Review: The Star Alliance Business Lounge, Tom Bradley International Terminal, Los Angeles International Airport, California, USA


The Star Alliance Business Class Lounge in Los Angeles International Airport Tom Bradley International Terminal has undergone a massive renovation and improvement. The lounge forms part of the renovated Tom Bradley international departure terminal and now features one of the nicest terraces and wine displays in any international business lounge worldwide.

This post is one chapter on our trip to Bali and Singapore. This trip was redeemed through Lifemiles, AAdvantage and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) loyalty programs. 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 Business Lounge, Tom Bradley International Terminal, Los Angeles International Airport, California, United States of America.

After our Delta Airlines First Class Vancouver – Los Angeles flight, we had an overnight at the Westin Los Angeles Airport hotel. We’ve previously stayed at this hotel and WT73jr had jumped all over the bed by the time I had parked the rental car and gotten up to the room so I won’t be reviewing it again here. The next grey and wet morning, we returned our rental car and headed for the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

Checking into Asiana Business Class:

After returning the rental car, we headed for the Tom Bradley International Terminal to check in for our Asiana Business Class Los Angeles – Incheon flight. The terminal is the flagship of Los Angeles airport terminals, and it is a wide and imposing structure.

Arriving in the Early Morning to the Tom Bradley International Terminal
Tom Bradley was the previous mayor of Los Angeles
An Empty Departures Area at 8 AM

We located the Asiana counters. They were open as of 08:00 AM per the Asian website from the Asiana Magazine that we had picked up from an earlier flight. This was great for us as our flight had a 12:40 PM departure and we were able to drop our bags a good 3 3/4 hours before our departure time.

Asiana Check In Counters at Tom Bradley International Terminal
Asiana Business Check In Area
Asiana Check In Area
Asiana First Class Check In

There was absolutely no line when we arrived. Our Life Miles issued reward ticket was validated and accepted without any issues and we were checked in. I was a bit worried about having to call the Life Miles San Salvador Ticketing Office to get it straightened out (our LifeMiles ticket was issued by email out of a San Salvador ticket office that probably couldn’t be found on Google Maps )

Asiana Airlines paid particular attention to the fact that we did not have a return booked with them and I was kindly asked to show proof of onward travel, which I happened to have printed on a separate reservation. We were given a map for the lounge, which was handy as you probably wouldn’t locate it unless you searched out for it and knew where to look. 

Ticket Counters Busy at Work

To keep my son entertained on the long 20 hour journey, I made up our own Amazing Race game featuring a team of one. It was similar to turning the whole trip into a scavenger hunt. He got a clue envelope complete with Route Info descriptors, Roadblocks and Fast Forwards, whenever he was able to find the appropriate airline / gate or by completing a challenge. It kept him quite entertained at the travel process. I pre-downloaded off the internet some of the information from the in flight magazines or airport layouts where I could, and made him search through the magazines, the internet or other areas to find information that I knew existed.

Placing “The Amazing Race” on the Way to Bali

Entering the New Tom Bradley International Terminal:

We headed through the new security on the second floor (where the food court used to be). The security screening area is now a much larger facility and it was a bit quicker than it was in the past. 

Arriving to the Secure Side of the Tom Bradley International Terminal

The New Tom Bradley International Terminal is miles ahead of the old Tom Bradley International Terminal. With an expanded departures hall and additional food and beverage outlets, its easily now among the nicest airports in the United States. It’s not quite up to the great airports of the world like Singapore Changi or Hong Kong but it’s a massive improvement over the old space and a pleasant gateway fitting of a world class city like Los Angeles. 

Tom Bradley International Terminal – Departures Concourse
Bright and Airy Spaces in the new Departures Concourse

We took some window shopping in on the ground floor. The airport space is so much nicer with natural light and I was really in awe of it.

International Brand Shopping at Tom Bradley International Terminal
Concourse Shopping and Exploring

The airport has done a great job at using media displays in a creative way. They’ve added incorporated the flight information display boards into media displays, and put the media displays in areas that were otherwise unused.

Flight Information Displays in the Media Boards
Multi Media Displays Jazz Up an Otherwise Unused Space

The theme of light displays continued throughout the terminal, making great use of monitor displays for advertising, and other effects to make the concourse more interesting. 

My son was particularly struck by the time tower. It’s a LED TV display that’s set to clocks, travel and other time themed presentations. It also cleverly houses the lounge access elevators inside it. 

Locating the Star Alliance Business Lounge:

After MrsWT73 did a brief check in with the duty free selections, we headed up the Time Tower elevator to the 6th floor. The lounge is located on the right hand side of the airport departures concourse.

Star Alliance Lounge
Map Courtesy of
Elevator Directory Level Lounge Indicator

Accessing the Star Alliance Lounge:

The Star Alliance Lounge Access policy applies for this lounge.

  • International First Class Customers (same day departing flight, with one guest permitted, travelling on the same flight)
  • International Business Class Customers (same day departing flight, no guests permitted)
  • Domestic First Class (restrictions apply for United Airlines in the USA, one guest permitted)
  • Domestic Business Class (restrictions apply for United Airlines in the USA, no guests permitted)
  • Star Alliance Gold customers travelling in any class of travel (one guest permitted)
  • Paid Lounge Membership Customers, including United Club and Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Worldwide (one guest permitted)

Today’s access was courtesy of travelling in Asiana Airlines Business Class. As a result, we all qualified for access.

The Star Alliance Business Class Lounge at Los Angeles International Airport is guarded at the door with a man at a small podium. The check in is outside the lounge at this podium unlike the typical busy counters that grace so many lounges around the world.

