Review: Qantas First Class Lounge LAX

I visited the Qantas first class lounge LAX before my recent American Airlines flight to Sydney. The Qantas first class lounge at LAX is one of the best airport lounges in North America, and certainly the best one accessible based on airline status. The primary attraction is sit down dining with a nice menu.

The Qantas first class lounge LAX is a short walk just past the TSA checkpoint in the American Airlines terminal 4 over to the Tom Bradley International Terminal where the lounge is located. Well worth the brief detour versus just visiting the American Airlines Flagship lounge anyway, since American never re-opened their first class dining at the airport, my flight was actually departing from the Bradley terminal which made this both a better and a more convenient lounge experience.

American Airlines Flagship Check-in LAX

Since I was traveling for three weeks with my wife and daughter, we had a bit of luggage. They had some activities in Los Angeles and I decided to head over to the airport early, check some of our bags to make rental car return easier later in the day, and visit the Qantas first class lounge on my own (we’d return together before our flight).

My first stop was American Airlines Flagship check-in. I had access to this private check-in both as a oneworld emerald flying long haul international and as a first class passenger on the Sydney flight. It’s not nearly as ornate as the new premium check-in at New York JFK, but unlike Miami where it’s just a cordoned off area inside the terminal it has its own separate entrance.

I got dropped off at the end of American’s terminal 4 where there are porters and an agent with a clipboard showing who is supposed to have access. I walked up with my bags, but didn’t receive assistance. The staffer checking whether I was supposed to use the facility realized that he wouldn’t yet have Sydney passengers on his list, so just waved me inside.

Check-in and bag dropoff was quick, and I was escorted into the terminal and up a level via the elevator to the security checkpoint, where I was invited to the front of the PreCheck line.

Once through security, I turned right to follow the signs for the connector from American’s terminal 4 over to the Tom Bradley International terminal where the Qantas first class lounge LAX is located.

Up an escalator, you’ll walk past aircraft views and then over the check-in and security areas of the international terminal.

You’ll come out on the fifth floor of the international terminal. If you were heading down to the gates, you’d go down a level, but if you veer to the left you’re just around the corner from the Qantas first class lounge LAX.

Qantas First Class Lounge LAX Access

The Qantas First Class Lounge LAX is open from 6:30 a.m. until midnight. It’s a oneworld first class lounge and qualifying oneworld emerald passengers can access it.

  • oneworld emeralds like British Airways Gold members can access this lounge, however American and Alaska elites can only use it when traveling beyond North America
  • first class passengers on oneworld airlines like British Airways and American Airlines can use it

While the lounge has been both persnickety and and prone to making up their own rules in the past, one area they’re a bit more liberal than needed is that the person checking in ahead of me was traveling on Fiji Airways and under official rules it’s not clear to me that they should have access.

Qantas First Class Lounge LAX

I walked into the Qantas First Class Lounge LAX and showed my American Airlines Flagship first class boarding pass and was admitted right away.

The lounge is really quite large for an international first class lounge, though it’s really just one large room with many seating ‘zones’. While I’ve never seen it truly ‘full’ it is busiest after 8 p.m. (and more so as 10 p.m. approaches) with Qantas, British Airways, and American departures to Sydney; Melbourne; Brisbane; London Heathrow and Tokyo – not just for first class passengers but also oneworld emerald elites in each cabin. The lounge has capacity for a couple hundred people.

There’s limited self-service drinks such as coffee and bottles of wine available.

There’s also a photocopier for all of the lounge’s Richmeister guests.

Along the wall are also a couple of VIP rooms.

Also along that side are restrooms, as well as shower rooms.

I usually like to head straight over to the dining room for a sit down meal, since that’s really the highlight of what they offer. Otherwise it’s really just a lounge. However they’ll offer coffee or even menu service throughout the lounge. If you prefer a different seating concept you can still order a nice coffee, a drink, or a menu item.

The dining area features tables and an open kitchen, as well as a bar.

There’s no “activity” here, like the spa in Sydney. You could spend quite a long time here, but it’s not designed for this. There’s no natural light, let alone views of airport operations. And there really aren’t enough outlets, eithers.


I entered the lounge around 11:30 a.m. which is still breakfast service. Lunch begins at noon. So I had a look at the breakfast menu, which was less interesting to me.

