Since the recent grand reopening of the new Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) in LAX, I have not had the pleasure to use any of the new lounges. The last two times I flew out of TBIT, I visited the old Korean Airlines SkyTeam lounge as I did not have status high enough on AA to visit the OneWorld lounge and before that, I was actually flying Korean Air A380, while TBIT was a complete mess/war zone during the facelift. The KoreanAir lounge before was dated and claustrophobic as it had no windows to the outside to world and was probably one of the blandest airport lounges in the Korean Air system. This time, despite flying Cathay Pacific, I had time to burn, so I stopped by the Korean Air/SkyTeam lounge to check out the new space and snap some pictures. I must say, from the minute I walked in I was very much impressed with the new space and happy to see the many enhancements!
The lounge it located closest to the South Security check point and up the elevator to the 5th floor. There are of signs and the lounge is very easy to find from the South Security check point. Another option is going through the main entrance hall and up the escalator next to the duty free store and follow the signs again. The lounge is the only one of this part of the 5th floor so getting lost is unlikely. The lounge is divided into a first class lounge, behind the automatic alabaster doors to the right and the business class lounge to the left. Since I used my priority pass to enter the lounge I was unable to preview the first class lounge. The main lounge though is a huge upgrade to the previous lounge with tons of seating and a power port at every seat, built into the modern tables.
The lounge is basically a big “U” with the center closed off for staff only. There’s a main sitting area that’s L shaped that leads into the bar where there are more traditional dining tables. The food and beverages section is located in small cubby hole which is awkwardly designed. It’s nice as it’s out of the way, but when more than 6 or 7 people are inside the food area it could feel extremely crowded and makes it more difficult to maneuver. Food options were fairly basic and matched what we saw at the old KAL lounge: Crème cheese on crackers, Cup Noodle, fresh fruit, and mini sandwiches. Over in the bar area, closer to the deck, there is self-service alcohol and wine. There appeared to be no one working behind the bar, making accessing speciality drinks and beer more difficult.
The highlight to this lounge is the deck that overlooks that mall below. Divided in two sections, both the first class lounge and business lounge has access to the deck which provides decent tarmac views and superb for people watching. The deck is still inside, but is more open and bright as the roof of TBIT was designed to bring in natural light.
First class deck
Business class deck above, Below is business class deck looking towards First.
There was no sleeping area in the main lounge but there were at least 3 shower rooms that could be booked. Long haul travelers with extended connections will have to either wait to sleep on the plane or enjoy sleeping in an awkward position sprawled across a chair or two. The other option is to curl up on one of the bench seats behind the decorative wall closer to the bathroom and entrance to the lounge.
If I was going to sleep here, I’d chose one of these benches
The KAL lounge just opened last month and it still has the brand new smell. If you’re passing through TBIT, be sure to stop in just to check out the Gensler-designed lounge that eludes Asian chic culture and ultra-modernism through comfort and style.