Oneworld clarifies Qantas lounge access rules in Los Angeles

Oneworld clarifies Qantas lounge access rules in Los Angeles

In recent weeks, many travellers have found themselves being incorrectly denied access to the Oneworld Business Lounge and Qantas First Lounge in Los Angeles – despite their visit being completely within the bounds of the published Qantas and Oneworld lounge policies.

Among those turned away at the door: Qantas Gold, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers travelling on Qantas partner and Oneworld member American Airlines' domestic flights, along with AA’s own business class and first class passengers with a domestic connection before or after their long-haul international flight.

Some of this misunderstanding seems to stem from confusion over the fact that, while the Qantas and Oneworld lounges reside in LA’s Tom Bradley International Terminal, American Airlines operates a number of domestic services from TBIT.

There's also the little-known convention that passengers departing from any terminal at LAX may also clear security at TBIT to enjoy the lounges before returning to their terminal of departure.

Australian Business Traveller contacted Oneworld's Vice President Corporate Communications Michael Blunt to clarify the lounge access rules in Los Angeles, and whether these were being correctly applied.

Oneworld: airport lounge access policies

Through Qantas’ membership in the global Oneworld airline alliance, Gold frequent flyers receive Oneworld Sapphire recognition while both Platinum and Platinum One are classed as Oneworld Emerald. Both those membership tiers permit lounge access before American Airlines and other Oneworld flights.

While AA exempts its own AAdvantage Platinum and Executive Platinum members from that perk when flying within North America, Blunt confirmed that Qantas frequent flyers and all other Sapphire/Emerald members “should be granted access” to the TBIT lounges prior to all AA domestic flights.

Oneworld Emerald members can use the Qantas First Lounge in Los Angeles...

Similarly, AA’s long-haul business and first class passengers “travelling on a domestic flight to connect to or from an international long-haul flight in a premium cabin as part of single itinerary … too should have (lounge) access.”

Blunt also stressed that “the LAX Tom Bradley lounge developed and operated by Qantas on behalf of its oneworld partners is NOT among the small number of lounges excluded from the oneworld agreement, as detailed at oneworld.com.”

“We have been liaising with Qantas and have asked them to remind their colleagues at Los Angeles of the oneworld lounge access rules – which they tell us has now been done."

"We do also make clear that some lounges may get busy at peak times, and access to them may be restricted as a result.”

New airside link between TBIT and Terminal 4

While American Airlines uses Terminal 4 as its home hub in Los Angeles, a number of its domestic flights also depart from the international terminal.

As a result, a new airside walkway between T4 and TBIT is currently under construction and is expected to open in 2016.

Although primarily serving these passengers, the link will also have the effect of providing an easier opportunity for T4 travellers to stop by the Oneworld Business Lounge or Qantas First Lounge at TBIT before their American Airlines flight out of Terminal 4.

Flying American? Stop by the Oneworld Business Lounge in TBIT...

“In theory, eligible customers (as detailed earlier) departing on flights from Terminal 4 should be able to access the TBIT lounge(s),” Blunt admits to Australian Business Traveller.

However, “they are generally not likely to find this practical bearing in mind check-in times for domestic flights and distances from the (TBIT) lounge to the Terminal 4 boarding gates, and remembering that there are oneworld lounges (American Airlines) in Terminal 4 anyway.”

In short, the TBIT lounges are certainly ideal for American Airlines passengers departing from the same, but for everybody else with a flight from Terminal 4, you’d realistically need to have several hours to kill before your flight to make the trans-terminal voyage worthwhile.

Also read: Qantas, British Airways, Cathay Pacific get larger LAX lounge

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

24 comments

  • riley

    riley

    10 Nov, 2015 09:47 am

    Good remonstrating for the people Ausbt!!!

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  • eminere

    eminere

    10 Nov, 2015 11:38 am

    Credit where credit is due: Good on AusBT for being proactive and for contacting OW to set things straight.  There have been a lot of travellers that have been (incorrectly) turned away.

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  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    10 Nov, 2015 12:42 pm

    Absolutely. Good on your Chris!

    Can someone please send a link to this post to Lucky at One Mile At A Time.

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  • Dean

    deanr

    10 Nov, 2015 12:51 pm

    Sorry, couldn't resist...