I ordered the smoked salmon with poached egg, and the egg came out cooked perfectly.


Once noon passed and the menu changed over I asked to see it.

Naturally the first item I asked for on the all day dining menu was the salt and pepper squid, which has been a staple of Qantas first class lounge dining for many years.

Then I decided to try the minute steak, which was delicious and served with perfectly crisp french fries.

Ice cream for dessert was a miss, completely frozen it was difficult to eat and the ice cream itself wasn’t anything special. I took just a couple of bites.

Qantas First Class Lounge LAX Overall

Since American’s first class dining is no longer available, this is the best lounge at LAX. And it’s among the very best in North America. I’d rate it slightly above United’s business class Polaris lounges. The food here is better and more extensive than the American-British Airways Chelsea lounge at JFK. But I’d generally prefer Air Canada’s Signature Suites.

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. Good summary of the lounge. The crux is encapsulated here: “ I usually like to head straight over to the dining room for a sit down meal, since that’s really the highlight of what they offer. Otherwise it’s really just a lounge.”

    Many like the long bar and the variety of drinks they offer. But, aside from the food, it’s just a nice lounge.

  2. I just don’t see this being the best in North America. No windows and the lounge looks rather ordinary. This is a good lounge but it feels like being in a windowless basement.

  3. The Qantas First Class Lounge at LAX is a top-notch airport lounge with excellent dining options and a spacious layout. It surpasses other lounges at LAX and is among the best in North America. The food quality is superior, and the service is commendable. While the lounge lacks natural light and sufficient outlets, it offers a fantastic experience overall. Travelers will appreciate the convenience and luxury of this lounge.

  4. I went here just before the pandemic, and loved it: it had a great selection of 3-4 champagne, Neil Perry had overseen the menu/kitchen and the food was fantastic. I went again 6 months ago and there was only Mumm (and maybe White Star?) and the food was meh (just as your photos show). I think the lounge is riding on it’s reputation now.

  5. FWIW, last month I found the Qantas F lounge in Singapore to be a notch above LAX, but it too is one long room. Food was great, and service was impeccable.

  6. I had the great pleasure of experiencing the food here in 2017 — and I almost missed the opportunity! I was connecting at LAX after an award flight from HKG on CX in F. I had no idea that I had access to this Qantas lounge — until another frequent flyer, with whom I was chatting via text, reminded me upon landing in LAX!

  7. I’m a sucker for the food, so yeah, I sure could love this lounge (and now want to visit!) even as the decor/ambiance seems basic and uninspiring. Nice items you selected.

  8. Sweet. Fling AA 1st to Sydney next month then Qatar 1st.
    In October flying Qantas First the Singapore Suites to London

  9. I use the lounge when my flights depart Bradley. I am an Executive Platinum so they let me in even on domestic flights. Having said that, I don’t remember the class that I was seated when entering.

    Well done!

  10. As an LAX based flyer with OW Emerald status, this is effectively my home lounge… and I love it. Thanks to the combination of great staff (never underestimate how important that is), good showers and good food, this is easily my favorite lounge in the US.

  11. Thanks for the detail…enough for me to say meh…cheap cut of meat for the steak. Low grade champagne, wines are in the $15 range. This doesn’t feel very first class. Certainly nowhere near for example BA’s Concorde Room in LHR for all the griping it receives.

    Surprised to find Polaris is nicer at LAX.

  12. Im not a fan. Don’t like the decor, shower rooms are terrible, no views. The food is good, that is true. But I think I’d prefer the flagship lounges eg dfw and ord and even the Amex lounges (when you can get a seat).

  13. I was there May 2023 and found the plant based dining – spring bean salad with fingerling potatoes, hazelnut romesco and dill too oily and lacking in flavor. I ditched it. Then I tried the seared Baja bass with herb salad and felt there was little to no seasoning on it. I ditched it. Then I ordered the classic beef cheeseburger minus the cheese and that was ok. For dessert, I had the chocolate cream lamington with raspberries and coconut flakes. That was good. Eventually every single restaurant-side table was packed. Even the rest of the lounge got packed. Side note: out of 100+ people in the lounge, I was the only one who was non-white. Just interesting statistic. Nothing implied (same thing in SYD lounge coming back)

  14. I found this lounge to be uninspiring and disappointing on my recent visit.

    The big plus was the the staff – professional, friendly, responsive.

