Review: Qantas First Class Lounge (LAX)

Jyaga likes (4/5)

Qantas First Class Lounge Los Angeles

Airport : Los Angeles (LAX)
Terminal : Tom Bradley International Terminal
Operator : Qantas Airways
Access : Qantas and oneworld First Class passengers, oneworld Emerald frequent flyers
Date of Visit : November 2023

The Qantas First Class Lounge at Los Angeles International Airport is often considered the best lounge in the United States and possibly North America. Opened in December 2014, the Marc Newsom-designed lounge is one of the most exclusive lounges at LAX, barring the PS Private Terminal. It is also one of the two lounges operated by Qantas at the airport, the other being the oneworld Business Class Lounge shared with British Airways and Cathay Pacific.

Lounge Access Rules

Passengers with a same-day reservation on Qantas and oneworld First Class flights are eligible for access. Passengers connecting to a oneworld flight from an international oneworld First Class and flight are also eligible for entry. When accessing by status, passengers holding Qantas Platinum or Platinum One status are eligible for access with one guest. This benefit also extends to Emerald status holders with oneworld carriers, such as Cathay Pacific Diamond, JAL Global Club Diamond and Premier, AAdvantage Executive Platinum, or BA Executive Club Gold. Refer to the Qantas website for specific details.

Location

The Qantas First Class Lounge is located on Level 5 in the Tom Bradley International Terminal. Once airside, head up one level from the Departures Level 4. When you follow the signs pointing to the lounge, you’ll get on the lifts which will open in front of the lounge’s entrance. If you choose to take the escalators, walk straight past the oneworld Business Class Lounge. You’ll find the Qantas First Class Lounge near the end of the corridor, across from the Korean Air Lounge.

Level 5 in the Tom Bradley International Terminal, facing towards the oneworld Lounge
Entrance to the Qantas First Lounge

Qantas First Class Lounge

After making my way past the lounge’s unique honeycomb doors, I was greeted by a friendly and enthusiastic Australian gentleman manning the reception. After confirming my eligibility through a boarding pass scan, he welcomed me to enjoy the confines of the airport’s nicest oneworld lounge.

Entrance to the Qantas First Lounge
Qantas logo next to the entrance

On this occasion, I was accessing the lounge before my Japan Airlines flight back to Tokyo. Although I was flying in Economy Class, I had access by virtue of my Cathay Diamond tier membership, equivalent to oneworld Emerald.

Lounge reception

Lounge Area

Window-side seating

Past the reception, the lounge opens up to a window-facing space featuring plenty of relaxed seating soaked in warm-hued lighting. There is a row of lounge chairs facing the window, in addition to the white leather sofas and sofa chairs arranged facing each other behind it. A small beverage station is conveniently placed at the far end of this area. Do note that the windows only face the terminal’s courtyard of sorts.

Qantas First Lounge seating
Qantas First Lounge seating
Lounge chairs by the window
Lounge chairs by the window
Sofa chairs
View from the windows

Main seating area

Behind the window-side seating, you’ll find the main seating area, which feature red fabric and black leather Florence Knoll™ sofa chairs and Platner arm chairs arranged in rows facing each other. At the front of the area, there are also two VIP rooms, which I reckon are provisioned for Qantas’ invitation-only Chairman’s Club members.

Qantas First Lounge
Seating in the Qantas First Lounge
Seating in the Qantas First Lounge

It is also here where you’ll notice that the interiors look quite similar to the Qantas First Class Lounges design in Sydney and Melbourne. Like those lounges, you’ll find honeycomb-patterned Tai Ping carpets imported from Hong Kong, alongside Californian Knoll furniture and American Oak walls, exclusive to this lounge.

Qantas First Lounge
Qantas First Lounge
Seating in the Qantas First Lounge
Seating in the Qantas First Lounge
Reading material

Towards the back, there are more black Platner armchairs arranged in an evenly spaced out manner. This area features an interior window facing the check-in area. Given how spartanly populated this area is, I’d imagine it would get better use if it had semi-private nap booths or work desk cubicles. Having those would easily diversify the lounge’s offerings.

Seating in the Qantas First Lounge

Having said all of that, I did think that the lounge is are starting to age. For one, the interiors look like a jazzed up corporate office from the 1980s. Furthermore, given the combination of the lounge’s low ceilings and mediocre lighting, the space would feel very stuffy had it been crowded. Then there’s the problem of power outlets… there were very few of them. Perhaps a refresh might be due?

Seating in the Qantas First Lounge
Qantas First Lounge
Qantas First Lounge

Dining

Immediately behind the seating area is the lounge’s restaurant-style dining. Similar to any other Qantas First Class Lounge, the restaurant features dishes designed by Australian chef Neil Perry, famed his restaurant, Rockpool.

