Earlier today I wrote about the new Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in Terminal 6 at LAX. This lounge, along with the Star Alliance Lounge in the Tom Bradley International Terminal, presents two superb free lounge options for United Star Gold members.
Star Alliance rules require that Star Gold members have lounge access in all lounges, no matter the itinerary. But there are exceptions.
United Airlines is one of them. Because it sells membership to it United Clubs (and frankly because there are so many elites and the overcrowding would be unbearable), United does not allow its own Star Gold members (Premier Gold status and higher) to access United Clubs when on a purely domestic itinerary.
So if you have Gold status with Air Canada or Turkish Airlines you are free to enter any United Club even if you are traveling on a domestic United flight in economy class. But a United gold member on the same itinerary would be turned away.
That lounge exception applies only to United Clubs, not to other Star Alliance Gold lounges inside the USA. What that means is that United Gold members can now access the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge before their flights, even if on purely domestic itineraries.
If they are so inclined, United Gold members can also access the Star Alliance Gold Lounge in TBIT. That requires a hike, but TBIT and Terminals 4-8 are connected airside so at least it does not require re-clearing security.
While the TBIT is beautiful, the new Air Canada Lounge will be much easier for United flyers.
> Read More: Review – Star Alliance Lounge LAX
A crowded lounges is sometimes even worse than the gate area, but there is no doubt that having a quiet respite or complimentary cup of coffee before a flight is appreciated. If you are a United Gold flyer, remember that you can access either the Air Canada Lounge in T6 or Star Alliance Lounge in TBIT, no matter what Star Alliance flight you are on or cabin you are seated in.