Qantas Los Angeles first class lounge brings luxe to LAX

Qantas Los Angeles first class lounge brings luxe to LAX

The all-new Qantas Los Angeles First Lounge is a high-flying haven for travellers on Qantas and Oneworld airlines including British Airways and Cathay Pacific, both of which run daily services out of LAX.

Designed by Marc Newson, the lounge takes its lead from Newson’s work on Qantas’ highly-praised Sydney and Melbourne first class lounges but strikes an updated, more contemporary note. (Although unlike its Aussie counterparts, there’s no day spa.)

There’s a definite local influence, including Californian Knoll furniture and American oak walls.

But there are also cues in some materials (such as Tuscan Carrara marbled floors), colours and patterns which connect the space to the Sydney and Melbourne first class lounges.

“The new lounge is more than triple the size of the previous space, and the design and service is equal to the world’s best five star hotels and restaurants,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce in opening the lounge.

With seating for over 200 travellers plus an a la carte dining room with seasonal menus from Neil Perry’s Rockpool Group, this could just be America’s best airport lounge.

The Qantas Los Angeles First Lounge includes a 74-seat restaurant with a view to the open-style kitchen.

In addition to seasonal updates the menu will include signature dishes including Black Angus minute steak with chipotle butter and lime; LA-inspired cuisine including Mexican, Korean and Italian dishes; and favourites from the First Lounges in Sydney and Melbourne, such as the Salt and Pepper Squid.

Passengers will also be offered a selection of individually prepared small plates in the lounge and bar area.

A stand-out feature is the dining room’s 48 foot-long bar for dining and enjoying cocktails (such as a Mezcal Margarita), premium Australian and Californian wines and champagne.

Passengers travelling in first class will have Qantas hosts meet that at the check-in desk, fast-track them through security (using the airport’s staff & crew lane) and also see them off at a dedicated first class boarding lane.

The lounge also sports fast and free WiFi with wireless printing plus two private work suites which travellers can book free of charge, along with seven shower suites featuring Australian Aurora Spa products.

So who gets into the Qantas Los Angeles frst class lounge?

You’ll need to be booked into first class on Qantas, British Airways and Cathay Pacific flights, or be a top-tier Emerald member of any Oneworld airline’s frequent flyer program (including Qantas Platinum and Platinum One, BA Executive Club Gold and CX Marco Polo Diamond).

The Qantas Los Angeles First Lounge will help alleviate over-crowding in the adjacent Business Lounge, which has seen some Qantas Club members turned away during busy periods. A 200-seat extension to the business class lounge will follow next year.


Source : Australian Business Traveller

US Airways moves to Terminal 6 at Los Angeles LAX Airport

US Airways moves to Terminal 6 at Los Angeles LAX Airport

Jetsetters travelling with Qantas to Los Angeles and then onwards with Oneworld partner US Airways will now find their connecting flight departing from Terminal 6 rather than Terminal 3.

And for those enjoying a stopover on the Californian coast, that also means heading to the check-in desks at Terminal 6, which you’ll find on Level 2.

All Qantas flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and New York arrive at Tom Bradley International (Terminal B), so allow a little extra time to reach Terminal 6 as it’s a little further away than the airline’s previous home.

US Airways flights will now depart via four dedicated gates in Terminal 6 – 60, 61, 62 and 63 while all American Airlines flights continue to use Terminal 4.

The change brings “larger, updated facilities and closer, easier connections between terminals (to) improve our customers’ experience and give us more room to grow,” said J.C Liscano, American’s Managing Director of LAX.

Ahead of the eventual AA/US Airways merger, American is kicking offflights from Los Angeles to Atlanta in March 2015, and recently commenced services from LA to Vancouver, Edmonton, San Antonio and Tampa.

The airlines’ top customers at LAX with tight transfer times may be treated to a luxury airport transfer program that escorts customers to their next gate of departure in a Cadillac CTS, SRX or Escalade.

Combined, American Airlines and US Airways provide nearly 200 daily departures to 54 destinations in seven countries/territories from LAX.


Source : Australian Business Traveller

Qantas Los Angeles Business Lounge to open June 17

Qantas Los Angeles Business Lounge to open June 17

The new Qantas Los Angeles Business Lounge will open in mid-June, providing a new preflight home for passengers on Oneworld flights including those of lounge partners British Airways and Cathay Pacific.

Qantas describes this as Phase One of the LAX lounge project, with Phase Two – a new first class lounge – due to open by year’s end.

The airline boasts this much-needed replacement for the current cramped Qantas/Oneworld lounge at LAX “will offer a new standard of luxury for customers travelling from Los Angeles.”

Although a media launch for the lounge will be held on Tuesday June 17, the newest Qantas international lounges at Singapore and Hong Konghave seen a ‘soft opening’ a few days prior to the official date.

A uniquely LA look

And like its Asian siblings, the Qantas business lounge at LAX will draw on its location to shape a unique “look, feel and food” offering.

