Star Alliance Lounge LAX Review – One Of The Best Lounges At LAX

We love spending time in LAX, it’s right up there with Chinese water torture, invasive surgery without an anesthetic, or checking our bank balance after a Disneyland trip. However, unlike the others, there is a way to make visiting one of the worst international airports in the world a little more bearable, namely a Lounge. Even the lounge scene at Los Angeles International Airport is a little below par but there are a few gems. One of our favorites is the Star Alliance Lounge.

This is a premium lounge from the Star Alliance Airline Group, offering high-end Lounge facilities. Facilities at LAX really are not the best so getting lounge access is really important to avoid the rest of the airport as much as possible. As this is a business/Upper-class lounge, a lot of people will have no choice but to use it but others may have a selection of lounges they can use, so we wanted to show you what you can expect from the Star Alliance Lounge, also this is a rare opportunity to get paid access to a premium lounge as most Lounges like this are reserved for business class passengers only.

Star Alliance Lounge LAX

Star Alliance Lounge LAX

The Star Alliance Lounge is situated in the Tom Bradly International Terminal and is primarily for Business/Upper-Class Passengers of the Star Alliance Airline Group and Gold Members of its loyalty Scheme. There are over a thousand Star Alliance Lounges dotted around the world, however, the LAX Lounge is one of a few (6 at last count) of exclusive Lounges offering higher-end luxury and unique style and designs indicative of the location. This makes the Star Alliance Lounge at LAX a pretty enticing proposition.

When we booked our Upper-Clas Flight with Virgin Atlantic and they offered us use of this lounge, we have to say we were pretty excited but did the actual experience lie up to the hype?


  • Lounge: Star Alliance Lounge
  • Location: Tom Bradley International Terminal – LAX
  • Space: 1,800 sq ft
  • Amenities: Full Bar, Self-Serve Bar, Buffet Food, DIY Ramen Station, Outdoor Terrace with Fire Pits, Indoor Terrace, Showers, TV Room, Paid Entry.

How to Get into the Star Alliance Lounge?

This is a really large lounge and there is a range of ways to get in. The lounge is first and foremost for Star Alliance Gold Members, get ready there is a lot…26 in total…

  • Aegean Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air India
  • Air New Zealand
  • All Nippon Airways
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Austrian Airlines
  • Avianca
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Copa Airlines
  • Croatia Airlines
  • Egyptair
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • EVA Air
  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • Scandinavian Airlines
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • Swiss International Airlines
  • TAP Air Portugal
  • Thai Airways International
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United Airlines

So if you are a gold member with any of those then you can use the lounge, provided you are flying with a Star Alliance Member later the same day. You can also use the lounge if you are flying in Business Class or First Class on any Star Alliance Member Airline later that day. Oddly enough, Virgin Atlantic, and possibly a few other Airlines, also allow their first-class customers into the Lounge, which is why we were in there.

Finally, and quite uniquely for a Premium lounge such as this, there is also the option of Paid entry!

Paid Entry – $75

$75 is a pretty high cost for lounge entry, but really when you consider the options at LAX and what there is waiting for you outside of the lounges, really it might well be worth your money if you have a while to spend at the airport.

What is it Like in the Star Alliance Lounge?

The Star Alliance Lounge is billed as an ultra-premium lounge and one of the exclusive Star Alliance-branded lounges designed by local architects to reflect the local culture. Design-wise it is pretty spectacular. There are several areas of the lounge all offering different seating options with a unique style and flair.

Bar/Main Area

The main bar area is the open space directly in front of the bar as you walk in. This is light and airy with a range of seating from comfy relaxed chairs to dining tables. It’s not our favorite spot as it was pretty crowded and not exactly inspired. But you had easy access to the bar and food areas.

Dining Area

Agacent to this is the Dining area. This is where the Buffet is located and has more standard dining seating. You do not need to stay here to eat, but the more formal tables and chairs are helpful for a proper dining experience.

Outdoor Terrace

Star Alliance Lounge LAX

The BIG draw here is the Outdoor Terrace. We have been to airport lounges with outdoor spaces before but they are usually token at best. This is a full-on sun terrace. Overlooking the Airport and with a large amount of seating.

During the day this is a wonderful setting, but at night it really comes alive. With darkness, the firepits light up and the whole terrace takes on a sophisticated warm glow. Sipping Champagne next to your own firepit overlooking the Runway is a very special feeling.

