Qantas first class lounge, Los Angeles LAX

Review: Qantas first class lounge, Los Angeles LAX

Country:
United States
Airport:
Los Angeles
Cabin Class:
First
Alliance:
oneworld
Airline:
QF (Qantas)

location:

dining:

work:

overall:

What's Hot

  • Champagne menu, tended bar
  • Private shower suites
  • Personalised service throughout the lounge

What's Not

  • Slow WiFi with limited places for laptop work

X-Factor

  • A la carte restaurant dining

Introduction

The Qantas First Lounge in Los Angeles is a haven for first class travellers and Platinum-grade frequent flyers preparing to board the airline's overnight flights from LAX to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, or continuing their journey onward to New York in the mornings aboard QF11.

Also welcome are eligible passengers travelling with other Oneworld airlines from Los Angeles such as British Airways and Cathay Pacific, and even first class passengers of SkyTeam alliance member Air France.

Australian Business Traveller stopped by during a recent visit to the United States to bring you this review.

Location & Impressions

After clearing security at the Tom Bradley International Terminal, proceed over the indoor 'bridge', take a hard left, and then take the lift up to level five, where you'll emerge near the lounge entrance:

If you're connecting from an American Airlines flight arriving at LAX's Terminal 4, don't leave the terminal's secure area – you can take advantage of the airside terminal connector to avoid clearing security again, with the walk from T4 to TBIT taking around 10 minutes: after which, you can dart up to the Qantas First Lounge.

If you're being 'guested' into the lounge by a first class passenger or an eligible frequent flyer who hasn't yet arrived, there are chairs in the entry lobby where you can wait, rather than being stuck outside...

... and once past reception, you'll find a space created with a variety of zones...

... whether your goal is to work, relax or dine.

Flight information screens are located throughout the lounge, although during my late evening visit, that didn't stop constant announcements being made regarding flight updates and delays, with passengers advised to "ignore the screens as they're wrong".

Having the screens display the correct information – the reason they're there to begin with – would reduce these disturbances and keep the lounge environment more tranquil.

Access

  • Qantas' first class passengers, plus first class flyers of Oneworld partners British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines from Los Angeles.
  • Qantas Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman's Lounge frequent flyers travelling on a Qantas or Oneworld flight, including Qantas codeshare flights operated by non-Oneworld partners such as Alaska Airlines and Fiji Airways, or an American Airlines flight to any destination.
  • Connecting passengers arriving on long-haul first class Oneworld flights (such as Qantas First) continuing onto a short-haul Oneworld flight in any class of travel (such as AA domestic), including where the onward flight is in economy.
  • American Airlines' first class passengers departing on flights to Asia, Central America, Europe, Mexico City, South America, Australia and New Zealand only (as offered).
  • Other Oneworld Emerald frequent flyers, other than those belonging to the American Airlines AAdvantage scheme, prior to any Oneworld flight to any destination (including before AA domestic flights).
  • American Airlines Executive Platinum and ConciergeKey members taking a Oneworld flight to Australia, Asia, Central America, Europe, Mexico City, New Zealand or South America only. No access for USA domestic travellers (including to Alaska, Hawaii and JFK) or on short-haul international trips to Bermuda, the Bahamas, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico (except Mexico City).
  • Holders of a single-use Qantas first class lounge pass, such as issued to Platinum One frequent flyers which can be shared with friends and family.
  • Air France first class passengers, by special arrangement between Air France and Qantas.

That might seem like a pretty extensive door list, but realistically, you'll only get inside if you're travelling in first class, are a top-tier frequent flyer or are invited by the same.

Dining

On the dining front, a small beverage counter offers a selection of self-serve wines – useful if you don't have much time until boarding commences...

... while another provides machine-made coffee, nibbles, and boiling water for making Steven Smith Teamaker teas:

Everything else is offered via the a la carte menu, which is naturally available in the dedicated dining room...

... at the bar...

... or, if you prefer (and ask nicely), at any other seat within the lounge, where the waiters will take your order:

From the Rockpool seasonal menu, I began with a frequent flyer favourite in the salt and pepper squid: on this occasion, served with green chilli dipping sauce and aioli, accompanied by a glass of Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut (NV) Champagne...

... followed by Fazzoletti pasta with mascarpone, Tuscan kale and pangrattato – a simple dish on the surface, but one perfectly-balanced with both sweet and savoury elements, and a nice crunch from the bread crumbs, which went well with a glass of the Penfolds Max's Cabernet Sauvignon (2015):

It'd been a long time since lunch and my flight was delayed until nearly 2am, so I also sampled the lounge's signature beef burger – would definitely recommend for one last taste of American-style food – and added some mixed leaves on the side to make the plate seem more 'healthy', without going so far as requesting a full salad:

For dessert, I couldn't pass up the caramelised white chocolate mousse with banana, coffee and quinoa crisp, but chose to skip the dessert wine: the Beringer Botrytis Semillon Sauvignon Blanc (2012).

