Access the Qantas LAX lounges before an American Airlines flight

Access the Qantas LAX lounges before an American Airlines flight

You've just stepped off a Qantas flight to Los Angeles, with a connecting American Airlines flight to a domestic US destination still to go... but that doesn't mean you have to make do with AA's pedestrian Admirals Club lounge at LAX.

Provided there's enough time between those QF and AA flights, many travellers will have the option of dining and relaxing at the far superior Qantas Los Angeles business lounge...

... or even the Qantas first class lounge, with its Rockpool dining room and a familiar if pared-down breakfast menu.

(Either way, you're almost certain to get the last decent cup of coffee until you're back in Australia.)

But hang on: with the Qantas lounges at Los Angeles' Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) and American Airlines flights departing from LAX T4, how do you perform this 'terminal tango'?

It's quite easy when you know the trick. So here's the trick.

1. Once your inbound Qantas flight arrives at LAX you'll need to collect your luggage and re-check it for the onwards flight – so far, so normal.

2. You'll exit TBIT, turn right and head towards Terminal 4 to check in for your American Airlines flight and make your way through security into T4. Again, this is par for the course.

3. Now look for signs to the terminal connector walkway, which lets passengers seamlessly stroll between T4 and TBIT without going back out through security.

John Nguyen, AirlineReporter.com
Walking from T4 to TBIT at LAX
John Nguyen, AirlineReporter.com

4. Once you reach TBIT, head to the Qantas lounges and have ready your inbound Qantas boarding pass, your connecting American Airlines boarding pass and – if necessary – your Qantas Platinum or Gold frequent flyer card or Qantas Club membership card.

Which Qantas LAX lounge can you use?

If you flew in on Qantas first class or have Qantas Platinum (or Platinum One or Chairman's Lounge) status, make your way straight through to the first class lounge. We suggest that a glass of champagne isn't the worst welcome to America.

If you flew in on Qantas business class or have Qantas Gold status, settle into the business class lounge.

Qantas Club members can also use the Qantas business lounge before a domestic American Airlines flight provided that flight was booked and ticketed under a QF flight number, not its native AA flight number. As long as your boarding pass lists a QF flight number, you're in.

Note also that your class of travel on the American Airlines flight makes no difference to what Qantas lounge you can use.

To quote the lounge access rules for the Oneworld alliance (which counts both Qantas and American Airlines as members): Lounge access will be determined on the international long haul ticketed flight (either First of Business Class) regardless of the ticketed class of travel on the international short haul or domestic flight.

Avoiding the T4 trek entirely

It's sometimes possible to avoid shlepping across to T4 and then back via the connector to TBIT.

After your Qantas flight offloads you at TBIT, look for the American Airlines checkin desks at the 'Connections' area. If they're open you should be able to drop off your bag and head straight upstairs to the TBIT arrivals security area.

Show them your AA boarding pass and when told that your flight leaves from Terminal 4, just explain that you're visiting TBIT for lounge access and will use the connector to get across to T4.

Of course, this same strategy works if you're travelling to the US with hand-luggage only – a fairly impressive feat for a stateside business trip – and already have the boarding pass for your American Airlines flight.

Regardless of how you get to the Qantas lounges at TBIT, you'll of course want to set an alarm on your smartphone to remind you when it's time to leave the lounge and head back to T4 before boarding commences on your American Airlines flight.

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

37 comments

  • Stefan Kane

    DrSK

    20 Sep, 2017 07:15 am

    Thanks David - the connector has made life much easier at LAX. Have the previously reported inconsistent interpretations of the access policy been sorted out, to your knowledge? - e.g. would one expect access to the F lounge if arriving on CX F and connecting to AA F domestic, no OW status?
    No member give thanks

  • Mark Rhodes

    Rhodesy

    21 Sep, 2017 09:51 am

    I am flying from JFK to Sydney next week on a QF flight . I will be changing planes in LAX to board another QF flight. As a Qantas Club member will I have access to the Qantas lounge during the stopover and or the AA lounge while in transit.
    No member give thanks

  • markpk

    markpk

    20 Sep, 2017 08:15 am

    Have done this and its a fantastic option...The walk around to T4 is pretty quick or if you time it right the AA team will drive you in the golf cart!
    No member give thanks

  • romaau

    romaau

    20 Sep, 2017 09:04 am

    How long is the walk from the lounge to the first gate at T4?
    No member give thanks

  • Himeno

    Himeno

    20 Sep, 2017 01:24 pm

    The QF F lounge is right next to the TBIT end of the connector.
    Gate 41 in T4 is right next to the connector at the T4 end.