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  • Satoshi Takayama

    Michael Kao

    10 Nov, 2015 12:52 pm

    OW lounge access policy is always a bit more complicated than Star Alliance. In Star, if you have access to one lounge, then you have access to all star alliance operated lounge in that airport. Apparently that's not the case with OW. I was on business clas on Qantas NRT-SYD, and was denied access to the Sakura lounge and got redirected to Qantas lounge in NRT. I checked OW website and they were right! Qantas, Malaysia and Finn air has to go to Qantas lounge in NRT!

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    10 Nov, 2015 01:05 pm

    Hi Michael, under the Oneworld rules airlines can nominate their 'preferred' or 'default' lounges (such as how Qantas directs passengers to the Qantas lounge in airports where one is available), but the rules also allow Oneworld business class customers to access any Oneworld business class lounge in the same airport, in the way that Qantas business class passengers can also use the Cathay Pacific business class lounges in Hong Kong, for example.

    The only exception is for lounges run by third parties (not Oneworld airlines), which you can only access when travelling on an airline which has an arrangement with that particular lounge, but as the Sakura Lounge is operated by JAL, you indeed have access and may need to remind the agent of the Oneworld rules or ask for a supervisor if need be.

    See https://www.jal.co.jp/en/oneworld/lounge_access.html and https://www.oneworld.com/ffp/lounge-access

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  • Satoshi Takayama

    Michael Kao

    10 Nov, 2015 02:12 pm

    Thanks Chris. That's good to know. I have another trip coming up and I'll certainly give it a try. The Qantas lounge in NRT is just a bit mediocre compare to their JAL's flagship lounge in NRT. Will bookmark that page. 

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    10 Nov, 2015 02:17 pm

    No problem – the line "I'm a Oneworld business class passenger travelling on a Oneworld operated and marketed flight. This is a Oneworld business class lounge, and under the Oneworld rules I can access this lounge as a Oneworld business class passenger, even if (airline you're flying) has their own lounge at the same airport" should do the trick.

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  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    10 Nov, 2015 03:48 pm

    I've used the Sakura lounge when flying CX NRT/HKG. Not had any dramas.

     

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  • drgmarshall

    drgmarshall

    10 Nov, 2015 02:59 pm

    "Among those turned away at the door: Qantas Gold, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers... ". I bet Mr Joyce has got some explaining to do for his top tier FF in Plat and Plat1 if they were denied access to the LAX First lounge. Then again, maybe he doesn't really care?

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  • superflyer

    superflyer

    10 Nov, 2015 10:12 pm

    Excellent lounges but COMPLETELY devalued by inconsistent, mediocre staff. Found staff at Walgreen's 10x friendlier. One staffer had hair dye stains right across her forehead. I only mention this because it is indicative of the lack of care some QF LAX staff have for their jobs.

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  • novemberflyer

    novemberflyer

    11 Nov, 2015 04:32 am

    Last April the staff placed a tip jar on the bar in the Qantas First lounge in LAX! I only saw it once (obviously someone complained) but I've never experienced that in a Qantas International First Lounge before. I wished I snapped a picture!

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  • UpUpAndAway

    UpUpAndAway

    11 Nov, 2015 03:44 pm

    Qantas staff in Amercia have always been strange people

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  • Anthony Spasevski

    Zaps1971

    11 Nov, 2015 03:58 pm

    That was another reson why a gave up on Qantas.

    Traveling with my wife & 1 year old child (myself a platunim one & wife platunim) traveling LAX - SYD in first class on the A380.

    Got to first class check in counter and waited 5 min and was told sorry sir this is first claas passangers only, I asked what says im not traveling in first, he aske to se my tickets so I did and with attatude said fine.

    I placed my first bag that had all the 1 years old needs on and said sorry sir you are over 200 grams we can't place this on the flight you have to take somthing out to meet Qantas requirments, I asked as you would you are kidding & he replied rules are rules sir. I was not happy I removed a pair of kids shoes, he was happy.

    Next bag same thing around 100 grams over no I was hell bent the baby was crying & had about 4 Qantas staff watching this and all enjoying this & not one offed to help us with anything.

