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Yesterday at Los Angeles International Airport, Delta Air Lines unveiled its first private check-in lounge, Delta ONE at LAX — and TPG Travel Editor Melanie Wynne was there for the big reveal. (All photos by the author.)
As part of a three-year, $229-million refurbishment of LAX’s Terminal 5 (known as the Delta Terminal), Delta Air Lines has just debuted Delta ONE at LAX. Served by priority car service straight to a dedicated curb-side entrance, this self-contained check-in lobby and lounge is a welcome addition in a town full of celebrities.
However, you don’t need to be famous to access Delta ONE. This new check-in area is available to Delta business-class passengers flying nonstop LAX-New York JFK and nonstop, long-haul international routes of 6.5 hours or longer, as well as passengers flying Delta to connect to any Skyteam international premium-cabin flight.
You can also use ONE if you purchase Delta’s VIP Select service. Launched in December 2010, this is a specialized, fee-based “meet and greet” service for public figures, celebrities and entertainers on flights to and from LAX, Atlanta (ATL), New York-JFK and a few other airports. In addition to lounge access, VIP Select provides pre-checked baggage in addition to a p
However you gain access, though, the ONE check-in process is pretty similar. Once you’re delivered curb-side by a silver Porsche Cayenne (emblazoned with a Delta logo, naturally), you stroll along an already-scuffed Delta Blue carpet and enter the ONE lounge. You’ll be greeted by at least one lounge concierge who will offer you personalized luggage check.
Concierges sit at a very cool check-in desk — a shiny silver table refurbished from the tail of an old McDonnell Douglas DC9 jetliner.
In case you want one of these bad boys for yourself — or any number of other salvaged aviation creations — check out the website for California-based company MotoArt.
The artwork in Delta ONE was custom-created by a handful of Los Angeles artists. The enormous, blue and back-lit piece that runs along the steel wall of the entrance hall is pretty mesmerizing, the result of a piece of fabric that was dyed, crumpled and baked between sheets of glass for 18 hours.
I think the wall art looks especially nice with an array of LA-based Delta pilots posing in front of it.
Designed to serve 150 to 200 customers a day, ONE is 3,200 square feet in its entirety and has two dedicated restrooms. Like a first-class lounge in miniature, the high-design, carpeted living room area offers a refreshment bar and comfortable seating for about 10 people.
Add 10 more people, though, and the space can quickly feel crowded.
Ironically, there’s just as much space over by the three check-in kiosks, with one long side table by a far wall; if you’re feeling edged out of a comfy chair or sofa by the well-heeled hordes, you can linger over here with your snacks (many of which will be packaged) and beverage (options include spa water, soft drinks, tea and coffee).
I wore a shade of Delta Red to the lounge debut yesterday, so please allow me to highlight the fact that one of the lounge’s custom pieces of artwork —which at first seems like a Jackson Pollock knock-off — is actually a combo of all of Delta’s colors. It was fun to watch people zero in on this painting and make this realization, over and over.
Delta has been the fastest-growing carrier at LAX, and this T5 refurbishment is big news and business for LA — hence its introduction yesterday by the city’s mayor, Eric Garcetti.
Though only a drop in the bucket amidst the $8 billion spent on overhauling LAX as a whole, other T5 enhancements provided by this $229 million investment include a renovated Sky Priority lobby, an expanded ticketing lobby, four additional security screening checkpoints, new baggage carousels and international baggage recheck facilities. Additionally, the former culinary wasteland of Terminal 5 now features local standouts like Lemonade, Loteria Grill, Monsieur Marcel, Rock & Brews and Ford’s Filling Station (helmed by Harrison Ford’s son, Chef Ben Ford).
Garcetti said yesterday of the new Terminal 5 and changes to the airport as a whole, “We’re making LAX a world-class airport befitting a city that is the global capital of creativity, innovation and possibility. I am thrilled that Delta is growing its presence here in Los Angeles.”
At yesterday’s media event, I wasn’t granted a peek at LAX’s newly re-styled Sky Club, but know that it offers 100 additional seats, new shower suites and renovated bathrooms, an updated food area with café seating, and new furnishings and fixtures. The airline has expanded its Los Angeles network over the last year, adding service to new destinations including Shanghai, China (launching July 9), and increasing the number of flights to destinations it already serves, including New York-JFK, to which Delta will add a ninth daily nonstop flight from LAX in August.
As a companion to these new changes at T5, Delta has launched LAXtoLUX.com, a digital hub where customers can learn more about Delta’s premium services at LAX. Delta ONE lounges are presently planned for airports in New York in early-to-mid-2016, and thereafter in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Seattle and other Delta hub cities.
See these other recent developments at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX):
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