The plan to link all terminals airside at Los Angeles International Airport took a giant leap forward today as the connection between Terminal 4 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) opened. This is huge news for savvy frequent flyers with elite status but good news for all travellers.
It was only last week that I met up with Scott from Travel Codex for a few hours in the TBIT prior to my United flight in order to use the superb oneworld lounge. In order to get to Terminal 7 to catch my flight, I had to exit the secure area, walk outside, then clear security again in Terminal 4 before heading down to the sub-level where an underground walkway connects Terminal 4 to 5 and 6 (and 6 / 7 / 8 are already connected).
It wasn’t too much of a hassle with PreCheck, but I still hate going through security twice. With the tunnel between T4 and TBIT now open, that will no longer be necessary.
Star Alliance Lounge Should Be Prepared for the Onslaught
Sometimes prior to a United flight I enjoy relaxing in the TBIT Star Alliance Lounge, which only requires a Star Gold card or business class boarding pass for entrance (United does not allow its own Star Gold Members into its United Clubs when traveling on domestic itineraries unless they have purchased lounge membership). The lounge is beautiful, with great food and drink, and not all that crowded before the evening rush primarily because it is too tedious to access for United flyers.
Now it is much easier to access that lounge. It still requires a rather lengthy walk, but you’ll only have to clear security once. You can bet I will be a more frequent visitor to that lounge and others will too. It will also make access to the Korean Air lounge, a Priority Pass lounge, possible too (a thoroughly unremarkable lounge, though).
oneworld elite members will also have access to really great business and first class lounges in TBIT, though keep in mind that AA elites will not have access to the oneworld lounges if traveling on only domestic itineraries.
SkyTeam members do not have access to lounges when traveling on domestic itineraries, so those lounges likely will not see a deluge of new guests trekking over from T4 or T5.
Why This Matters Even if You Don’t Have Lounge Access
Even if you don’t have lounge access, this is great news for travelers on long layovers. Although restaurants and shopping are truly improving in all terminals, TBIT has a great collection of restaurants and shops, well worth the (exercise-inducing) walk if your layover is long.
LAX is changing and changing for the better. The new link between T4 and TBIT makes accessing the superior amenities in the international terminal even easier.
(tip of the hat to Pizza in Motion)