    I removed the 100 grams to make him happy, and placed the removed stuff into our carry on, then he asked ne we have to weigh the carry on, he was about the get the floging of his life but thank god my wife was holding me, while the Qantas staff were all smiling now and loving the show.

    Without sayng anything he gave us our tickets and turned his back, we get to the Qantas club and gave our boarding passes in and was told sorry we can't let you in without the invitation pass that should have been given to you when you checked in.

    I said we are Qantas travelers traveling First Class and we should be greated with open arms, sorry sir rules are rules.

    I called Qantas in Australia and got them to call the LAX lounge while on hold and was told sorry for the enconvience we have caused to you and your family.

    Qantas LAX was the last straw, I wrote a letter to Qantas when I got back and handed in my platunim one & wifes platunim card back to Qantas saying stick these where the sun don't shine as they don't meen nothing to loyal members.

    Now with there so called partner and never had a problem.

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  • Dean

    deanr

    11 Nov, 2015 04:13 pm

    "he was about the get the floging of his life but thank god my wife was holding me"

    So, you were going to get violent with the check-in staff because you somehow overpacked each and every bag you had, when first class passengers and platinum frequent flyers already have a higher allowance of 32kg per bag (9kg/bag more than the 23kg/bag allowed for economy)?

    32kg is usually the absolute maximum that any airline and airport will accept due to OH&S with the baggage handlers. Any heavier and it has to be sent as freight as it's too heavy to safely lift.

    With an attitude like that I'm not really 'surprised' he forgot to give you a lounge invitation if one was required (this was obviously years ago as this no longer happens)... people behaving politely don't generally attract the attention of the entire check-in cohort, just saying...

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  • gupayami

    gupayami

    12 Nov, 2015 01:47 pm

    I have got to say I am with Anthony on this. If you are paying top dollar to fly first class the staff should really be bending over backwards to help you. If there were other staff standing around watching they should have come over and assisted, especially if there was a young child involved. How hard would it have been for one of the Qantas staff to hold the baby for 5 minutes for an F passenger - no it's all too hard. I'm sure at Singapore airlines it would have been a very different story.

    I was fortunate to upgrade from J to F once from DFW to SYD and found the service fairly lacking. Perhaps if you are Hugh Jackman you get better service.

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  • Jetsparrow

    Jetsparrow

    13 Nov, 2015 05:59 am

    Oh Dear

    Your wife was holding you back! Who was holding the baby?

    Sounds fabricated to me.

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  • novemberflyer

    novemberflyer

    11 Nov, 2015 05:22 pm

    I have a domestic AA flight as a BA Emerald cardholder coming up soon, I'll be interested to see if the message got through to the lounge staff. Anyone tried and had success lately? 

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  • Jetsparrow

    Jetsparrow

    12 Nov, 2015 08:02 am

    Great! Now the lounge will be pack with domestic AA travelers wanting to visit. The admirals lounge in terminal 4 is crap. Be interesting to see people complains when the lounge is overcrowed with these domestic travelers.

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  • Granville Taylor

    grussellt

    14 Nov, 2015 06:56 am

    Could ABT seek an appropriate comment from Qantas (as the lounge operator - contracted to Accor) and ask them how they intend to compensate passengers who were incorrectly denied access to LAX TBIT Lounges? There are some very angry Qantas Club members around who are appalled about the lack of response after complaints to Qantas.

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    14 Nov, 2015 09:51 am

    Hi grussellt, any personal matters or complaints for individual compensation for Qantas Club members (access of which was not covered in this particular article) will need to be persued directly with Qantas, or failing that, via the various other channels available.

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  • novemberflyer

    novemberflyer

    6 Dec, 2015 09:42 am

    It seems like the problem still exsit!!! BA Gold (oneworld Emerald) denied entry into the LAX first lounge yesterday. They stated I needed to be on a international flight or a domestic flight over 5hrs, very confused. Pointed out the oneworld rules but they didn't accept that response. I dont really understand why this is so hard for them.  At least the cops weren't called on me

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    6 Dec, 2015 01:32 pm

    Did you ask to speak to the lounge supervisor? They (again) were incorrect...

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  • kamere

    kamere

    21 Feb, 2016 07:26 am

    We were denied entry into AA lounge T4 -J seats coming from QF 11 then onwards to ORD a few months back. 

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