Review: Emirates Lounge LAX

Filed Under: Emirates

Emirates offers chauffeur service for first and business class passengers on paid tickets, as well as passengers on Emirates Skywards and Qantas Frequent Flyer award tickets (though not other partner award tickets), so we took advantage of that feature. The driver showed up exactly on-time, and we arrived at LAX at around 1:30PM, just over three hours before our 4:40PM departure to Dubai.

Emirates chauffeur service LAX

Emirates departs from Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX, and as usual, the terminal was quite busy.

Tom Bradley International Terminal LAX check-in

Emirates check-in was at the far right of the terminal, and there was no one in the first class line. At check-in I asked the agent to add our Alaska Mileage Plan numbers to our reservation (so we could earn miles with them), though he insisted they weren’t a partner. Fortunately the agents in the lounge were able to add our numbers, so it wasn’t a big deal, but that’s definitely a training opportunity.

Tom Bradley International Terminal LAX check-in

We were also presented with hotel vouchers for our layover in Dubai. Emirates offers the Dubai Connect program, where eligible passengers can receive a free hotel stay for their layover. However, they don’t tell you in advance which hotel you’ll stay at, so this is the point at which we found out we’d be staying at the Le Meridien by the airport.

Emirates hotel voucher at check-in

Security lines at TBIT tend to very long in the afternoons, so we used the “secret” security checkpoint, located at the far left of the lower arrivals level, where there’s a checkpoint that almost no one uses. That lets out in the connector between Terminal 4 and Tom Bradley International Terminal, and then we just had to take the elevator up to Level 6, where the lounge is located.

Emirates opened their own lounge at LAX in 2015, and I attended the media preview at the time, so this time around I was looking forward to seeing the lounge in action.

The Emirates Lounge LAX exterior

At the entrance we were welcomed by two friendly Emirates employees, who informed us that an announcement would be made for boarding. Just inside the entrance to the lounge is a long hallway with newspapers and magazines, prayer rooms, and bathrooms to the side.

The Emirates Lounge LAX entryway

Then that leads into the rest of the lounge, which is mostly one big room. The lounge features Emirates’ updated decor, which I find to be much more tasteful than their old design, which felt like a blingy cigar bar with way too much faux mahogany.

The Emirates Lounge LAX seating

To the very right of the lounge was the dining area, which had the buffet and about a dozen tables.

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles dining area

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles dining area

The rest of the lounge mostly had leather chairs arranged in rows facing one another.

The Emirates Lounge LAX seating

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles seating

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles seating

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles seating

Separating the dining area from the rest of the lounge was a long counter with seating.

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles seating

There was also a business center of sorts, with five computers and a printer.

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles business center

The lounge also has a terrace, which looks out over the main part of Tom Bradley International Terminal. There’s plenty of seating on the terrace, though I find it annoying that they don’t have any outlets in this area (which is the case far too often with these type of lounge designs).

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles terrace

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles terrace

Tom Bradley International Terminal is one of only a handful of terminals in the US that I’d consider to be “nice” by global standards, so this is one interior view that I quite enjoy.

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles terrace view

In the far corner of the lounge was a self serve drink station.

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles self serve bar

The main selection was in the dining area, where there was one of those domed food displays, which Emirates has in almost all of their lounges.

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles food selection

This had a variety of salads, fresh fruit, cheese, desserts, hummus, etc.

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles food selection

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles food selection

Then there was the main buffet area, with 10 hot dishes, including one soup.

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles buffet

There was cauliflower and leek soup.

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles soup

Other options included lamb with carrots and mashed potatoes, poached salmon with spinach, marinated chicken skewers with Vietnamese noodles, penne with mushroom and cream sauce, stuffed tomatoes with black olives and parmesan, roasted potatoes, green beans, baby carrots, and turnips, vegetable curry, and more.

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles hot food

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles hot food

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles hot food

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles hot food

There was a solid selection of self serve liquor.

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles liquor selection

There was also wine, including Veuve Clicquot champagne (which is pretty nice for a business class lounge, though I was saving my alcohol consumption for onboard).

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles wine

There was also a coffee machine, as well as a selection of tea.

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles coffee machine

Then there were soft drinks, juice, water, and beer.

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles soft drinks

As mentioned earlier, back near the entrance was a selection of magazines and newspapers.

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles magazines & newspapers

The bathrooms were always in pristine condition.

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles restroom

There were two showers in the bathroom. Emirates takes the same approach to showers in most of their lounges, and this is one thing I don’t like. The showers are inside the main restroom, so the shower room is just that, and doesn’t have a toilet or sink, or much space to move around.

Emirates Lounge Los Angeles shower room

I spent a bit of time in the lounge working given that I was getting on a longhaul flight, though the Wi-Fi was frustratingly slow.

Boarding was schedule for 3:40PM (one hour before departure), so we left the lounge at around 3:15PM, so that we could first do some plane spotting.

Tom Bradley International Terminal

Once in the main area of the terminal, gate 152 was towards the left.

