Here’s Your First Look Inside United’s Los Angeles Polaris Lounge (LAX)

Jan 10, 2019

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If you’ve seen one Polaris Lounge, you’ve seen them all — with each preview event, I’ve been getting a feeling of déjà vu. I know this bar, and this shower room, and this view.

And that’s by design — all of United’s Polaris Lounges are meant to feel consistent and familiar. If you most frequently visit the Chicago (ORD) location, you should feel at home in Houston (IAH), too.

Many of the drinks are the same. The a-la-carte menus have similar entrees. You’ll find the same amenities in the bathroom — the same well-equipped shower rooms.

So rather than run through every little amenity and cocktail option, with United’s latest location at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), I’m going to focus on what sets this Polaris Lounge apart from the rest.

First, the layout — this particular Polaris Lounge replaced what was once United’s Global First Lounge, just above the main gate area at LAX’s Terminal 7.

It’s oddly shaped — a bit like a bowtie. There’s a middle rotunda of sorts separating the bar and main seating area from the restrooms, dining and other amenities.

That’s also where you’ll find the buffet:

It’s not a wide passageway, so you may bump into a guest or two picking out some items to munch on, unless you walk around the other way.

Next, the overall size — it’s not enormous. A 12,122-square-foot house? Huge! A 12,122-square-foot airport lounge? Apparently not so much.

During United’s arguably overcrowded media event, the space felt cramped. With 100 or so passengers ahead of a couple of Australia-bound evening flights, it might get a little cozy in there.

There are 140 seats in total, but just a dozen of those fancy pod-like workstations — compared with a seemingly endless collection at Newark (EWR) and SFO.

And then there’s the private dining room — again, it’s small. Too small. There are just eight tables there, with a total of 16 seats.

If you’re planning to have a sit-down meal, you’re going to want to get there early — you might even need to add your name to a waitlist on busier nights.

I definitely recommend grabbing a table at the dining room if you can, though — the menu looks great.

There are a few items I haven’t seen elsewhere, too — the LA fish and chips, for example, and the street taco trio.

Though I’m told they’re actually available at all Polaris Lounges, another amenity I haven’t spotted before is the wellness room, where parents can nurse, change diapers and more.

Finally, the views — each location offers decent plane spotting, but I especially love the variety of aircraft at LAX. And, since the lounge spans the width of Terminal 7, you can walk across to the nap room to see a different selection of aircraft, too.

As with the other locations in Chicago (ORD)Houston (IAH)Newark (EWR) and San Francisco (SFO), Polaris Lounge access is restricted to passengers traveling in the following cabins:

Note that access is restricted to long-haul intercontinental travel — if you’re flying between the US and Canada, Mexico, Central America or the Caribbean, you won’t be able to get in.

United’s LAX Polaris Lounge begins welcoming flyers this Saturday, January 12. It’ll be open from 6:45am until 10:15pm every day, located just up the elevator (or a flight of stairs) between gates 73 and 75A.

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