The Asiana counter at LAX opens at 8:00am and since I wanted to maximize my time in the lounge, I set my alarm for 6:30 that morning at the nearby hotel. Before jumping in the shower I checked the flight status of the inbound aircraft and noticed it wasn’t scheduled to arrive until 12:15pm, two hours late. Ugh.
My flight was originally scheduled to leave at 11:50am, but now had a new departure time of 1:40pm with an arrival in Seoul at 8:00pm the following night. My connecting flight’s departure to Hong Kong was 7:45pm, so I knew it was going to be an interesting day.
I called Asiana right away to get protection on the next Seoul to Hong Kong flight, which was the following morning, and the agent insisted they could only do it at the airport. I called back a second time and got the same answer, so quickly took a shower and headed to the airport.
While I was on the shuttle bus, Asiana called to inform me of the late departure. It was a nice touch and I again asked about having my connection reprotected, to which the agent also insisted only the airport could handle. The shuttle dropped me off in front of Tom Bradley and I made my way to Asiana’s counters.
I had a brief wait as there was no one at the First Class counter, but the Business Class agent already helping someone noticed me and frantically tried to get another agent’s attention. She eventually did and I was waved up to the desk.
My check-in agent’s English was surprisingly not that great, but she explained the delay was due to the entertainment system on my aircraft wasn’t working and they tried to fix it while in Seoul, but eventually took off without it operable. She continued that they’d try to fix it here in L.A. and if not, Asiana would give me $200 in credits. She also explained that the Seoul agents would have to handle any reaccommodation if I misconnected and couldn’t protect me on an alternate flight in advance. I resigned myself to knowing I’d be spending the night in Seoul and proceeded to the lounge.
When I got to the lounge and presented my invitation, I realized the check-in agent never printed my connecting flight’s boarding pass. I asked the Asiana rep to look into it and she said she would while showing me to the First Class section of the Star Alliance lounge.
Upon entering, newspapers and magazines are on the immediate left-side wall and a long hallway with chairs and small tables were to the right sitting next to a frosted partition wall.
I went for a closer look inside those huge sliding doors opposite the chairs and found two VIP rooms complete with chairs, a couch and a mini-refrigerator stocked with drinks.
Continuing on from there, a very small business center was just beyond the VIP rooms followed by a kitchen entrance and then the first of the food buffet areas. This one had shrimp fried rice available along with either minestrone or tomato with roasted pepper soup.
The main food area had what I consider a rather meager selection for a First Class lounge. The standard coffee machine was present along with packaged snacks, morning pastries and other small items including sandwich wedges, fruit, tortilla-wrapped nibbles and a few small dessert items.
I made a plate and headed to the main seating area that looked outside at the construction area of the eventual new international terminal. The Asiana agent came in and told me they couldn’t print my connection boarding pass, but sent an email along to Seoul to advise of the issue. I wasn’t worried since I knew I’d be missing that flight anyway. She again mentioned the reason for the delay and said they’d try to hold my flight in Seoul so I could make my connection. I wasn’t holding my breath.
I was seated close enough to the entrance to overhear another passenger approach the check-in counter concerned about his Hong Kong connection, the same flight as mine. He, too, didn’t have his HKG boarding pass and she also advised she’d send an email to Seoul further explaining that they’d “hold the flight” as another passenger (me) was in the same predicament. I still wasn’t holding my breath.
The restroom was outside the First Class section next to the check-in desk and shared with the entire lounge area. It was simple and clean as you’ll see below. The “United Red Carpet Club urinal issue” was present with one being out-of-commission and had the gratuitous garbage bag over it. Yes, I really did take a picture of it. For whatever reason, both United’s and Continental’s clubs at LAX, and now this one, always seem to have at least one out of order with a garbage bag covering it.
The Asiana rep came in a couple of more times to ensure I was comfortable, always using my name when she approached. Since I was so early and especially since the flight was delayed, I got quite a bit of work done. I became so immersed in it that I didn’t make it down to the gate to watch the arrival of the inbound, something I normally like to do.
Next up will be my flight experience to Seoul… it was remarkable and the service was my best to date on any airline. Here’s the video version of this part, which includes a lot more footage of the lounge than I was able to take pictures of.