Prior to our ANA business class flight to Japan, we spent some time in the United Polaris Lounge Los Angeles.
I’ve previously enjoyed some very pleasant visits to United Polaris Lounges in Chicago and Newark. However, It’s been several years since I last visited one, so I was looking forward to checking out the Los Angeles location for the first time.
I was expecting it to be fairly similar to the other Polaris lounges, but it’s always interesting to take a look at how each lounge is unique from its counterparts.
United Polaris Lounge Los Angeles – Access
The Polaris Lounges are a premium airport lounge concept, reserved explicitly for international business class passengers flying with United or Star Alliance partner airlines.
There’s a strict set of entry requirements. Access is limited to those flying on United Airlines or Star Alliance partners departing from Los Angeles to Europe, Asia, Australia or specific South American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Peru).
You can also fly into Los Angeles on an inbound United Airlines business class flight, with a continuing journey on United Airlines business class, and access the Polaris Lounge as well. However, access is not granted following inbound Star Alliance partner flights.
In our case, we were flying ANA business class, which would grant us access ahead of departure. Still, it wasn’t quite that simple.
LAX is a massive airport with eight terminals and 146 gates arranged in a horseshoe shape. ANA and most other Star Alliance partner airlines fly out of the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT), which is located at the far end of the airport.
However, the United Polaris Lounge is located where United Airlines operates: Terminal 7. It’s a solid 20-minute brisk walk down the long airside corridor which connects Terminals 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 with the TBIT.
We had a fair bit of time to spare prior to our 1pm departure, so we decided to make the long walk.
After all, I’ve been to the Star Alliance Lounge in the TBIT a few times, so I was keen to try United’s à la carte dining here in the Polaris Lounge, which the Star Alliance lounge doesn’t offer.
It took 20 minutes to reach the lounge, walking at a pretty fast pace. While it isn’t a short journey, this is certainly a great way to get some daily steps in, especially if you have a long flight ahead as we did.
The United Polaris Lounge is located after security in Terminal 7, between Gates 73 and 75A.
There is signage within the concourse, which you can follow until you reach an entryway where an elevator or stairs takes you to the fourth floor. You can access the lounge from 5:30am to 11:30pm.
United Polaris Lounge Los Angeles – Seating
The lounge has an elegant and classy atmosphere. In keeping with the United brand, the space is adorned with soft shades of blue and grey.
As you arrive, the front counter and the back wall are adorned in marble, with bespoke light fixtures hanging above. Lights built into the counter create a welcoming glow as you enter the space.
The swanky lounge has 140 seats within in an open-concept seating plan. At 12,000 square feet, it’s definitely a smaller space than some of the other Polaris Lounges in United’s network.
Seating varies from oversized plush couches to clusters of two-person and four-person dining tables. Each seat within the lounge has power and USB outlets underneath.
The central communal area is dominated by a set of oversized blue couches with coffee tables, hanging under an ornately designed set of light fixtures inspired by the Polaris logo.
To the right of this area, there’s a cluster of seats for groups of three, and more seating along the bar.
The bar is visually stunning, with an elegant, curved shape and marble walls as a backdrop. A selection of local wines, draft beers, and creative cocktails are available to order.
If it had been a bit later in the day, I would’ve certainly loved to sit down here and enjoy a few drinks before my flight.
Alongside the windows, a mix of comfortable lounge and armchairs offer gorgeous floor-to-ceiling views of the tarmac and runway.
It’s always nice to sit back, relax, and enjoy a view of the airport prior to hopping on a flight.
There are a total of 12 private working pods – a mainstay feature across United Polaris Lounges. Each pod features power outlets, USB ports and individual lighting.
As you proceed further into the lounge, a circular hallway is built around the rotunda in Terminal 7, and you actually overlook the concourse below.
Here is where you’ll find a few drink stations and a few buffet stations. As we arrived in the lounge at 11am, the breakfast buffet was just about getting cleared up and swapped for lunch.
The dining room of the lounge is relatively intimate, with partitions for added privacy. There’s just enough space for 16 guests to sit down and enjoy a meal from the à la carte menu.
There are additional seats overflowing into the rotunda, if you happen to arrive at a time when space is limited in the dining area.
