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In May, LAX saw the biggest terminal shift ever, as dozens of airlines had to change terminals. The actual transition happened surprisingly smoothly, though airlines are having to do a lot of work to update their operations to get them up to speed. Before these changes, American operated out of LAX’s Terminals 4 & 6 (plus a remote terminal), while after the changes they’re operating out of Terminals 4 & 5 (plus a remote terminal). So this change was good news for American, as it meant their gates were closer to one another.
Equally exciting is that American took over the former Delta SkyClub in Terminal 5. Previously American had an Admirals Club in Terminal 4 and one in the remote terminal, while soon they’ll have three Admirals Clubs at LAX.
With that in mind, American opened their new Terminal 5 Admirals Club earlier this month. Long term this will be a secondary lounge for the airline, though temporarily it’s the primary one, as American has closed their Terminal 4 Admirals Club. That’s because American is trying to speed up the construction of the new Flagship Lounge and Flagship First Dining, which will be in the Terminal 4 lounge. That should open by the end of the year, and I’m very much looking forward to that, if it’s anything like what they have in New York.
Last week I had the chance to finally check out the new American Admirals Club in Terminal 5, so I’ll be reviewing it in this post.
I cleared security in Terminal 4, where the club was completely “boarded up.”
To get to Terminal 5 from there, you just take the tunnel, the entrance to which is near the center of the concourse.
When you take the escalator up to the Terminal 5 concourse, hang a sharp right and you’ll see the elevator and stairs to the Admirals Club. The entire walk took me maybe five minutes, so it’s pretty easy to access no matter where your flight is leaving from. The club is one level above the main concourse, on Level 4. The Admirals Club Terminal 5 is open daily from 5AM till 1AM.
The lounge has a bright new entryway with individual desks at which agents sit. I just presented my boarding pass, as I have Admirals Club access through the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®. I picked up this card a few weeks ago, as it has a good sign-up bonus, plus it offers an Admirals Club membership. But the real killer perk of the card is that you can add up to 10 authorized users, and they each get Admirals Club access as well. So really it gets up to 11 parties lounge access, as each can bring two guests or immediate family.
The password for the Admirals Club changes every month, and there were little business cards at reception with the passwords. The wifi in the lounge was fast.
The first thing I was thrilled about was that the lounge wasn’t overcrowded. The Admirals Club LAX Terminal 4 has been under construction basically all year, and I don’t remember the last time I actually used it. Every time I’d walk in I would leave right away, as there was basically no seating, and sitting in the terminal seemed more comfortable. Much to my surprise, the Terminal 5 lounge wasn’t full.
I had been to the lounge back when it was a SkyClub, so the “bones” of the lounge are the same.
Inside the entrance is a large circular room with high ceilings.
Off that area was a smaller sitting area, which also had my favorite type of Admirals Club furniture (the semi-private chairs).
One thing I appreciated about all the seating was how many outlets there were everywhere. Just about every seat had four outlets, including two 110v outlets, and two USB outlets.
Then across from reception was another small seating area, with a couple of dozen chairs.
Further into the lounge was a dining area, with a couple of dozen tables with two chairs each (or one chair and one seat along a bench).
Next to that is the bar, where house drinks are complimentary, or you can purchase premium drinks (and unlike at Delta SkyClubs, you can’t redeem miles for them).
Across from that was the buffet, along with a few high-top tables, which would be my last choice for seating, given how busy that area gets.
Then past the buffet and bar is the second main seating area, which is near the windows. In addition to standard lounge seating, there’s a TV area, some high-top seating along the window, and some tables with seating for one.
One complaint I have about the lounge is the lack of a business center. It’s not that I want a PC or anything, but rather I like having a cubicle from which to work, and this lounge doesn’t have any of those. The business center here is limited to a single PC and printer underneath the TV, which seems like a really dumb place to put it, both in terms of noise and privacy.
On the wall across from the TV was a large rack with magazines and newspapers.
In terms of views, the lounge has obstructed views of the Terminal 5 & 6 apron.
Now let’s look a bit at the food selection. The buffet was back in the center of the lounge across from the bar.
In terms of self serve drinks, there was one of those fancy Coke machines and La Colombe coffee — the espresso machine was out of service.
Also near the bar was ice water, flavored water, and iced tea.
In terms of food, this Admirals Club had the typical cookies and brownies, fresh whole fruit, and three types of snack mix.
However, the fresh selection was significantly better than what I’ve seen in other Admirals Clubs. There were several types of fresh veggies, pasta salad, quinoa salad, several types of finger sandwiches, cubed cheese, edamame hummus, and a small salad bar with shredded chicken.
On top of that there were two types of soup — Mediterranean white bean soup, and potato cream soup.
To complement that there were croutons, bacon bits, etc.
In the afternoons American often also has a made-to-order guac station, which I love, though it wasn’t available when I was there.
So overall the Admirals Club food selection was significantly better than usual. It wasn’t as good as you’d find in a Delta SkyClub, but the difference wasn’t as big as normal.
One thing I appreciate about Admirals Clubs (especially in comparison to United Clubs) is how most of them have showers, including this lounge, which has four shower rooms.
The shower rooms were beautiful — they were spacious, modern, and the showers themselves were large and had great water pressure. Toiletries were from CO Bigelow.
The main restrooms in the lounge were nice as well.
The one last thing I want to briefly talk about is the service. Some of you may remember my post regarding the customer service I experienced with Delta in Seattle, when I asked if my expectations of airline customer service have just gotten too low. As I wrote (in part) at the time:
There were two customer service agents standing around in this area chatting, and as I approached to ask for help, they stopped their conversation, looked at me, and said “hi, can we help you?”
I was so caught off guard by an airline agent trying to help that I assumed they weren’t talking to me. Usually the response is more along the lines of this:
Well the latter was sort of the situation here. The two agents were sitting there and had nothing to do. So they were having a conversation with one another, which is fine, but I feel like when a guest approaches they should be acknowledged in a timely manner. I’m not asking them to stop mid-sentence, but when I got to the desk the agents kept having a personal conversation and didn’t acknowledge me. So I gave it a moment. After they had five more interactions back and forth about something not at all related to work, I said “excuse me, would it be possible to get a shower?”
I know it’s minor, but it just grinds my gears, and further contrasts to the better experiences I’ve had with other airlines.
Admirals Club Los Angeles Airport bottom line
For the past several months, the Admirals Club situation at LAX has been a complete mess. So to have a nice new Admirals Club that isn’t overcrowded is fantastic. Best of all, this is only the beginning. Hopefully within the next few months American opens their Admirals Club, Flagship Lounge, and Flagship First Dining at LAX Terminal 4.
When all is said and done, American will have three Admirals Clubs, a Flagship Lounge, and Flagship Dining at LAX, so that’s really something to look forward to. While Admirals Clubs still aren’t as nice as Delta SkyClubs, this is a very nice for an Admirals Club, and American will also have more premium offerings, as they introduce the Flagship Lounge.
If you’ve visited American’s Terminal 5 Admirals Club at LAX, what was your experience like?