First Look: Emirates’ New Lounge At Los Angeles LAX Airport

As some of you may remember, I flew Emirates first class from Los Angeles to Dubai last November with my dad.

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Emirates A380 LAX

The flight was amazing, though the one (minor) downside of the experience was that Emirates used the Korean Air Lounge at LAX, which is my least favorite major lounge in Tom Bradley International Terminal. Not only is it a small and boring lounge, but the food and alcohol selection is underwhelming.

The good news is that I knew Emirates was in the process of opening their own lounge at LAX. The Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport had a soft opening in mid-February, though they only had their “grand opening” yesterday, which I was invited to.

Since I had no plans to fly Emirates out of LAX anytime soon, I was happy to attend. Now of course let me say that a grand opening party isn’t a great way to experience the service in the lounge, though it still gives you a good idea of the lounge layout, food, etc.

With that in mind, the Emirates Lounge LAX is located at Tom Bradley International Terminal, as you’d expect. The new Tom Bradley International Terminal is gorgeous, though I’ve already reviewed it.

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Tom Bradley International Terminal

The Emirates Lounge is open daily from 12:45PM to 4:45PM during the summer hours.

Once you pass security there’s clear signage towards the Emirates Lounge — it’s accessed via the same elevator as the Qantas First Lounge and Korean Air Lounge.

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Tom Bradley International Terminal LAX

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Elevator to Emirates Lounge LAX

The Emirates Lounge is located on Level 6, which is two levels up from the main concourse. That’s the same level as the Star Alliance First & Business Lounge, as well as the Los Angeles International Lounge (hands down the trashiest lounge in the terminal).

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Emirates Lounge signage LAX

Once out of the elevator you turn right, and then the entrance to the Emirates Lounge is at the far end of the corridor, just past the Los Angeles International Lounge. The exterior is gorgeous.

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Emirates Lounge LAX entrance

Once inside there’s a reception desk, and then on the right side of the desk is the hallway into the lounge.

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Emirates Lounge LAX reception desk

The long hallway has long newspaper and magazine racks just past the entrance on the left. Past that are the bathrooms and the prayer room, which I’ll have more on later.

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Emirates Lounge LAX entry hallway

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Emirates Lounge LAX magazines & newspapers

And then you’re let into the lounge itself. The lounge is more or less in a rectangular shape, though there are some partitions which add a sense of privacy.

The first thing I noticed was how contemporary the lounge felt. In my experience most of Emirates’ outstation lounges feature outdated decor that makes you feel like you’re in a cigar bar from 20 years ago. Emirates’ lounges in London and Singapore come to mind.

I loved the decor in this lounge, though. It was classic and contemporary at the same time. It was explained to me that long term some of the other lounges will be renovated to match this lounge’s decor.

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Emirates Lounge LAX seating

While the dining area was on the side of the lounge closest to the entrance, the more traditional lounge seating was at the far end of the lounge.

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Emirates Lounge LAX seating

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Emirates Lounge LAX seating

Emirates did a great job with creating lots of unique seating setups. It’s not just one long row with all the same seats, but rather there are several types of seating options. There were also plenty of plugs everywhere, which is always much appreciated.

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Emirates Lounge LAX seating

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Emirates Lounge LAX seating

In the back left corner of the lounge was a smaller seating area with a self serve drink station.

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Emirates Lounge LAX seating

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport self serve drink station

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport self serve drink station

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport self serve drink station

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Emirates Lounge LAX seating

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Emirates Lounge LAX seating

Then at the far end of the lounge was a business center with five PCs and a printer.

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport business center

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport business center

Past the business center was an indoor terrace, which overlooks the terminal. I know I’m weird, but I love these terraces which many lounges at TBIT offer. Not only does the terminal have some amazing graphics on the big screens, but there’s some great people watching to be had from the terraces as well.

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport terrace

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport terrace view

In terms of the dining area and food, like I said earlier, the dining area was located near the entrance.

