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Update 11/27/16 9:30pm: Unfortunately the November 28 grand opening ended up being too good to be true. While there’s a media preview scheduled for tomorrow, the LAX Club won’t open to the public until December 6.
Update 11/26/16 2:20pm: The LAX United Club is actually scheduled to open earlier than expected, on Monday, November 28 (this Monday!).
While other airlines have recently opened up refreshed terminals and amenities at LAX, such as the new Delta One check-in facility and the TBIT connector, United’s Terminal 7 is still very much a work in progress. Which is to say it’s a bit of a mess.
For example, here’s the public walkway used by thousands of passengers each day connecting UA’s main Terminal 7 and Terminal 8, where you’ll find the United Express gates:
Meanwhile, here’s the entrance to the main Terminal 7 United Club:
And the situation certainly doesn’t improve once you get inside:
However, United is working hard — and spending half a billion dollars — to improve the terminal, as the airline details here. And some of these changes are now available to passengers, such as a new automated TSA checkpoint:
And, as of next month, the airline is adding a gigantic United Club next to gate 71A, which is just about ready to start welcoming passengers:
In fact, while waiting for my post-Thanksgiving flight from LA to Newark last night, I learned that the new lounge will officially open its doors on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 — that’s just 10 days from now.
We haven’t seen any photos of the new lounge just yet, but it’s shaping up to be the best and brightest in United’s US network. At 20,000 square feet, it’s far larger than SFO’s latest Club (6,000 square feet), and one of the largest lounges (of any airline) in the US. To put that size into perspective, it’s larger than Amex’s San Francisco, Houston and Seattle Centurion Lounges combined. 20,000 square feet is just shy of what you’ll find at Delta’s massive new Seattle lounge, which we found to be very impressive.
In lieu of photos, you can get a feel for the new space in United’s LAX renovations video:
We do know that the lounge will feature a variety of seating (with power), a circular walk-up bar, and, by far my favorite feature of all, an open-air outdoor terrace, with views of the aircraft traffic below. Currently, United passengers looking for some outdoor lounge space need to hike over to the Star Alliance Lounge in the international terminal, so this will be a welcome addition for sure.
While it’s unlikely to compete with Amex’s lounge network (or even Delta’s Seattle lounge) on the food and beverage front, it’s a sign of the good things to come under United’s new leadership, starting with the Polaris business class launch on December 1.
Unfortunately United is no longer part of the Priority Pass network, so you can’t get in for free with just any of the top premium credit cards. However, you do have a couple card options. The most obvious pick is the United MileagePlus Club Card, which gets you a full United Club membership but comes along with a hefty $450 annual fee. Another option is the United MileagePlus Explorer Card, which offers two one-time passes. You can also use some premium card travel credits to cover the cost of single access or an annual membership.
The Points Guy Assessment:
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