Recently on a trip from Los Angeles to London I had the chance to try out the Star Alliance lounge, a lounge in which I wouldn't normally have thought to visit as I'm not primarily a Star Alliance flyer. This was apart of my larger trip to London where I got to try out British Airways First Class Lounge and Virgin Atlantic's A350 Upper Class. And I have to say that it was quite the interesting experience.
LAX Terminal B or the Tom Bradley International Terminal or TBIT for short is an interesting part of the LAX airport. Every international flight departing LAX goes out of Terminal B and thus you see people preparing to jet off to far away places. Far away places like the Star Alliance lounge. To get to this lounge you have to go up two sets of escalators and tucked back in the corner is the lounge entrance.
The area looks like some general seating with an outdoor terrace however once you try to find the entrance to this area you'll run across the Star Alliance entrance.
Normally this lounge is only for Star Alliance airline passengers to use who are flying in business class, however today I was flying Virgin Atlantic which is actually a SkyTeam airline. Why so? From chatting with a very nice gate agent it's only temporary. During all the construction at the LAX airport Virgin Atlantic had to move their operations from the Delta Terminal 2&3 to Terminal B, and while the Delta Terminal had a Virgin Clubhouse they had to close it down while all the remodeling was taking place and with no access between Terminal B and Terminal 2&3 they were forced to temporarily partner with the Star Alliance lounge while all this construction takes place.
With the recently opened Sky Way at LAX it now connects Delta's Terminal 2&3 directly to Terminal B, the gate agent told me that they hope they get to move back to the new Delta Terminal and will then use Delta's SkyClub as the shared lounge for their passengers.
Food and Beverage Offerings
The Star Alliance lounge had your typical food offerings laid out including cold options like cheese and assorted finger foods to small wraps filled with either meat or veggies. It was a decent spread, as well as a full bar that served alcoholic options and nearby was a soft drink station.
During the time that I visited there it was a very packed full lounge, it sounded like no only were Virgin Atlantic passengers in the lounge but also a Lufthansa flight was departing soon as well as what sounded like either ANA or Asiana. I didn't up staying for long as there was practically no seats.
Amenities & Services
The lounge was very basic when it came to available amenities, however one thing that did stand out was the luggage storage room. I really do appreciate this when you tend to use a lounge for an extended layover and want to wander around without having to worry about your luggage.
There was plenty of seating around the lounge and the bathroom facilities even included showers if you needed to freshen up before of after a flight. There is nothing better than a nice shower after a long flight to help you feel refreshed!
There are various seating areas, the lounge is actually quite large, however during the day that I flew in early-September it was jam packed with people. There's a small outdoor terrace overlooking the main terminal hall, this area was quite noisy as it was out in the open rather than behind glass. Still, it was a great place if you wanted to people watch and see passengers shopping in the duty-free shops. Indoor seating was much quieter and featured regular tables as well as lounge chairs to choose from.
There was even a nice outdoor terrace, while it didn't have the best views it still gave you a good look out to the east at the arrival planes and looked over Delta's Terminal. The open air terrace was very lovely on the warm Los Angeles day and had many lounging options and a fire pit area for the cooler evenings if you needed somewhere to cozy up before your flight.
I'm not sure if it was the time of day that I visited, around noon, but the lounge was completely full and busy. When you talk about lounge over crowding this is now what I think. I was lucky to find a single arm chair in a corner as I was browsing around for seating. Every seat seemed full and there was people everywhere, there was a long line to the food which seemed to go as quickly as the lounge staff could replenish it. And the bar was extremely busy making drinks nonstop.
I have talked with others about the Star Alliance lounge and they have told me that the lounge can be quiet but I happened to be visiting right as 3 flights worth of passengers were trying to use the lounge. So from that point, it will probably very if you happen to visit this lounge to how busy or quiet it may be.
While it was busy it wasn't that terribly loud, most passengers were having light conversations and there was a definite soft rumble to the crowd but nothing got too over bearing or loud where it would distract you from reading or writing.
This review was very much based on a busy experience, as such it was hard to determine the true value of this lounge. Seating was absolutely full and I almost didn't find a spot, food was pretty middle of the road, however the outdoor terrace was very lovely. I didn't end up spending much time in the Star Alliance lounge and instead opted for the American Express Centurion lounge after about an hour or so just because it ended up being a little quieter and the quality of the food was much better. Seating can become difficult however being out of the main busyness of the international terminal did help with relaxing before a long overnight flight.