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Emirates Lounge LAX dining area

There was a communal table separating the dining area from the “lounging” area, which had a variety of fresh fruit on display.

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Emirates Lounge LAX dining area

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport fruit selection

In terms of food, there was the standard “circular” buffet with snacks and appetizers. I find it funny how Emirates has a similar circular food buffet setup in all their lounges.

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport buffet

The food on display looked top notch, from mezze to tuna salad to shrimp to fresh fruit to panna cotta to cheesecake.

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport buffet

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport buffet

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport buffet

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport buffet

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport buffet

Then there was a much larger buffet against the wall. In terms of drinks, there was a self serve coffee machine, along with a selection of tea and dates.

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport coffee machine

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport dates

Then there was a bar with self serve booze, wine, etc. It’s worth noting that Emirates serves Veuve Cliquot champagne in the lounge.

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport alcohol selection

The hot food spread was excellent.

There was one soup on offer, which was a cream of zucchini soup.

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport soup

Then there was a buffet with about 10 hot dishes.

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport buffet

These dishes included:

  • lobster and mashed potato fishcakes
  • gratinated potato gruyere gratin
  • rigatoni pasta
  • poached Pacific salmon with spinach and sauce vierge
  • grilled fillet of beef with bearnaise sauce
  • Mediterranean chicken olive and tomato stew
  • Mild spiced Indian curry vegetable
  • fresh vegetable selection
  • palak paneer

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport buffet

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport buffet

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport buffet

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport buffet

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport lunch

In terms of the lounge’s other facilities, as I said earlier, the bathrooms were near the entrance. The showers are actually inside the gender-segregated bathrooms. So the men’s room had a couple of shower stalls and a couple of bathroom stalls.

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport bathroom

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport bathroom

I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t have private shower suites with bathrooms, but rather that they’re all inside the men’s room. That’s not a huge deal, of course, but it is worth noting.

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport shower

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport shower

Then there was a prayer room between the bathrooms.

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport prayer room

There were about 100 media people in attendance. There were speeches from the divisional senior vice president of airport services as well as the regional sales manager. Hands down the coolest guy from Emirates was Paul, who is the station manager for Emirates at LAX — he’s totally awesome.

There was a cake cutting ceremony as well to celebrate the lounge officially opening.

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport cake cutting ceremony

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Emirates Lounge Los Angeles Airport cake

I had the chance to ask the Emirates staff in attendance a few questions. A couple answers were especially interesting, I thought:

Will Emirates contract the lounge out to other airlines?

Nope, they’re literally operating it just four hours a day and exclusively for Emirates passengers. They don’t plan on contracting it out to any other airline. Emirates apparently invested over six million dollars in the lounge, so that’s quite a commitment.

Given that LAX has once daily service, what made them decide to build a lounge?

Obviously it makes sense for Emirates to operate their own lounges at outstations like New York and London, where they have several frequencies a day. But what goes into deciding to open a lounge for a once daily destination? For example, Emirates has three lounges in the US, in New York, San Francisco, and now Los Angeles.

Why operate lounges in San Francisco and Los Angeles, but not Houston and Dallas, even though they’re all once daily A380 destinations? Apparently the intent is to open lounges as much as possible in “premium markets,” where they want to make sure they’re managing every aspect of the premium customers’ experience as possible. And I guess at the end of the day the best way to control quality is to run a lounge yourself.

Emirates Lounge LAX bottom line

This is a really nice lounge, and in terms of decor, probably my favorite Emirates lounge ever. Also keep in mind that only Emirates passengers will have access to the lounge, so it won’t ever be overcrowded.

As is the norm at Emirates’ outstations, this is  a shared first & business class facility, so as a first class passenger you might not be as thrilled about the lounge as you’d be as a business class passenger. Either way, this is a huge improvement over the Korean Air Lounge they used to send their passengers to.

