Category Archives: Lounges

Hong Kong and Macau Part 1: Star Alliance Lounge at LAX Tom Bradley Terminal

  • Introduction
  • Part 1: Star Alliance Lounge at LAX Tom Bradley Terminal
  • Part 2: Asiana Business Class Quadra Smartium LAX-ICN
  • Part 3: Asiana Business Class Lounge at ICN
  • Part 4: Asiana Business Class ICN-HKG
  • Part 5: Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel and Towers
  • Part 6: Sightseeing in Hong Kong
  • Part 7: Getting from Hong Kong to Macau
  • Part 8: Sheraton Macau Hotel, Macau Central
  • Part 9: Sightseeing in Macau
  • Part 10: Getting from Macau to the Hong Kong Airport
  • Part 11: Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Lounge at HKG
  • Part 12: Singapore Airlines First Class HKG-SFO
  • Part 13: Four Points by Sheraton Hotel & Suites SFO
  • Part 14: Alaska Airlines Boardroom Lounge at SFO Terminal 1
  • Part 15: Southwest Airlines SFO-SNA

The first “stop” on my way to Hong Kong was my home airport of LAX. After a smooth check-in in the Asiana Business Class line, I headed straight for security and then the lounge.

The lounge is on the 5th floor, so you’ll need to take the elevator up (it’s directly after you clear security). If I remember correctly the SkyTeam Lounge is on the 4th floor, but I’m not sure where the OneWorld lounge is (possibly 3rd floor). Keep in mind that these lounges, as their name indicates, are open to anyone that has the appropriate status or is traveling in Business or First class, so they can get quite crowded.

The Star Alliance Lounge check-in counter.

The Star Alliance Lounge check-in counter.

Entrance to Business Class Lounge.

Entrance to Business Class Lounge.

First let me make a distinction: within the Star Alliance Lounge there are two separate lounges – the First Class Lounge and the Business Class Lounge. I was flying in Asiana’s Quadra Smartium Business Class so I was admitted to the Business Lounge.

There are quite a few flights leaving at night (I left on a Thursday night/Friday morning at 12:30am), so the lounge was very full. In fact, I decided to just give up trying to find a seat in favor of taking pictures of the lounge, which you can see below (sorry for a few blurry pictures).

This is the main seating area. Pretty much full by the time I got there.

This is the main seating area. Pretty much full by the time I got there.

Some more seating on the other side of that wooden wall. Still pretty full.

Some more seating on the other side of that wooden wall. Still pretty full.

Some food/drinks and a little more seating. Again, this place is like a zoo!

Some food/drinks and a little more seating. Again, this place is like a zoo!

The spread wasn't that great, but free is free!

The spread wasn’t that great, but free is free!

On the opposite side of the entrance is a larger kitchen-like area with more food options. There was some soup and some crab fried rice, but nothing really too substantial. Don’t come here expecting to get a good dinner meal!

There was more seating, and more people, near the main food station towards the back of the room.

There was more seating, and more people, near the main food station towards the back of the room.

The food on this side wasn't much better.

The food on this side wasn’t much better.

There was some soup and fried rice, in case you'd like a snack.

There was some soup and fried rice, in case you’d like a snack.

In all honesty, the food I had on the plane was better than what was out here. If you can wait, then wait. The tons of people around didn’t exactly make for the most comfortable stay here either.

A little bit after I got there I realized there was an entire room that I completely missed. There is a hallway near the main kitchen seating area in the back that leads to a few workstations and a large seating area, plus there are some individual restrooms with showers, but no handles/nozzles. I didn’t have time to ask about the showers since it was so late, but it’s good to know they’re there.

This is the hallway to the additional seating area, where there were still some empty spaces.

This is the hallway to the additional seating area, where there were still some empty spaces.

Standard work stations.

Standard work stations.

Open seating!

Open seating!

Even More SeatingEmpty Seating

Room View

Snacks!

