Review: Star Alliance First Class Lounge, Los Angeles, USA

The Star Alliance First Class Lounge at the Tom Bradley International Terminal was undergoing an upgrade during our visit. It was still a comfortable place to hang out and is among one of the toughest lounges to access thanks to limited Star Alliance First Class flights leaving from this airport.

This post is one chapter in our Around the World in Star Alliance First Class via China, Thailand and Spain. This trip was booked using Air Canada Aeroplan miles. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: Star Alliance First Class Lounge, Los Angeles, USA

“The Star Alliance First Class Lounge, Los Angeles offers a quiet and restful, if not unexciting place to relax before your flight”

We approached the Tom Bradley International Terminal on foot from the North. I had always wondered about traveling through here, this particular terminal, along with the many of thousands of travelers that have done so in the past. Most of my travel has been with United in Terminal 7, which could be, err, a more civilized connecting experience. For those that have wondered the origin of the Tom Bradley name, through the seventies and eighties, Tom Bradley was the mayor of Los Angeles for twenty years and was the only African American mayor of Los Angeles.  

Tom Bradley International Terminal, Los Angeles

We approached the 1980’s styled architecture of thick concrete exteriors and avant gardist structures of a building that was opened in time for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angles. A time when the USA and USSR were in the middle of a Cold War and the USSR boycotted the American Olympics. High ceilings, a sense of beige-ness and anonymity meeting functionality was my first impression of the Tom Bradley International Terminal. 

Checking into Asiana First Class:

We wondered over to a near deserted Star Alliance aisle, past the Singapore Check in (these SQ guys are everywhere!) and up to the Asiana section, which was mostly empty. We headed straight up to the empty First Class counter and presented ourselves for our boarding passes.

Asiana First Class Check In
Asiana First Class Check In

As our baggage was checked through from Vancouver, it was a simple exchange as we received our onward boarding cards for Asiana LAX-ICN and ICN-PVG, We were also handed lounge invitations for the Star Alliance Lounge in TBIT.  This is what I was doing while waiting for duty free. Looking at this… …and dreaming of a flight to Papeete one day. 

Tom Bradley International Terminal Flight Board

We were directed over to the South Security Screeninng check point. After a brief stop for further duty free cosmetics pricing, we wandered into the business class / first security screening line up and once through, we headed up the elevator to the Star Alliance Lounge.

Inside the Star Alliance First Class Lounge:

At the entrance to the lounge, we presented ourselves at the counter and were admitted access “over on the left hand side” (First Class section). After reading several trip reports here, I had wondered why there were not many photos of the LAX Star Alliance Lounge. I now know the reason why- there is hardly anything worth seeing here!! 

Entry to Star Alliance First Class Lounge, Los Angeles
Star Alliance First Class Lounge Seating Area, Los Angeles

Star Alliance Lounge Seating Area, Los Angeles

Walking through the passway on the “left hand side” led us to a quiet rectangular room with 44 seats in 11 groups of four. My initial impression was where is the rest of it? It is a small facility for what could be considered a major market population. We settled down into one of the four groups of chairs. There were only 2 other groups together in the lounge when we were there and there was enough space that we were not tripping over each other. The lounge was decorated in dark tones, dark chairs and wooden floors. The décor actually reminded me of the Gemiah Star Alliance Lounge (International side) in Cairo, Egypt. A dark understated hue.

Exploring, I went over to the food. For 10 AM, it just seemed a bit tired. I don’t know if it was because we just missed changeover from the breakfast service, but the lunch food on offer seemed to be leftovers from yesterday. Warm cheese, sushi that didn’t seem too crisp or fresh. 

Star Alliance Lounge Food Offerings
Light Snacks, Star Alliance First Class Lounge

They were serving Nicolas Feuillante Champagne and Babich Pinot Noir which was a thumbs up as far as I was concerned. In all, I actually thought that the Air New Zealand Koru Club in Terminal 2 that was mentioned earlier was a much nicer facility. This place seemed to be lacking any personality. 

Wine Service, Star Alliance First Class Lounge

I decided that I must be missing something. So I decided to check out the Business Class lounge. I was slightly horrified at what I found.

Inside the Star Alliance Business Class Lounge:

The business side of the lounge around the “right side” was stuffed about as full as anyone would imagine. It was worse than a Lufthansa Senator Lounge in the middle of the day. People were spilling all over each other. Travellers were passed semi horizontally in chairs with their legs resting above their heads up the sides of the walls. I thought to myself “Where’s the decorum people? ? ?” There was not a single seat to be had. 

Star Alliance Business Class Lounge Entry
The Busy Star Alliance Business Class Lounge, Los Angeles
Star Alliance Business Class Lounge, Los Angeles

I passed through the masses and located a larger food service area. I never imagined finding Cup O Noodles in the lounges as one of the main food items. There were magazines on the rack available for reading, but they were mostly European, which would probably explain why there were so many still left there. 

Retreating to the safety of the “Left” side, I decided that the food didn’t look to appealing on either side so I elected for a constant stream of champagne injections to soothe my transit time. I opted for a glass of the Nicolas Feuillante and settled in on the First Class side. I did manage to sneak back over to the Business Side and try a glass of the Vin Mousseux on service over there – Pol Remy Brut (Blue). I suppose technically it wasn’t champagne, but at least it was from France and they were on the right track by offering a sparkling wine. 

At ten minutes before the recommended boarding time listed on our card, the Asiana Representative came through the First Class Lounge with the white board with our flight number scribbled on it to let us know it was time to go. We were the only Asiana First Class passengers in the First Lounge it seemed. The White Board lady didn’t escort us down. So we collected ourselves and wondered down on our own through the under renovation TBIT over to gate 121.

Star Alliance First Class Lounge Bottom Line:

The Star Alliance First Class Lounge in Los Angeles was a reasonable, if not super exciting place to be before your flight. The lounge featured comfortable seating, if not some unexciting food snacks the nibble on. The best part of the lounge was that it was hardly occupied during our visit; likely thanks to the limited First Class flights that depart from Los Angeles.

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