I recently flew back from LA with British Airways, who depart from the Thomas Bradley International Terminal (TBIT). I arrived from Honolulu at American’s Terminal 4. Whilst it is planned to have a walk way between TBIT and T4, it seems far from being finished soon. There are buses from inside security at T4 but American won’t let anyone except Qantas passengers use them, presumably because they are paid for by Qantas. So much for oneworld!
This causes passengers to have to exit Terminal 4, walk through a covered walkway and access security at TBIT, and without the benefit of PreCheck, it was a dreadful experience all around.
There is a new centralised security arrange at TBIT which is on the mezzanine above the check-in desks. Passports and boarding passes are checked at the bottom of the escalators which lead to security. There is a priority lane, where an LAX employee checks your eligibility. After you walk through miles of barriers, you exit at exactly the same point as if you had not gone the priority lane. Then you are faced with a number of TSA checkers, who confirm boarding passes and passports. My lane’s scanner for my electronic boarding pass did not work and so I had to join a long line at another checkpoint. The usual shouting about shoes and laptops and liquids was in evidence from the TSA staff on duty. The whole thing took 10-15 minutes at a quiet time around 4.30pm.
After getting through the checks I headed to the lift which takes you up to the lounges on the 5th and 6th floors. Luckily, just as you came out the Qantas First Lounge is right ahead.
The lounge is huge, presumably to cope with Qantas’ First Class and oneworld Emerald members on their A380 flights to Australia.
When I arrived I was literally the only passenger – there were plenty of staff – in the lounge. Whilst it did fill slightly whilst I was there it was never overcrowded. A number of families with kids of various ages arrived as I was leaving for my BA flight.
The lounge features a full service restaurant with freshly made to order meals:
I have a weakness for soups and so started with the potato and leek soup, followed by the steak and the coconut trifle.
The food was superb, and presented by a super friendly and efficient staff. My glass was never empty and the staff were always available if I needed something. Probably the best food I have had in an airport lounge. Dare I say it, better than the Concorde Room at JFK, previously my favourite lounge.
The lounge itself is large and airy with a number of different areas depending on your mood. There are a reasonable number of power sockets and excellent WiFi.
The bar was manned and offered a good range of mixed drinks, cocktails and wines, including champagnes.
There were no boarding announcements so it was a tranquil space to wait for my flight. Around 45 minutes before leaving I took the lift down the gates, walked to the BA gate and was ready when boarding was announced.
The lounge opens at 0630 and closes at 2330. This makes it accessible for passengers travelling on American Airlines morning flights that depart from TBIT. You can read about access rights here.