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First Look at the Snazzy New LAX Oneworld Business Lounge

by on June 18, 2014 · 29 comments

in British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Los Angeles, Lounges, Oneworld, Qantas

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Los Angeles-based TPG Assistant Editor Melanie Wynne recently had a chance to check out the new Oneworld International Business Lounge at LAX… here’s her review!

Unveiled just yesterday, the new oneworld International Business Lounge at Los Angeles’ LAX is a real winner. Set on Level 5 of the sparkling Tom Bradley International Terminal (fully renovated as of June 2013) and serving Qantas, Cathay Pacific and British Airways, the lounge’s overall design puts a modern spin on Southern California’s popular Mid-Century style, and the food is surprisingly delicious for an airport lounge.

The entrance to the newly opened oneworld Business Lounge at LAX

The entrance to the newly opened oneworld Business Lounge at LAX

The new business lounge presently seats 400, but by early 2015, it will expand to include a Qantas First Class Lounge, with an enlarged buffet area, full a la carte restaurant, and room for more than 200 additional customers. Built around a large central atrium hung with a splashy, multi-story art installation, the lounge manages a good balance of low lighting for those who want to rest or work/look at a screen, and sun for those who want a last dose of vitamin D before they board a long flight.

Built around a large atrium, the lounge features a range of low- and well-lit areas

Built around a large atrium, the lounge features a range of low- and well-lit areas

There are several different types of seating areas here, including long tables (both low and high) for those who want to eat, work or surf the net (the complimentary Wifi is blazing fast), and chairs that are either low-slung and padded, high-backed and leather-upholstered, or updated versions of the famous Eames plywood lounge chair. The most innovative decor feature is a circular couch surrounding a semi-covered gas firepit that’s set into a wide ring of marble, a play on the popular hanging fireplaces of the 1960s. Set away from the main action and near the bathrooms, this is an especially good spot for families with small kids to stretch out and relax.

The gas firepit, a play on the hanging fireplaces of the 1960s, is ringed by a circular couch

The gas firepit, a play on the hanging fireplaces of the 1960s, is ringed by a circular couch

Qantas in particular has partnered with Sofitel to ensure that the service standards here are consistent with those offered in its Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong and Singapore lounges. Elite perks for those traveling in First Class on any of the three airlines – as well as Qantas Platinum Frequent Flyers, Marco Polo Club Gold and Diamond elites, BA Executive Club Gold elites, and oneworld Emerald members - include shirt pressing, shoe shining and priority access to the lounge’s nine shower suites. Bath products in the shower suites (and restrooms) are by Australia’s Aurora Spa, and include the softly fragrant Rose and Shea Hand Cream and the actually-detangling Grapefruit & Aloe Replenishing Conditioner.

There are several different types of seating areas in the lounge, including a high table for working or eating

There are several different types of seating areas in the lounge, including a high table for working or eating

The black-tiled full bar features signature cocktails that include a scratch margarita and non-alcoholic tropical fruit juice fizzes, as well as premium wines from Australia and California. Guests can hang out around the bar itself (where the service is friendly and you can have all the tasty raspberry thumbprint cookies you want) or wander to a low-lit adjacent lounge area, the firepit, etc. The vibe is a cross between hanging out in a hotel lobby and being at a cocktail party in someone’s home, albeit one where you just happen to have a suitcase with you.

The oneworld lounge's full bar features hand-crafted cocktails and premium wines

The oneworld lounge’s full bar features hand-crafted cocktails and premium wines

The buffet menu, composed by Australian star chef Neil Perry, is frankly impressive, with a wide array of fresh salads, hot items, and desserts. Standouts include a salad of quinoa, feta, spinach and semi-dried tomatoes; a slow-roasted stew of beef short rib and figs (a strange choice in summertime, but yummy, nonetheless); two types of string beans tossed with roasted hazelnuts and a lightly sweet orange dressing; a fresh, seasonal fruit salad; and strips of key lime pie with a rich, buttery crust.

The sheer array of salads at the buffet is impressive - and this is only a few of them

The sheer array of salads at the buffet is impressive – and this is only a few of them

Bonus: remember that this is star-studded Los Angeles, so you just might find yourself rubbing elbows with a celebrity – like, say, singer Robin Thicke - at the chafing dishes.

At the lounge's buffet, keep your eyes peeled for celebrities - like, say, Robin Thicke

At the lounge’s buffet, keep your eyes peeled for celebrities – like singer Robin Thicke

The oneworld lounge’s menu is meant to highlight the produce and cuisines most prevalent in Southern California, including street food. Two stainless steel food carts feature hot dogs and tacos – both some of L.A.’s favorite meals – which are cool concepts in theory, but fall short in the authenticity department. The spicy hot dog itself is yummy, but its thick roll is pretty dry, and the topping combo of chopped-olive salsa, onions and black beans is nothing you’d find on an actual Angeleno’s link. The main attractions of the tacos (shredded tinga pork and Baja-style breaded fish) are spot-on, but you could find a better alternative to their cold, store-bought tortillas on any taco truck in Los Angeles.