While this terrace has the WOW factor in spades, there is one element many people seem to neglect. While taking their Firepit Selfies and runway champagne shots, the reality of the terrace is lost in the Social Media Curation process.

First up, it’s very noisy. Jet planes are not known for their quiet operation. While the Deck may conjure up images of a classy Nocal woodland terrace, surrounded by Redwoods up in wine country, the fact that a hulking great jet-liner is firing up right below you somewhat negates that calming natural vibe.

Worse still is the smell, we could get over Airport noise at an airport, infact as AV-Geek’s we kind of like it, but the smell is not so forgivable. Again the realities of being at an airport. There is a strong overwhelming stench of Aviation Gas. Jet engines are very efficient at altitude, cruising at 600mph, but on the ground, they pump out a lot of unburnt fuel and it really is not pleasant.

You may think we are moaning unnecessarily. Well, the reality is you won’t struggle for a seat out here. On a busy evening, where there was almost standing room only inside, outside there were barely 10 people, check the video above, it was deserted. Why? People just don’t like being deafened and breathing in toxic fumes.

It’s a shame really as the Deck is absolutely gorgeous. But we could only manage about the time it took to have a drink before heading inside for the quiet fresh air-conditioned lounge. Still, you will get some enviable selfies with your Champers by the fire pit, and no one at home need know the truth!

Indoor Terrace (Terminal)

With the disappointment of the outdoor Terrace, the lounge does have a good compromise. the indoor, outdoor terrace. Eh? What we mean y this, is the Terrace is outside of the lounge, but it is still inside the terminal. Overlooking the main concourse. We have wide open space, huge vaulted ceilings, and nice green shrubbery, it’s like being outdoors, indoors.

This was our go-to spot. With large comfy seating, charging ports at every seat, and nice views out over the main terminal for people-watching. It was the perfect spot to while away our pre-flight wait time.

Tv-Room – Quiet Rooms/Snuggs

Star Alliance Lounge LAX

There were also several off-rooms. Smaller, enclosed spaces with striking L.A artwork with a snugger comfy vibe. These were spots you could cozy up and maybe catch a few winks away from the hustle and bustle of the main lounge.

There is also the TV room, which is dark and quiet and had large comfy armchairs facing a huge TV screen, just looking into that room had our eyelids drooping, so if you are looking to get off for a power-nap, that looked just the spot!


Star Alliance Lounge LAX

The Showers were free of charge but needed to be booked at the desk. If none were available you were given a vibrating token so you could head off and do other things while availability came up. This was a good system that ensured each shower got a good deep clean after every use!

Star Alliance Lounge Food

Overall we were very disappointed with the food offered in the lounge. The only option was the Hot/Cold Buffet and the choice was exceptionally limited. For Hot Food there were two options, a fairly decent Chicken Curry (Thai Style) served with rice, and a Veggie Tomato Pasta. Neither of these were bad, but it felt very limited for a premium-class lounge.

There were also some salad options, a Casarsa Salad, chopped house salad, and another more leafy style. This was accompanied by a choice of Tomato and Mozzarella rolls or Chicken and Avocado wraps, again not bad but hardly inspiring, and to be honest, the wraps were quite soggy and nearly inedible. There was an impressive-looking cheese selection until you dug a little deeper and found it was all bland edam-style cheese and nothing with any real taste.

We found various packed items such as cereal bars and wrapped fruit. There were a few sweet items, muffins and cake, and snacks like pretzels and potato chips. It sounds pretty decent but it really let very uninspiring when it was all laid out.

Fortunately, there was one saving grace on the food front. A DIY Raman stand, that doubled as a soup station too. This was pretty cool. You got a funky Ramen Bowl, filled it with noodles, added your bits, chicken, peppers, onions, Veg, etc, and then splash on the hot broth, ad then finish with hot sauce or Sesame oil. It was really fun and everything tasted great. The downside was it was pretty hard to find, hidden away in a corner so make sure you hunt it out!

So overall the food was pretty poor as a complete offering, we just expected a bit more from this level of lounge, the Ramen was cool, but it wasn’t enough to save it. Luckily we ate very well on the plane.

Star Alliance Lounge Drinks

While the food was a letdown, the drinks really shone! There were plenty of coffee machines, filtered water fountains, soda fountains, and a selection of juices for those not wanting alcohol, but for those looking for a pre-flight tipple, there was lots of good news.

