Review: American Airlines Admirals Club — Los Angeles (Terminal 5)
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Last week, American Airlines opened its brand new Admirals Club in Terminal 5. TPG reader Peter G was kind enough to send us some pictures from opening day, but I was able to spend a few hours in the lounge Tuesday.
I stopped by T5 ahead of my trip on Delta’s final 747 domestic flight, giving me an opportunity to experience all three legacy carriers in one day — United from Newark to LAX, AA’s new Admirals Club and a Delta 747 redeye to Detroit. What an adventure!
As of Tuesday, the old Admirals Club in Terminal 4 is closed, with all passengers being directed to the new lounge in Terminal 5. It wasn’t an issue during my early afternoon visit — there were plenty of seats available — but this lounge has only been open for a week, so I could see overcrowding becoming a concern at peak times. According to lounge staff, a renovated Terminal 4 Club is expected to open in 8-10 weeks, offering an Admirals Club, a Flagship Lounge and Flagship First Dining.
The new lounge is located one level up from the gates, and you’ll need to take a staircase or an elevator — both are just next to the duty free store in T5. Coming from Terminal 7, the Admirals Club was impossible to miss.
I was flying Delta and United on the day of my lounge visit , so Admirals Club access certainly wouldn’t be expected. I just signed up for the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard, though, and even though I didn’t have the physical card in hand, as it was delivered after I left New York this morning, the agent was able to confirm eligibility after I read her my AAdvantage account number. She also asked to verify my ID, after which I was welcomed into the lounge.
Layout and Seating
There’s a small seating area right next to the check-in desk, but the main lounge is around the corner.
I was pretty excited to have my wide-angle lens available when I saw the main lounge area — just check out that ceiling!
I also really liked the paper (metal, really) airplane display in the main room.
There are plenty of seating options, including pairs of armchairs and a group of three chairs around small tables, like the one below.
I found the main lounge to be a bit too noisy — perhaps due to the high ceiling — so I made myself comfortable right around the corner.
AA has a total of eight of these semi-private workstations — they reminded me a bit of the pods in the United Polaris Lounge and Singapore’s first-class lounge in Sydney, though these are obviously much more exposed.
There was plenty of power at almost every seat, as you’d expect, including three-pronged outlets and USB.
Then, there’s another large room on the other side of the food and beverage area.
The far back room offers a bank of windows, but they were almost entirely obstructed by dark drapes. Sneaking my lens through one revealed some solid tarmac views.
Given that I visited during lunchtime, I wasn’t surprised to see many of the guests gathered in the large dining area just behind the buffet.
There’s also seating at the bar, but given the traffic I imagine that’ll stay mostly empty unless the rest of the lounge is full.
Food and Beverage
Speaking of F&B, the bartender was cheerful and friendly. He never seemed stressed despite a steady stream of visitors and requests. Most of the guests were opting for the complimentary options, which include a house Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, both from California winery Guenoc, along with Miller Lite, Bud Light and well drinks. Apparently the dispenser was acting up during my visit, so draft beer wasn’t available.
Meanwhile, if you’re traveling internationally, you should receive two drink vouchers at check-in, which are good for anything at the bar. I went back to inquire about eligibility and the check-in agent just handed one over, even though I wasn’t even ticketed on an American flight. Cheers!
Other complimentary beverage options include iced tea, flavored water and regular water…
…along with Coca Cola products, coffee and tea.
As for food, everything is free — though the selection is fairly limited. Perhaps it’s for the best that this lounge doesn’t have a paid food menu on offer, though.
Various salad items are available, including tomatoes, carrots, olives and edamame, in addition to prepared quinoa and pasta salad.
And AA didn’t forget to include the staple of airline lounges, cheese cubes — along with chips and guac, and fresh spinach with peppers and chicken.
There’s also a trio of snack mix, and a selection of fresh fruit.
Finally, AA had two soups on hand — the oddly named Potato Cream Cheese and a white bean soup, which was almost empty.
The plates are comically undersized — they’re barely large enough for a dinner roll, let alone a salad. I did find most of the items to be fresh, though the quinoa salad was perhaps a bit overdressed.
There are also chocolate chip cookies and brownie bites, should you be in the market for something sweet.
Update: There’s also made-to-order guacamole from 3-6pm, and avocado toast with prosciutto in the morning.
Amenities and Wi-Fi
I was very pleasantly surprised to learn that this lounge has showers — there are four available, two of which were open when I arrived, so I was handed a key right away.
I was assigned shower room 1, which was decently spacious.
I decided to take a quick shower, and found the water pressure to be great. The soap dispenser was completely empty, but there was some soap available next to the sink.
As far as other amenities go, there’s a printer and single computer available at the back of the lounge, should you need to print international boarding passes or other docs.
And, my favorite amenity of all: Wi-Fi. American’s variety was especially speedy — in fact, according to the Speedtest website, the connection is “faster than 99% of US.” Well done, AA!
This new Admirals Club feels like a nice domestic airline lounge, and that’s exactly what it is. Would I have paid $59 to enter with a One-Day Pass? Nope. But now that I have the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard, coming in to hang for a few hours definitely made sense.
From chatting with the lounge staff, the new Admirals Club, Flagship Lounge and Flagship First Dining facility currently under construction in Terminal 4 will be the place to be. Until then, this Admirals Club in T5 is a clean, well-stocked and shower-equipped option at LAX.
Based on TPG’s most recent valuations, the 50,000 miles are worth $700. In addition, you can earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) toward elite status after spending $40,000 in a calendar year. As of July 23, 2017 this is the only card that offers Admirals Club lounge access so if you are an AA flyer this card might make sense for you. Aside from lounge access the primary cardholder will receive a Global Entry application fee credit every 5 years, first checked bag free for up to 8 travel companions on domestic itineraries and a 25% discount on eligible in-flight purchases on American Airlines flights.
- Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Admirals Club® membership for you and access for guests traveling with you
- Complimentary Admirals Club® lounge access for authorized users
- Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases*
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
- First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 17.49% - 25.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.