After years of lay overs at Los Angeles airport terminals with nothing more than a Hudson bookshop or a lone coffee shop to while away the hours, it is with great delight that I found myself in the newly refurbished Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX this week.
Air New Zealand had just moved from next door at T2 to join the other international airlines that call this fancy new terminal home.
And fancy it is, with $1.4 billion (yes B!) US dollars spent on it as part of a multi-billion dollar upgrade of LAX.
When you first arrive to find your check in counter, you won’t notice much of a difference. Lines of people walking back and forth in their taped-off queues to check in. Then you’ll pass through the customs screening lines which are still in a temporary space, and again you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re still in the dreaded LAX. But wait!
Pass through with a green light and people with any kind of shopping or dining penchant will step into a world of wonder.
Finally there is seriously good duty free and high end shopping as well as some of the nation’s best restaurants all in one place for our last hoorah State-side!
Designed by Westfield, you’ll find 28 retailers and duty free stores including a little Victoria’s Secret, Fred Segal, Michael Kors and Armani.
For travellers after more than an airline meal, there are 20 food and bev outlets including Umami Burger (I defy you to find a better burger!)
Star Alliance Lounge
Air New Zealand won the contract to design and manage the Star Alliance Lounge, so I popped in there to check it out.
There is a First Class and Business Class Lounge: 40 seats and 2 VIP rooms in First and 375 seats in Business. I stayed in Business, so can’t tell you about the fancy First people. But in Business there are several seating nooks including a bar, lounge areas and a veranda with table and lounge seating overlooking the shops and eating spaces on the levels below.
I loved the design. Soft, sheer curtains to divide the huge room into spaces and power and USB outlets at every seat. There is also a media room for those wanting to watch TV on a huge screen, and a library for those wanting quiet time.
Lighting is the star here, as you will see from my pics.
This lounge is right up there with some of the best airline lounges I’ve been to, although I wouldn’t be surprised if the food is under review. Personally I think people are after tapas-style eating in an airline lounge. They know they’ll get a 3-course meal in their Business Class seat in the next couple of hours, so more classy small bites would be great. But that’s just my opinion 🙂
Have you visited the newly refurbished Tom Bradley Terminal? What did you think?