I Finally Got to Visit The Qantas First Class Lounge LAX, To My Surprise, I Wasn’t That Impressed
It was recently brought to my attention that I complain and whine too much in my posts and on social media. After this was brought to my attention, I went back to my most recent posts and Tweets and noticed a pattern: I’m a spoiled brat. I’ve been actively working to create more positive content. However, I will not sacrifice honest opinions to appease some readers. That said, I really didn’t care for the Qantas First Class Lounge at Los Angeles International Airport.
I’m writing this nearly three months after my visit to the lounge still, I have a very vivid memory of that visit as it came at the very end of my amazing trip to Auckland. It’s probably for the best that I’ve procrastinated and waited so long to write this review as most of the unneeded minutia is long gone from my memory.
The best part of my visit was how I received access to the lounge. On my way back from Auckland, I flew in American Airlines’ fairly new and phenomenal Premium Economy product. I loved every aspect of American’s Premium Economy except that passengers seated in that product don’t receive lounge access unless they hold elite status. So, I pretty much accepted the fact that I was going to spend the entirety of my three-plus hour layover nodding off at the departure gate for my flight home. This turned out not to be the case.
When I sat down in my seat, I turned to my neighbor who was looking intensely out the window and made a remark regarding upgrades on that flight. He turned to me and told me that he missed out on an upgrade by just one seat. I continued to chat to pass the time on the ground and found out that he was an Executive Platinum with American Airlines. I mentioned that I blog for BoardingArea and enjoy discussing loyalty programs and the airline industry. It turned out that my neighbor had actually read a few of my posts.
After talking for the better part of our time on the ground and for a while once in-flight, I managed to sneak in what was essentially a request. “Oh, so you get access to quite a few lounges when we land in LA?” As if he knew exactly what I was going for he turned to me and said, “Yep, which one do you think’s best, I’d be more than happy to guest you in.”
That’s how I received access to the Qantas First Class Lounge at LAX. I got extremely lucky, that’s all there is to it. If I had sat a row behind the bulkhead, I wouldn’t be writing this review. I can’t express my gratitude to that reader enough. The fight from Auckland to Los Angeles was one of the longest and more sleepless flights I’ve been on due to the time change.
The Qantas First Class Lounge LAX, Reviewed
Once we claimed our bags, we made our way through Terminal 4 security which at the time was virtually dead. We then walked to the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) using the fairly new Terminal 4-TBIT connector.
The Qantas First Class Lounge LAX is located just to the right of the T4-TBIT connector on the second level of the TBIT. It’s somewhat nestled back in the corner of the TBIT though very easy for Terminal 4 passengers to access.
The entrance way is especially attractive with a beautiful marble facade and automatic glass sliding doors, a Qantas Roo adjacent to the entryway. Upon entry, we were greeted by an energetic and professional lounge attendant. He took our boarding passes and explained the layout of the lounge. We both wanted to get a shower in before our next flight, so the lounge attendant lead us to the bank of private shower suites.
On my walk back to my shower suite, I was surprised by how worn the lounge looked. It wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing space I’ve ever visited though, given how quiet the lounge was, it was certainly a relaxing space.
Qantas First Class Lounge LAX Shower Suites
The shower suites weren’t especially large but were clean and featured premium amenities. Honestly, you could have handed me a hose, a bar of Irish Spring soap, and a piece of sandpaper to dry off with and I would have thought it was the most luxurious shower experience ever, that’s how badly I wanted to shower after a 12-hour flight.
Each Qantas First Class Lounge shower suites features ASPAR by Aurora amenities. I especially liked these amenities as they weren’t tough on the skin and featured a fairly calming scent. Towels are also provided, of course, however, I was surprised by how frayed the towels were. There was also quite a bit of hair on the towels. Though the suite itself felt clean, the towels did not. Nonetheless, I enjoyed my shower immensely
Qantas First Class Lounge LAX A La Carte Dining
After my shower, I sat down in the a la carte dining area. One thing I found interesting about the dining area was how it wasn’t necessarily separated from the rest of the lounge. A small partition somewhat blocked off the rest of the lounge but honestly, the dining space just blends in with the rest of the lounge. It’s oddly placed but nonetheless, a quiet and relaxing area.