How does this rank compared to the other lounges at Tom Bradley International Terminal? In terms of business class lounges, I’d say the Star Alliance Business Class Lounge is still my favorite at LAX. That’s largely just a function of the real estate they have available to them, as well as how big it is due to the volume of passengers they handle. That being said, I think the food selection is better in the Emirates Lounge.

In terms of first class lounges, I think the Qantas First Lounge still has the edge, as it offers an a la carte menu and table service.

All things considered this is a great lounge. Kudos to Emirates for taking control of as many aspects of the customer experience as possible (even if in my head I can’t make the numbers work financially).

What do you think of the Emirates Lounge LAX compared to the other lounges at the airport?

Enjoy this review? Check out hundreds of other reports on airlines, hotels, and airport lounges worldwide!

Comments

  1. Any sense of whether or not passengers on AS awards will have trouble using the lounge? I know nearly impossible for you to answer since you weren’t on a EK flight, but still thought I’d ask. Thanks.

  2. @ Ben — Is there any truth to the rumor that passengers on AS awards are being denied EK F lounge access at JFK or anywhere else?

  3. @Shanghai9 by reading from the flyertalk thread, there is no issue accessing this lounge if your ticket is AS award. Can’t wait to try it ourself when we fly in Nov.

  4. I hope you tried the Bateel dates because they are f-ing awesome. Always get them from Saudi Arabia.

  5. @ Gene — I don’t think so. I think it was just one agent that made something up. But I’m following up to see if I can confirm.

  6. @ Shanghai9 — I don’t think we should. We have one report of someone that was denied access at JFK, but that’s the only such report I’ve heard. My money is on it being a bad agent. I had a friend that flew LAX-DXB last week in first class, and he was able to access the lounge.

  7. Emirates is trying to get fifth freedom so they can operate flights like Tokyo – Los Angeles – Dubai or Sydney -Los Angeles – Dubai . But I don’t think this is going to happen. Emirates is like the rich neighbour that doesn’t want to share even a penny with its poor friends. AA / DL / UA didn’t benefit from Emirates ‘s US expansion. There is no direct competition between Emirates and Alaska / Southwest. If Emirates continue to expand the U.S. market, it will irate major US airlines.
    I wonder why Emirates doesn’t have joint venture with any of big three US airlines. Consider US airlines has only little service to India market, it could really benefit them. Right now, if I don’t want to sit on the shitty airplane of Air India, I would have no choice but fly with Emirates (Jet Airways is not that good either)

  8. I also heard rumors said that Emirates is trying to neogitiate with Indian government so they can have flights from India to a third country. Emirates is especially interested operated flights from India to west coast of US via East Asia, as it could save lots of time. It wouldn’t surprise if they manage to achieve that,mit they invest in some Indian company. Indian airlines used to be one of the group of most selective airlines that can have fifth freedom in China. ( India – Shanghai – San Francisco) along with other top airlines like Delta. Because of India’s smart foreign relationships policy, I am sure India can get whatever fifth freedom rights they want.

  9. As for another example: BA has lots of out-station lounge while having only once a day flight: YVR, PHL, IAH, BKK, etc.. many of those lounge are nice and even have separated F and J sections.

  10. In terms of transitions, you might want to work a few others beyond “in terms of” into your repertoire.

  11. Why do they only have 1 flight to LAX per day? It seems strange in such a big, premium market. EK have 3 x daily A380 flights from AKL daily and that is a tiny market!

  12. @Ben – the 3 services a day to AKL are all about using planes that otherwise sit on the tarmac all day in BNE / SYD / MEL. The planes fly in overnight from DXB and arrive in the morning and don’t have anything to do until the evening. Emirates figure they may as well put the assets to work rather than just paying to park the plane up.

    (Air New Zealand do the same with their planes that arrive in AKL from the States and don’t fly back to the States until the evening – send them to Australia for the day).