    The layout is just one big room (the VA lounge in BNE manages to avoid this portable with curved perspex dividers, so it’s an easily solvable issue).

    My chosen food option (chicken dish) was unavailable.

    The steak was OK (the cut was average and had gristle on one side), with the chipotle flavour of the butter nicely offset by the fresh lime.

    The wine options were mostly cheaper level options (except for then Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch Shiraz, which apparently they’d nearly run out of). There was NV Taittinger.

    After also visiting both the Concorde Room and Private Room in the last few weeks, I was shocked at the low overall standard of the QF effort. No comparison.

    I was even more disappointed onboard the QF first class flight, where some of the service was appalling from arguably the most disinterested crew I’ve ever experienced on any business or first class flight (with the exception of one older gentleman). The USB ports didn’t work in either of our two seats, the toilet paper in the bathrooms was not replaced proactively, the ovens didn’t heat the food properly, none of the wine on the wine list had been loaded, the cheaper Champagne was served before take off to avoid tax / duty, drinks weren’t proactively refilled, food was served without any table cloths / linen /cutlery / condiments, and one of the pilot had to leave the cockpit to tell the cabin crew to stop messing with the doors when the engines were still running on arrival at the bay whilst awaiting the power truck when the APU didn’t work – the crew failed to observe basic safety process requiring flight crew intervention. They were in their own clukingf world and completely unaware of their safety responsibility in that moment and utterly disconnected from their work.

    The saving grace was the comfortable bed.

  15. I visit once or twice a month on average. The place has gone downhill since reopening. The menu, which used to change quarterly, still does, but there are the same variations on the same dish (duck salad, some kind of Korean inspired dish) or the ones that are always there (Minute Steak, Burger, Squid). The quality or inventiveness isn’t as good. Maybe Neil needs to come over and work in the kitchen for a week to straighten things out.

    The drinks are a whole other story. There used to be 4 Champagnes. Taittinger, Mumm, and Nicolas Feuillatte Rose and Blanc. The last two are now gone, leaving no Rose at all. Not that Taittinger is bad, but I like to have a Rose. The wines were never the highlight, so no loss there, but the beer selection has gone south too. They once had Coopers, which represented one of Australia’s last large independent brewers. It’s gone, and the other options are completely boring. Spirits seem to be limited in selection now as well.

    However, they do still have some great people working behind the bar that I’m happy to see when I’m in.

    The lounge, while still one of the best in the USA (I’ve found Polaris to be pretty good!), is tired and needs a refresh across the board, especially the Knoll Womb chairs with the dirty upholstry.

    Qantas was too busy stealing from taxpayers and stock buybacks, and instead has let their products suffer.

  16. Great to be able to welcome you into the LAX QF FLounge – sadly it’s been years since I was there. Trudy you enjoy your family holiday in Australia- waving from Brisbane.

  17. IMHO, one goes to the QF F Lounge for the sit-down dining and bar experience, but otherwise, the AA Flagship Lounge is the far better space (even without Flagship First dining) with the high ceilings, natural light, views of the gates and tarmac, and very decent buffet options, and self-serve Piper-Heidsieck.

  18. We found the QF F lounge to be mediocre at best. We felt confined there- no windows, just a BIG soulless room. Service was fine and the offerings for a breakfast were OK. Just a rather dismal environment.

  19. How does it compare to the StarAlliance First Class lounge at LAX?

    Obviously much bigger, compared to the *A one, which is more like a separate section from the regular *A lounge in TBIT (which is quite excellent itself, despite recent downwards trend).
    But how is the food and drink selection?
    Are they operated by the same company?

  20. The biggest problem for me with the QF lounge is the total lack of any workspace.

    From the photos, it appears there is a desk in the VIP rooms, but those aren’t generally available to everyone to use.

  21. I had no idea that id have access to this lounge if i was flying aa flagship. A missed opportunity. Perhaps you could do an article on additional lounge access granted based on class of service.

  22. In my opinion, I don’t think this lounge is the best. The lack of windows and the ordinary appearance of the lounge are disappointing. While it is a decent lounge, it gives off the feeling of being in a windowless basement.

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