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.

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Star Alliance lounge at LAX features outdoor seating, fire pits

Last week, we were first to report that some premium customers at the new LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal will have access to a special outdoor lounge, complete with a bar, lounge chairs and fire pits.

It took a week, but we finally secured renderings of the space, which will be used by first and business class customers, as well as some elite frequent fliers, flying on most Star Alliance airlines. It should open later this summer, when a key piece of the new building is finally opened.

The airlines using the lounge are: All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, EVA Air, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, SWISS, THAI and Turkish Airlines and Air New Zealand.

Will you be using this lounge? What do you think of it? Do you think airlines cater too much to premium customers?

The outdoor terrace at the new LAX international terminal.

The outdoor terrace at the new LAX international terminal.

The bar at the new Star Alliance lounge, LAX.

The bar at the new Star Alliance lounge, LAX.

Inside seating at the new Star Alliance lounge, LAX

Inside seating at the new Star Alliance lounge, LAX

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New Star Alliance lounge at LAX will have outdoor lounge chairs and fire pits

Above, an early rendering of what the new Star Alliance lounge at LAX will look like.

Above, an early rendering of what the new Star Alliance lounge at LAX will look like.

If you have access to the new Star Alliance lounge at Los Angeles International Airport, you’ll be in for a unique outdoor experience.

The lounge for elite and premium cabin passengers on some airlines will feature an outdoor patio with lounge chairs for sun bathing, an outdoor bar, fire pits and a water feature, airport officials told me Thursday. The space in the almost finished new Tom Bradley International Terminal will have sweeping views of downtown Los Angeles and the airfield.

“You’ll be able to enjoy the sunshine of Southern California,” said Mike Doucette, project manager for Los Angeles World Airports. “And daytime or nighttime, you’ll be able to watch planes approach on an outdoor balcony that’s landscaped and has a bar area on it.”

Outdoor clubs are a relatively new phenomenon, and Delta Air Lines has been rolling them out in New York and Atlanta with great fanfare. But despite the great weather in Southern California, all the airline clubs at LAX are indoors. This should represent a welcome change for premium Star Alliance customers flying internationally.

Air New Zealand will be running the LAX club on behalf of the other members of the alliance, which include Swiss, Lufthansa, Eva Air, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Thai Airways. (A full list of carriers can be found here, though not all those airlines will serve the new international terminal).

Doucette said original plans for the lounge did not include an outdoor element. But he said airline officials decided they wanted more space, and an outdoor patio seemed like a good place to put more seating.

“We’re trying to create something that is symbolic of Los Angeles and the California lifestyle,” Doucette said.

The new lounge should be ready for passengers in August or September, when the new terminal is expected to open. Until then, premium and elite passengers will have to wait for flights in the quaint but relatively small existing Star Alliance lounge.

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