Los Angeles’ renovated, redesigned and generally renewed Tom Bradley International Terminal is set to open next month after a $2 billion makeover.
Along with the wave-like rooftops, vast open space and eventually some 18 aircraft gates – half of which will accommodate the mighty Airbus A380 superjumbo – the new TBIT also brings a substantial upgrade to the lounges used by airlines and their alliance partners.
The first of the new LAX super-lounges to open will be home to all Star Alliance members, with the operation managed by Air New Zealand.
“We will have the LAX lounge opening very shortly” Star Alliance CEO Mark Schwab told Australian Business Traveller, although he didn’t circle a date in the diary.
Schwab says this will be the latest in a series of Star-branded lounges “in locations around the world where we don’t have either a strong home carrier or we have a large number of Star Alliance carriers operating to that particular airport.”
This allows for a lower operating cost across the airlines, as well as longer opening hours and facilities such as showers which a single airline might not justify.
Star already operates branded lounges at London Heathrow and Buenos Aires, and Schwab says the group is “looking at a couple of areas in Asia, and the new Terminal 3 at São Paulo, Brazil may be a suitable location for us.”
But back to Los Angeles, where Air New Zealand will run the sprawling Level 6 space with its open-air terrace and a design vibe “inspired by a contemporary interpretation of modernist LA architecture of the 1950s and 1960s.”
The lounge will be open to all travellers flying on TBIT’s Star Alliance airlines in business class or holding Star Alliance Gold status, although there’s a separate first class lounge for the very well-heeled.
You can see what appears to the the first class receptions area (sporting an iconic Eames chair) to the right of main entry door below.
Qantas partner Emirates has its own LAX bolthole sitting on a pier adjacent to the Star Alliance lounge, but a spokeswoman for Emirates was unable to provide any information on the lounge’s facilities or opening date.
Tucked away at one corner of the space earmarked for Emirates lies a Shared User Lounge available for a clutch of other TBIT-operating airlines including China Airlines, EVA Air, Fiji Airways, Philippine Airlines, EL AL, Air Tahiti and Trans Aero.
A spokeswoman for Los Angeles World Airports told Australian Business Traveller that there is currently no opening date set for this shared lounge.
Qantas expects to open the doors to its expanded LAX business lounge later this year, with the first class lounge to follow in 2014 in a staged construction program.
Located on TBIT Level 5, the new Qantas Business Lounge will boast almost triple the capacity of the Red Roo’s current crowded LAX lounge.
The Qantas lounge will be open to oneworld airlines operating at TBIT include British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN and Malaysia Airlines (American Airlines has its own lounges at the adjacent Terminal 4).
Korean Air (SkyTeam)
Nestled one floor below the Emirates lounge is a new facility for Korean Air and its SkyTeam siblings.
Korea Air PR manager Mi Hyun Kim told Australian Business Traveller that “we are aiming for the end of 2013” as an opening date, but cautioned that “construction could be completed either earlier or later than planned.”
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