Review: Korean Air Lounge LAX

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Located in the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX, the Korean Air Lounge is located on the second floor of the expansive, beautiful terminal, just past security.

Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX

The Chase Sapphire Reserve (as well as the Citi Prestige and the American Express Platinum and others) provides the benefit of membership in Priority Pass, an international network of lounges accessible regardless of which airline or cabin you are flying. I was leaving from the TBI terminal one afternoon and flying economy class, so decided to pay the Korean Air Lounge a visit. When it first opened, the lounge received some decent reviews, so I wanted to check it out.

Korean Air Lounge LAX

I walked in at 11:45 AM to learn that the lounge was not open to Priority Pass members until 12 PM. I had no recourse, so I took a walk, and came back later.

No Admit!

Now, I’ve had my share of extravagant airline lounge experiences. I’ve enjoyed showers and massages and massive complexes with world class dining and free flowing alcohol. The Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai, for one, is a site to visit on its own right, as is the Etihad First Class Lounge in Abu Dhabi.

But when push comes to shove, I only really ask for a few things in a lounge:

1. A relaxing atmosphere.
2. Comfortable seating.
3. Edible food to snack on.
4. Decent drinks.

In this respect, the Korean Air Lounge failed, miserably.

The room had almost no natural light, and was covered in a drab, depressing grayish green color that closely mimics the insides of Korean Air cabins. The seats were awkward and uncomfortable.

Korean Air Lounge TBIT

There was a decent selection of mostly-gross food, including finger sandwiches and some vegetarian sushi. I passed.

Korean Air Lounge TBIT

At this point, I was really just interested in a drink or two. I would be sitting on a 13 hour flight in economy, so some self-medication seemed appropriate. The bar area, hidden in the back corner of the lounge, was dimly lit, and seemed almost to be closed.

Korean Air Lounge TBIT bar area.

There were a few options, including three bottles of cheap, old, long-opened wine, as well as vodka, some sodas, juice and coffee. I made myself a Bloody Mary, grabbed a can of Diet Coke and called it a day. I looked for a bottle of water to take with me, but to no avail.

In all, I was in the lounge for no more than seven minutes. I used the restroom and headed toward my departing gate.

Take Away

Priority Pass is a fantastic benefit of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and the network gives you access to many good lounges around the world.

The Korean Air Lounge at LAX is not one of them. It is dark, crowded and uncomfortable. The lounge is not a good place to work and the food and drink offerings are slim and unappetizing. If you have time to kill at TBIT and don’t have access to another lounge, spend it at a restaurant or at the gate.