The lounge wasn’t too busy at the time of my midday visit. After speaking with some of the staff, I got the impression that it never gets very busy at all here in the Los Angeles Polaris Lounge.
LAX is one of the smaller and less traffic-heavy United hubs, as there are only a handful of international United departures daily. Meanwhile, there’s certainly a significant number of Star Alliance departures; however, given their location in the Tom Bradley International Terminal, many passengers presumably aren’t willing to make the 20-minute journey.
If you have a few hours to kill prior to a flight out of TBIT and want to enjoy the peace and quiet of a very impressive lounge, then you’ll be richly rewarded for putting in the steps and making your way over here to the Polaris Lounge.
United Polaris Lounge Los Angeles – Dining
We hadn’t yet had breakfast when we arrived, so we were feeling pretty hungry.
Unfortunately, we could only grab a few items from the breakfast buffet before it ended, and we ordered our à la carte items from the lunch menu instead.
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The menu offers a selection of complimentary light bites and entrées. I opted to try the rock cod and the lentil curry, whereas my partner Jessy ordered the Polaris signature burger – a staple you can find at every Polaris Lounge.
Besides the burger, the rest of the menu is tailored to the lounge’s specific location. Moreover, the other entrées are generally smaller portions, allowing you to try multiple items if you wish.
In my case, I quite enjoyed both of my dishes. The cod and clams were tasty, with strongly flavoured sauce and an overall creative execution.
The vegetarian lentil curry was spicier than I’d expect from airport lounge food. And while I typically don’t enjoy vegetarian dishes very much, I really liked the strong flavours here and polished off every late bite.
On the other hand, Jessy wasn’t too impressed with her burger, which was surprising to me because I recall having a great burger at the Polaris Lounge in Newark a few years ago.
Nevertheless, after trying a bite for myself, I agreed that the burger had missed the mark, as it was a bit dry and lacking flavour inside.
We wrapped up our meal service with a beautifully presented mango sorbet that really hit the spot. Alongside the sorbet, I opted for a cappuccino to finish things off.
Overall, the à la carte dining in Polaris Lounges are always a generally strong offering, and the Los Angeles location lived up to those expectations. I’d say it’s the primary reason that it’s worth setting aside some time to visit these lounges before your flight.
Polaris Lounge Los Angeles – Other Facilities
The lounge also offers a few additional amenities for sleep and relaxation. There are semi-private nap rooms available in the lounge, housed behind a glass compartment.
As the Los Angeles lounge is fairly small, there are just two nap rooms.
The rooms are equipped with a Saks Fifth Avenue blanket, pillow, ear plugs, eye mask, slippers, San Pelligrino sparkling water, and even a white-noise machine to help maximize comfort. You can also dim the lights to your preferred level.
The nap rooms are located in the same vicinity as the shower rooms. These shower facilities are a standard feature across all Polaris Lounges, and here in Los Angeles, there are six shower rooms available on a first-come-first-serve basis.
The shower rooms are fairly spacious and modern, with stone-clad walls and marble sinks. Amenities include Saks Fifth Avenue towels and Cowshed Spa bath products; additional amenities, such as hair dryers and shower caps, are available upon request.
On this particular occasion, I didn’t need a shower before my flight, but it’s certainly a useful feature for passengers who want one.
The restrooms at the Polaris Lounge are generously sized all-gender stalls. These individual compartments have just a sink and toilet in each one.
Furthermore, the lounge offers a wellness room for parents. Each room has a chair, sink, and baby changing station.
If you need privacy for a call or simply a quiet space to work, the lounge has two sound-proof phone booths that are available for use.
Lastly, there’s a dedicated customer service area between the main area of the lounge and the rotunda, allowing United’s lounge staff to assist with any ticketing inquiries.
The United Polaris Lounge Los Angeles is a beautiful and elegant open-concept lounge that boasts everything you need for a pleasant stay prior to your international business class flight.
Although the space is fairly compact, there are plenty of private areas, should you need to get some work done, make a call, or simply relax in a quiet space.
Furthermore, the lounge offers high-quality à la carte dining, so be sure to allot enough time to sit down in the dining room for a meal.
And if you’re flying Star Alliance business class out of the Tom Bradley International Terminal, be ready to put in some steps to reach the lounge in Terminal 7 – but you won’t be disappointed if you do.