Review: Los Angeles International Lounge LAX Airport

Introduction: A Very Short Trip To Fiji
Review: Los Angeles International Lounge LAX Airport
Review: Fiji Airways Business Class A330 Los Angeles To Nadi
Review: Sheraton Fiji Resort
Review: Fiji Airways Lounge Nadi Airport
Review: Fiji Airways Business Class A330 Nadi To Los Angeles


My flight to Fiji was at 11:30PM, though I decided to get to LAX very early, since I knew the lounge would fill up closer to departure, so it would be easier to take pictures earlier in the evening.

Fiji Airways departs out of Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX, with their check-in counters being in the “B” area, which is towards the center of the terminal. There was no one in line at the business class counter, though it still took over 10 minutes until the associate was done helping the people in front of me.

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Fiji Airways check-in counter LAX

Once it was my turn, my boarding pass was printed in less than a minute, and a cabin baggage tag was placed on my carry-on. I headed towards security, which is rarely a pleasant experience in the evenings at Tom Bradley International Terminal. It’s not just the volume of people, but also that they’re mostly foreigners who aren’t familiar with TSA regulations, so the whole process takes even longer than it usually does.

Within about 20 minutes I was through security, and headed to the Los Angeles International Lounge, which is the contract lounge that Fiji Airways uses in Los Angeles. While I knew this would be the least nice lounge in the terminal, I was excited to visit it since it’s the only lounge in the terminal I’ve yet to visit.

The other lounges in the terminal include the Korean Air Lounge, Star Alliance First Class Lounge, Star Alliance Business Class Lounge, oneworld Business Class Lounge, Qantas First Class Lounge, Emirates Lounge, and Etihad Lounge.

Once through security I walked down the hallway and then turned left.

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Tom Bradley International Terminal LAX

At the end of the hallway I took the elevator up to level six, where this lounge was located (all the lounges in the terminal are on either level five or six).

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Tom Bradley International Terminal LAX

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Elevator to lounges at Tom Bradley International Terminal LAX

When you exit the elevator on the sixth floor, you’ll find the Emirates Lounge to the right and the Los Angeles International Lounge to the left, with the Etihad Lounge and Star Alliance Lounge further down the hall.

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX exterior

I think the Los Angeles International Lounge would be hard pressed to come up with a more sterile exterior (or unoriginal name, for that matter).

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX exterior

This contract lounge is available to passengers departing in business or first class on El Al, Air Tahiti Nui, Fiji Airways, and Philippine Airlines, as well as premium economy passengers on Japan Airlines (which should probably give you a sense of the quality of the lounge). This lounge doesn’t belong to Priority Pass or any other lounge membership programs.

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX eligible airlines

The lounge is still fairly new (given that the terminal as such is only a couple of years old), and at the reception desk I was welcomed by the associate and invited in after presenting my boarding pass.

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX reception desk

It’s interesting how the lounge has branding from all the airlines that use it, much more so than contract lounges usually do.

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX reception desk

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX signage

The lounge was still fairly empty when I arrived, and had a few unique zones. Inside the entrance and to the right was the biggest room, with a good amount of seating.

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX seating

There were long benches along the walls, along with about a dozen additional seats in the lounge. While I realize the efficiency of using benches, they’re rarely comfortable to sit on, so it seemed like the lounge was designed to maximize capacity without much consideration for comfort.

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX seating

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX seating

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX seating

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX seating

Then on the other side of the partition was a room with a more traditional lounge layout, with about a dozen red chairs, arranged in sets of four with tables in the middle.

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX seating

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX seating

Then along the far wall was a counter with chairs, which seemed to be intended as a small business center of sorts.

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX seating

Past that was the buffet (which I’ll talk more about in a bit), which connected the two sides of the lounge.

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX buffet area

Just past the buffet was the entrance to the balcony area, a concept which I love, given how beautiful TBIT is, and the amazing people watching in the terminal. However, I do wish they had power outlets on the balcony.

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX balcony

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX view

In the back of the lounge was a dining and TV room, which boasted several tables with two to four seats each.

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX dining area

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX dining area

Next to the dining & TV room were the bathrooms. Unfortunately this lounge doesn’t have showers, though I do like that all the bathrooms are individual rooms, so it’s not a shared facility.

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX bathrooms

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX bathrooms

Now let’s talk briefly about the food & drink spread. The whole setup felt sort of like a Sheraton club lounge, and not necessarily one of the nicer ones.

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX buffet

To drink, there was a Coca-Cola soda fountain, Starbucks coffee machine, tea with hot water, wine, a surprisingly extensive selection of liquor, and a fridge with bottled water and soft drinks.

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX Coca-Cola soda fountain

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX Starbucks coffee machine

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX hot water & tea

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX wine selection

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX liquor selection

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX drinks & snacks

In terms of food, there were all kinds of packaged snacks (chips, pretzels, granola bars, etc.), sushi, instant noodles, cereal, muffins, croissants, pastries, and sandwiches.

