Review: American Admirals Club LAX Terminal 5

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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.”


Admirals Club LAX Terminal 4 exterior

To get to Terminal 5 from there, you just take the tunnel, the entrance to which is near the center of the concourse.


Underground walkway between LAX Terminal 4 & 5

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.


Admirals Club LAX Terminal 5 entrance

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 huge sign-up bonus of 75,000 AAdvantage miles upon completing minimum spend, 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.


Admirals Club LAX Terminal 5 reception

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.


Admirals Club LAX wifi password

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.


Admirals Club LAX Terminal 5 seating


Admirals Club LAX Terminal 5 seating

Off that area was a smaller sitting area, which also had my favorite type of Admirals Club furniture (the semi-private chairs).


Admirals Club LAX Terminal 5 seating


Admirals Club LAX Terminal 5 seating


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 seating

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.


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 power outlets

Then across from reception was another small seating area, with a couple of dozen chairs.


Admirals Club LAX Terminal 5 seating

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).


Admirals Club LAX Terminal 5 dining area


Admirals Club LAX Terminal 5 dining area

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).


Admirals Club LAX Terminal 5 bar

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.


Admirals Club LAX Terminal 5 buffet

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.


Admirals Club LAX Terminal 5 seating


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 seating


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 seating


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 seating


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 seating

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.


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 business center

On the wall across from the TV was a large rack with magazines and newspapers.


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 magazines & newspapers

In terms of views, the lounge has obstructed views of the Terminal 5 & 6 apron.


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 view

Now let’s look a bit at the food selection. The buffet was back in the center of the lounge across from the bar.


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 buffet

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.


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 Coke machine


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 coffee

Also near the bar was ice water, flavored water, and iced tea.


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 water & iced tea

In terms of food, this Admirals Club had the typical cookies and brownies, fresh whole fruit, and three types of snack mix.


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 cookies & brownies


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 snack mix


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 fresh fruit

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.


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 fresh food


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 fresh food


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 fresh food

On top of that there were two types of soup — Mediterranean white bean soup, and potato cream soup.


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 soup

To complement that there were croutons, bacon bits, etc.


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 soup accompaniments

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.


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 showers

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.


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 shower room


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 shower room


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 CO Bigelow toiletries

The main restrooms in the lounge were nice as well.


Admirals Club Los Angeles Terminal 5 bathroom

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?

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Comments

  1. Is the improved food is a sign of things to come for all Admirals Clubs? Or is this just a “special” Admirals Club?

  2. @ Pat — I believe this is temporary because there’s not a Flagship Lounge at the moment, but let me follow up on that.

  3. idk all of these clubs remind me of corporate open office/breakroom floor plans. On a more practical note, would it kill AA to save some paper and post the wifi password on the flight information screens like BA does?

  4. I visited the lounge around 8 pm on 9/2/17. The front desk agent was actually very nice and helpful. The thing that confused me a bit is that she very clearly said that the T5 lounge closes at 11:30 pm and that the lounge in T4 stays open till 1:30 am. She, i fact, was going over to the T4 lounge after the T5 lounge closes to take on the duties there. This is despite the emails I got from AA informing me that the T4 lounge was closed. I, unfortunately, didn’t have time to go and check whether theT4 lounge was open or not. There were a few servers walking around in the lounge asking people if they could bring something from the lounge. The only other admirals club where I have seen that is at the Flagship Lounge at JFK and one specific person at DFW Term D. Overall, it was a good experience at the LAX T5 Admirals Club.

  5. I tried to purchase a day-pass to get into the LAX T5 Club for a shower, and the entry-desk agent told me that T5 wasn’t accepting day passes until construction on the T4 lounge was complete. Fair enough (even though it was rather empty). But then she mentions that “if you apply right now for our credit card, I can give you a day pass”. This really rubbed me the wrong way – seemed like a selling tactic by AA that undercuts the “reason” why I couldn’t buy a day pass. I understand that revenue from the $450 fee is more than the cost of a day pass, but it’s just another example of the recent frequent, unannounced changes to the terms of AA’s programs. (And i get the merits of the credit card; I’m just not a super-frequent flyer and fly to a lot of airports that don’t have AA clubs (smaller cities)). Put a bad taste in my mouth.

  6. It isn’t a minor thing that the staff is disinterested in helping. And it absolutely should grind *everyone’s* gears that this sort of customer service is occurring. It’s literally their job to be of assistance. Anymore I won’t even be that polite; I just flat out ask, “Excuse me, are you working today?”

    Then proceed to contact customer service directly after the encounter so the names/details are fresh in my memory. There’s no need to be social-media-aggressive about it like people seem to enjoy these days with videoing the encounter and such, but a well-worded missive to AA’s Twitter feed or Facebook account seems like a good idea.

  7. Nice lounge; however, why are the teles constantly on the corporate propaganda “news”? Operation Mockingbird type stuff. Get a variety of newspapers, and quiet. That swill american news is a joke. Simply, brain washing and mind control of the failed empire.

  8. The service difference you encountered, Delta v. AA, reflects my experience (and I say that as a very loyal AA flyer and less loyal DL flyer, by nature of where I live). While both airlines have gems in their workforces, on the whole I find that DL has done something in recent years that has dramatically increased the general quality of the interactions I have with their employees. For instance:
    –When boarding a DL flight, it’s routine for the gate agent to look me in the eye as my boarding pass is scanned and, at the very least, say “have a good flight.” On many instances, that’s been combined with a specific thank you for being DL elite, followed by use of my last name. On AA, I consider it a win if a gate agent even looks at me when scanning the boarding pass, much less says something pleasant.
    –When boarding a DL flight, I am almost always welcomed aboard by a smiling flight attending at the aircraft door. On AA, this is hit-and-miss–more often than not, the FA is fiddling around in the galley.
    –When I approach a DL gate counter, I am almost always acknowledged, even if the agent says “give me a moment while I finish something up.” At AA, the typical behavior is to stand at the gate counter and have to speak first in order for the gate agent to offer any kind of assistance.

    It’s actually made me wonder what DL is doing, in-terms of staff training, etc., to create such a consistent experience.

  9. Those sandwiches look better than the offerings I saw the last time I was in the “Flagship Lounge” T4 earlier this year.

    Dreadful.

  10. WiFi pw actually changes quarterly or less often.
    The lounge is nice, especially given how bad the T4 one was because of the construction.
    It bugs me that the T5 lounge does not open until 5 am. I was on the 6 am transcon last week and was surprised by this. Since they moved the transcons to T5 because of the lounge, I would think a 4:30 opening time at the latest would make sense. As it was there was a line at 5 to get in and then they had a hard time opening the doors.

  11. Great review! Way better food than any UA or DL lounge except for the new UA Polaris lounge, but that has always been a strong point for AA even with paid food offerings. Too bad AA has gutted award inventory, though it seems there is always the occasional dump.

  12. I find the whole new look of Admirals Clubs cold and uninviting. The feel like the reception area of cheap corporate offices. Bad lighting. TVs everywhere.

    Food somewhat better than before, but still terrible coffee options.

  13. Boraxo – When was last time you went to a DL SC? DL stepped up food offerings over a year ago. Smaller clubs don’t have as much as bigger/international flight lounges. However is laughable to say that AA spread is more even compared to small DL SC. The buffet you see was where DL had HOT food. Chicken breasts, cooked veggies, hot pasta dish, etc. Obviously works, but AA went all cold snack items.

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