LAX International Lounge Review

Air Tahiti Nui uses the LAX International Lounge – or more formally, Los Angeles International Lounge at LAX. I hadn’t visited this lounge before, and my expectation were low – but exceeded.

The Los Angeles International lounge is used by El Al, Air Tahiti Nui, Philippine Airlines, Fiji Airways. The lounge is also used by Japan Airlines for premium economy passengers. It was basically empty while I was there, and seems a perfect candidate for Priority Pass, but it isn’t accessible through any lounge access programs – just with a qualifying boarding pass.

While One Mile at a Time calls this “the least nice lounge in the terminal” and says that access for JAL premium economy passengers “should probably give you a sense of the quality of the lounge” I actually found the lounge pretty good and better for sure than any United Club or American Airlines Admirals Club in the U.S. I prefer this lounge over the Korean Air lounge, even though it lacks showers, in part because it’s so empty.

Check-in With Air Tahiti Nui

We arrived at the LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal after about 25 minutes.

I walked inside the terminal and Air Tahiti Nui wasn’t listed on the monitor that shows what check-in positions each airline uses. Just past the monitor though were Air Tahiti Nui check-in desks.

I found economy and premium economy check-in. There wasn’t a business class queue that I saw. I went up to the counter anyway since there was no line.

One thing I discovered – by way of big banners – Air Tahiti Nui offers premium economy check-in to Priority Pass cardholders. As I’d learn at the departure gate they also offer premium economy boarding with Priority Pass as well.

air tahiti nui check-in desks

Staff weighed our bags, checked us in and gave us lounge passes for the LAX International Lounge which is upstairs just past security.

Air Tahiti Nui doesn’t participate in PreCheck so my wait for security was longer than usual, but I still get to skip the nude-o-scope when I’m traveling with my daughter so there’s that at least.

My LAX International Lounge Visit

Past security we went up the elevator to a complex of lounges, down a hallway and you find the LA International lounge.

lax international lounge entrance

entrance to la international lounge

The thing that struck me most about the lounge while I was there was how empty it was. There were never more than four other people in it.

interior of lax international lounge

Food and Drink In The Lounge

My first stop was the kitchen. I wanted to check out what they had on offer. There’s plenty of drinks of every kind, from alcohol to a perfectly good coffee machine, to a soda fountain.

lounge kitchen area

lounge bar area

coffee and tea

soda machine

There’s also two refrigerators, one with drinks and the other with snacks.

lounge refrigerator

lounge snack refrigerator

I liked that there were individual bottles of water in the refrigerator. The bottles were tiny, but you can take away water which is nice. This was especially helpful headed to French Polynesia, where we’d be arriving at the hotel close to midnight.

I had emailed ahead to the Intercontinental Tahiti. They told me that IHG Rewards Club members receive two complimentary bottles of water in their room. They had agreed to give me a third. Anything more I’d need to pay for.

And the last thing I wanted was to get to my room late at night and wait for water I was going to have to buy. I’d want to go to sleep, so it would be nice to have enough water for the night for the three of us so I took a few bottles with me. (I promise you, it was nothing like this.)

Beside the kitchen there’s a dining room area. That’s the least appealing part of the lounge. There aren’t any windows in the lounge, and I think you want to be in space that opens up out into the terminal rather than space that’s just walls. It was pretty.. antiseptic.

lounge dining room

Snacks were mostly of the packaged variety although they did have some sushi rolls.

snacks in the lounge

more snacks in the lounge

The Best Spot In The Lounge

Get your drinks, take your snacks, and head over to the patio area of the lounge that opens out above the terminal. That’s going to feel the best, least claustrophobic, and since the Tom Bradley Terminal is really quite nicely designed these days it’s an interesting environment.

lax international lounge deck

la international lounge patio

LAX international Lounge Conclusion

The lounge was spacious with very few passengers while I was there. It was well-provisioned. And like some other lounges in the Bradley terminal it has a balcony overlooking the terminal interior.

It’s nothing like the Star Alliance lounge – with its outdoor fire pit – or the Qantas first class lounge with sit down menu service in the dining room.

However don’t mind spending time here. There aren’t the sort of ‘plus features’ that make a lounge a destination prior to flight. Don’t get to the airport early for the Los Angles International Lounge. Nonetheless it’s a perfectly fine place to wait for your flight.

Bora Bora Thanksgiving Trip Report Continues

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Lol…if you go to the open area you can see across to the Star Slliance Lounge…and dream about what might have been…

  2. It would be great if they joined Priority Pass. Having just been to the Korean Lounge in that terminal — which PP members can only access at certain times — I am definitely rooting for an alternative. Any alternative. The Korean Lounge is only competitive with a bus station waiting room (albeit one that offers free chicken wings).

  3. I disagree with the negative comment about the Korean Lounge. It is not as nice as other international lounges but it is better than most domestic lounges. The patio seats have a super nice view. FYI, arriving business class passengers on Korean Air do not get access. Having been in lounges that were super crowded, It would be useful for your readers to know what time you were there, so that we may enjoy a lounge when it is not crowded. Thanks for the post.

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