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX snack selection

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX sushi

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX snacks

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX snacks

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX snacks

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Los Angeles International Lounge LAX sandwiches

The wifi in the lounge was slow and unreliable, though fortunately LAX as such has a decent network you can connect to, so that’s not really an issue.

I only spent a bit of time in the lounge, and then had dinner with Tiffany and her husband before the flight, since they had just flown into LAX.

My flight was scheduled to board from gate 138 at 10:30PM. It wasn’t until I started to walk towards the gate that I realized we were leaving from a remote stand. I had completely forgotten that TBIT still uses remote stands, which feel like a bit of a throwback.

I started walking towards the far end of the concourse, and then saw the signage towards gates 122-123 and 135-146.

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Walking to Fiji Airways departure gate Tom Bradley International Terminal

It was a haul and there were several turns even after we exited the main part of the terminal.

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Walking to Fiji Airways departure gate Tom Bradley International Terminal

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Walking to Fiji Airways departure gate LAX

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Walking to Fiji Airways departure gate LAX

Eventually I found myself in what looked like a Costco and/or Berlin Tegel Airport.

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Walking to Fiji Airways departure gate LAX

I took the stairs down to the ground floor, where the actual remote gates are located. I had completely forgotten these existed, even though back in the day before TBIT was renovated, these were the gates used for so many flights. I sure didn’t miss them!

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Tom Bradley International Terminal LAX remote gates

Gate 138 was at the far end of the remote area.

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Fiji Airways departure gate LAX

Finally at 10:40PM boarding began, starting with passengers in wheelchairs, and then followed by business class. By 10:55PM we found ourselves at the plane, after a rather long ride.

Los Angeles International Lounge bottom line

This lounge is pretty bare bones, and definitely the least impressive at LAX’s gorgeous Tom Bradley International Terminal. The lounge is fine, though it feels rather sterile and the food selection is lacking. Frankly the terminal is so nice that I’d almost rather roam around or sit at a restaurant rather than staying in a lounge like this.

At least now you know what to expect if you’re flying Air Tahiti Nui, El Al, Fiji Airways, or Philippine Airlines…

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Comments

  1. Well Lucky it could be worse – you could in the terminal waiting in line at Wolfgang Puck for a take out salad like I have to on business trips.

  2. I am suprised you thought this was worse than the KAL lounge. Looks like this one has better food and drink options. I could see how the decor in the KAL lounge is better. Thanks for the report.

  3. I was just at TBIT last week – I was flying business class on Alitalia so I had access to the Korean Air biz lounge and the brand new Etihad lounge.

    I have to say that this lounge you’re reviewing is considerably better than the Korean Air lounge. I’ve been to the ones at ICN but at LAX that place was nasty! The cream colored chairs are stained and are starting to get a blackish coloration. Lousy food and beverage options as well.

    On the other hand the new Etihad lounge is spectacular! Although it’s small, the quality of the service, furnishings, and food & drink quality were all exceptional! I would highly recommend checking this one out 🙂

  4. Agreed with the other posters, this lounge looks so much more better to the bare basic KAL lounge. The only plus of the KAL lounge would be the availability of the shower facilities. I noticed that the red wine served in the LAX international lounge seems to be a much better one compared to the KAL.

  5. Ben, we are flying to Fiji in Jan out of LAX. What other options for lounges are there? We have platium status with OW and paid memberships to Admirals club.
    Thanks
    Melissa

  6. LoL @ “Eventually I found myself in what looked like a Costco and/or Berlin Tegel Airport”… I remember boarding from that space before…I thought it was a really sad space, still looks like warehouse-ish. Wonder if LAX still has those remote gate stands where you walk up a covered ramp and still have an airbridge but its the middle of the tarmac…

  7. @ Melissa — No other options, unfortunately, since Fiji Airways isn’t in an alliance. I suppose you could go to the Admirals Club in T4 if you wanted to, but that’s not any better, especially during the renovation.

  8. @lucky,
    “which should probably give you a sense of the qualify of the lounge”
    I hate to be that guy but did you mean quality?
    Also I just read Qatar looking to buy another stake in an other airline

  9. Not that you would have even checked, but did you happen to notice Kosher food (not snacks) or wine in the lounge for the El Al passengers? Maybe they only put it out n the morning before the El Al flight if they have any at all?

  10. It looks better then the admirals club at MIA in terms of food selection All they had there was cheese and stale cookies
    And the only soft drink was unsweetened iced tea

  11. That lounge doesn’t look bad – I’d still prefer to hang out there than in the main terminal, if there were no other options.

  12. hahaha, looks a lot like Berlin TXL’s Terminal C. Who would’ve thought they could replicate such a horrible terminal 😉

  13. I flew Fiji with a friend, out of LAX around 18 months ago – the lounge had just opened, but didnt yet have its liquor license. So Fiji gave us each $50 food and beverage voucher to spend anywhere in the TBIT 🙂

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