Hong Kong and Macau Part 1: Star Alliance Lounge at LAX Tom Bradley Terminal

 

The first “stop” on my way to Hong Kong was my home airport of LAX. After a smooth check-in in the Asiana Business Class line, I headed straight for security and then the lounge.

The lounge is on the 5th floor, so you’ll need to take the elevator up (it’s directly after you clear security). If I remember correctly the SkyTeam Lounge is on the 4th floor, but I’m not sure where the OneWorld lounge is (possibly 3rd floor). Keep in mind that these lounges, as their name indicates, are open to anyone that has the appropriate status or is traveling in Business or First class, so they can get quite crowded.

The Star Alliance Lounge check-in counter.

The Star Alliance Lounge check-in counter.

Entrance to Business Class Lounge.

Entrance to Business Class Lounge.

First let me make a distinction: within the Star Alliance Lounge there are two separate lounges – the First Class Lounge and the Business Class Lounge. I was flying in Asiana’s Quadra Smartium Business Class so I was admitted to the Business Lounge.

There are quite a few flights leaving at night (I left on a Thursday night/Friday morning at 12:30am), so the lounge was very full. In fact, I decided to just give up trying to find a seat in favor of taking pictures of the lounge, which you can see below (sorry for a few blurry pictures).

This is the main seating area. Pretty much full by the time I got there.

This is the main seating area. Pretty much full by the time I got there.

Some more seating on the other side of that wooden wall. Still pretty full.

Some more seating on the other side of that wooden wall. Still pretty full.

Some food/drinks and a little more seating. Again, this place is like a zoo!

Some food/drinks and a little more seating. Again, this place is like a zoo!

The spread wasn't that great, but free is free!

The spread wasn’t that great, but free is free!

On the opposite side of the entrance is a larger kitchen-like area with more food options. There was some soup and some crab fried rice, but nothing really too substantial. Don’t come here expecting to get a good dinner meal!

There was more seating, and more people, near the main food station towards the back of the room.

There was more seating, and more people, near the main food station towards the back of the room.

The food on this side wasn't much better.

The food on this side wasn’t much better.

There was some soup and fried rice, in case you'd like a snack.

There was some soup and fried rice, in case you’d like a snack.

In all honesty, the food I had on the plane was better than what was out here. If you can wait, then wait. The tons of people around didn’t exactly make for the most comfortable stay here either.

A little bit after I got there I realized there was an entire room that I completely missed. There is a hallway near the main kitchen seating area in the back that leads to a few workstations and a large seating area, plus there are some individual restrooms with showers, but no handles/nozzles. I didn’t have time to ask about the showers since it was so late, but it’s good to know they’re there.

This is the hallway to the additional seating area, where there were still some empty spaces.

This is the hallway to the additional seating area, where there were still some empty spaces.

Standard work stations.

Standard work stations.

Open seating!

Open seating!

Even More Seating

Empty Seating

Room View

Snacks!

Of course I had to take a look at the shower room as well. Like I mentioned before, there were no nozzles or handles which was kind of bizarre, but I was on my way out once I found these so I didn’t have time to ask.

Sink

Shower

Thankfully I’m like a travel ninja and was also able to sneak my way in to the First Class Lounge. For the most part, it was extremely similar to the Business Class Lounge, but with one huge difference: there were only two people in it. It was much more quiet and you had plenty of space to spread out if you wanted. If you have a chance to walk in, you should!

The First Class Lounge was MUCH more open and less crowded.

The First Class Lounge was MUCH more open and less crowded.

Nearly empty. Those two guys were literally the only two in the lounge (athough the First Class Lounge was much smaller than the Business Class Lounge.

Nearly empty. Those two guys were literally the only two in the lounge (although the First Class Lounge was much smaller than the Business Class Lounge.

Sadly the food was almost exactly the same as in the Business Class Lounge.

Sadly the food was almost exactly the same as in the Business Class Lounge.

The big difference between the First and Business Lounges was that the First Lounge had a couple of private rooms that could be reserved. These rooms included a large TV and several couches and chairs. It would be perfect if you happen to be travelling with a family!

Private Room

Private Room 2

Private Room 3

After leaving the First Class Lounge, everything suddenly seemed like a ghost town. It was so empty that one of the workers asked if I needed help, to which I responded “No, I’m good.” He said “you should probably get going, I would hate for you to miss your flight.” I checked the time and it seemed like I had plenty of time, so I left for my gate.

I got to my gate, the path to which was surprisingly empty, and found a single Asiana employee standing with a walkie talkie. She spotted my look of confusion as I looked upon the empty gate area and promptly said “Sir, the gate for this Asiana flight has been changed.” Great. I left the lounge in such haste that I forgot to check the monitors, and of course the new gate was a literal half mile walk!

I wasn’t in full panic mode but I sure was walking fast. I got there and boarding was underway, but there was still plenty of time left with the number of people on the flight. Business Class had boarded much earlier my line was empty. Unfortunately I had to take a bus to one of those random boarding areas that LAX has, but it was relatively painless. Within 5 minutes, the bus was stopped and I was on the plane!

Look out for my upcoming review of the OZ203 flight in Quadra Smartium from LAX-ICN!

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