    Last July, I walked from the connector TSA checkpoint to the F lounge in about 2 minutes.
    No member give thanks

  • markpk

    markpk

    20 Sep, 2017 02:40 pm

    Depending on how fast you walk you could leave Qantas F lounge and be in T4 in under 10mins
    No member give thanks

  • Say Mee

    mspcooper

    20 Sep, 2017 11:45 am

    I'm assuming this does not apply if you are already in LA and taking the AA flights domestically or if you are flying into LAX with another carrier but taking AA flights domestically (regardless of Qantas status?)
    No member give thanks

  • AJFlying

    AJFlying

    21 Sep, 2017 02:14 am

    If flying AA domestically only, you can still access the lounges with Oneworld Emerald or Sapphire. I'm Qantas platinum and do this quite a bit in LAX - it's nice to have a decent flat white or a Coopers!
    Depending on time of day, it is quicker to checkin at TBIT and go straight to lounge rather than go T4 or T5 and walk back across.
    No member give thanks

  • nyjoe4

    nyjoe4

    20 Sep, 2017 11:47 am

    And what if you are flying on an AA international flight from LAX to SYD?  Which lounge to use?
    No member give thanks

  • Sarah Banks

    Sarah Banks

    20 Sep, 2017 12:07 pm

    I recently did this and enjoyed the Qantas first class lounge especially as the AA lounge is being renovated and not nearly as good but word of warning - as you can no longer check your bags all the way through to a connecting US city with American Airlines, be very careful that they do.  I recently flew to LAX and connected to AA flight to Miami - AA staff didn't tag my bags - despite me asking them to check that they had - and they never arrived in Miami nor could the AA staff track them because they had no label.  Luckily Qantas at LA went on a physical hunt and found them and sent them on  a day later......  
    Member who gave thanks

    David

  • GoldCanyon340

    GoldCanyon340

    20 Sep, 2017 12:09 pm

    ....you can't get a decent coffee in a country of 325.9 million people?  Australian coffee snobbery strikes again. 
    Member who gave thanks

    1KBrad

  • Bob Burgess

    Bob Burgess

    20 Sep, 2017 12:33 pm

    You can but you need to really search for it, the US has very few independent coffee shops because most are franchise chains, and not all of those indies actually care about coffee. But the ones who do are a life-saver!
    No member give thanks

  • RK

    Ryan K

    20 Sep, 2017 01:54 pm

    I've been to America five times and have never found a good coffee! I'll be hunting out an Australian owned cafe in New York in the coming weeks though!
    Member who gave thanks

    J_seeker

  • markpk

    markpk

    20 Sep, 2017 02:39 pm

    There's a really really good Aussie cafe in Brooklyn. Had breakfast there earlier this year - A decent Flat White!!!

    And smashed avo on toast!
    No member give thanks

  • markpk

    markpk

    20 Sep, 2017 03:48 pm

    Bluestone Lane - Prospect St in Brooklyn was the one I went to. Its a couple of cafe's run by some ex-Melb ppl.

    Google Australian cafe's in New York or Brooklyn and you'll find a few
    Member who gave thanks

    David

  • CBR boy

    CBR boy

    20 Sep, 2017 10:14 pm

    markpk how will you ever own a house if you keep paying for smashed avo on toast? :-)
    No member give thanks

  • markpk

    markpk

    21 Sep, 2017 10:29 am

    Company expense account my friend!
    No member give thanks

  • Nick  Sydney 348

    Nick Sydney 2

    20 Sep, 2017 03:20 pm

    There is one heading west on 55th st from Seventh Avenue. Little basement place and from memory has an Aussie name but cannot for the life remember what it is. They do know what a flat white is. Failing that Pret a Mange do something resembling a flattie
    No member give thanks

  • Bob Burgess

    Bob Burgess

    20 Sep, 2017 04:53 pm

    Check out Flat White, which is owned by an Aussie in NY. It's a lot like in London, many of the really good cafes are run by Aussies or Kiwis or have them as baristas and sometimes advertise that fact! Blue Bottle is also good, they have an outlet across from the Chelsea Markets and a cart on the Highline walk, as well as being well-represented in San Francisco.
    No member give thanks

  • aggie57

    aggie57

    20 Sep, 2017 10:26 pm

    Blue Butterfly Coffee Co, El Sugundo. 10 minutes max from LAX. Great coffee.
    Portola Coffee Lab, several locations across Orange County. Does a great flat white.

    There is plenty of what Aussies would call decent coffee but not on every street corner.
    No member give thanks

  • RK

    Ryan K

    20 Sep, 2017 01:53 pm

    Good to know. Similarly it would be great if Sydney Airport had an after security terminal connector walkway between T2 and T3 - particularly for those Qantas Club members on Jetstar flights.
    No member give thanks

  • Dean

    deanr

    20 Sep, 2017 02:18 pm

    I very much doubt that Sydney Airport would pay for something like that just so that people flying on a budget airline could stop by the business class lounge in another terminal, after Qantas stopped paying rent on the lounge it did have in T2 (when it was closed) and already moved its regional flights to T3, so that connecting passengers have no need to change terminals!
    No member give thanks

  • BJVincent

    BJVincent

    20 Sep, 2017 03:19 pm

    (Unrelated to main topic ....) We visit our family in Houston about three times a year and the coffee in St Arbucks is terrific.
    No member give thanks

  • ALAN ORR

    orra

    20 Sep, 2017 03:44 pm

    After arriving at TBIT and clearing immigration etc, and after placing your bag on the transfer conveyor just prior to exiting the TBIT building, is is possible to transfer internally from TBIT across to Terminal 4 without going outside and re-entering the building into Terminal 4 ?