The drinks came two ways Bar Service or Self-service. We always like having a self-service option and this one was pretty extensive. There were fridges with bottled beers, Asahi, Samuel Adams, Micolo Light, 805, and another European lager we can’t remember, but of course, this could change, but it was a good selection.

On the side was a good selection of wines, with extras in the fridge, 3 whites, a Rose, sparkling rose, and sparkling white in the chiller along with 3 different reds. All were decent quality although we didn’t manage to try them all!

There was also a selection of spirits on the self-serve stand too. Bourbon, Vodka, Gin, Tequila, and Rum, along with Kalua Baileys, Campari, and Aperol. A nice selection for a few basic cocktails and mixed drinks, all without heading to the bar, and using your own measures!

Honestly, this was more than enough for us, a self-serve bar with such a selection is all we ever need in a lounge and actually, we prefer this to a bar as you know the drinks are free flowing. However, there is a full bar on offer here too with some pretty excellent bartenders.

There were 4 local beers on draft, a pilsner, Blonde Ale, an IPA, and the Dudes. It was nice to try a few local drafts. They also had the same wine selection if you insist on a bartender to pour your drink.

The Bar also stacked quite a few items not put out for the self-serve and were proper bartenders who could make some pretty mean cocktails. We ended our visit on a fantastic Old fashioned and Cosmopolitan, and they were as good as we have had anywhere.

Essentially as far as drinks go, there was pretty much anything your heart desired, except any premium liquors such as single malt whiskey and aged tequila, but you got just about anything else on offer.

We had a late flight, and the Drinks selection certainly helped us get off to sleep!

First Class Lounge

For those traveling First Class on a Star Alliance Service, then there is a separate, First Class section of the Lounge. This offers even greater luxury, a more serene environment, al-a-carte dining, and full table service.

We would love to show you around and review this area fully, but we were not granted access, namely as we were “only” Business Class!


Overall the lunge really promises a lot and first impressions are really good. It has so much going for it, but when you dive a little deeper you find a slightly less-than-perfect experience. The Outdoor Terrace is such a shame as it should be amazing, but it’s just not a pleasant place to spend time, and the food just wasn’t up to scratch, and overall it was very busy and chaotic.

But it’s still far better than spending time outside of the lounge in the actually LAX nightmare! To be fair the Tom Bradley Departures Terminal is not that bad, but still, this is one of the busiest airports in the world and it’s pretty awful outside in the melee.

Compared to many lounges, this is a fantastic option. It’s just with a few tweaks it could have been exceptional, feeling more like a first-class lounge, but for that, the food would need to step up a couple of levels to start with!

We really enjoyed our stay and could have moved over to another lounge, but we stayed here as we had found a nice little spot and just relaxed waiting for our boarding time. If you can do the same you are sure to have an excellent time in the Lounge.

Alternative lounges at LAX

If you are flying on a Star Alliance Airline, this is really your only choice n the terminal. And many other airlines offer even fewer choices. As we said we were flying Virgin Atlantic, who are SkyTeam, a rival alliance, and they sent us here as the only choice they could offer. There is the One World Business Lounge, Qantas First Lounge, Emirates Lounge, and The AA Admirals Club here in the Tom Bradley Terminal, but these are the business and first-class lounges for those airlines, so you would need to be flying with them so they are not really an alternative most people could use.

Centurion Lounge

The Centurion Lounge is a Luxury Lounge open to holders of the Amex Platinum Card. This is a pretty swanky lounge and if you are packing serious plastic you could get in here instead. Our full Review of the Centurion Lounge is here.

This is our go-to lounge when we are not blessed with flying in upper/Business.

KAL Lounge

We still see this listed on many sites as the LAX Priority Pass option. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case, and there are simply NO Priority Pass Options when traveling through LAX. One of the busiest Airports in the World.

Other Terminals

There are other lounges if you are using other terminals, but it’s a hell of a hike out to these if you are flying from Tom Bradley International Terminal.

Have Your Say

Have you visited the Star Alliance Lounge at LAX? What did you make of the Lounge? Did you enjoy the Outdoor Deck? What did you make of the food, the drinks, and the other spaces in the lounge? How do you find it compares to other Lounges? And is it better or worse than being out in the Terminal? Whatever your thoughts just fire away in the comments and if you have any questions feel free to ask below.

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