I got to the airport about three hours before my flight because I wanted to explore the terminal a bit before checking out the lounges. In addition to the Korean Air SkyTeam Lounge, I also visited the new Star Alliance Lounge. The new Star Alliance Lounge is exponentially better than the former lounge and is easily one of my favorite business class lounges in the world.
Other trip reports in this series:
- The new Star Alliance Lounge at LAX
- The new Korean Airlines Skyteam Lounge at LAX
- Turkish Airlines business class from Los Angeles to Istanbul
- Hilton Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge at Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines business class from Istanbul to Frankfurt
- Lufthansa Senator Lounges at Frankfurt
- Asiana Airlines first class from Frankfurt to Seoul
- Asiana Airlines first class lounge at Seoul
- Asiana Airlines business class from Seoul to Shanghai
- Westin Bund Center Shanghai
- VIP lounges at Shanghai Pudung International Airport
- Thai Airways business class from Shanghai to Bangkok
- Thai Airways Royal First Spa and Lounge
- Thai Airways first class from Bangkok to Paris
- Star Alliance Lounge at CDG
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at CDG
- Air Canada business class (Executive First) from Paris to Montreal
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at Montreal
- Air Canada business class (Executive First) from Montreal to Los Angeles
The boarding gates in the new TBIT terminal are all located on the fourth floor. The Korean Air SkyTeam Lounge is located on the fifth floor and the new Star Alliance Lounge is located on the sixth floor (both after security). The two lounges are located across from each other in the Villaraigosa Pavilion.
The Korean Air SkyTeam Lounge is open daily from 08:30 AM to 12:30 AM. It is 68% larger than the old lounge and at 1320 square feet, can seat up to 305 passengers. It’s significantly smaller than the Star Alliance Lounge but with less premium cabin passengers than Star Alliance departing from the TBIT, the smaller size wasn’t an issue.
The main entrance to the KAL Lounge is actually a little hidden. It doesn’t face down onto the pavilion and is located down the corridor from the main area of the terminal. After security, turn left and take the elevator to the fifth floor. Make another left after you step out of the elevator.
Skyteam premium cabin passengers and Priority Pass members are granted access to this lounge. On this trip, I was flying Turkish Airlines business class so I used my Priority Pass membership to gain entry into the KAL lounge. Priority Pass members are only granted access to the business class lounge but the friendly agents let me peak through the first class lounge to snap some pictures.
As you enter the lounge foyer, the business class lounge is located to your left and the smaller first class lounge is located to your right. At first glance, the new KAL Lounge is beautiful! It’s spacious and bright with lots of natural lighting and warm colors. The design is sleek and modern with a variety of seating and dining spaces.
Korean Airlines Business Class Lounge:
To the left of the entrance, there are a bank of storage lockers for you to use if you don’t want to carry your belongings with you. The individual lockers can be set with your personalize combination and are large enough to store a roller board and your other carry on items.
There are plenty of comfortable seats around the lounge and a dining area for you to eat at but oddly enough, there were no dedicated work space areas. Sure there are tables that you could work at but there were no quiet areas of the lounge with desks, cubicles or other private partitions. You’ll just have to make do with the dining tables or the large common bar table in the center of the lounge. Wifi is provided and there is an ample supply of electrical power outlets scattered though the lounge.
Food-wise, this is where the KAL Lounge really fell flat. There were buffet stations with chips and salsa, veggie sticks, pastries, cold sandwiches and a salad bar. The only “hot” option was instant noodle soup.
There was a refrigerator with beers, sodas and juices, cappuccino maker, hot water for tea and a small self-serve alcohol bar with some spirits and bottles of wine.
Now, my favorite part of the lounge has the be the indoor deck that looks down onto the Villaraigosa Pavilion. The new TBIT is beautiful and the balcony style deck allows you to sit, relax and enjoy the people watching below.
There are shower rooms but I wasn’t able to take any pictures of those. There are no day rooms, loungers or anywhere else to rest your eyes. Sitting room only for this lounge.
Korean Airlines First Class Lounge:
The KAL first class lounge is significantly smaller than the business class lounge. There’s a main seating area with a couple rows of seats, private rooms for VIPs and a small area on the deck reserved for first class passengers. It’s the same deck as the business class lounge but the first class area is partitioned off with more comfortable seats.
Food-wise, there was a buffet station with the same food options as the business class lounge with the addition of two hot items (fried rice and chicken wings) and fresh fruit. The alcohol selection was similar as the business class side, sans champagne and all.
Korean Airlines SkyTeam Lounge overall thoughts:
The new KAL Lounge is modern, beautiful and is a great place to relax before your flight but falls short in so many areas. I really appreciate the warm ambiance and the indoor deck but the lack of hot food options, work spaces and areas to lie down and rest really disappoint me. This lounge space can be great but there are many areas for improvemnt. However, the negatives are easy to fix if they wanted to improve the lounge. Swap out a couple of chairs, add some cubicles and beef up the food options and this will be a great lounge to visit.
If you have visited the lounge, please tell me your thoughts in the comments section below.