Can United Elites Still Use The Air Canada Lounge LAX When Flying Domestically?

In mid-May, we saw the biggest terminal shuffle in LAX’s history, as dozens of airlines changed the terminals out of which they operate. This involved a huge number of airlines also changing the lounges they use. One of those airlines was Air Canada, which switched from Terminal 2 to Terminal 6. This change was both good and bad news depending on how you look at it.

Air Canada’s terminal swap was bad news in terms of the lounge they’d have after the change. Air Canada’s Terminal 2 lounge was massive, and belonged to Priority Pass. I’d argue it was the nicest Priority Pass lounge at LAX. Meanwhile their new lounge space in Terminal 6 is significantly smaller, due to space constraints. I haven’t visited yet, though Live and Let’s Fly has shared some pictures of it.

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The former Air Canada Lounge LAX Terminal 2

However, as I noted, there’s a potential silver lining. All Star Alliance Gold members (including United MileagePlus Star Alliance Gold members) should be able to use this lounge when traveling on a Star Alliance carrier, even if flying domestically. While United doesn’t let their own Star Alliance Gold members use United Clubs when traveling domestically, they can use partner airline lounges.

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The United Club LAX Terminal 7, which United elite members can’t use when flying domestically

Now Air Canada is right next to United at LAX (T6 and T7 are connected airside), meaning that Star Alliance Gold members traveling domestically can easily use the Air Canada lounge.

For a while I had heard that everything was going well in this regard, though I got a Tweet from @e_russell yesterday indicating that Air Canada was turning away United Star Alliance Gold members at their LAX lounge.

I followed up with someone at Air Canada about this, since I was curious what was going on. It was confirmed to me that there has been no policy change — United Star Alliance Gold members traveling domestically can still access the Air Canada Lounge LAX. The only exception is when the lounge is truly at capacity, and they don’t have room to seat anyone else.

Also keep in mind that Air Canada is expanding their LAX lounge, so hopefully by the fall they’ll have seating for a few dozen more people, which should alleviate any capacity constraints even further.

If you’re a United flyer, have you used the Air Canada Lounge LAX when traveling domestically? What was your experience like?

Comments

  1. See: Domestic United *G passengers trying to get to into Singapore’s Krisflyer lounge at SFO.

  2. Seems strange to me that Air Canada would turn away any Star Gold (unless they were truly at capacity), as everyone that walks in from the Star Alliance partner is a source of revenue, no?

  3. I was turned away from the EVA air lounge at SFO when connecting domestically despite arriving internationally. They simply said they don’t accept passengers on domestic flights (didn’t specify if those are MillagePlus only or not) and the lounge itself was almost deserted. I ended up using the United Club as I was eligible as I arrived internationally.

  4. I tried to access the LAX MLL in May as a 1K on a domestic itinerary, and was told by the agent at the door that I was not permitted to access the lounge because UA had advised AC that we were not allowed.

    I subsequently communicated with AC customer service, who told me that I should have been allowed to enter. I had an awful experience with UA customer service trying to clarify the policy, to no avail, because an agent at the United Club also told me that not only do I not have access to the AC club, but that I didn’t have access to the *A lounge at TBIT, either, and if I had been given access, it was a mistake and he was going to make sure they stopped making that mistake.

  5. “While United doesn’t let their own Star Alliance Gold members use United Clubs when traveling domestically, they can use partner airline lounges.”

    @Lucky: Does the same concept apply in OneWorld? As an AA Platinum, can I use a non-AA OneWorld lounge while traveling domestically?

  6. The old Air Canada lounge in LAX T2 was fabulous because they expanded into the neighbouring and far superior Air New Zealand lounge when NZ shifted to TBIT.

    But I had the misfortune to arrive on a Delta flight into T2 two days ago, and the terminal has been transformed into an overcrowded domestic zoo. The change from the civilized days of NZ, AC and HA was truly shocking.

    The overcrowding was like going to Disney World. Don’t these buildings have fire codes to limit capacity? Evidently not!

    Even the new United Club in T7 has appalling catering. It seems to be an established standard that domestic lounges will have terrible catering.

    In Australia you get free access to Qantas and Virgin domestic lounges on Business Class tickets or if you are a Gold or a Platinum frequent flyer. And you get cooked meals.

    Yet American passengers actually pay the airlines for memberships that entitle them to eat cold/raw rubbish.

    It never ceases to shock me.

  7. The lounge situation in the USA continues to amaze me. Even flying J you get no access and if you do, you have to pay anyway!

    Have decided never to fly via the US again. With all the crap of violated luggage (thanks TSA) and stupid electronics bans and crappy lounges it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

    This year flying in/out of YVR instead of SFO/LAX.

  8. I have to say, as someone who flew UA for 12 years religiously and frequently out of LAX until 3 years ago, I was shocked at how nice the picture of the current LAX UC looked. That club was a dumb before, it always made me laugh that there was always 1 urinal in the gents with a bag on it, and the rest of the lounge wasn’t much nicer.

  9. I was able to access the MP Lounge at T6 yesterday with a UA domestic boarding pass. No problem there (so far). The Lounge is quite small and I can imagine that it can get pretty crowded during peak hours.

  10. Just to point out (for those that don’t know), but SA Golds trying to access other carrier lounges (domestically), it’s just for the departing flights, and not on arrival. I’m a Singapore Kris Flyer Gold so have been using United Clubs for my domestic flights. Denied access upon arrival on my single -leg flight…computer said only same-day departing city. Worried that United was trying to limit acces that otherwise should be granted, I reviewed the Star Alliance web site. Language was a little vague, as was the Singapore Air page. Reaching out to Kris Flyer, they explained that access was for departing city only. That was reiterated/confirmed by another United Club attendant on my next visit. It’s is a *A system/airline wide policy. (The exception being United MP Golds travelling on an international ticket; that gets access both ways before/after each leg).

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