It's not every day you see a taco cart at an airport lounge

It’s not every day you see a taco cart at an airport lounge

Overall, this lounge is stunning, and makes me want to book a Business-class trip anywhere Qantas, Cathay Pacific or British Airways flies just to have a chance to hang out here for awhile. I can hardly wait to see it again when the First Class lounge opens next year.

Who Can Use LAX’s OneWorld Business Lounge

Note that those eligible to use this lounge must be booked on a Business or First Class flight on one of the three airlines – Qantas, Cathay Pacific or British Airways – or be an elite member of any of the following:

Qantas Chairmans Lounge, Platinum One, Platinum Frequent Flyers, Gold Frequent Flyers or Qantas Club
Marco Polo Club Diamond or Gold
British Airways Executive Club Gold or Silver
Oneworld Emerald or Sapphire

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Dr Jon

    Do AAdvantage cardholders get to use this lounge since AA is a Oneworld partner?

  • Steven

    Lance Armstrong sitting against the window in the second pic too?

  • Mike

    Can Japan Airlines’ passengers use this lounge?

  • Angie Haering

    Can us Delta folk us this too?

  • Melanie Wynne

    As far as I know, those eligible to use this lounge must be booked on a Business or First Class flight on one of the three airlines (Qantas, Cathay Pacific or British Airways), or be an elite member of any of the following: Qantas Chairmans Lounge, Platinum One, Platinum Frequent Flyers, Gold Frequent Flyers or Qantas Club; Marco Polo Club Diamond or Gold; British Airways Executive Club Gold or Silver; Oneworld Emerald or Sapphire.

  • Melanie Wynne

    Mike, please see my comment below, in answer to Dr Jon.

  • Melanie Wynne

    Ah, Steven, that would have been fun – but alas, it was simply a lucky traveler!

  • thepointsguy

    Sure.. if they’re flying a oneworld carrier in a premium cabin internationally or are a guest of someone who is (or who has elite status) ;-)

  • alex

    american express platinum?

  • JeffR

    Yeah, I don’t know about those families with small children sitting next to the semi-open fire pit. Something tells me that might not work out so well.

  • A

    So I know you mentioned that only those flying on the 3 airlines have access. How does Iberia come into play for this since they are merging with British Airways. Are they an exception or is it fairly strict to being those 3 only.

  • B

    What if I have a business class AA flight and then connecting Cathay longhaul. Would I have access to this lounge?

  • Dan

    According to oneworld website business or first pax on JAL, Iberia, airberlin amd LAN also eligible

  • http://www.twototravelandtango.com Two to Travel and Tango

    For being first to post on this- I love you guys! Melanie, thanks for a beautiful review. My wife and I blog from LA as well and I have to say, the idea of a taco cart has us incredibly excited! Any thoughts on the salsa on the taco cart? Any good? Thanks again!

  • http://www.twototravelandtango.com Two to Travel and Tango

    For being first to post on this- I love you guys! Melanie, thanks for a beautiful review. My wife and I blog from LA as well and I have to say, the idea of a taco cart has me incredibly excited! Can’t wait to check it out. Do you have any thoughts on the salsa at the taco cart? Anything with good flavor? Thanks again!

  • econjon

    We have a 2st class flight on BA in August. Any chance the 1st class lounge will be open?

  • Simon

    Nope, you are unlucky, it has been pushed back to Jan 15.
    http://www.ausbt.com.au/qantas-pushes-back-new-los-angeles-first-class-lounge-to-2015

  • Jumus

    God I hope not. The last thing this lounge needs is to be overcrowded with 200 Dekta flyers!

  • qatraveler

    Transfering from Qantas First to AA first (Same day). Access allowed? Better or worse then flagship lounge.

  • Robert

    In a few more days, my family has a Cathay Pacific 1AM flight out of LAX, with 5 of us in Business class, and 4 in Premium Economy. Any suggestions or chance that we’ll be able to get the other 4 in our group into the lounge for the pre-late-night flight ?

  • choi

    what about Jal F, what lounge do they use ?

  • jmw2323

    No

  • Melanie Wynne

    Thanks, Two to Travel and Tango! I think all the taco condiments – including the tangy salsa and fresh cilantro – were delicious, but in order for the taco experience here to be truly stellar, the present cold, boring tortillas need to be replaced with something that looks, feels and tastes less store-bought.

  • Melanie Wynne

    As Brian always says, it never hurts to be polite and ask nicely – but be prepared for a no, as half your group technically aren’t eligible to enter the lounge. The good news: the Tom Bradley Terminal has LAX’s best eating and dining options, and those just outside the lounge tend to stay open until between 11pm and 12:30am. Some of those on the 4th level (one floor down) stay open even later.

  • Melanie Wynne

    Dan, thank you!

  • joeypore

    In my experience, if you’re arriving from a flight in a premium cabin, you will be given access.

    I came in to LHR on AA F and was departing on BA Y (award ticket) and I was given access to the BA lounge.

  • Ken

    Can you get in by holding an AA Executive credit card that has access to Admirals Clubs?

  • twiggy1954us

    When the lounge is full, your ticket class will trump your club pass, even for Qantas Club members. Some Qantas club members have reportedly been turned away in recent months. But it never hurts to ask.

  • Ken

    What if the lounge isn’t full, can I ever get in with the Executive card?

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