Within a minute or two of sitting down, I was welcomed by a waitress who somewhat unenergetically welcomed me to the lounge. She handed me a menu and poured a glass of water. Everything on the menu is included with access to the lounge much like the Lufthansa First Class Terminal or American Airlines Flagship Dining Facilities. It was during the breakfast window so I opted for some eggs and the pancakes.
My waitress returned to my table to take my order. I ordered the pancakes and asked for a side of eggs. She looked at me somewhat confused. “What do you mean eggs, like what plate?” I responded, “Oh, just a plate of like scrambled eggs.” She looked down at me and said, “Um, ah, ok, just a side of plain old eggs.” I also ordered a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice, coffee, and a side of toast.
Less than ten minutes passed and my meal had arrived at my table. Each dish was great, albeit, it’s pretty hard to mess up eggs, toast, and pancakes. The pancakes were very fresh and topped with a tasty compote. The eggs were also tasty but featured ground pepper. I’m not a fan of ground pepper so the eggs ended up just being okay.
Overall, breakfast was great. I shouldn’t have any complaints as the alternative was an overpriced and stale terminal breakfast.
Qantas First Class Lounge LAX Seating and Atmosphere
The aspect of the lounge I disliked the least was the seating. It’s a fairly boring and uninspired lounge with the most basic seating I’ve seen in a lounge of this caliber. While the service was okay and the food was tasty, the lounge lacked any defining qualities or other amenities. This is why I found the lounge to be so overwhelming.
Seating consists of clusters of traditional leather lounge chairs and sofas as well as the occasional velvet upholstery chair. The most enjoyable and private part of the lounge is the row of Eams-like chairs located in the very front of the lounge. If you plan on doing any lounging, these chairs are your best bet.
The overall atmosphere seemed kind of stale. It was certainly a calming and relaxing space but there was nothing luxurious about the lounge. It was simply a waiting room with amazing food. The American Airlines Flagship Lounge is beautifully decorated with innovative and private seating as well as self-serve beverage and snack options. Considering this is a major first class lounge I’ve often heard compared to the Lufthansa First Class ground experience, I felt as if there wasn’t anything too special about the space.
There is one especially attractive aspect of the lounge that I think wins many guests over. Unfortunately, this was one amenity I could not take advantage of. I’m talking about the bar. The bar is a sprawling marble focal point featuring an assortment of what appeared to be very premium liquors. When I’m abroad, I usually drink and I understand just how enjoyable a nice glass of champagne is while traveling. I’m guessing this is the main attraction at the lounge aside from the dining area.
In addition to the extensive bar and fairly basic seating areas, there are a few self-serve snack and drink areas in the lounge. These self-serve stations included still and sparkling water, an espresso machine, and snacks like peanuts and pretzels. I’m guessing that Qantas wants the majority of the eating and drinking to occur in the dining area and around the bar.
After walking around the lounge following breakfast, I sat down at one of the Eams-like chairs and relaxed for forty-five or so minutes. Though I found the lounge to be somewhat of a let-down, I am very thankful for at least having a place to relax during my layover.
Overall, The Qantas First Class Lounge LAX
For years, I had always imagined the Qantas First Class Lounge at Los Angeles International Airport to be this unbelievably premium lounge. There were always four or so lounges that I had held to a certain standard: the Upper Class Clubhouse at LHR, the Cathay Pacific Pier, Lufthansa First Class Terminal, and the Qantas First Class Lounge at LAX. Both the Upper Class Clubhouse and Lufthansa First Class Terminal exceeded my expectations so I was excited to finally get the chance to visit the Qantas First Class Lounge at LAX.
