Get ready for a TON of coverage about my trip to Hong Kong!
One of the perks of being a guest of Cathay Pacific is that despite the fact that I was flying Premium Economy (more on that later), I was invited to experience the oneworld First Class Lounge at LAX. When I checked in, the agent told me she had a special surprise for me. I was crossing my fingers for an upgrade, but the surprise was a Wonka-esque Golden Ticket (white, really) to the First Class Lounge. Don’t mind if I do…
The lounge itself was smaller than I expected. It actually reminded me of the classic “railroad apartment” layout so-named because they resemble a railroad passenger car. Like the apartments, this lounge was long but not wide with plenty of seating throughout and a nice communal seating strip directly across from the bar. As I always do, I took a bit of a tour of the food and beverage offerings and this is what I found:
The beverage program was fairly standard. A variety of decent wines and spirits that wouldn’t quite qualify as top shelf, but serviceable nonetheless.
If you’re in the market for a healthy snack before your flight, the oneworld First Class Lounge has you covered. The description cards undersell the selection, but you’ve got your choice of the listed carrots, celery, mixed green salad, spinach dip, and fruit along with adorable little tea sandwiches, olives, and a surprisingly sophisticated lentil salad with goat cheese, pepitas, and what I think is sweet potato (I forgot to take a note on this and my memory isn’t helping much). Here’s the spread:
The hot items were a little less successful, but by no means disappointing. With a buffet-style lounge setting, you want food that’s going to stay flavorful even after sitting for a while and that means pastas and braises — basically, food that won’t dry out quickly. The options on the night I visited were chicken cacciatore and creamy penne with mushrooms with roasted tomato soup, “fragrant” rice, and assorted vegetables serving as side dishes.
The chicken cacciatore was a miss, but the creamy penne with mushrooms was quite good despite the pasta being overcooked (which I don’t fault them for in this kind of setting). It had a nice cheesy/salty bite to it and, if my flight wasn’t leaving after midnight, I would have indulged in a full plate to fill my belly. At the late hour though, I didn’t want something quite so heavy. Ironically, these dishes were replaced with a heaping pile of mac and cheese (the photo at the top of the post) that had a rosemary undertone to it. I took one bite and realized that if I had more, I would have fallen asleep before my plane even left, so I abstained. I enjoyed it, though.
Overall, I thought the lounge was nice although perhaps not what I expected from a more-elite first class offering. Luckily, Qantas is getting ready to open up their completely renovated premium lounges soon and those will be open to oneworld elite flyers with all kinds of new bells and whistles.