Of course I had to take a look at the shower room as well. Like I mentioned before, there were no nozzles or handles which was kind of bizarre, but I was on my way out once I found these so I didn’t have time to ask.

Sink

Shower

Thankfully I’m like a travel ninja and was also able to sneak my way in to the First Class Lounge. For the most part, it was extremely similar to the Business Class Lounge, but with one huge difference: there were only two people in it. It was much more quiet and you had plenty of space to spread out if you wanted. If you have a chance to walk in, you should!

The First Class Lounge was MUCH more open and less crowded.

The First Class Lounge was MUCH more open and less crowded.

Nearly empty. Those two guys were literally the only two in the lounge (athough the First Class Lounge was much smaller than the Business Class Lounge.

Nearly empty. Those two guys were literally the only two in the lounge (although the First Class Lounge was much smaller than the Business Class Lounge.

Sadly the food was almost exactly the same as in the Business Class Lounge.

Sadly the food was almost exactly the same as in the Business Class Lounge.

The big difference between the First and Business Lounges was that the First Lounge had a couple of private rooms that could be reserved. These rooms included a large TV and several couches and chairs. It would be perfect if you happen to be travelling with a family!

Private RoomPrivate Room 2Private Room 3

After leaving the First Class Lounge, everything suddenly seemed like a ghost town. It was so empty that one of the workers asked if I needed help, to which I responded “No, I’m good.” He said “you should probably get going, I would hate for you to miss your flight.” I checked the time and it seemed like I had plenty of time, so I left for my gate.

I got to my gate, the path to which was surprisingly empty, and found a single Asiana employee standing with a walkie talkie. She spotted my look of confusion as I looked upon the empty gate area and promptly said “Sir, the gate for this Asiana flight has been changed.” Great. I left the lounge in such haste that I forgot to check the monitors, and of course the new gate was a literal half mile walk!

I wasn’t in full panic mode but I sure was walking fast. I got there and boarding was underway, but there was still plenty of time left with the number of people on the flight. Business Class had boarded much earlier my line was empty. Unfortunately I had to take a bus to one of those random boarding areas that LAX has, but it was relatively painless. Within 5 minutes, the bus was stopped and I was on the plane!

Look out for my upcoming review of the OZ203 flight in Quadra Smartium from LAX-ICN!

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US Airways Club at PHL Concourse B/C

If you read my review of the US Airways Club at LAX, you’ll know that it was not very impressive. Keep in mind that Los Angeles isn’t a US Airways hub, so I expect a lot more from the one in Philadelphia since it’s a one of three US Airways hubs (PHX and CLT are the others).

To put it simply, the Philadelphia lounge was A LOT better.

I had a three hour layover in Philly so there was plenty of time for me to explore. My next flight was leaving from Terminal F, which is separate from the main airport and handles the smaller planes (my next flight was a very short one). It just so happens that Terminal F is under heavy construction, and that means the US Airways Club there was closed.

Not really a huge deal since I had such a long layover and had plenty of time to go back, but I wish there was a sign somewhere that mentioned it was closed. None of the terminal’s maps mentioned it was closed – I had to ask an airport employee where the lounge was before I was told I had to go back to the main airport.

After the quick bus ride back, I checked the map and found the general area where the lounge was. I must have been really tired, because I couldn’t find where the door was again didn’t see any signs for it. I asked someone at the information desk and thankfully found out it was just a few steps and a short elevator ride away. Alternatively, there were escalators on the other side of the terminal that take you upstairs to the lounge. The lesson learned is that it’s on the second floor of Concourse B/C!

One of the two entries to the lounge.

Once I figured out where it was, I checked in using my Amex Platinum card (which provides free access to US Airways Clubs no matter what airline you’re flying with that day) and was finally able to relax.

Check-in counter

The check-in counter and the lounge itself were pretty dead given that it was 7am on a Saturday morning. So far it’s already looking better than LAX because they have, you know…lights and windows.

