Entrance to the new Qantas First Lounge - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Entrance to the new Qantas First Lounge – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Recently, Qantas opened a new lounge in the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).  The Qantas First Lounge serves first class passengers from Qantas, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Japan Airlines, along with oneworld Emerald and Qantas’ own top-tier elites. As such, it is a good-sized lounge.

Beautiful bar in the Qantas First Lounge - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Beautiful bar in the Qantas First Lounge – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

I had a long layover in Los Angeles as part of my trip to Santiago with LAN Airlines to check out business class on their 787-8 Dreamliner, so we were able to arrange with Qantas to visit their new lounge and experience what it had to offer.  It didn’t disappoint.

The Qantas First Lounge is open, bright, and airy - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

The Qantas First Lounge is open, bright, and airy – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Upon arriving at the lounge, I was asked to take a seat wherever I liked, and offered a glass of champagne while I waited for my guide.  The service in the lounge really was impeccable throughout my visit. After a few minutes, I met with Mariam, the Customer Service Manager.

Mariam oversees the Qantas First Lounge, along with the oneworld Business Lounge. The two lounges share back-of-house space, including kitchens, as well as the 128 employees it takes to run both.

Self-serve area of lounge; selections change throughout the day - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Self-serve area of lounge; selections change throughout the day – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

We started our tour back at the entrance.  Near there, is a self-service station, with snack and drink options that rotate throughout the day.

Private rooms - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Private rooms – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Just down the way, there are two private rooms.  These are available for VVIPs; celebrities, politicians, etc.  They can also be combined to make one larger private room.  Mariam shared with me that during the holidays, they had filled them with gear from Ikea to make them a play lounge for kids – as a parent, that sounded pretty cool to me.

Amazing bar, made from marble imported from Australia - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Amazing bar, made of marble imported from Australia – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

The focal point of the lounge is the massive bar, which serves a wide variety of top-shelf wines and drinks in fancy Riedel glassware (I’m a glass snob).  Fun fact: the lounge goes through about 400 bottles of champagne per week!

Shower suite in the QF First Lounge - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Shower suite in the QF First Lounge – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

The lounge offers the usual shower suites that you’d expect at a premier international first class lounge.  I was especially impressed that they had a shower suite that catered to families with children.  Along with the prior-mentioned “play lounge” and a fancy children’s menu, the lounge was surprisingly kid-friendly (although I did not see any – my guess is that they are few and far between).

Amazing menu; there is a separate one for breakfast - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Amazing menu; there is a separate one for breakfast – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

I finished my tour back out by the bar, where there is a 74-seat restaurant featuring an a la carte menu crafted by Australian celebrity chef Neil Perry of the Rockpool Group.  Mariam insisted that I stay and sample some items from the menu, as well as do a wine tasting.  Who was I to say no? I asked her to bring me her favorites.

food

The best calamari that I have ever had – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

While I waited for the chef to whip up a few specialties, I made a rookie mistake and ordered the “bowl of chips” side.  I had toured the kitchen earlier, and seen some fantastic-looking fresh-cut potato chips. Those aren’t the “chips” I got.

However, the specialties I was served were fantastic; the “salt & pepper squid” was the best calamari I’ve ever tasted.  The burrata with prosciutto was equally impressive.  I gladly would have tried just about everything on the menu, and regretted eating my domestic first class United meal on the flight from Denver.  The three wines I sampled matched the quality of the food.

Another seating option in the lounge - Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Another seating option in the lounge – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter

Overall, my experience in the Qantas First Lounge was exceptional.  The service, food and drink, furnishings, and amenities were all top-notch.  I’ve visited other “top-tier” lounges, such as the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, and I would put this lounge in the same ballpark.  I hope to get to visit them again soon.

While I would have had access to the oneworld Business Lounge due to my ticket, I was Qantas’ guest in the First Lounge. All opinions are my own.

MANAGING EDITOR - DENVER, CO. Due to his family being split on opposite sides of the country, Blaine traveled frequently as a child, falling in love with the flying experience, and has continued to travel ever since. For AirlineReporter, Blaine edits all content before publishing, assists in story and concept development, and takes every chance he gets to produce original content for the site. When Blaine’s not busy planning his next travel adventure, he spends his time working as a college administrator. If he can’t be on an airplane, he’d prefer to be on a bicycle or playing with his two toddlers with his wife. Email: [email protected].

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12 Comments

So I love the fact Blaine that you think you ordered the wrong thing. You need to understand that a side of “Chips” in Australia is going to get you a bowl of fries.

To help you translate your american talk into true Australian Queens English.

American Australian
Fries Hot Chips
Chips Chips

Generally a bowl of chips will always be Hot Chips. They don’t call it Fish & Fries… it is Fish & Chips.

Now back to your regularly scheduled Avgeekery

Jetranger

Well OK, I wanna a Hott Babe, from Australia, what do I call her ???

just to let guys know its rockpool not lockpool for Neill Perry

Blaine Nickeson

Definitely Rockpool – typo fixed! But, I think is is Neil, not Neill. Typos everywhere, right?!?

Lol all good

Can you guest someone in? For example, if I’m flying in first on JL, but my friend is flying in biz, can I bring him in?

Blaine Nickeson

Thanks. I should’ve looked there before asking.

Had a chance to have a server buy the name of Promise today such a sweetheart helped me from the time I sat down to th ed time my flight departed really exceptional customer server . Thanks to her I was over comfortable 🙂 great lounge. EXCELLENT SERVER

Mariam Hakobova

Hi Jen Borde,

Thank you so much for sharing your experience at our LAX First lounge. I will insure that we mention your post during our briefing and thank Promise for her outstanding service.

Warmest,
Mariam Hakobova
Customer Service Manager
Qantas First and oneworld

I am flying quantas but yet to be able to have enough frequent flyer points … can I pay to get into the lounge seeing I have a 9 hour delay between flights?

Blaine Nickeson

Hi Kathy- you need to be traveling in Qantas first class, or have oneworld Emerald status to access this lounge.

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