Lounge Report: Brand New oneworld International Business Lounge at LAX

Posted in At the Terminal, Domestic US, LAX

In perhaps the greatest new development of the already great Tom Bradley International Terminal makeover at LAX, oneworld (in this case Qantas, Cathay Pacific, and British Airways) has opened their brand new business class lounge at LAX and it’s a stunner. The space itself is great, but the food… ah, the food. Last time we checked in on the oneworld Lounge at LAX, it was a bit of a letdown — especially for a First Class lounge. The new lounge erases all of those memories and more. The best part? It’s only halfway done.

By 2015, the whole space will double in size, leading to an enlarged buffet area, more seating, and room for over 600 passengers. The First Class Lounge will also open at that time and be modeled after the award-winning Qantas First Class Lounge in Sydney with a full a la carte restaurant from Neil Perry’s Rockpool group. I can’t wait.


So what can you expect from the food at the new lounge? A lot. Created by longtime Qantas consultant (and Aussie rock star chef) Neil Perry, the food offerings are not only extensive, they’re rapidly replaced and bring the word “fresh” to mind more than any other airport lounge I’ve visited.

Let’s start with the salads. Sure, you’ve got your traditional green salad, but you also have a wonderful couscous creation with citrus, coriander (read: cilantro), and cranberries. There’s a quinoa salad with feta, spinach, and semi-dried tomatoes. I know. I’ve never seem “semi-dried tomatoes,” either, but they work just fine and could be found in a beautifully vibrant tomato salad further down the buffet with basil. Just look at that stunner…


There was also a German potato salad with bacon, a long bean salad with roasted hazelnuts and orange dressing, chickpeas with tomato and salami, and roasted portobello mushrooms with barley. Like I said, a really nice collection of salads.

It’s interesting to note that the hot food was not nearly as successful as the cold options. You could have a pasta that lacked flavor, a beef stew that was a bit heavy for LA, heavily spiced roasted chicken, and a creamy soup. The best option was a ratatouille-esque dish of stewed vegetables.


Now you may think I’m burying the lede here, but one of the coolest options at the new lounge is Neil Perry’s “street food” carts. Two stations are set up: one with hot dogs, the other with tacos. Just a warning: your hot dog is going to be a little odd. I don’t know where Perry got the inspiration, but these dogs have black beans, onions, spicy salsa, guacamole, and half a hot dog on a really thick bun. It was… strange.


The tacos were better. There are two options here — shredded pork that tasted more like a tinga than carnitas and fish tacos that seem to have a Japanese panko breading. The major issue with the tacos is that they’re served on cold, uncooked tortillas and that’s just not a great choice. I think some things got lost in translation with an Aussie making Mexican food (and hot dogs with Mexican flavors), but I applaud the effort nonetheless.

Finally, let’s talk about the best thing this lounge has to offer: dessert. Huge trays of tiramisu, bold key lime pie, raspberry cheesecake with an Oreo-like crust. There was even a fruit salad that not only eschewed the traditional apples/oranges/bananas you find at other lounges, it actually had fresh, seasonal fruit! Ripe crimson cherries! Blueberries! Strawberries! Pineapple! Quite impressive.


This is a great new development for LAX and I can’t wait to fly international on one of the oneworld carriers so I can experience it as a passenger and not just as part of a media preview visit.

What are you most excited to try at this lounge?



    • It’s a brand new lounge! Just opened this week. It’s in the Tom Bradley International Terminal on the second floor. You’re in for treat!

      • Great thanks! Unfortunate it’s taking them so long to open the new First Class Lounge, as i’ll be flying out mid-December. I guess I’ll just have to “settle” for this new lounge. haha

  1. I was wondering if you can access this lounge if you’re flying transcontinental on AA? On the oneworld website under the lounge access website it says “customers travelling in First or Business class on U.S. transcontinental flights between JFK-LAX, JFK-SFO and MIA-LAX (and vice-versa) are eligible for lounge access.”

    • The issue at LAX is that the oneworld lounge is in the Tom Bradley International Terminal while those transcon flights originate out of Terminal 4. You wouldn’t have any opportunity to use the lounge as there’s no easy way to move within the terminals without going outside and getting through security again and since you wouldn’t have an international ticket, they wouldn’t let you through. You may be eligible to access the lounge, but it would be impossible (as far as I know) to make that happen.

  2. Nice report and I’m looking forward to visiting this new lounge at LAX. Frankly, it is about time! Premium lounges in major airports serve an important function, but… In recent years it seems that the quality of the environment and especially the food offerings have taken a nose dive, even in new lounges. At the fares collected on paid, premium-class seats, the major carriers CAN afford to offer quality food and snacks. Doing so requires close attention to flight schedules, time of day, routes serviced and in-depth knowledge of expected passenger demographics. Small volumes of a variety of FRESHLY prepared hot food are fine when lounge traffic is light, but the staff should be able to respond quickly when necessary. Obviously, larger volumes are necessary at certain times of day, in support of some routes and perhaps connecting passengers. The numbers are not huge and the airlines certainly have the necessary detail to share with the lounge managers. Lounge food consumption can also be a function of the perceived quality of on-board food that these pax will receive in flight; experienced flyers (in all classes) know when to eat before boarding! My guess is that one serious food cost item in lounges is waste. No chef or manager likes a large waste ticket. However, if food is prepared in small batches, or using partial advance preparation, it can be limited. And lastly, with few exceptions, experienced chefs and managers recognize that preparing and serving QUALITY food is minimally more expensive that serving junk and having to toss a lot of it because the clients won’t eat it. A lounge with high traffic at near-standard meal times, that offers hot food with minimal consumption probably needs to take a second look at WHAT they are serving and at the over all quality. (Duh?) While perhaps a bit more complicated, lounge managers can also plan their menus to compliment, rather than compete with food served in flight. Again, they have – or can easily obtain the necessary details from their sponsoring airlines. A good lounge is expected to enhance a premium cabin flight, not just allow ‘fortification’ in advance of an unpleasant experience. And again, EXCELLENT food in not significantly more expensive that the usual junk! I look forward to trying this new LAX lounge and I hope it is really as pleasant as the writer suggests. -C.

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