Something for Everyone: The Oneworld Los Angeles Lounge at Tom Bradley International Terminal
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To The Point
The 600-seat Oneworld Los Angeles lounge in TBIT at LAX mainly serves Oneworld business-class passengers and Sapphire elites that are traveling long-haul internationally, but it’s also open to Norweign’s premium customers. Pros: fast Wi-Fi, ample seating options, large children’s area and good wine selection. Cons: can be noisy and limited high-quality food options.
If you’re an AvGeek, you’ll probably be at In-N-Out burger during long layovers at LAX. But for shorter layovers, and for those who don’t care too much about watching planes take off and land, there are many lounge options that don’t require you to leave the airport. If you’re flying a Oneworld airline on a long-haul international flight — and you’re flying in first class or you’re a Oneworld Emerald — you’ll want to check out the Qantas First Lounge.
But, if you’re flying a Oneworld airline on a long-haul international flight — and you’re flying in business class or you’re a Oneworld Sapphire — the Oneworld Los Angeles Lounge is a good option in LAX’s Tom Bradley International Terminal. TPG got a first look at this lounge when it opened in 2014, but here’s my take on the lounge after spending most of a seven-hour layover in the lounge.
The Oneworld Los Angeles Lounge is located airside in LAX’s Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT). After security, walk straight ahead and you’ll be dropped into a large atrium. To reach the lounge, head to the right, and go up an escalator to the fifth floor. Turn to the right at the top of the escalator, and you’ll be staring directly at the lounge entrance.
If you’re arriving into or departing from Terminals 4-8, you can connect to TBIT airside without re-clearing security. However, it’s going to take a series of tunnels and bridges to get there.
Access and Check-in
Although this lounge is designed for Oneworld Sapphire and business class passengers, access is available to Oneworld Sapphire, Oneworld Emerald, business and first class passengers traveling on eligible itineraries on any Oneworld airline.
The lounge is open from 6:30am to 11:30pm daily. For the purposes of access, the following itineraries aren’t eligible:
- American Airlines Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald members traveling solely on North American flights within or between the US, Canada, Mexico (except Mexico City), the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Caribbean.
- Customers traveling on solely domestic flights within the US (except JFK) or between the US and Canada, Mexico (except Mexico City), the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Caribbean — unless you’re a non-AA Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald elite.
- Passengers without Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald status who travel in business or first class on an international short-haul or domestic flight before or after traveling in economy on an international long-haul ticketed flight.
Emerald members, Sapphire members and first class passengers may invite one guest who is also traveling on a Oneworld airline to join them in the lounge.
Besides Oneworld premium customers, the lounge also serves Norwegian’s premium customers.
Check-in was quick. Since my husband JT and I were both Oneworld Emeralds, we each could have guested the other into the lounge if needed. Since our next flight was a domestic leg, we needed to show our arrival and departure boarding passes.
The lounge was set up around a rectangular atrium that featured hanging artwork. There were many different sitting areas, so there really was something for everyone. I’ll describe the main landmarks in the lounge as you take a counter-clockwise walk around the lounge from the entrance. But in each area, there were also various other types of seating.
To the right of the entrance was a fully stocked and tended bar.
Past the bar in an alcove was an indoor fire pit surrounded by seating that looked like it wouldn’t be out of place in a posh ski resort.
Leaving the alcove and continuing onward around the rectangle was the first set of bathrooms and the first nine showers. Next was the dining area with buffets and dining tables.
Continuing around the central atrium, there was a seating area with a long table, which is where I worked for most of my extended stay.
Just off the main lounge by the dining area and long table was a large room set up for families with children.
The room with children’s toys also had many other types of seating. As the room wasn’t specifically designated or restricted to any particular type of traveler, it could be a quiet work room depending on the time of day.
Continuing on, there was a set of restrooms and the next seven showers. Finally, back toward the entrance and at the end of the “loop” there was a work area with several computers.
