Sunday, January 8, 2012

New Zealand December 2011 - Air New Zealand LAX Koru Club Lounge

***This post is part 3 of a full trip report. The index can be found here***


After arriving at LAX, I made my way over to Terminal 2. Despite having my LAX-AKL boarding pass already (printed by United), I headed to the Air New Zealand check-in counter to request a real one. There was a premium check-in area to the right, but I decided to go to the regular line since it was completely empty. It ended up being a good idea to get my boarding pass reprinted because Air New Zealand actually requires proof of your return flight prior to departure - something United failed to inform me of when I checked in at SFO.


There was no premium security line that I could find, so I joined the regular queue with everyone else. Luckily it moved fairly quickly. Once through, I made my way upstairs to the mezzanine level where all the T2 lounges were located. The entrance to the Air New Zealand Koru Club was fairly nondescript, although the sign outside did indicate that Virgin Atlantic Upper Class passengers were also welcome. Inside, the lounge was nicely decorated with Christmas trees and plenty of reminders of New Zealand, such as a giant kiwi stuffed animal, and All Blacks paraphernalia.


 

I went over to the dining area near the center of the lounge, where there was a small island in the middle serving up salads, fruits, breads, cheeses, and a selection of cold cuts. Hot clam chowder was also available. Since I hadn't really eaten lunch that day, I decided to snack a little bit, knowing that I still had a full dinner waiting for me on board. A variety of mid-shelf alcohol, beer, and wine was also available for self-service, along with sodas, juices, and coffee. While not a particularly impressive spread by any means, it was plenty to tide anyone over before the actual flight.







Since I was in the lounge about five hours prior to the first Air New Zealand departure, the place was deserted when I first arrived. It was well laid-out, consisting of a long hall with plenty of comfortable couches and chairs. One side of the lounge had a nice view of the tarmac outside of Terminal 2. There was also a business center with a couple of computers located at the very end of the lounge around the corner. Unfortunately, it appeared as if those computers hadn't been updated in a few years since they were all running an ancient version of Internet Explorer that crashed every five minutes while I was using it.

Almost empty lounge when I first arrived

View from the lounge


I decided to check out the showers, which were located in a separate hallway through a marked door. It was very clean and well-stocked with wrapped towels. Soap and shampoo dispensers were in the stall. I didn't actually shower, but I did freshen up and remove my contacts before the long flight.



About two hours prior to departure, the lounge really started to fill up, to the point where I couldn't even find one empty seat! Air New Zealand has two flights bound for Auckland within an hour of each other in the late evening, so the lounge definitely reaches full capacity around this time. I decided to head downstairs a little early, and quickly realized that despite being crowded, the lounge was no comparison to the zoo that was the gate area right before departure. Thankfully, boarding commenced soon after and I was on my way!

Packed lounge right before I left

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