“As we’ve done with the Singapore and Hong Kong lounges, there will that knowledge of where you are, with parts of California and the US brought into both the first and business lounges” Simon Hickey, Qantas International CEO, told Australian Business Traveller during last month’s opening of the Qantas Hong Kong Lounge.

A centrepiece of the LA-inspired lounge is the internal circular internal fireplace around which passengers can sit and relax.

Qantas consulting chef Neil Perry will bring a regional twist to the lounge’s menu, just as he has done in the airline’s Singapore and Hong Kong lounges, and has promised that “the food will certainly be the very best airport lounge food in America, by a long way.”

In fact, the dining vibe of the LAX lounge will be very ‘California cuisine’ elaborates Roger Barstow, one of the Rockpool Group chefs working with Perry and Qantas on the dining at its international lounges.

“It’s going to be an ‘LA street food’ concept so we’re looking at Mexican, Korean, Italian and some of the Rockpool influence in there as well” Barstow told Australian Business Traveller.

“There will be several food stations and we’ll be doing lots of tray-arounds because this is such a busy lounge, especially in that small window in the evening when we have four Qantas flights leaving within two hours” Barstow says.

“There’ll probably be a little bit of Spice Temple in there” Barstow adds, name-checking another of the restaurants in Neil Perry’s empire, “but it’s more Rockpool Bar & Grill and any Rosetta items which are more suited to the west coast.”

As with the Qantas Singapore Lounge, LA will feature a dining area with a view into the kitchen, along with a separate wine bar offering signature cocktails.

LAX’s biggest and best?

Located at the stylishly revamped Tom Bradley International Terminal, the new Qantas Los Angles Business Lounge will not only be three times larger than the current facility, it will also be “the biggest lounge in Tom Bradley and by far the best lounge in that terminal in my humble opinion” Hickey says.

Qantas reportedly passed on the terminal space now used by Star Alliance – which has room for around 400 passengers and a total footprint of 1,675 square metres (18,000 square feet) – because the area was simply too small.

Qantas will certainly need all that space, as its business lounge will be jointly owned by Qantas, British Airways and Cathay Pacific, which between them run eight flights each day from LAX – with several of those being passenger-packing Airbus A380 superjumbos.

Has Hickey visited the Star Alliance lounge? “Yes, and it does look good, but only because we haven’t opened ours yet!” Hickey teases.

Australian Business Traveller will be attending the opening of the Qantas Los Angeles Business Lounge as a guest of Qantas.


Source : Australian Business Traveller

Qantas’ LAX-Brisbane flight moves to Tom Bradley International

Qantas' LAX-Brisbane flight moves to Tom Bradley International


Qantas will move its Los Angeles-Brisbane service to the newly-renovated Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) from May 1 to bring all LAX departures under the one roof.

“Qantas is streamlining the customer experience and consolidating all departures to Tom Bradley International Terminal” a Qantas spokesperson confirmed to Australian Business Traveller.

The change lets Brisbane-bound travellers enjoy the airline’s new Los Angeles Business Lounge, along with the first class lounge due to open later in the year.

Although the Brisbane-Los Angeles QF15 flight unloads at TBIT, theQF16 return leg currently departs from Terminal 4.

This sees Brisbane-bound passengers with lounge access consigned to the decidedly average American Airlines Admirals Club in Terminal 4 – a serious gripe of many frequent flyers from the Sunshine State.

Qantas journeys from New York to Brisbane will also become much more relaxing as the terminal transfer bus becomes a thing of the past.

Passengers arriving into LAX on QF108 from New York will be able to step straight off the flight and maximise their lounge time in TBIT before continuing to Brisbane, just as their Sydney and Melbourne counterparts already do.


Source : Australian Business Traveller

LAX’s sky-high Encounter restaurant closes

LAX's sky-high Encounter restaurant closes

Every traveller shuttling in and out of LAX is familiar with the airport’s iconic Theme Building, even if they don’t know it by name.

It’s that futuristic low-rise tower clad in white concrete and crowned by four parabolic arches which looks like something out of The Jetsons.

And if it’s eye-catching by day it’s even better at night, lit up in cool purples and blues.

But the Theme Building has lost one of its lesser-known attractions with the closure of the Encounter restaurant.

Nestled inside the building’s ‘flying saucer’, Encounter has fallen victim to changing times.

Not only does Los Angeles International Airport boast a greater variety of dining, but tighter airport security has led to shorter transit times for passengers who may previously have ducked out of the airport for a meal and a drink before their flight home.

“The problem is, it was built when bringing your family out to have dinner and watch the airplanes was a cool thing to do” explains L.A. World Airports Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey, who added that “passengers (now) won’t leave the terminals to have dinner there because it’s unpredictable how long it’ll take them to get through security again.”

Will another up-market restaurant or bar take over where Encounter left off?

The fate of this space rests with Westfield – yes, the Australian-based shopping centre company, which as part of its global expansion operates retail space at LAX, which is no doubt looking at every option.


Australian Business Traveller