Location: LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal
Lounge Rating: 4 Stars
Qantas possesses some of the best lounges in the world, namely their first class international lounges in Melbourne and Sydney. Outside of Australia the Qantas first class lounge experience is unfortunately scarce. A couple of years ago Qantas opened up a new first class lounge in LAX. Reviews, particularly from American media were highly favourable. I was recently in Los Angeles and was keen to see if the great ‘Australian lounge experience’ was indeed alive and well in the States but more importantly do they do Neil Perry’s salt and pepper squid the justice it deserves? I checked into the LAX Qantas First Lounge to find out.
Lounge access options
- Qantas first class passengers, plus first class flyers of Oneworld partners British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines from Los Angeles
- Qantas Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge frequent flyers travelling on a Qantas or Oneworld flight, including Qantas codeshare flights
- Connecting passengers arriving on long-haul first class Oneworld flights
- American Airlines’ first class passengers
- Other Oneworld Emerald frequent flyers
- American Airlines Executive Platinum and ConciergeKey members
- Single-use Qantas first class lounge pass holders
- Air France first class passengers
Lounge location and opening hours
After clearing security at the Tom Bradley International Terminal, proceed over the indoor ‘bridge’, turn left, and then take the lift up to level five, where you’ll arrive in front of the roo branded lounge entrance.
Initial impressions of the lounge is that it has a relaxed and unpretentious ambience. It doesn’t feel cluttered or people busy as first lounges in Australia. The rectangular shaped lounge space offers two main seating areas each furnished with quite comfortable large armchairs and a self serve wine and coffee area. Towards the back of the lounge is the dining room which is complete with a sit around bar that’s looked after by a bartender.
Next door to the dining area are shower and toilet facilities that are equipped with Aspar wash products. I decided to take a shower prior to dining a la carte but found there was a line up for the shower spaces. Unlike the Emirates Dubai lounge I found the turn around of showers was quite speedy which is handy for anyone in a rush.
A big criticism is sadly the lack of natural lighting in the lounge with no tarmac views. As a result the lounge feels a tad dark but nowhere near as oppressive as the Qantas International Melbourne Business Lounge.
Bread and butter (food and drink)
One thing that I always love and look forward to at a Qantas First Lounge is the cuisine. The airline’s partnership with Rockpool culinary king Neil Perry is one of the longest chef airline collaborations in aviation history. The dining area is an a la carte space where passengers are treated to restaurant service and quality. Being a late flight out of LAX the service was dinner focused.
I started with the lounge’s signature salt and pepper squid dish which has become my go to starter. It was satisfying but not as good as the one I enjoyed in the Sydney first lounge two weeks prior. Moving onto mains I went with the grilled bass with corn puree. It was a lot more enticing than my entree and went down well with my champagne. I rounded out my meal with the sticky date pudding which was surprisingly lighter than I thought but packed a punch in terms of flavour.
Unlike the first lounges in Sydney and Melbourne there was a lack of champagne choices which was quite disappointing. Fortunately I quite enjoy a drop of Pommery and managed to savour two glasses before my flight was called.
I do give the lounge big props in terms of turning around dishes after they’ve been ordered. The lounge was busy yet unlike the Australian counterparts, they managed to quickly bring dish to table without taking half an hour. I find that I often have to arrive earlier than I would like to at Australian lounges just so I don’t feel rushed when it comes to dining in the dining area before a flight. The LAX kitchen is like a machine and was a bevy of activity the entire time I was there. Despite the swift service, the staff were still as attentive and courteous as their Australian colleagues.
The lounge is definitely one of the best in America and sets a new standard hopefully for Americans to follow. Qantas should be proud of its first product. It’s slick, well serviced and flies that Australian flag well in terms of cuisine. Sure there are a few little niggles here and there, particularly the lack of natural light but overall there’s no place I would rather be at Tom Bradley International Terminal to spend a couple of hours whilst waiting for my flight.
Have you experienced the Qantas International First Lounge in Los Angeles? Love to hear from you about your time in lounge – did it shine or were you expecting something better?