Tom Bradley International Terminal

Tom Bradley International Terminal is great for plane spotting thanks to the big windows with direct views of planes, and right near us was an Alitalia 777, Air New Zealand 777, and Air Tahiti Nui A340.

Alitalia 777 LAX

Air New Zealand 777 LAX

Air Tahiti Nui A340 LAX

And of course there was our beautiful A380.

Emirates A380 LAX

As we got to the gate I noticed that we had one of the new automated boarding gates. This essentially allows you to scan your boarding pass and look at a camera, so that you don’t actually have to show your passport again. Awesome or creepy?

Emirates departure gate LAX

Emirates departure gate LAX

Sure enough, at 3:40PM boarding did start, though only pre-boarding. On Emirates that typically seems to be half the plane, so it was another 15 minutes before we could board.

Emirates Lounge LAX bottom line

Emirates is so consistent with their ground experience, almost to a fault. All of their lounges around the world look almost identical.  Emirates lounges do often stand near the top of some of the best airport lounges.

On one hand these lounges aren’t that impressive as a first class passenger, since they’re a shared space. So it’s not that they have better champagne or a la carte dining for first class passengers (at least outside Dubai). However, these are really solid business class lounges, and over the years they’ve grown on me quite a bit.

Emirates lounges have buffet food that actually tastes good, which I find to be quite rare in airport lounges. I also appreciate the variety of food options they have, which should suit just about any preferences.

The lounges also generally never get too crowded, given how closely Emirates can control the experience. They don’t contract the lounge out to other airlines, so the lounges only ever have Emirates passengers.

If you’ve visited an Emirates lounge, what was your experience like?

  1. Not impressed. Nothing beats The Pier at HKG or the classy JAL First Class lounge in Haneda. One of the reasons my first class tickets are almost always purchased with Oneworld Airlines

  2. @Leeza1 You sound like a very smart person with your twisted deductions. I fly mostly in first and with Oneworld. Star Alliance and Skyteam airlines service is a joke. When the cabin is not available no other choice than business with oneworld

  3. @Leeza – don’t let the troll get to you… if someone is bragging about flying paid first then they don’t.

  4. @Endre: Bit of an apples to oranges comparison, no? You are comparing an EK lounge in an outstation to CX’s lounge at its hub. That’s not really fair. A much fairer comparison would be to compare the EK DXB lounge with CX’s lounge in HKG or the EK LAX lounge with, let’s say, the CX Lounge in CDG/LHR.

  5. That hot food looks very sad and unappealing.

    The lack of first class differentiation is also a poor show. They could easily do something. For instance, they could offer a separate super-fast WiFi service to first class visitors, handing out codes on entry, separate first class showers etc. It shows a distinct lack of care.

  6. @Lucky did you take the Westjet flights? No reviews?

    DId you take the return LAX-YVR flight?

    you seem to be dodging this one since multiple people have asked…

  7. @Lucky did you take the Westjet flights? No reviews?

    Did you take the return LAX-YVR flight?

    you seem to be dodging this one since multiple people have asked…

  8. @Endre is that really the right comparison to be making? A lounge at an outstation where Emirates have 1/2 flights a day vs other airlines’ main hub first class lounges?

  9. You said “Emirates offers chauffeur service for first and business class passengers on paid tickets”. Isn’t it also on Skyward First and business award tickets too?

  10. Sorry for not really getting this: I am Emirates Gold, but want to collect Alaska miles. Since I am about to fly Dubai-Sydney, when I have them put in my Alaska number, I will not be able to have free Internet, even when flying First Class, correct?

  11. Love the Emirates lounges, both at DXB and outstation. I’m especially fond of the Bateel dates they carry.

  12. Love Emirates- best airline in my opinion. Also do you have another post detailing more that “secret” security line or is it basically just that- arrivals level at TBIT on the far left?

  13. Does EK make the chaffeur service available for paid F/J tickets on both ends or is it just offered on the departure end?

  14. I attempted to use the same “secret” security checkpoint at TBIT on June 15 as the regular line was very long. I was told by the agent I was not eligible to use it as it’s only for AA passengers. I replied that I thought any ticket can access any checkpoint and she insisted that was not the case. I asked when this policy changed for this specific checkpoint and she said it was within the last week or two that only AA passengers could use it. Is this true that the “secret” checkpoint is dead or is this a case of a misinformed agent?

  15. @Andrew & @Lucky, chauffeur drive is also available for Qantas partner award tickets, if you want to update that too…

  16. I agree that the food offerings in all Emirates Lounges is superior to most with fresh and light options in abundance. My irritation with EK is the lack of consistency as to the champagne offered across the Lounges. Veuve Clicquot offered at LAX in the combined Lounge and yet Moet was offered in the First Lounge at DXB last week! At least the P2 currently being served onboard is worth the wait.

