LAX Terminal: Most stores will be open on Sept. 18, but not airline lounges

When LAX opens Phase 1 of its new, $1.9 billion Tom Bradley International Terminal next week, travelers will notice some major changes.

For one, the shopping options for international travelers constitute a considerable upgrade, with many stores selling luxury goods from brands like Prada, Bvlgari and Gucci. For another, the food concessions, which will include LAMill Coffee, Umami Burger and Border Grill, are a major step above the current limited offerings.

Airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles said most, though not all, of the concessions will be open on Sept. 18.

What will not be open, however, is three new airline lounges — one for each major worldwide alliance, SkyTeam, Star Alliance and Oneworld. Those will open soon, Castles said. In the meantime, she said, business and first class passengers will use the lounges in the old building.

“At least one airline lounge will open within about a week after we start operations,” Castles said. “But in the meantime, they still have their existing lounges in the existing terminal.”

My tipsters tell me the Star Alliance lounge is the one most likely to open first, but I have not confirmed that.

Despite all the hullabaloo over the Sept. 18 opening, this is actually considered only Phase 1. There’s a lot of work to be done, including tearing down parts of the old building and connecting pieces of the old building to pieces of the new. It’ll all be finished by early 2015, airport officials said.

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