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At 7PM sharp the Korean Air Lounge opened, which is located past security on the second floor of Tom Bradley International Terminal. This lounge literally opened just two weeks before my visit, so not only looked stunning, but had that new furniture smell.
The associates at the entrance were friendly, and after verifying my documents invited me to use the first class section of the lounge, which is to the right of the reception desk.
So the first class section is fairly small, but then again Korean Air (and SkyTeam as a whole) doesn’t have many passengers eligible for first class lounge access, between the lack of first class award space and the fact that alliance elite members typically don’t get access to first class lounges (unlike at OneWorld).
There was a large entryway to the first class lounge with a couple of seats, newspapers, and a departures board.
Then there was one room with a dozen comfortable chairs. There were coffee tables in the middle, all of which had built in outlets. The lounge was so new that it was tough to insert power adapters into the outlets, since it seemed like they hadn’t been used before.
There was a TV in the lounge, though fortunately it was on mute.
Then there was also a balcony seating area for the first class lounge, which featured 10 seats. I actually kind of liked the “open air” feel, but there were no power outlets outside, which seems poorly thought out. Besides, the music was much better in the terminal than in the lounge, so that’s another thing going for the balcony area (they were playing “Dancing Queen” when I was out there, for what it’s worth). 😉
There was a food service area as well, though as I checked it out, one of the people working in the lounge ran over to me to apologize profusely for the fact that the buffet wasn’t completely set up yet.
Once it actually was set up, the buffet had two hot dishes – some sort of chicken fried rice dish and chicken wings.
I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, so naturally was a bit puzzled by the serving of chicken fried rice. I mean, the portion was as big as the serving utensil, so I kind of felt like I should’ve just taken the whole plate. But I believe social norms dictate that you don’t take an entire portion of what’s available at a buffet, so I passed.
Then there were a variety of packaged snacks, including chips, Oreos, instant noodles, cereal, etc.
They also had some light cold snacks, including veggies, cheese, sandwiches, cookies, fruit, etc.
The first class bar is self serve and only has one white and one red, along with bottles of Jack Daniels, Remy Martin, and Ballantine’s. However, there’s no champagne in the lounge – not on the first or business class side. I repeat, NO CHAMPAGNE!
Then there was a fridge with soft drinks, juice, yogurt, etc.
After checking out the first class lounge I decided to take a peek at the business class lounge. There are two ways to access it. One is to go around the front side of the reception desk and turn left instead of right, while the other is through a door in the first class lounge.
The first class lounge has a door which reads “Showers/Restrooms,” and they’re pretty sneaky about it, since that same door in the business class lounge from the other side reads “Staff Only.” So if you ever want to sneak into the first class lounge…
So I went through that door to check out the business class lounge.
It had somewhat similar decor and was massive, as you’d expect given the number of SkyTeam A380s departing from LAX in the evenings.
It featured a variety of seating options (bar seating, long benches by the wall, communal tables, dining tables, etc.) and almost felt under furnished, which is a welcome change of pace from all the lounges I’ve visited lately that look like furniture warehouses.
The lounge was so new that it still has small tables and lamps by the exit which hadn’t yet been set up.
The business class lounge also had a balcony, which was a bit larger than the first class balcony, and simply separated from it by a partition.
The business class lounge food spread was decent, and featured basically the same snacks as the first class lounge, minus the hot options. They had a couple of extra things, though, including muffins, pretzels, and chips with salsa. I’m kind of surprised they didn’t have any hot options.
They also had a self serve bar there, which again featured one red, one white, and then five booze options (Bacardi, Jack Daniels, Crown Royal, Bombay Sapphire, and Absolut Vodka).
I had the first class lounge to myself for almost the entire time I was in the lounge. At 9PM someone else showed up, though boarding was scheduled for 9:30PM. I decided to leave the lounge at around 9:15PM so that I could roam the terminal a bit before boarding.
On the whole the new Korean Air First & Business Class Lounge LAX is gorgeous. That’s partly because it’s brand new, so everything is in immaculate condition and the furniture even still smells new. I also love how spacious the lounge is, meaning it’ll probably never really get crowded. I’d choose this lounge over the OneWorld First Class Lounge LAX I visited in December. While it was bigger, it didn’t have as “open” of a feel, and didn’t have a cool balcony overlooking the terminal.
However, I was kind of disappointed that the Korean Air Lounge didn’t have champagne, and feel like they could have had one or two more hot options in the first class lounge, and some hot options in the business class lounge. But admittedly those are first world problems…