The Qantas First Class Lounge LAX just didn’t wow me like the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse or Lufthansa First Class Terminal. It seemed so stale and actually very basic. With the opening of American Airlines’ new Flagship Lounge in Terminal 4, I don’t actually see a need for Oneworld frequent flyers to make the haul over to the TBIT anymore.
What’s your opinion of the Qantas First Class Lounge LAX? Do you think the lounge is overrated?
Twitter Poll: Qantas First Class Lounge LAX
Writing my review of the Qantas' First Class Lounge at LAX. Curious to what travel bloggers and frequent flyers think of the lounge in 2018. Retweet and share if you get a chance! #AvGeek
— Max Prosperi (@unaccompflyer) February 27, 2018
Interesting take on thus lounge. I’ve been to it, but didn’t shower. Having a towel covered in hair would have completely grossed me out. And like you, I agree: the space does need a refresh. Perhaps your review would have been better if you’d had the dinner/lunch menu and been 21. Hopefully you’ll get to find that out with a repeat visit in a couple years. 😉 BTW, I think you mean to say “aspect of the lounge I disliked the MOST”… or maybe “LIKED the least”…. But as it’s written it says you found the seats to be the… Read more »
Thanks for the feedback, Donald. Yep, as I said, I think my experience would have been a little different if I had been able to take advantage of the premium liquor selection.
Amen! I had the same thoughts. The F&B met expectations, might have even exceeded them. I was there for both breakfast and lunch. It’s really hard to impress at breakfast. Otherwise it’s not on par with most other TRUE First lounge offerings. Shows the sad state of domestic lounges when this is far and away the best lounge in the US.
Thanks for the comment, Mike. Exactly my thoughts. Breakfast was great it just wasn’t a true first class experience. I’d say that the Flagship Lounge or the Clubhouse JFK are better than the Qantas First Lounge!
Enjoyed your take on your experience and don’t disagree I have been flying Qantas for 20 years and think highly of the Sydney First Class Lounge and a slight nod to the Melbourne FC lounge as well It seems however that they have cut corners trying to save money @ LAX when building the lounge The Sydney lounge looks high end and the LAX facility while attractive misses the shout out for a Luxury experience My last few First Class flights on Qantas there was noticeable cost cutting on food quality and execution For years I was a huge fan… Read more »
Echoing the other sentiments here. Basically this is how I always break down my visits there: Food is amazing for what’s normally had in an airport, and still pretty good compared to flagship-like outstation lounges for foreign carriers. Still think I prefer outstation CX lounges, but that’s me. Also, the booze is good if you’re looking to get tossed before a flight. Seating is abysmal. Let’s be honest: this lounge is a *decent* restaurant/bar masquerading as a lounge. There’s minimal work areas aside from the dining area if you legitimately want to work. And all the other seating forces you… Read more »
Pretty much spot on. I had such high expectations for this lounge. I was so let down when I realized it was a glorified restaurant.
Stale, bland, hard to find and with indifferent servers. Yep, that’s about right. Very disappointing, particularly in comparison with the new Star Alluance biz lounge at LAX.
I just walked past that lounge the other day. Both the Star Biz and First Lounges looked very attractive from the outside. Can’t want to visit those lounges in the future.
So let me understand…you non-rev in Premium Economy, a revenue passenger guest you in to one of the nicest lounges in the United States and you come on here and complain? Man millennial as are something else.
So since you’re the expert and are well traveled to premium lounges (wink), which is superior in your opinion? Were it not for this admit you’d be relegated to the terminal while waiting for your flight to STL.
Hmm. Didn’t non-rev this trip but okay….
To be clear, this lounge is great. I wasn’t trying to say that the Qantas F Lounge was awful I was pointing out that it’s not as amazing as I thought it was. It’s often chalked up to be one of the best lounges in North American but it wasn’t all that spectacular.
I personally prefer the American Airlines Flagship Lounge or Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.
Again, I’m not complaining (ok, I guess I am). I just wanted to point out that it’s not amazing.