  17. Definitely an excellent place to spend a couple hours, with the decent food and terrace view. Glad I got to check it out as a Virgin Australia passenger

  18. Actually they do share the lounge, don’t know about other airlines, but Virgin Australia business class pax have access, and we ended up spending several hours due to a delayed departure. At LAX I’ve only been to this and Korean which is rather pathetic, so it was a big step up,

  19. Ben, thank you for describing the meal options that were available rather than just reproducing pictures. It is an enormous help to people who are blind such as myself. Please keep it up.

  20. WRT to the first few comments; I’d take JAL’s Haneda or Cathay’s HKG first lounges over Emirates DXB one with the caveat that I’ve only ever been through DXB at some ungodly hour of the morning and what I’m mainly looking for is a nap.

    EK definitely does the outstation business lounge consistently and pretty well, though. Pretty good food and drink, plenty of space by and large. Too much beige and brown but you can’t have everything.

  21. Oddly Emirates actually do contract out the LAX lounge to Virgin Australia. This started maybe 18 months ago when Virgin lost access to the Star Alliance lounge in LAX

  22. @Endre
    I wouldn’t think someone who lived on a trailer park could even afford a bus ticket, never mind First Class…keep dreaming

  23. If only Delta could have the food and wine selection that Emirates has in Los Angeles. Delta could save a ton with on-board catering by offering good, proper food in the lounge, at least for international business-class. Delta desperately needs an exclusive international business-class lounge at its JFK, DTW, LAX, and ATL hubs.

    It looks like the the bottle of 2014 Hypothesis cabernet sauvignon in the picture sells for between $23 and $40-ish. Not bad at all.

  24. @ wadacash – Can’t confirm anything with official statements, but I was there on June 16th flying Austrian and no one even paid any attention to me the whole way through, so it seems you may have just run into a misinformed agent.

  25. Emirates lounge provision is a consistent and quality product – Qatar herds it’s “Privilege” premium travelling passengers into any old airport lounge – witness the tired “Escape” lounge in Manchester International or the places that you are privileged to use at Beijing Capital or Colombo Bandaranaike. Didn’t Qatar used to describe themselves as “The World’s First 5 Star Airline”? Oh how times change – has excitedly chattering Mr Al Bakr been dumped yet and left for his retirement in Australia with Mr Hogan?

  26. I had access using my VA Platinum status whilst flying economy to MLB. Could only get me plus one guest in but I can confirm the champagne was cold and the prawns delicious……. they seem to have changed the bottle water from Voss when I was there

  27. @Lilly Ming

    I remember the lounge at Beijing Capital where they labelled Oranges as being reassuringly ‘meat-free’ lol

  28. Same, I love this lounge. Also, if you get the chance, you NEED to fly Air Mauritius’ New A350 Business Class! They only have 2 routes so far, MRU to JNB and CDG but it’s so good! Also, wish me luck on my trip to Bahrain!

  29. @Andrew N: I really enjoy when Endre coomment something here.
    He’s a troll, but at least he sticks with his “Paid FC tickets only”.
    I was worried because a few weeks ago, he was talking about his paid business class tickets.
    So sad that a fellow reader was declining economically.
    Good to see that he’s back on his FC.

  30. @wadacash I was in contact with LAX who confirm ALL TICKETED passengers may use the security screening in the lower level of TBIT and they have reminded all TSA staff of the protocol 🙂

  31. The Emirates First Class lounge at JFK is fabulous – boarding right from the lounge to the plane. Private car service to and from hotel in both classes feels decadent. The Emirates First Class lounge in Dubai is almost too quiet, but the champagne bar is a delight! (I think it is Moet & Chandon with both vintage and NV offerings) The Business Class lounge at Dubai is huge and had an unbelievable assortment of buffet offerings.

    Years ago, before I ever flew Emirates, I was crazy about the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Lounge at Heathrow. Spa services, cool decor, just a great ground experience. Not sure what it is like now.

    Ben, I’m flying Air France La Premiere from LAX-CDG in September. Never been to LAX -Besides Korean Air lounge is there any other lounge option you would recommend before the flight?

  32. Flew “F” on EK back in February from LAX on Alaska Air redemption (ouch). It was on our bucket list and quite nice. No chauffeur service for first and business class passengers on redemption tickets. As our final destination was SGN, we were given a free room at the DXB Le Meridien, which was quite nice and a wonderful buffet breakfast the next morning. The layover must be for at least 12 hours for the room. Anything less didn’t qualify. The “secret” security checkpoint at TBIT was open in February, and we breezed through in less than five minutes, no stress take your time. The place was empty! Ya, you can’t compare EK lounge at LAX to DXB. We usually fly F or J on redemptions to Asia on Cathay, and the Cathay lounge in HKG makes LAX Cathay lounge look like a busted taco stand.

  33. “They don’t contract the lounge out to other airlines, so the lounges only ever have Emirates passengers”

    Lucky, this is not correct. I used the Emirates LAX lounge as a VA J customer LAX-MEL. I agree with most of your points re this lounge, and found it irritating that there was no toilet in with the smallish shower room offered. The food options you show were almost identical to what was on offer when I was in this lounge some 3 months ago, and found the vast majority of it to be bland and unappealing. The soup was the lone standout for me.

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