Review: Qantas Los Angeles International First Class Lounge (LAX)

Á la carte dining, a tended bar and spacious design make this a lounge worth visiting.

Overall Rating

By Chris Ashton, May 15 2024
Qantas Los Angeles International First Class Lounge (LAX)
Country

United States

City

Los Angeles (CA)

Airport

Los Angeles (LAX)

Alliance

oneworld

Airline

Qantas

Cabin-class

First

Notes
The Good
  • Shower suites
  • Private rooms
The Bad
  • No work desks
  • Limited AC outlets, no USBs
X-Factor
  • Á la carte restaurant and bar
Location
Dining
Work
Overall

Introduction

Flying first class on Qantas comes with expectations of heightened service, elevated dining and a spacious suite in which to kick back in comfort. Equally important is a superior lounge experience – one going beyond its business class counterparts.

To that end, the Flying Kangaroo boasts five first class lounges in its global network, in Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, Auckland and Los Angeles.

The latter is where I recently found myself ahead of an overnight hop between Los Angeles and Sydney, alongside a mix of travellers including first class and Platinum-grade frequent flyers, together with Oneworld status holders.

Location & Impressions

Qantas LAX first class lounge is on level five of Terminal B at Tom Bradley International. To reach it, clear customs and proceed directly upstairs via the lift or escalator.

Though you’ll spy the Qantas business lounge entrance nearby, take a sharp right and walk to the far end of the window-lined corridor, where the sliding doors and oversized Qantas logo of the first lounge will be on your left.

The entrance to Qantas Los Angeles first class lounge.
The entrance to Qantas Los Angeles first class lounge.

Inside it echoes the retro styling of Qantas’ lounges in Sydney and Melbourne: white Tuscan marble, blonde timber walls and dividers, and the familiar honeycomb (or ‘hex’, as the Red Roo calls it) motif stretching throughout the pre-flight hangout.

Qantas LAX first class lounge.
Qantas LAX first class lounge.

A comfy base to await your flight... just don't lean back.
A comfy base to await your flight... just don't lean back.

A sleek wall of glass greets visitors, leading to an eclectic mix of seating angled for chats or quiet contemplation. Settees, armchairs, bucket seats, windowside recliners… whatever mood you’re in, there’s a pew for you.

Window-side seats are a hot commodity.
Window-side seats are a hot commodity.
A magazine rack and two televisions provide the entertainment, if you've forgotten your own.
A magazine rack and two televisions provide the entertainment, if you've forgotten your own.

Two private rooms can also be booked in advance.

A trio of self-serve drink counters are available – each stocked with Australian wines, plus a couple of non-alcoholic choices and snacks. The one nearest the lounge entrance has an automated coffee machine and a broad selection of teas.

Take your pick of Dilmah teas, coffee or snacks.
Take your pick of Dilmah teas, coffee or snacks.
Self-serve Australian wines.
Self-serve Australian wines.

However, given this is a first class lounge, self-serve is not the only way to go.

The star of the show is the restaurant area, where a Neil Perry-inspired á la carte menu and tended marble bar – a great spot for solo travellers to perch and chat with the bartender – are on hand to whet your appetite and your whistle. More on these soon.

The restaurant and bar takes up roughly a third of the lounge.
The restaurant and bar takes up roughly a third of the lounge.

No matter where you’re seated though, you’re never far from a bite to eat or drink thanks to roving staff, who will happily take your order and deliver it to you.

Access

The Qantas Los Angeles first class lounge opens daily from 6.30am until the last Qantas departure and welcomes the following:

  • Qantas First passengers plus one guest.
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer members: Platinum, Platinum One members and their guests.
  • Oneworld International First customers, Emerald status holders and their guests.
  • Single entry first class lounge passes, such as those gifted by Platinum One flyers to friends or family.

Dining

Á la carte dining and a premium champagne menu are the hallmarks of every great first class lounge. Qantas has two for two in Los Angeles.

Dining takes the form of a seasonal menu created “with the combined philosophies of Qantas and Neil Perry”, which is enhanced by an open kitchen for a bit of theatre.

The Qantas LAX first class lounge open kitchen.
The Qantas LAX first class lounge open kitchen.