One downside of this open design lounge: Noise from the dining area and TV areas tended to spread. When I was sitting at the previously mentioned table that was obviously set up for work, I could clearly hear two TVs on different stations. It seemed to me that this lounge was set up more for relaxation than for getting serious work done.
The lounge became crowded as the evening bank of flights approached. Some of the seating in the lounge looked to be overflow seats, as they weren’t seats travelers would likely select at less crowded times.
Most, but not all, seating areas had access to one or more US power outlet. Some of the work-friendly spaces — like the long table opposite the entrance where I worked for most of my stay — also had USB outlets.
The Wi-Fi in the lounge was easy to access, as there were signs scattered throughout the lounge with the network name and password. My first speed test registered a fiery 2 ms ping, 77.1 Mbps download and 53.6 Mbps upload. My second test a few hours later was less impressive with a 21 ms ping, 6.7 Mbps download and 16.8 Mbps upload. The Wi-Fi was certainly impressing the other lounge guests, as a man seated near me kept mentioning how quickly his movies were downloading.
Reading material was available near the lounge’s entrance.
There were two sets of restrooms, each with ample stalls. I had trouble imagining a situation where you’d need to wait even if one set of restrooms was completely closed for cleaning.
I walked over to the shower area marked “Showers 10-16” and was able to get assigned a shower immediately. The attendant asked if I needed a toothbrush or shower cap and then led me to an open shower room. The shower room had a large shower, toilet, sink area, two hooks on the wall (but no hangers) and a movable wooden bench.
The shower featured both overhead and hand-held fixtures. Perhaps it took the “rainfall” concept a little too seriously, as the shower actually felt like large raindrops rather than a steady stream of water.
Shampoo, conditioner and soap were available in refillable pump-top bottles in the shower. A blow dryer and hand lotion were provided in the sink area.
Food and Beverage
Two long buffet bars had a somewhat uninspiring selection of foods and a posted health rating of “B”. When we visited in the late afternoon, there were six hot food options:
- Spiced pork
- Spiced roasted cauliflower
- Fragrant jasmine rice
- Roasted butternut squash with quinoa and feta cheese
- Penne a’la arrabbiata with zucchini and parmesan
- Soup of the day (a tomato variant)
One cold area of the buffet had three salads and two types of dressing.
Another cold area included chips and corn-and-bean salsa, a romaine Caesar salad and a fruit salad. Our favorite food from all of the buffets was the chips and salsa.
Finally, a room temperature area of the buffet contained snacks, desserts, a pancake machine and toppings for pancakes.
Nearby, bowls of fresh fruit were available. Roasted almonds, marinated olives, blueberry and lemon cake and brownies were also provided. I tried the cake and found it tasty but oily.
Around 7pm, a stand was set up in the dining area. A sign read “TACOS” but when I asked what was on offer, the lady manning the stand said beef tacos and chicken quesadillas. I opted for the chicken quesadilla and wasn’t disappointed — it was fresh, gooey with cheese and had a bit of a kick.
At the bar, wines (sparkling and still) were self-serve.
And, there was a surprisingly large number of wine choices.
Liquor had to be obtained from a bartender, but everything was complimentary and the friendly bartender seemed ready, willing and able to prepare any drink.
Wine, soda and water were available at multiple places throughout the lounge. In the dining area, there were juices, a soda machine, sparkling water on tap, a coffee machine and an ample selection of teas.
The Oneworld Los Angeles Lounge in LAX’s Tom Bradley International Terminal was massive, with seating for 600 passengers. It was a comfortable place to spend a layover: the showers were good, the quesadillas delicious and the Wi-Fi fast.
But, I’d recommend the nearby Qantas First Lounge or American Airlines Flagship Lounge in Terminal 4 if you have access to either. The one exception to this, however, is if you’re traveling with children, in which case you and your family may prefer to use the large room with children’s toys and seats in the Oneworld Los Angeles Lounge.
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