    I did it once and it was way quicker with a very short line to process security clearance versus the long line up when you walk in the front of Terminal 4.

    No member give thanks

  • John Phelan

    John Phelan

    20 Sep, 2017 05:22 pm

    Yes it is, but you'll need to go through security at TBIT. Then just walk up to the QF lounge and proceed from there along the connector into T4.
    No member give thanks

  • Doubleplatinum

    Doubleplatinum
    Banned

    4 Nov, 2017 12:28 pm

    Is it possible to do this with a QF ticketed flight (AA metal) cheers
    No member give thanks

  • aggie57

    aggie57

    20 Sep, 2017 10:28 pm

    If you have TSA Pre its generally quicker to clear security at T4 than at Tom Bradley.
    No member give thanks

  • Lindsay Wilson

    QF WP

    20 Sep, 2017 04:00 pm

    Thanks for the review David. Have taken a copy for future use.
    No member give thanks

  • markpk

    markpk

    20 Sep, 2017 07:53 pm

    Just keep in mind the signs are a big ambiguous - from memory they indicate you're heading for international check-in when in fact you arrive at a security point, and are then airside within TBIT
    No member give thanks

  • Himeno

    Himeno

    20 Sep, 2017 08:23 pm

    The signs say "connections"
    No member give thanks

  • Justin Case

    justin case

    20 Sep, 2017 09:27 pm

    I recommend using the AA terminal just for getting through security quicker than Tom Bradley. Check in stroll around the outside to AA and breeze through.
    I often like to pop out for a smoke through TBIT and stroll towards to AA. Good to stretch the legs and kill a bit of time
    No member give thanks

  • markpk

    markpk

    20 Sep, 2017 09:44 pm

    I disagree with this strategy - if you come off a QF flight and walk around to T4 you end up in long morning queues trying to get through security.

    My experience following the path suggested by David takes you to a security point that may have 10-15 persons lined up...
    No member give thanks

  • Justin Case

    justin case

    20 Sep, 2017 09:55 pm

    While I suspect we are talking about the same security point, I should add, that my way is more reliable for when you are leaving LAX to come back to Australia.
    Which would tend to be later in the day of course.
    I think you are correct about the longer morning lines
    No member give thanks

  • John Prossor

    AussieJohn

    30 Sep, 2017 02:26 am

    Well we arrived at Tom Bradley with every intention of taking your advice. However, in all the turmoil and with only 4 hours sleep, we somehow missed the connector walkway. Finished up in the AA Club at terminal 5 (because the one at T4 is being refurbished). Too tired to retrace our steps so we will just have to wait until we are back at Tom Bradley for the flight home. By the way, this AA Admiralty Club lounge is pretty spartan!
    No member give thanks

  • Differs

    Differs

    29 Apr, 2018 02:11 pm

    Thanks David. Love you guys - in the Qantas LAX lounge now before an American flight. Fantastic to know this ‘trick’.
    Member who gave thanks

    Kelsi

  • Kelsi

    Kelsi

    4 Aug, 2018 12:53 pm

    Hey David, thanks for a great post. I read it as I have an upcoming flight booked from Melbourne - Mexico City, stopping in Sydney and LAX. The first 2 legs are Business Class, however the final (LAX-Mexico City) is American Airlines and Economy due to availability.

    Your post sounded like great news to me, but I've since contacted Qantas who directed me to https://www.qantas.com/travel/airlines/lounge-locations/los-angeles/tom-bradley/international-business-lounge/global/en?loungeCategory=qcLounge and said that I won't have access as the outgoing flight is not Qantas operated.

    This seems to directly contradict your post and the T&Cs on the OneWorld site. Has anyone else experience this, or do you have any advice here?
    No member give thanks

  • Geoff Annabel

    ozboy

    16 Sep, 2018 09:08 pm

    Hi

    This strategy sounds great. One potential hiccup for me is that my next flight after deplaning @ 6:20AM off QF11 in F is AA6023 to YVR which leaves from T5 not T4 @ 11:20AM. Looking at the official LAX map there is also an airside connector from T4 to T5. Allowing an appropriate amount of extra walking time this sounds like it would work.

    Has anyone implemented this strategy but to T5 and how did it go?
    No member give thanks

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26 May, 2019 03:31 pm

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