold options such as wraps, flatbreads, crackers and cheeses.

Evening food selection

Evening food selection

Star Alliance Lounge evening hot food selections

Star Alliance Lounge evening hot food selections

The desserts changed on the hour, and were refilled constantly.  I cant for the life of me remember what the green yogurt jello like substance was, but it was EXCELLENT!

Dessert Selection

Dessert Selection

I’m always shocked and surprised by the quantity of food offered in the lounges.  Don’t they know you’re about to fly first class where they stuff you full of food? 🙂

Plenty of free booze to make the night more interesting too.  I tried to go in here on my own, however, and was told in a not so polite way, to ask for assistance.  Apparently this was NOT the self service section.  Sorry!

Beer, Wine, Juices

Beer, Wine, Juices

Seating area

Seating area

Asian food area

Asian food area

The wifi was free, of course, and if you wanted to use an iPad they had some available.  I should have asked for one, because I’m admittedly curious to know what kind of apps they have downloaded for you to use, apart from all the airline apps…

Free wifi AND free iPads for rent?

Free wifi AND free iPads for rent?

Just outside of the main seating area there was a door leading to the outdoor balcony.  This balcony had a bar seating area and also some lower chairs and tables.  It overlooked the tarmac with great views of all the planes taking off, even at night!  Shame the pics don’t reflect that though.  I have a feeling that this place is filled up during the day, as it would be the perfect place to get some fresh air and gather with a large group of friends.  The lounge itself can seem crowded and cozy at times, so it’s nice that the offer an alternative where you can talk on your phone or with your friends without getting in everyone’s way.

Outside Balcony seating area

Outside Balcony seating area

 

All things considered the lounge came through with exactly what I would expect from a business class lounge at an international destination.  Free hot food and drinks, ample seating area, fast wifi, and quiet areas to relax or rest.  The service was not intrusive, and the staff did a great job to make sure that the public areas were clean and the food was constantly stocked.

After getting stuffed and having some drinks, it was time to head to the gate, the plane to Australia was about to board!!!

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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