Review: Korean Air Lounge LAX (Tom Bradley Terminal)

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Joanna and I flew with Air Tahiti Nui from Los Angeles to Tahiti as part of our Bora Bora trip and, although our Business Class tickets with the airline entitled us to entry to the Los Angeles International Lounge (in the Tom Bradley Terminal), we chose to use my Priority Pass membership (courtesy of my Citi Prestige credit card) to visit the Korean Air Lounge instead.

The Korean Air lounge at LAX is situated on level 5 of the Tom Bradley International terminal and has been open for a little over two years. The entrance to the lounge is just down the hall from the OneWorld Business Class lounge I reviewed not that long ago.

The Korean Air lounge at LAX acts as the SkyTeam lounge for the terminal so the 14,000+ square feet that the lounge occupies are almost certainly fully utilised during busier times.

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Although we arrived at the lounge quite early (both for our flight and for the Korean Air departure the same evening) the front desk was already heavily staffed with 6 agents waiting to greet visitors. It took no more than a couple of minutes to have the Priority Pass details verified and we were soon inside the lounge.

The lounge has been decorated using a combination of limestone (limestone-style?) brickwork, dark wood panelling and furniture that is predominantly cream or blue.

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The lounge is essentially laid out in a J-shape with the entrance located at the top of the long side of the J.

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As you can see from the pictures above and below, the long side of the lounge is home to a series of cream sofa-chairs divided up by small white charging stations.

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While the charging stations aren’t bad at all – they have USB ports as well as the standard US power ports – they’re not particularly useful as tables thanks to their distance from the sofa-chairs and their relatively small size.

I’m also not too sure about the choice of color for the sofa-chairs. Cream may look nice when it’s new but it’s hardly a color designed to withstand everyday use by hundreds of travelers and, as such, a lot of the chairs looked tired and not exactly spotless!

At the bottom of the long side of the J are a couple of rows of dark blue armchairs overlooking the terminal below:

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The chairs were perfectly comfortable and the wood panels between them made for adequate tables but the lack of power ports nearby or between the seats was disappointing.

The remainder of the bottom of the J-shaped lounge is taken up by a high marble table with bar stools and power ports as well as another sitting area (which was much too busy to photograph well).

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The J-shape is finished off by a small area with tables and chairs for those wishing to dine in the lounge…..

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…as well as a self-service bar area…..

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…with a coffee machine….

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….. a couple of bottles of wine…

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…and a tray of spirits:

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Not exactly inspiring stuff!

Next to the table & chair area there’s an exit from the lounge on to a patio that overlooks the terminal area below:

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This seemed like quite a nice place to relax and to watch the traveling world go by but, again, the lack of power ports doesn’t make it an area in which you likely to want to sit if you’re looking to charge up your devices before a flight.

Food & Drink Options

As well as the offerings (such as they were) next to the table & chair area there was also a side room off the main part of the lounge which was where the many food and drink options were to be found.

During our time in the lounge I didn’t see any hot food options (which I found surprising for a Business Class lounge) and the selection of food that was on offer was uninspiring to say the least.

There was a small selection of fruit and crudités….

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…a small selection of mini-sandwiches which disappeared almost as soon as they arrived (nowhere near enough sandwiches for the number of guest that were in the lounge)….

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…..some chips and dip…..

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….some mini-muffins….

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…and some add-hot-water-to-eat noodle pots:

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The drink options weren’t much better.

I’ve already shown the only two bottles of wine I saw and the beer selection appeared to be limited to Bud or OB Pilsner (from South Korea):

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Coffee, juices and water were on offer….

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…and, for those who wanted to be 100% sure their kids would be hyped-up on sugar for the whole trans-Pacific flight they were about to get on, there was an ample selection of sodas:

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Bottom Line

As an international airline’s Business Class lounge it disappoints in most ways possible – not enough power ports in areas where they should have been easy to install, grubby furniture, $5 bottles of wine and a food selection that reminded me of an Admirals Club (no, that’s definitely not a compliment).

I’m sure the lounge looked very attractive when it first opened but there was a noticeable lack of thought on the part of whoever designed the lounge and on the part of those who run it.

Light colors are a bad idea for lounge furniture unless you’re happy to replace it on a yearly basis and if that isn’t obvious to the designer then he/she should probably seek a new profession.

On the food front I simply can’t understand how Korean Air, with as good a reputation for its onboard Business Class product as it has, can offer up a lounge so devoid of dining options. It was very poor indeed.

As it happens, although we spent almost all our time before the Air Tahiti Nui flight in the Korean Air lounge, I did take a look inside the Los Angeles International Lounge as well and I’ll be posting my thoughts on that in the coming days.

My final thoughts on the Korean Air lounge at LAX?  Underwhelming and very average would probably sum it up.


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