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We left our house north of San Diego at about 1 PM for our 8:55 PM flight. While this may seem crazy, my sister was intent upon visiting the American Girl doll store in Los Angeles to spend a sum of money she had received from the University of San Diego for participating in a scientific study, we were concerned about traffic, and wanted to have plenty of time at the lounge, so we left plenty early. We arrived in LA at sometime past, then headed to the American Girl store. I stood around for an hour and change, pretending to design an American Girl t-shirt with the word ‘KEK’ printed on it, and making fun of one particular American Girl historical character for dressing like a walking fever dream.
After leaving the American Girl store, we discovered that our flight had been delayed by 45 minutes, with the flight now departing at 9:40. We also had a ton of time before our shuttle from the place we would be parking our car to the airport left, so my family decided it was okay to let me play aviation photographer for a short while. Accordingly, we found a spot at a vacant lot across the street from the Renaissance hotel right under the approach path of aircraft landing on LAX’s northern runways (25R and L), and I whipped out my new Cannon E-450. I was super happy with the few photos I got at this location (though they weren’t of anything super interesting), and we parked our car at the Sam’s Park parking lot, then hopped the shuttle to the Tom Bradley International Terminal.
We headed inside the terminal and, after some searching, found the British Airways check-in counters. Since we arrived so early, the line was fairly short and we had our boarding and lounge passes within five minutes.
As we had yet to receive our Global Entry/TSA PreCheck membership cards, despite having been approved, we headed into the first/business class security line, which, while being much slower than the PreCheck lane, was perfectly fast and got us through in less than 15 minutes.
I cannot overstate just how beautiful the new Tom Bradley terminal is. Architecturally speaking, I believe it is far better looking than Singapore Changi, or Tokyo Narita (though one can actually pick out certain similarities between Tom Bradley and Tokyo’s other airport, Haneda), which are often cited as examples of how good looking an airport terminal can be. Tom Bradley is huge, bright, and airy, with tons of natural light and open space.
The lounge is located straight past security on the right side, up on level 5. The lounge is open daily from 6:30 AM to 11:30 PM (with the closing time being 25 minutes before the departure of the last flight out of Tom Bradley, Cathay Pacific’s flight to Hong Kong at 11:55, and the opening time being 30 minutes after the terminal opens).
The lounge is huge, given that it handles all British Airways, American, Cathay Pacific, and QANTAS passengers flying in and out of Tom Bradley, which is a crap ton of people. Closest to the entrance is a bar…
…followed by a long tract of seating (mostly traditional lounge chairs) and the excellent buffet.
From there, the there are seats arranged around the glass atrium in a square shape, with a mix of lounge chairs and tables where one can sit down and eat.
Hanging in the atrium is some sort of rainbow fishing net thing…
One distinguishing feature of the lounge was the large fire pit… I’d never seen that before!
In my experience, the Oneworld lounge at Tom Bradley offers some of the best food of any lounge in the whole terminal (though the competing Star Alliance lounge has great food and an outdoor terrace with views of the tarmac). When I visited (around dinnertime) food on offer included soups, Indian-style potatoes, salad, chicken, fresh fruits, brownies. On my last visit there was also some Asian options (including Miso soup), though I suppose these are timed to coincide with the majority of the Cathay Pacific and JAL departures.
One unique feature of this buffet was the juicer. You heard me right: the lounge has a juicer, like, something you can shove carrots and celery and apples into and make liquid.
The lounge is brand new (having just been remodeled in 2015) and the place is clean, modern, well-maintained, and incredibly stylish. The various seating areas are divided by low walls and plants. The result is a lounge that’s big and can get pretty full but doesn’t feel crowded.
As far as other amenities go, the lounge’s internet is free and decently fast, there are showers, and the lounge features a business center.
At 8:45, we decided to leave the lounge and head to our gate.
In short, the Oneworld lounge LAX is a great space with comfortable seating and a good food selection, the two things I value most in a lounge. While the Star Alliance lounge has both indoor and outdoor terraces and equally good food and seating, the Oneworld lounge at LAX is quite possibly the second best airline lounge in the US that I’ve visited.