Reception: Star Alliance Lounge Los Angeles

The lounge is administered by Air New Zealand, who previously ran the excellent Air New Zealand Lounge in Los Angeles Terminal Two.

Lounge Proudly Operated by Air New Zealand

Inside the Star Alliance Business Lounge Los Angeles:

Lounge Seating:

Continuing on with the improvement themes, the lounge space is a major improvement over the old Star Alliance Business and First Class lounge. This lounge was awarded the 2015 “Best Alliance Lounge in the World” by Skytrax consumer ratings. The lounge offers space both indoor, terraced and outdoor seating. At the time of our visit, the place was almost deserted. Looking back, it wasn’t almost deserted, it WAS completely deserted. It’s fair to say that the lounge offers lots of seating space. 

Lounge Seating by the Bar
Lounge Seating
Magazines and Semi Private Rooms
Lounge Seating by the Entrance
Small Spaces off the Main Halls with Los Angeles Themed Art
Lounge Seating by the Bar

The Terrace:

There was an indoor terrace that offered views of the concourse below. It was linked to the inside at each end. The terrace shared a double sided bar that allowed bartenders to move back and forth between the inside and outside seating areas. The outside bar was unmanned during the time of our visit. 

The Terrace Bar
The Star Alliance Business Lounge Terrace
The Star Alliance Lounge Terrace Bar

We ended up parking ourselves our on the terrace where we had a nice view of the retail area of the TBIT concourse. It also provided lots of entertainment for the back of the Time Tower which my son really enjoyed watching during our stay.

Views of The Time Tower from the Star Alliance Business Lounge Terrace
Views from the Lounge Terrace

The Outdoor Terrace:

The lounge also featured an outside area that offered views of LAX Terminal 3. It was a slightly boring patio space but a nice feature. The patio was advertised as non smoking. Thanks to the rain this morning, it was completely deserted. Unfortunately, with the design of the new terminal, the lounge has a view of a boring domestic commuter terminal. As a result, your views are more likely to be of a Southwest B737 instead of a beautiful Qantas A380.

Patio Access
Star Alliance Business Lounge Patio
Star Alliance Business Lounge Patio with Views to LAX Terminal Three

Lounge Quotations:

The lounge featured several quotes spread about the lounge instead of art work hung on the walls. The quotes were related to Los Angeles and California. Some of them were entertaining, although many were not famous or recognizable. 


Food and Beverage:

The lounge is designed to service international business class flights. As a result, it had a more substantial food and beverage section as compared to a regular domestic lounge. The food and beverage area has the most impressive wine rack I’ve ever seen in any First or Business Class Lounge worldwide.

The Impressive Wine Wall

We opted for breakfast in the lounge. It consisted of quiches, burrito mini egg/cheese wraps, yoghurt, smoothies, cereal and bacon, hash browns. As a person who normally enjoyed a heavier breakfast in the morning, I was pretty happy to be able to get enough to keep myself full prior to our flight.

Breakfast Juices
Hot Breakfast Dishes: Scrambled Eggs, Hash-browns and Wraps
Fruit & Yoghurt Selections with Smoothies

There was also a Vietnamese Pho station in the back which was a plus. Most of the customers in the lounge at this hour were Asian, since the first two flights were Asiana Airlines Seoul Incheon and ANA Tokyo Narita flights.. It seemed that the most popular items being served were congee or pho for breakfast. 

Pho Station

The lounge was a super comfortable place to be. The only minor downside was that the wines were pretty bargain basement. On our visit, Stonebridge Cellars and Mumm Napa Sparking or “method champenoise” were on offer. At least they were presently nicely in their own station. 

The Lounge Bar
Stone Cellars, Cupcake Reds
Imported Corona and Stella Artois Beers
Mumm’s Napa Sparking Wine
Spirits: Seagrams Gin and Absolute Vodka

Our travels today were taking us via Asiana Airlines Los Angeles to Seoul Incheon then onwards to Bali. There was volcanic activity occurring at Mount Raung, which was immediately adjacent to the island of Bali, Indonesia. While we were in the lounge, I spent some time checking the volcanic ash advisory. The Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, run by the competent Australian Government, covered Mt Raung in Indonesia and published comprehensive reports that were updated several times a day. Since the Bali Airport website wasn’t really providing any useful information, and the flight arrivals and departure information displays on their website were not working properly, I located FlightAware and which also provided as real time information as you could get. 

Volcanic Flight Advisory
Ash Cloud Diagrams
Flight Aware Activity

Seems as though the ash cloud floats different ways depending on who you look at. Planefinder had the trouble zone to the south of DPS. At least there was some information on the web, which was more than the Bali Airport Authorities or the airlines themselves were providing. 

Volcanic Ash Cloud Trajectories

Either way, it would make for an interesting upcoming 24 hours.

The Bottom Line: The Star Alliance Business Lounge at Tom Bradley International Terminal

Getting back to the lounge, overall the new Star Alliance Business Class Lounge was an awesome space. We came early and we didn’t really regret it. It’s a nice lounge on par with the Amex Centurion Lounges without the fancy wine or bartenders mixing deluxe drinks. What this place doesn’t have in food and beverage, it makes up for in space and design. For me, that said a lot compared to how grungy some of the lounge facilities have gotten in the past few years. It’s easily now the nicest Star Alliance Lounge in the United States and easily worth a visit when you are through the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

If you fly from Los Angeles International Airport, do you make a habit of coming to the Star Alliance Business Lounge in the Tom Bradley International Terminal?

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