Speaking of wines, you'll find the full selection of behind the bar, joined by beers and spirits...

... and also outlined on the printed dining menus, where guests have four Champagnes to choose from, including a Rosé. However, while the PJ, Mumm and Nicolas Feuillatte wines are enjoyable drops in my book, I've never particularly cared for the Pommery, and wouldn't recommend it.

Barista-made coffee is available too, and as mentioned earlier, the staff will happily serve you from anywhere in the lounge:

The dining menu here changes seasonally, so if you're a frequent visitor, keep your eye out for the "market inspirations" on the menu, which offer a bit more variety. Cocktails are available too, and even though they're not on the menu, the staff here make mean Espresso Martinis.

Work

A downside of this lounge is that there isn't really an ideal place to set up and work on a laptop, unless you commandeer a table in the dining room, which are in high demand before Qantas' bank of evening flights depart.

Instead, you'll find power points scattered throughout the lounge – usually at the base of large poles...

... or against the wall. Just keep your US adaptors handy, as Australian plugs aren't accepted here, and there's no USB power either.

Separately, there are two suites within the first class lounge for large groups travelling together or to afford extra privacy for VIPs and celebrities, which can be booked via reception, if available.

Wireless Internet is available throughout the lounge, but the speeds I measured were pretty average, with downloads ranging from 2.85Mbps to 14Mbps and uploads sitting around the 3-4Mbps mark.

To compare, I also visited the American Airlines Flagship Lounge at LAX on the same day which welcomes many of the same passengers, and measured download speeds there of 201Mbps – up to 70x faster than in the Qantas First Lounge – and uploads of 266Mbps, being over 88x faster than found here, which is a staggering difference.

AusBT review: American Airlines Flagship Lounge, Los Angeles Terminal 4

Relax

With little focus on working, most of the lounge is given over to relaxing, with seats tailored towards larger groups...

... as well as duos and solo travellers:

There are no tarmac views here or other outdoor-facing windows, but during the day, the lounge gets some natural light via the design of the building, where you can look back on the queue you finally got through (or dodged, because you're flying first class):

A selection of international reading material is available, including some foreign-language titles...

... along with private shower suites, as you'd expect:

Absent is a day spa, as present in Qantas' Sydney and Melbourne first class lounges, but also missing is a true first class luxury feel in some of the relaxation zones, where a handful of the seats and tables are a tad 'basic', and are grouped in ways better-resembling a business class lounge, despite Qantas' signature first class lounge carpet underneath.

Not sure what we're talking about? Here's a snap from a similar space in the Melbourne Qantas First Lounge to compare, where the design is much more considered and refined:

However, this is me being particularly fussy – as many first class flyers are, of course! – and I was content awaiting my flight elsewhere in the space with a final glass of Perrier-Jouët, feeling relaxed, refreshed and well-fed ahead of my onward 15-hour flight, in what's still arguably one of the best airport lounges in the United States.

Chris Chamberlin travelled to Los Angeles as a guest of Qantas.

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!
 

21 comments

  • Phil Young

    Phil Young

    27 Apr, 2018 06:23 am

    I always enjoy visiting the QF FIrst Lounge after getting through the queues at TBIT, but comparing it to SYD & MEL it's a serious let-down in terms of ambience. Its few windows merely have a view of another row of nearby windows, preventing any views of the sky, the tarmac, or the outside world.
    No member give thanks

  • Steve987

    Steve987

    27 Apr, 2018 07:28 am

    Agree, I visited it for the first time last month and while the food and staff were amazing (QF standards combined with US approach to hospitality), it just felt like a big dark room. I ended up eating and then wandering the terminal because the space was unappealing to wait in.
    Member who gave thanks

    hakkinen5

  • Joe

    Joe

    27 Apr, 2018 09:31 am

    Wouldn't really call this lounge a "haven"..I think Melbourne QF F lounge is the only true 'haven' of the lot because of its intimate size.
    QF LAX F is a business class feel except for the dining. When it's busy it's unappealing, other than to eat in. Then again this is in keeping with QF's on board F Class product...more 'Business plus' than true deluxe/plush......at least they are consistent in that regard ;)
    No member give thanks

  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    27 Apr, 2018 01:34 pm

    Most business class lounges don't have a selection of champagne either. If the business class lounges have champagne in the first place, its only one type.

    But QF First being "Business Plus"? Seriously? That's just... beyond picky. QF's product is perfectly competitive by international standards and is roomier than what Emirates give you (and less tacky too). Sure, the food isn't "truffles, foie gras, caviar" classic French, I'll grant you that, but the suite is spacious, the seat is very large and comfortable, the champagne on board is cuvee de prestige, the rest of the liquor is consistently high-quality, the service is very good, the sleepwear is designer, and they'll soon be adding pillow menus and even more bedding.