The Spring menu on my visit spans plant-based and locally inspired dishes, including:

  • cauliflower soup with dukkah and parsley oil
  • asado tacos with onion, coriander and salsa roja
  • spicy Korean first pork belly with rice cake and radish pickles
  • seared Baja bass with herb salad
  • rigatoni with yellow capsicum and cashew sauce, chives and Aleppo pepper
  • black Angus minute steak with chips, chipotle butter and lime
  • rhubarb, raspberry and rose meringue with pistachio
  • chocolate bread and butter pudding with mascarpone cream

Table service is an appreciated part of the experience – centred around a restaurant-style dining area and 14.6-metre tended bar at the far end of the lounge.

The lounge feels spacious, despite the myriad of seating options.
The lounge feels spacious, despite the myriad of seating options.
Diners can choose a seat at the bar or dining table.
Diners can choose a seat at the bar or dining table.

Given QF12 departed at 11:45pm, I embraced the opportunity to have an early three-course meal ahead of the flight, starting with asado tacos, followed by the Baja bass and rose meringue.

Despite being appealing to the eye, the tacos weren’t the most appetising dish – the tortilla was rather oily and the beef, while seasoned well, was a little tough.

Asado tacos with onion, coriander and salsa roja.
Asado tacos with onion, coriander and salsa roja.

Thankfully the Baja bass set things back on track. Drizzled with some fresh lemon juice, it was perfectly cooked and complemented nicely by the small herb salad. The salad was on the small side, so I opted for a tasty rocket and parmesan salad on the side.

Seared Baja bass with lemon and a herb salad.
Seared Baja bass with lemon and a herb salad.

Rounding out the meal was a delicate rhubarb and raspberry meringue. (I later followed this with the bread and butter pudding – a must try!) 

rhubarb, raspberry and rose meringue with pistachio.
rhubarb, raspberry and rose meringue with pistachio.
Light and fluffy bread and butter pudding, with a glass of Nicolas Feuillatte rosé on the side.
Light and fluffy bread and butter pudding, with a glass of Nicolas Feuillatte rosé on the side.

Service throughout the meal was warm and welcoming, with the white-jacketed waiter adding an appreciated personal touch with some friendly banter.

Alongside a lengthy list of spirits, wines and cocktails, three champagnes were proffered during my visit: Mumm, Taittinger and a Nicolas Feuillatte Reserve Exclusive Rosé.

Work

Qantas LAX first class lounge is designed more for relaxation than work. But, if you do need to get some business out of the way, you’ll be able to do so at more than double the WiFi speed of the nearby business class lounge: 103 Mbps versus 44 Mbps.

Dining tables are your best option for getting some work done, but if they’re reserved or the restaurant is particularly busy, your only option is to balance the laptop on your knees.

A private room can be reserved in advanced.
A private room can be reserved in advanced.

It’s also worth noting powerpoints are a little sparse (and there are no USB outlets at all), so you’re best to charge up beforehand. You’ll need a US travel adapter also.

Relax

Shower suites can be booked via an attendant just around the corner from the restaurant, with guests provided with a buzzer if there are none available. I waited less than 10 minutes for one to be freed up.

Given QF12’s scheduled departure at 11:45pm, and most hotels stipulating a firm 12pm check-out time, it was nice to be able to freshen up after a day of sightseeing.

Suites are stocked with LaGaia Unedited toiletries.
Suites are stocked with LaGaia Unedited toiletries.

In addition, the Qantas website states “eligible passengers enjoy services like suit steaming, shirt pressing, shoe shining and priority access to showers.”

While there’s no day spa, as in Sydney and Melbourne, you don’t really notice its absence.

Verdict

An inviting place to start the long journey back to Australia – food, service and comfort were all excellent, with my glass rarely remaining empty for long.

The mood was also more relaxed than the business class lounge next door, not only due to the smaller volume of passengers but the lighter, brighter and more-spacious design.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer P1

23 Aug 2014

Total posts 140

Thanks Chris

As you point out the food can be very inconsistent, but it may be useful to know that P1 (in any class of travel) and F QF passengers can used a Reserved section within the dining area (sometimes with a better quality champagne), which can be a bonus as it gets more and more crowded later into the evening


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