Korean Air Skyteam Lounge, LAX

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Dozer, Jul 23, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. Dozer

    Dozer Silver Member

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    This lounge visit is part of my first and business class award trip to Turkey and China. My index including trip reports for Air Canada, Asiana, Thai Airways and Turkish Airlines, and lounge and hotel reviews can be found here.

    This was my first time flying out of the new Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) since the remodel and I was giddy as a kid in a candy shop to finally visit it. The new terminal is modern, beautiful and is actually quite enjoyable to walk around and kill some time in. There are new airport lounges, a decent food court and plenty of high-end stores that would rival other world class airports. Walking around the new Villaraigosa Pavilion (named after our very humble LA mayor), it was hard to tell if you were in an airport terminal or on Rodeo Drive. There were beautiful shops, interactive displays, a kid’s play area and enough going on to keep you entertained for a couple of hours.

    NOTE: If you are connecting from an international airline to a domestic airline such as American, Delta or United, you must exit the TBIT, walk to the domestic terminal and go through security again. That may take a while so don't linger around the TBIT too long if you have a tight connection.

    For those of you that enjoy lots of pictures, I created a photo slideshow of the new Tom Bradley International Terminal for you here.

    I actually got to the airport about three hours before my flight because I wanted to explore the terminal a bit before checking out the lounges. In addition to the KAL Lounge, I also visited the new Star Alliance Lounge. The new Star Alliance Lounge is exponentially better than the former lounge and is easily one of my favorite business class lounges in the world. You can read my review of the Star Alliance Lounge here.

    The boarding gates in the new TBIT terminal are all located on the fourth floor. The KAL Lounge is located on the fifth floor and the new Star Alliance Lounge is located on the sixth floor. Both lounges are located airside (after security) and are only accessible to passengers departing from the TBIT. The two lounges are located across from each other in the Villaraigosa Pavilion.

    The KAL Lounge is open daily from 08:30 AM to 12:30 AM. It is 68% larger than the old lounge and at 1320 square feet, can seat up to 305 passengers. It's significantly smaller than the Star Alliance Lounge but with less premium cabin passengers than Star Alliance departing from the TBIT, the smaller size wasn't an issue.

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    The main entrance to the KAL Lounge is actually a little hidden. It doesn't face down onto the pavilion and is located down the corridor from the main area of the terminal. Just take the escalators to the fifth floor, turn left and follow the signs to the entrance.

    Emirates and Skyteam premium cabin passengers and Priority Pass members are granted access to the lounge. Even though this is a Skyteam Lounge, only fliers of Skyteam airlines that operate out of the TBIT are able to use this lounge. I can't confirm this because I'm not a SkyTeam guy but I believe Air France operates out of terminal two and Delta operates out of terminal five. They both have their own lounge in their respective terminals. And Emirates has contracted with the KAL Lounge for their premium cabin passengers until their own lounge is fully constructed.

    On this trip, I was flying Turkish Airlines business class so I used my Priority Pass membership to gain entry into the KAL lounge. Priority Pass members are only granted access to the business class lounge but the friendly agents let me peak through the first class lounge to snap some pictures.

    As you enter the lounge foyer, the business class lounge is located to your left and the smaller first class lounge is located to your right. At first glance, the new KAL Lounge is beautiful! It's spacious and bright with lots of natural lighting and warm colors. The design is sleek and modern with a variety of seating and dining spaces.

    Korean Airlines Business Class Lounge:

    To the left of the entrance, there are a bank of storage lockers for you to use if you don't want to carry your belongings with you. The individual lockers can be set with your personalize combination and are large enough to store a roller board and your other carry on items.

    There are plenty of comfortable seats around the lounge and a dining area for you to eat at but oddly enough, there were no dedicated work space areas. Sure there are tables that you could work at but there were no quiet areas of the lounge with desks, cubicles or other private partitions. You'll just have to make do with the dining tables or the large common bar table in the center of the lounge. Wifi is provided and there is an ample supply of electrical power outlets scattered though the lounge.

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    Food-wise, this is where the KAL Lounge really fell flat. There were buffet stations with chips and salsa, veggie sticks, pastries, cold sandwiches and a salad bar. The only "hot" option was instant noodle soup.

    There was a refrigerator with beers, sodas and juices, cappuccino maker, hot water for tea and a small self-serve alcohol bar with some spirits and bottles of wine.

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    Now, my favorite part of the lounge has the be the indoor deck that looks down onto the Villaraigosa Pavilion. The new TBIT is beautiful and the balcony style deck allows you to sit, relax and enjoy the people watching below.

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    There are shower rooms but I wasn't able to take any pictures of those. There are no day rooms, loungers or anywhere else to rest your eyes. Sitting room only for this lounge.

    Korean Airlines First Class Lounge:

    The KAL first class lounge is significantly smaller than the business class lounge. There's a main seating area with a couple rows of seats, private rooms for VIPs and a small area on the deck reserved for first class passengers. It's the same deck as the business class lounge but the first class area is partitioned off with more comfortable seats.

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    Food-wise, there was a buffet station with the same food options as the business class lounge with the addition of two hot items (fried rice and chicken wings) and fresh fruit. The alcohol selection was similar as the business class side, sans champagne and all.

    Overall thoughts:

    The new KAL Lounge is modern, beautiful and is a great place to relax before your flight but falls short in so many areas. I really appreciated the warm ambiance and the indoor deck but the lack of hot food options, work spaces and areas to lie down and rest really disappointed me. This lounge could have been great but seemed a little "half thought out." But those are easy fixes if they wanted to improve the lounge. Swap out a couple of chairs, add some cubicles and beef up the food options and this would be a great lounge.

    My original post with many more pictures can be found here.
     
  2. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Thank you, very timely review. I was just yesterday reviewing my lounge options for an upcoming trip to LHR from LAX on BA. No OneWorld status, and my UA Club membership won't get me into the Star Alliance lounge without a BP for a *A flight departing from LAX, so Priority Pass (Select) access to the KAL lounge seems to be the only option. Since the layover at LAX is a deliberately long one (flying in on UA, on a separately ticket and will recheck my bags), it would be nice to hang out in a quiet space for a while. But I'd have to pay for my wife as a guest ($27, I think).

    I have never visited the new TBIT, so I'll check your pics out. I assume there are better dining options than in the KAL lounge :)
     
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  3. Dozer

    Dozer Silver Member

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    Yup, I have the Priority Pass Select also. It's $27 for a guest but I think it's worth it. The lounge itself is really nice and I love the indoor deck overlooking the pavilion. My main complaint was the lack of real food. There were finger foods such as pastries and sandwiches but nothing really substantial. If you don't need to work, it's a nice place to relax. There's a brand new food court in the pavilion of the TBIT and I think you will have better food options there. And if you want to kill some time, there's plenty of shopping in the terminal also.
     
  4. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Yes, DL has a lounge (SC = Sky Club) in T5 at LAX. It's large and new but frequently crowded. DL also uses T6, which is connected by an airside tunnel. There's an extremely nice AS Board Room in T6 which is in PP and seems to also accept DL SC memberships, at least for now.

    I think AF has it's own lounge in T2 which might be the old NW WC. IIRC KLM also uses that lounge.

    Within SkyTeam, the TBIT KE lounge would be used by CZ, MU, GA, etc. in addition to KE: mostly Asian airlines for their TPAC service exLAX.
     
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