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Review: The KAL Lounge at LAX

“Hmm, pretty nice.” That was my first impression upon rounding the corner and entering the KAL Lounge at LAX. Not, “wow”, not “OMG”, just pretty nice.

To find the club, follow the relatively poor signage left immediately after passing through security. If you look hard enough, you’ll see signs for the airport lounges. At this point, you’ll want to head to level 5, something also not at all obvious from the provided directions. When your elevator door opens, immediately make a left and you’ve arrived at your destination.

KAL Lounge Entrance

If your experience was anything like mine, you will be immediately greeted by warm smile and a “hello, welcome to the lounge.” Without any fanfare, the host swiped my Priority Pass Select card, obtained complimentary with my Chase Sapphire Reserve, and gestured my guest and I in.

KAL Lounge View

Ambiance and Layout of the KAL Lounge

The overall ambiance was relaxing, with plenty of seating and an abundance of charging/power outlets. To be honest, I was halfway expecting the lounge to be overcrowded, considering we had an evening departure. This happens to be primetime time for many of the transpacific departures. As this is the only Priority Pass lounge in the international terminal, I was worried that every Amex Platinum, Citi Prestige and CSR cardholder would be making a visit. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case. The club was busy, but didn’t at all feel crowded, thanks to an abundance of seating.

When choosing a spot to park it prior to boarding, you have two choices: inside or out. Naturally, I went “outside”, but it was really one of those outdoors-in type situations. By this, I mean there was a “patio” outside the main seating area that overlooked the terminal. The view was nice, but a bit on the noisy side. Actually, it wasn’t the crowd or background music that bothered me, it was the constant beeping of the service golf cards. Annoying. Because of this, we headed back inside to a much more relaxing atmosphere. “Inside” you’ll find comfortable, though well-worn, seats in a quiet room with similar, though less open, views of the terminal. Coincidentally, we were flying out on China Southern, and the KAL Lounge directly overlooks the gate. Very handy for keeping an eye on boarding and making sure to leave at the last possible moment.

buffet3
KAL Lounge Buffet

Food and Drink

Food on hand was ok, but not fancy. Typical of many lounges, they had sandwich quarters, mini wraps, granola bars, etc. For a decidedly asian touch, a little self-serve udon noodle station was available. I poured myself a cup and it was tasty. Nice and spicy, not your typical ramen.

KAL Lounge Bar
KAL Lounge Beverage Cooler

Alcohol at the KAL Lounge

Drinks on hand were oddly split into beer on one side of the lounge and a self-serve bar on the other. Brew on hand was a nice Korean pilsner called “OB” and cans of “America”. For those not familiar with the latter, it’s actually Budweiser that has been renamed by Anheuser Busch in a shameless play on patriotism. In the liquor and wine department, we had your basic reds and whites, as well as some hard liquor and mixers to pour your own. I sampled some Bombay Sapphire and tonic. It was nice I was able to pour one for myself. Side story, a gentleman was being escorted out of the club for sneaking in by airport police, leading to a sweet selfie. Somehow, despite being in my 30’s, pouring a drink for myself next to a cop felt dangerous and I liked it.

beer

WiFi

Wifi was awesome, then it wasn’t, then it was awesome again. By this, I mean that when it worked, it was blazingly fast. As shown below, I was seeing speeds in the 80Mbps range. However, all of the sudden, and completely randomly, the wifi would disconnect. After this there would be a period of about 20 seconds where no internet was available, then it would come back on, fast as ever. For comparison’s sake, I did a quick Speedtest of the free LAX Wifi, it wasn’t near as fast, nor as reliable, even with the reliability bar being set pretty low.

KAL Lounge Wifi Speed
KAL Lounge Wifi Speed
LAX Free Wifi
LAX Free Wifi
Overall, the KAL Lounge at LAX provides a much improved experience over the terminal. The free food, generous booze, comfortable seats, quiet atmosphere and abundant chargers make for a great pre-departure experience. To be honest, the KAL lounge is a perfect example of why I so highly encourage at least one premium card for the frequent traveler.

  • Nicolle Dan

    Lovely, the interior design of the lounge is great, I will really love to experience a place like this, looks relaxing. And it has good internet services which makes it perfect, thanks for sharing this, will bookmark this website, your articles and advice are the best for a traveler like me.