There’s no mirror here – the lounge is really that big!

This lounge was a lot bigger than I was expecting. It was furnished similarly to the LAX lounge, but there was a lot more of it and it was a lot more well-lit. And again, the entire place was essentially empty because of the time and day.

One side of the lounge had a view into a food court.

One of the seating areas.

There were a few different types of seating areas. The ones towards the middle of the lounge were like the photo above.

One of the seating areas with a TV.

To one side of the lounge were either sitting areas with a TV (like above) or a view of the runway and gates. There were also quite a few work spaces exactly like the ones at LAX (and CLT if you’ve been there).

Some of the work spaces, only one of which was visibly occupied.

The coffee and snack area.

There were a couple of coffee/snack areas on either side of the bar. To my surprise there were fewer snacks here than at the LAX lounge. There were just a few bagels, fruits, crackers, and chips. I kind of expected more given how much better the rest of the lounge was compared to Los Angeles, but it wasn’t a big deal for me since I bought breakfast outside the lounge and brought it in.

The Bar

The bar had all the usual items, and was twice the size of the one in Los Angeles. This one was a little unique because there was a seating area with cafe-style tables and chairs beside it (you can see them in the far side of this picture).

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get any pictures of the restroom because there were a few people inside and I didn’t want to look like a total creeper. But again, using the LAX one as a comparison, the restroom here was much larger and better.

Other items of note: There were power outlets at or near most seats in case you need to plug in. Wifi was free and no access code was needed – just turn on and accept the user agreement. It was sufficiently fast when I was using it, but again I was there early morning when there weren’t that many others making use of it.

This lounge has everything you need, besides actual food. There are plenty of seating options and it’s a perfect place to relax or get some work done before your flight. I recommend using this lounge as opposed to the lounge in Terminal F, which would likely be much smaller if it were open (although it might be worth a look after the renovation).

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US Airways Club at LAX Terminal 1

If you’re flying US Airways from LAX, you’re probably flying from Terminal 1. I was on one of two LAX-PHL red-eyes offered by US from Los Angeles, opting for the cheaper 10:10PM flight.

If you’re ever making use of this lounge make sure you take note of the open/closing times. This one closes at 10PM, which I think is a little early considering US has several flights departing after midnight. The time happened to work out perfectly for my flight this time.

Art at the entry walkway

Getting to the lounge isn’t as straightforward as it should be (which is the case at many lounges I’ve found). After clearing security you need to hook a u-turn to your left, then walk up a walkway to the lounge. Once you make that u-turn you’ll start seeing some signs.

There’s some colorful art on the walk up to the lounge. It kind of gives you hope of what’s to come, but you’ll find everything as standard as usual.

All the standard foods

The food options were all the normal items. Some apples, stale trail mix, chips, salsa, and crackers. The one thing that was a little different was Milano cookies, which was a nice change.

The bar

The bar was small and I didn’t make use of it at all, opting for water instead. They did a last call for alcohol at exactly 9:23PM.

One of the three small seating areas

Expanded shot of seating area

The seating was broken into three separate areas. There was another area that looked just like the pictures above (which are both of the same room). The third was a smaller area with open tables. There were also at least 6 work stations that were pretty empty, so I elected to take one of them.

When I got in to the lounge around 9PM it was very full. The pictures above don’t show that many people because I didn’t take pictures until a big group left, but it would have been hard to find a seat.

Four work stations. There were at least two more separate from these.

The work stations all had power outlets as you’d expect. I didn’t get a chance to test the internet so I can’t speak to whether it’s fast or not.

Bathroom

I like how the pink soap pops against the dull grey color scheme

The bathroom wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be but definitely wasn’t anything special. It was small like the rest of the lounge, but clean.

Overall, this lounge was dull, dark, and pretty boring. There were no windows so not much to look at besides the TVs. It was just the basics, but sure beats sitting outside in the terminal!

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