REVIEW: New Star Alliance Lounge at LAX (Tom Bradley Int'l Terminal)

This post is the first of several, that will review the trip Sarah and I took a few weeks ago. Our time away included five days in London, three days in Iceland and one afternoon in Oslo - though no posts are going to be written about that short visit. We booked the flights as a business class award using 100,000 USAirways miles each (while they were still in the Star Alliance) and our routing was as follows: LAX-FRA-LHR(stop)-OSL-KEF(stop)-OSL(one evening)-LHR-PHL-LAX. For those of you who are more visual, here is a map of our route. 

Just as a reference, here are the posts you can expect in this trip report series:

I was very excited to finally have a Star Alliance-operated flight out of the new Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) because of all the wonderful things I'd heard about the brand-new lounge! Check in was smooth and very quick, and even came with some star-spotting. It may be a bit tough to see in this picture, but the tall woman in the first-class line being checked in is none other than tennis-phenom Maria Sharapova. I didn't want to bother her and ask for a photo, so this was as good as I could get without seeming too conspicuous. 

While the Star Alliance lounge at TBIT does have a first class section, only the business class lounge features the very unique outdoor seating/patio area. The outdoor space wasn't very crowded (possibly because it's all the way at the back of the lounge) and offered great views of the tarmac. The seating was obviously designed to withstand any inclement whether, and as a result they weren't the most comfortable options in the lounge. But, for those views and the novelty of it all, we sucked it up and enjoyed our time outside. 

After some time outside, we headed in to relax in the media room. It was small and cozy with only 12 seats, but thankfully we were the only ones in there - it was a perfect place to relax. It had a TV with surround sound, the lights were dim and it had plenty of spots to plug in any/all of our electronic devices. The seats were large, much more comfortable than those outside. And while the armrests were a bit too bulky for my liking, I certainly wasn't complaining as it was a quiet, isolated spot away from the other lounge guests. 

We ended up spending most of our time in the media room because it was a quiet place for us to just talk and relax. Since it was over Passover, there wasn't much for me to eat or drink, so this time the lounge was really only being used for the quiet relaxation (as opposed to the pre-flight boozing). But, since I knew I'd want to write about the lounge, I did take a quick stroll to see the rest of the facilities. There were plenty of shower rooms which seemed slightly above average, many different seating areas (some of which were portioned off, like the media room), two or three different bars, a decent buffet and a protruding indoor patio overlooking the rest of the terminal from within the lounge (situated just behind the main bar). Here are some pictures from the rest of the lounge...

Overall, though I couldn't partake in the food or drinks, I was impressed. There were obviously a good number of people in the lounge, the use of space is great and it never feels too overcrowded. The food and drink selection seemed to be slightly above average for a US-based lounge, but certainly nothing that would blow you out of the water if you're already familiar with lounges in parts of Europe and around Asia. I certainly wouldn't plan any specific trips around this lounge (like I may have done in the past for a massage at Thai Airways' Royal Orchid Spa in BKK or for a rubber ducky - and much, much more - at Lufthansa's First Class Terminal in FRA), but it's certainly a welcomed improvement over what used to be available. Have you been to the new lounge at TBIT? What were your thoughts...?

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