    Its a very nice product and an undeniable cut above Business or "Business Plus."
    No member give thanks

  • Robert Eden

    reno

    27 Apr, 2018 09:47 am

    I visit this lounge a dozen plus times each year.and it is one of the better dedicated first class lounges that Qantas operate outside Australia,not that there are manny.the food is ok but I also can not stand te NP crap they call food in Sydney.

    No member give thanks

  • Himeno

    Himeno

    27 Apr, 2018 03:12 pm

    What do you define as "slow wifi"?
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    27 Apr, 2018 08:35 pm

    Covered in the review: and when the WiFi in the nearby American Airlines is literally 70x faster than offered in the Qantas lounge, we think "slow" is a fair description of the Roo's connection.
    No member give thanks

  • Himeno

    Himeno

    30 Apr, 2018 01:58 pm

    I've been in the F lounge a number of times around lunch time and the evening. The only times I've gotten anything that could be considered "slow" is when the lounge is very busy right before the QF evening flights start departing.
    Meanwhile, my times in the LAX AA lounges, the wifi has been the same or slower then the QF lounge.
    No member give thanks

  • Ross  Anderson

    serfty

    27 Apr, 2018 03:18 pm

    Overlooked for access are:

    • American Airlines' first class passengers travelling on three class services to New York (JFK).
    No member give thanks

  • Ieuan1

    ieuan1

    27 Apr, 2018 03:34 pm

    'A downside of this lounge is that there isn't really an ideal place to set up and work on a laptop',

    Sydney First Class Lounge is also pretty short of places to put a lap top as well (they reduced the desks a year or so ago). Not sure why QF doesn't like tables/desks in lounges.
    No member give thanks

  • Fonga

    Fonga

    27 Apr, 2018 04:10 pm

    I'm guessing if you are flying First, are you really travelling on business? Not sure I've seen any data on this. Then begs the question: does Qantas want the First lounge to be a work haven or part of a First class experience? Seems deliberate to me.
    No member give thanks

  • Ross  Anderson

    serfty

    27 Apr, 2018 03:36 pm

    I shower / eat in the QF lounge before waiting for my flight in the Flagship lounge at T4
    No member give thanks

  • Stefan Kane

    DrSK

    27 Apr, 2018 09:00 pm

    Likewise. The daybeds in the Flagship lounge's 'quiet room' are much more comfortable than any of the seating options in the QF F lounge, which - as Chris notes - are rather basic. Food and drink in the latter is better, although the AA offering is far from lacklustre - the idea of free-flowing champagne (Bollinger until recently) in any US airline lounge would have been laughable only a few years ago.
    No member give thanks

  • patrickk

    patrickk

    27 Apr, 2018 08:29 pm

    Reno I think it is the only first class lounge Qantas has outside Australia and agree it is not up to the same standard as the other two in Sydney and Melbourne. Getting to it and TB in general from T4 is a very irritating poorly sign posted maze.
    No member give thanks

  • Ross  Anderson

    serfty

    27 Apr, 2018 08:53 pm

    A maze? TBIT is well signed from T4 !

    From T4 follow the TBIT signs to gate 41. Up the escalator and walk along the connector until you reach its end, do not go down any escalator. Turn right to the lounge's front door.
    No member give thanks

  • Scott Wilson

    Libertyscott

    28 Apr, 2018 02:42 am

    There is AKL QF First lounge :) which doesn't look like it is going anywhere soon, although it's hardly worth mentioning in the same breath.
    No member give thanks

  • Joe

    Joe

    28 Apr, 2018 12:32 pm

    I won't even mention the Dallas F ("premium") lounge - what a joke.
    No member give thanks

  • David Legge

    david_legge2786

    28 Apr, 2018 09:39 pm

    Thank you so much Chris for posting this up - photos are really nice as is the article. Keep up the good work :)
    No member give thanks

  • Eli

    Eli

    29 Apr, 2018 05:35 pm

    The Premium line can be a joke! and takes forever sometimes....couldn't believe it.

    This is NOT for everyone, but I walked over to T4, was through security in 2 mins, with a 5 min walk back to the lounge. (less than 15 mins) As I walked above the TBIT security lines, the same people I marked in the line were only half way.

    Again not for everyone!
    No member give thanks

  • Himeno

    Himeno

    30 Apr, 2018 02:01 pm

    You can do the same without having to walk all the way over to T4.
    No member give thanks

  • Richard Robertson

    iM

    11 May, 2018 03:19 pm

    Have spent many happy hours there, and from the champagne choices to the fine dining – oh, and the espresso martinis – it's a true haven before that loooong flight home.
    No member give thanks

Guest

15 Aug, 2018 11:16 am

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