  13. Good to see that EK are starting to have an updated decor in their outstation lounges.

    The catering looks identical to what EK offer in their lounges in SYD and MEL. This brings a level of global consistency in their offering.

    The EK flight goes at 4:45pm, so it seems this lounge still won’t be open for the Qantas flights which depart in the evening (which is unfortunate as Qantas business class passengers have access to EK lounges if they are open and EK business lounges are always better than Qantas business lounges).

  14. While EK isn’t a perfect airline (but then I’ve yet to find one that is), I do give them kudos for trying to offer almost identical lounge experiences in out stations outside DXB, even for once a day flight services. It’s not universal coverage, but I don’t think any airline covers as many ports as Emirates does with their own operated lounges. Sure, no exclusive First lounges, but their combined lounges are better than most business lounges by a far margin (it’s a Business Plus lounge). Now, if they could only get such consistency with their staff (which range variably from excellent to awful).

  15. Flew a few weeks ago from SFO on an AS award ticket in F on EK. As I was checking in, I asked the ticketing agent about lounge access and she said because I was on an Alaska award ticket, it did not include lounge access. She then said, “but just go to the lounge and ask anyway.” I went, and was promptly admitted to the huge SFO lounge (with a very similar set up to the LAX lounge, down to the buffet items and everything). On my return, I was in AMM and EK contracts with Royal Jordanian’s lounge – and was not admitted. The lounge agent even called local EK office to confirm. At DXB, in both directions, other than one agent mumbling something about an AS award, I was promptly admitted to the F lounge. I went to the lounge in every terminal; A, B, and C. At least as of a few weeks ago, it seemed to me that if EK operated the lounge, there didn’t seem to be any issue getting in eventually.

  16. @EthaninSF – Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ll be flying F (on an AS award) with a very long layover in DXB. Any reason to check out the other F lounges in DXB? Unless there’s something really special about them, I’m inclined to just stay in the lounge in the A pier.

  17. @ Ben — I wouldn’t be surprised if a second flight is added some point, though keep in mind that ultra longhaul flights are notoriously difficult to turn profits on (if Emirates even cares about that). But they do fly to a lot of destinations in the US, while in Australia they only serve a few cities, and therefore have a lot of connecting passengers.

  18. Great look at the new Emirates lounge at LAX. Your review was great. By the looks of it the lounge looks much more sophisticated then the Qantas first lounge? Yes there is a sit down restaurant but the furniture/design space in the Qantas First looks like the designer just threw in a bunch of chairs without regard to creating individual spaces. Anyway it would be nice to see a comparison and/or a review of the Qantas First that describes the menus and other offerings at LAX. Flying Cathay first this summer and can’t find a good review yet!

  19. @ GySpeirs — I suppose it’s a matter of personal preference as well. Some love the Qantas design, while others don’t. I do prefer the decor of this lounge, while ultimately I think the food and service is going to be a bit more attentive in a first class lounge.

  20. @Shanghai9 – I would agree with @lucky there is really no other reason to go to the other lounges, the B and C lounges just happened to be closer to the flights I was connecting to and from. The A pier is so massive (the B lounge is also quite large – as I believe it used to be their primary lounge, and the C lounge is tiny. The food/beverage items seemed to be very similar at all the DXB lounges. The spa at A terminal seemed to be much bigger than at B, too.

  21. Just visited the lounge that Emirates shares with Air china and others in Houston, it’s really disappointing, no french champagne, not even a $50 bottle of Moet?? Food smells funny and there are no toilets…Way to treat 1st class & business passengers!!

  22. Since the lounge is only open to 4.45 pm, what happens to Emirate passengers leaving on the 9.30 pm flight to Dubai?
    Are we expected to use the Star alliance loung or what?

  23. Is there a possibility of getting a massage in this lounge or in connection with the lounge? we are traveling there Sunday and I have many hours to kill
    Thanks!

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