Qantas First Class Lounge
Restaurant dining area

Although most tables in the dining area seats only two, there are a handful of tables seating four people at the far end of the lounge. Additionally, I’ll note that a few of the tables closer to the lounge seating area are reserved for Qantas First Class passengers.

Restaurant dining area
Restaurant dining area

Breakfast

After being seated, we were presented with a Neil Perry-designed menu for breakfast, which is served until 11.00. Sadly, this meant that the Australian chef’s famed salt and pepper squid was not available during our visit.

Breakfast menu

As we haven’t had breakfast up to this point, we decided to try out several things from the menu – the seasonal fruit salad, Neil’s healthy Bircher muesli, the smashed avocado on seeded toast with poached eggs, and an egg white omelette. We also got a glass of sparkling water and a flute of Champagne to accompany our meal. During our visit, the Qantas First Lounge served G.H. Mumm Grand Cordon Brut.

Neil’s healthy Bircher muesli
Fruit salad
Smashed avocado on seeded toast with poached eggs
Egg white omelette

Overall, I found the food to be easily restaurant-quality, being exceptionally good. In particular, I loved the two dishes that I had – Neil’s healthy Bircher muesli and the smashed avocado on seeded toast. Both were fresh and tasted light and healthy. However, since we were still peckish afterwards, we decided to share a croque monsieur, which was good as well.

Croque monsieur

While the food was excellent, I did find the service to be a bit of a mixed bag. I noticed a few of the waiters were enthusiastic and proactively offering drink top-ups. However, the waiter waiting at our table just seemed very disinterested. It felt like ordering any food or drink was a chore to them. We were never offered drink top-ups and our glasses were just taken away when empty (when they did take them away). The waiter at the next table saw that and was so apologetic and kept asking us if we needed anything else.

Drinks

In addition to the restaurant-style dining, the Qantas First Lounge also has a fully staffed bar next to the dining area. The much-touted 48-foot Carara marble bar also features barista-made coffee and espresso-based beverages.

Qantas First Lounge bar
Qantas First Lounge bar

In addition, there are also a couple of beverage stations, featuring still and sparkling water, orange juice, and a range of Australian wines. There is also a coffee machine featuring Vittoria Coffee, which is better than the typical airline lounge coffee machine. A selection of dry snacks of cookies, trail mixes, biscuits, sweets, and crisps are also available to accompany these drinks.

Beverage station
Juice, water, and wine
Wine selection
Vittoria coffee machine
Selection of snacks

Amenities

Printer

A printing and scanning facility is available in the Qantas First Class Lounge, located in the forward seating area next to the VIP Rooms. Although I wasn’t sure how to use it, I’m sure the lounge’s lovely reception staff would be happy to help.

Location of the printer
Printer

Showers

The Qantas First Class Lounge has a handful of showers tucked at the back with the restrooms, past the restaurant dining area. To request a shower, simply ask the shower attendant at the dedicated reception outside the shower rooms.

Shower reception

As you’d expect from a First Class lounge, the showers are bright and spacious, featuring a sleek and industrial design. I like that each shower room features a toilet, a sink, and a vanity table.

Shower in the Qantas First Class Lounge

Furthermore, the shower stall itself has both an overhead shower as well as a handheld shower, with good temperatures. In addition, the toiletries are from U.L.E Cosmestics, which I quite liked.

Shower in the Qantas First Class Lounge

Toilets

The lounge’s main toilets are located in the same area as the showers, featuring just two toilet rooms. The toilet rooms look a lot like the showers, each featuring a dedicated sink. They are also well-kept and frequently cleaned, which I really appreciate.

Toilet in the Qantas First Class Lounge

U.L.E. Cosmetic amenities are similarly available here. Additionally, there are also accessible toilets located by the main lounge area.

U.L.E Cosmestics amenities

WiFi

The Qantas First Class Lounge has its own WiFi network, separate from that of the terminal. I found the speeds to be good and the network to be easy to join.

Overall

In all, is the Qantas First Class Lounge really the best in North America? Well, I don’t think so. While I liked the food and beverage offering, it is far from exceptional. For one, the lounge has started to look rather tired and service can be a bit of a hit or miss. I also wish there were more variation in seating options, like work desks or semi-private cubicles. In fact, I’d dare say that I’ve had better experiences at United Polaris Lounges. As such, I don’t think it deserves its reputation, although it is a very good lounge if you’re accessing on the basis of status.

Read more from this trip here!

One response to “Review: Qantas First Class Lounge (LAX)”

  1. Rory Huang

    So you can actually access the lounge on a domestic AA/AS flight?

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